Thursday, February 09, 2012


I've been exploring Photoshop "actions" lately; actions are the individual steps followed in processing a photo all put together in one automatic "action". It's a time-and-effort-saving function that can really make life a lot simpler. I stumbled across a treasure-trove of Photoshop actions on the DeviantArt site yesterday, and I've been playing. I downloaded a ton of them yesterday; these are just a few that I've explored in some depth.

This first action is called "cool photo effect" by its author "Numizmat". What it does is give the photo a 19th Century color print feel, almost like a Currier and Ives print. I applied it to my favorite view of Middle Spring Creek in the Dykeman Wetlands Park, and here's the result.

There's also an action that converts photos to old lithographic prints, and I thought the old Mennonite farm at the corner of Peiper and Means Hollow Roads would be the perfect subject for that.

Finally, below are two treatments of the same self-portrait shot (taken this morning, so the beard is absolutely up to date!). The shot on the left uses an action that simulates split tone processing. This is a process using sepia and gold chloride, a combination which gives some serious longevity to photographic prints and has frequently been used for archival processes. It also gives a diluted two-tone appearance - sepia in the mid-range and blue in the darks - that has always been a favorite of portrait photographers. And I applied the lithograph action to the portrait on the right; it looks like I'm channeling Hemingway, and even though I'm not a huge fan of the man's writing I still like the effect.

And that's my play with my new toys so far. I'm sure you'll be seeing some more of this kind of thing from me as I figure out how to use these actions, and what they work best on. You've been warned!

© 2012 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. Quite a difference between the two self-portraits! Very nicely done!

  2. love that old house on the Menonnite farm! ! I'm a new bloger/writer and just added myself to your folowers to support you, maybe you'd like to come follow me? Thanks!

  3. Very interesting process. Must try it myself.