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  2. Photoshop Actions

How to Create a Film Photoshop Action

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Final product imageFinal product imageFinal product image
What You'll Be Creating

In this tutorial, you will learn how to create an action in Photoshop to add film Photoshop effects to your photos. I will explain everything in so much detail that everyone can create it, even those who have just opened Photoshop for the first time.

For more film Photoshop effects, don't forget to check our list of five film Photoshop actions in this article.

What You'll Need

To recreate the design above, you will need the following resources:

1. How to Start Creating an Action

Step 1

First, open the photo that you want to work with. To open your photo, go to File > Open, choose your photo, and click Open. Now, before we get started, just check a couple of things:

  1. Your photo should be in RGB Color mode, 8 Bits/Channel. To check this, go to Image > Mode.
  2. For best results, your photo size should be 2000–4000 px wide/high. To check this, go to Image > Image Size.
  3. Your photo should be the Background layer. If it is not, go to Layer > New > Background from Layer.
Checking image size and modeChecking image size and modeChecking image size and mode

Step 2

Now go to Window > Actions, and in the Actions panel, click on the menu icon in the top right-hand corner. Choose New Set to create a new set, and name it Film. Then, click on the same menu icon again, choose New Action to create a new action, and name it Film as shown below:

Creating new actionCreating new actionCreating new action

2. How to Make the Base Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make the base adjustments to the photo. Press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate the Background layer.

Duplicating layerDuplicating layerDuplicating layer

Step 2

Now go to Image > Adjustments > Shadow/Highlights, and set the Shadows to 30% and the Highlights to 0% as shown below:

Adjusting shadows and highlightsAdjusting shadows and highlightsAdjusting shadows and highlights

Step 3

Name this layer Reveal Details.

Naming layerNaming layerNaming layer

Step 4

Press D on your keyboard to reset the swatches. Then, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map to create a new gradient map adjustment layer and name it Overall_Contrast.

Creating new gradient map adjustment layerCreating new gradient map adjustment layerCreating new gradient map adjustment layer

Step 5

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay and set the Opacity to 40%.

Changing blending mode and opacityChanging blending mode and opacityChanging blending mode and opacity

Step 6

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Hue/Saturation to create a new hue/saturation adjustment layer and name it Overall Saturation.

Creating new hue and saturation adjustment layerCreating new hue and saturation adjustment layerCreating new hue and saturation adjustment layer

Step 7

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Saturation to -10.

Adjusting saturationAdjusting saturationAdjusting saturation

Step 8

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Levels to create a new levels adjustment layer, and name it Overall Brightness.

Creating new levels adjustment layerCreating new levels adjustment layerCreating new levels adjustment layer

Step 9

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, enter the settings below:

Adjusting levelsAdjusting levelsAdjusting levels

3. How to Create a Vignette

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a vignette. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Gradient Fill to create a new gradient fill layer, name it Vignette, and use the settings below:

Creating new gradient fill layerCreating new gradient fill layerCreating new gradient fill layer

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Multiply and set the Opacity to 30%.

Changing blending mode and opacityChanging blending mode and opacityChanging blending mode and opacity

4. How to Create a Color Look

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create a color look. Go to Layer > New Fill Layer > Solid Color to create a new solid color fill layer, name it Color Look 1, and choose the color #17244d as shown below:

Creating new solid color fill layerCreating new solid color fill layerCreating new solid color fill layer

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Subtract and set the Opacity to 20%.

Changing blending mode and opacityChanging blending mode and opacityChanging blending mode and opacity

Step 3

Select the Vignette layer, go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Photo Filter to create a new photo filter adjustment layer, and name it Color Look 2.

Creating new photo filter adjustment layerCreating new photo filter adjustment layerCreating new photo filter adjustment layer

Step 4

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Filter to Warming Filter (81) and Density to 30% as shown below:

Adjusting photo filterAdjusting photo filterAdjusting photo filter

5. How to Create the Borders

Step 1

In this section, we are going to create the borders. Select the Color Look 1 layer, choose the Rectangle Tool (U), click anywhere inside the canvas, and set the Width to 3351 px and Height to 125 px.

Creating rectangleCreating rectangleCreating rectangle

Step 2

Press Control-A on your keyboard to make a selection of the canvas. Choose the Move Tool (V), and click on Align Top Edges and then on Align Horizontal Center to align the layer both vertically and horizontally. Then, name this layer Top Border.

Aligning layerAligning layerAligning layer

Step 3

Now press Control-J on your keyboard to duplicate this layer and drag it just below the Top Border layer in the Layers Panel. Then, press Control-A on your keyboard to make a selection of the canvas. Choose the Move Tool (V), and click on Align Bottom Edges to align the layer vertically. After that, name this layer Bottom Border.

Duplicating layerDuplicating layerDuplicating layer

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! Here is our final result:

Final resultFinal resultFinal result

5 Film Photoshop Actions

Want more film Photoshop actions? Here is our quick list of five amazing film Photoshop effect actions you may want to give a try:

Vintage Film Photoshop Actions

Giving your images that coveted vintage film look is only a click away. This pack of 10 Photoshop actions is just the thing you need to turn your images into retro works of art.

Vintage Film Photoshop ActionsVintage Film Photoshop ActionsVintage Film Photoshop Actions

FilterGrade Film Series II Photoshop Actions

The FilterGrade Film Series is a fantastic collection of film effects and realistic, movie-like photo actions. From Wild West to horror film, loads of cool effects are included! Our most popular collection of film Photoshop actions to date.

FilterGrade Film Series II Photoshop ActionsFilterGrade Film Series II Photoshop ActionsFilterGrade Film Series II Photoshop Actions

Random Film Generator Pro

Create unlimited random film effects in just one click with these Photoshop actions. You can get effects that look like photographic film, expired Polaroid prints, and more. The actions can generate up to 20 effects at a time, and the effects can be exported as LUTs to be used in other software.

Random Film Generator ProRandom Film Generator ProRandom Film Generator Pro

Digital Film Supply 2 Action Bundle

Digital Film Supply is a series of 88 high-end Photoshop actions inspired by film photography and high-quality presets like VSCO.

Digital Film Supply 2 Action BundleDigital Film Supply 2 Action BundleDigital Film Supply 2 Action Bundle

50 Film Noire PS Actions Bundle

This is a huge collection of colour grading actions and presets, allowing you to create everything from a retro look to a modern touch in your photography.

50 Film Noire PS Actions Bundle50 Film Noire PS Actions Bundle50 Film Noire PS Actions Bundle

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