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Turn Any Photo into a Work of Art with the 3 Best Photoshop Actions

Author: PiXimperfectTime: 2024-01-06 06:35:01

Table of Contents

Overview of the Best Photoshop Actions to Create Artistic Effects

Photoshop actions are pre-recorded sequences of edits and effects that allow you to automate repetitive tasks. In this blog post, we will cover the 3 best Photoshop actions for creating stunning artistic effects on your photos, including actions for painting, sketching, and mixed media effects.

These handpicked actions were selected after testing over 800 options, and provide beautiful effects with ample customizability. We'll guide you through installing and applying each action, as well as customizing them to suit your creative vision.

Real Paint Effects - Best for Painting Effects

The Real Paint Effects action is the top choice for transforming photos into painterly works of art. It leverages multiple layered textures and paint effects to mimic the look of an oil painting. The action is highly customizable, with controls over the brush size, edges, drops, textures and more. It creates a layered file, allowing you to reveal details as needed by painting on layer masks.

Pen Sketch Action - Best for Sketching

For pencil and pen sketch effects, the Pen Sketch action reigns supreme. It adds realistic hatching and crosshatching to images, resembling the work of a master illustrator. The action includes separate layer groups for background and subject elements, offering granular control over the stroke brightness, contrast, and even ink color.

Illustration Sketch Painting - Best for Mixed Media

The Illustration Sketch Painting action delivers the best of both worlds: combining expressive brush strokes with strategic sketching to produce mixed media illustrations. It works especially well on photos of man-made objects like vehicles, buildings, or still lifes. The action is massively customizable, with toggles for outlines, textures, colors, presets, and more.

Step-by-Step Installation and Application

Installing these Photoshop actions is simple, though the specific steps vary slightly by creator. We'll cover the process for each:

Real Paint Effects: Unzip the downloaded files, then copy the JSX script to your Photoshop scripts folder. Next double click the included PAT and ABR files. Finally, access the action by going to File > Scripts.

Pen Sketch: Open the Pen Sketch folder in Photoshop and double click the PAT, ABR, and Action files to install. Access it via the Actions panel.

Illustration Sketch: Follow the same steps as the Pen Sketch action above.

Customizing the Actions for Maximum Impact

The true power of these artistic actions lies in their astounding flexibility. We'll highlight some top ways to tailor them to your creative vision.

For the Real Paint Effects action, use layer masks to selectively show details, adjust individual texture layers, and control the brush size. For Pen Sketch, modify the hatching elements, brightness & contrast, and even ink color. Illustration Sketch Painting includes toggles for outlines, textures, colors, presets & more.

Try Out Unlimited Creative Assets for Free with Envato Elements

As a creative professional, Envato Elements is an invaluable resource for expanding your creative capabilities. It offers unlimited downloads of Photoshop actions, brushes, fonts, graphics templates, stock images videos, and more.

You can currently try out the full Envato Elements library completely free. And annual subscriptions are 50% off, with additional student discounts available too. It's the ultimate creative toolbox, so be sure to check it out!

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

These hand-selected artistic Photoshop actions provide eye-catching effects to transform your images. The Real Paint Effects action creates oil paintings full of color and texture. For classic pencil sketches, the Pen Sketch action delivers. And Illustration Sketch Painting combines paint and pencil for dramatic mixed media effects.

Thanks for reading! With the unlimited downloads available on Envato Elements, you can continue exploring new creative styles for your work.


Q: How do I install the Photoshop actions?
A: To install, simply unpack the zip files, copy the necessary JSX, ABR, and action files to the appropriate Photoshop folders, and double click to load. Detailed instructions are included in this post and video.

Q: Do I need a paid Envato Elements membership?
A: No, a paid membership is not necessary. However, with an Envato Elements membership you can access unlimited creative assets like these actions. New users can browse the catalog for free.

Q: What photos work best with these artistic actions?
A: The Real Paint Effects works great for portraits and landscapes. The Pen Sketch is flexible for most images. The Illustration Sketch Painting works best for hard man-made objects like vehicles, buildings, etc.

Q: Can the results be customized?
A: Yes, there are ample customization options built into each action through adjustment layers. You can control textures, colors, levels of detail, and more to fit your desired artistic style.

Q: Do the actions work with the latest Photoshop versions?
A: Yes, they are compatible with the latest versions of Photoshop CC 2021 and 2022.

Q: Will these artistic effects work for print or digital use?
A: Yes, the high-quality effects from these actions are suitable for both print and digital use cases.

Q: Can I use these commercially or do I need an extended license?
A: Most limited licenses allow commercial use. However, Envato Elements grants full extended licenses for unlimited commercial use.

Q: What do I do if the action does not complete fully?
A: Make sure brush settings are at 100% opacity and flow before running the action. You may also need to simplify complex selections.

Q: How can I reduce detail in the background?
A: Use layer masks to selectively paint over background areas on the individual detail layers built into the action.

Q: Can I save and reuse my artistic creations from these effects?
A: Yes, you can save your customized Photoshop files and reuse your unique artistic creations in future projects.