Actions are Photoshop’s oldest and most essential form of automation. Simply put, an action is a recorded sequence of events. Which is pretty wild when you think about it. You click the record button, work your way through a series of oft-repeated steps, and then click stop. From that point on, the Actions palette can play back exactly what you did at breakneck speed, several times faster than you could ever hope to repeat the steps yourself. Test the action to make sure it works and it may serve you well for years to come, from one version of Photoshop to the next. As I’m fond of saying, invest an hour or two in actions now and your future self—lying on a beach while Photoshop works away as your obedient digital slave—will thank you.
In this video, we’ll build up a complex visual effect, one that you can easily share with others. And honestly, I think you’ll be blown away. This action generates a synthetic water effect that works against any background. And it’s available to you right here for free:
- Just right-click on this link: the action set Water_droplets.atn. And choose Save or Download.
- Inside Photoshop, choose Load Actions from the Actions palette flyout menu.
- (new step!) Rename the action set “Water droplets,” with a space instead of an underscore.
This set includes the action I record in the video, Basic Droplet Steps, as well as a more elaborate action called Water on Image, which integrates a third action called Subroutine. Enjoy.
The base photograph comes to us from Glue Stock of image vendor Fotolia. Click this link for a special deal.
(For a list of all Photoshop Top 4 videos thus far, click this link.)
Incidentally, Photoshop Top 4 is now available as a downloadable podcast from iTunes. Click here to subscribe. dekePod subscribers will get the videos automatically.