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How to Make a Matte Photoshop Action

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

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

If you're looking for a ready-made matte Photoshop action (plus loads more useful Photoshop actions to create a variety of amazing effects), check out this huge list of resources:

Before We Get Started

A matte effect is a simple yet effective photo effect that is going to give a beautiful look to your photos. The best thing is that the matte photo effect is just going to work with pretty much any photo you choose. However, we are going to create not just a matte effect but a Photoshop action that creates a matte effect.

What are Photoshop actions? Photoshop actions are simply tools that you can use to create amazing Photoshop effects, usually with just a few clicks. They are automated sets of commands, and you don't need to go through each step manually, which can take a lot of time, especially if you want to apply the effect to multiple photos.

After we've created the matte Photoshop action, you'll then be able to open any photo, run the action, and get a matte effect in no time. Check out the article below if you want to learn more about Photoshop actions:

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 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 Matte. Then, click on the same menu icon again, choose New Action to create a new action, and name it Matte as shown below:

Creating new action

2. How to Make the Matte Adjustments

Step 1

In this section, we are going to make matte adjustments to the photo. 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 layer

Step 2

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Overlay.

Changing blending mode

Step 3

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

Creating new levels adjustment layer

Step 4

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

Adjusting levels

Step 5

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves to create a new curves adjustment layer and name it Color Look.

Creating new curves adjustment layer

Step 6

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

Adjusting curves

Step 7

Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Vibrance to create a new vibrance adjustment layer and name it Overall Vibrance/Saturation.

Creating new vibrance adjustment layer

Step 8

Now Double-click on this layer thumbnail and, in the Properties panel, set the Vibrance to +20 and Saturation to +7.

Adjusting vibrance and saturation

Step 9

Press Control-Alt-Shift-E on your keyboard to make a screenshot, and then press Control-Shift-U to desaturate this layer. Then, go to Filter > Other > High Pass and set the Radius to 2 px.

Adding high pass filter

Step 10

Now change the Blending Mode of this layer to Hard Light and name it Overall Sharpening.

Changing blending mode

3. How to Turn the Result Black and White

Step 1 

In this section, we are going to turn the result black and white. Go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Black & White to create a new black and white adjustment layer and name it Black & White.

Creating new black  white adjustment layer

Step 2

Now change the blending mode of this layer to Color.

Changing blending mode

You Made It!

Congratulations, you have succeeded! You have now learned how to create a matte Photoshop effects action. Here is our final result:

Final result

8 Matte Photoshop Actions and Photoshop Filters

Want more matte Photoshop actions? Here is our quick list of eight interesting matte Photoshop effects actions you may want to try:

Wedday Matte Photoshop Action

Wedday is specially designed for wedding photography. It will provide a soft and non-destructive matte pastel toning, enhancing the overall look and feel of your images, adding atmosphere and an artsy touch. Plus that little white balance tune-up that you were looking for.

Wedday Matte Photoshop Action

Matte & Faded Photoshop Actions

Give your photos a beautiful and stylish matte & faded finish with this set of 17 Photoshop actions.

Matte  Faded Photoshop Actions

FilterGrade Chill Series Photoshop Actions

The FilterGrade Chill Series is a fantastic collection of chill photography effects. Basic fades to advanced photo filters take your image to the next level. Special noise effects are included. This is the best collection of Chill Photoshop Actions around.

FilterGrade Chill Series Photoshop Actions

Matte Pastels

Matte Pastels is a set of film-like effects inspired by the beautiful post-processing style of photographer Masashi Wakui. The Photoshop actions are compatible with Photoshop CS5 and newer.

Matte Pastels

Sensation Matte Mobile Lightroom Presets

Sensation Matte Mobile Lightroom Presets Pack features 11 carefully handcrafted filters, which allow you to add a gloomy matte finish and create beautiful edits in your photographs with just a click. The toning and colors of these filters are usually quite cool and dark for a moody feel, but some presets also beautifully emphasise color and warmth.

Sensation Matte Mobile Lightroom Presets

10 Matte Photoshop Action

This matte effect is a complete action pack containing ten perfect Photoshop ATN for fashion photography. These presets are specially developed for fashion photographers. A professional photographer can save precious time by using this effect.

10 Matte Photoshop Action

Vintage Matte Photoshop Action

This action is designed to transform your photos into Photoshop vintage matte actions. It's specially developed for vintage matte type images.

Vintage Matte Photoshop Action

10 Matte Photoshop Action

These actions are ideal for graphic designers and photographers, with only one ‘play’ click to add amazing colors. It's very easy for use and has the right organisation of filters in a group, where you can adjust the colors.

10 Matte Photoshop Action

You could also check out our recommended Photoshop portrait actions:

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