Create a Professional Action

Hi I recently started creating Photoshop Add-Ons for the Envato Markets and I’d like to share a few basic tips that most authors in the Community seem not to be aware of when creating a Script that will be used by different users.

I often see Photoshop Actions that work only if:

  1. Photoshop is in English
  2. you meet certain Preferences in your settings and Control Panel (Add “copy” to copied Layers and Groups)
  3. the Image is in RGB, 8 channels (Filter Gallery doesn’t work on 16 bits images)
  4. The Brushes, Patterns etc… settings are not the standard ones (100% opacity, 100% flow etc…)
  5. The starting selection Layer needs to be selected AND named properly like “area” or “brush”
  6. Layer ordering and final document

Here are my workarounds and tips:

  1. This is by the far the most difficult task when creating a Professional Action or Script: preferably you don’t want the user to be forced to change his software language, but this comes at the cost of several precautions:
  • don’t use the “Background” Layer. Get the starting image at the start and store it there for your next steps in the Action. (in the screenshot named “Image Base”). Select the entire document (Ctrl+A) and Copy merged the entire canvas on a new blank Layer then Paste in Place, there you have the starting photo without selecting the “Background” Layer.
  • Always give a name to your Layers as soon as you create them. Don’t Duplicate using Ctrl+J but use the “Duplicate…” option so that you can name your Layers in one single step.
    Use Ctrl+Shift+N to create and name a New blank Layer in one single step.
  • Don’t move Layers manually, use Layer>Arrange for absolute positioning as different PS versions behaves differently.
  1. Naming Layers as explained previously solves also this one. Also Reset your Photoshop Preferences before recording as you might have non-standard settings yourself.

  2. Create a document in CMYK, 16 Bits and just record the steps of converting to RGB and 8 bits (see screenshot)

  3. Use “Tools” instead (Window>Tools), that can be set even further than Brushes and Patterns and will remember also the other settings involved. Some users have difficulties with Tools and installing them so this might be situational, try to use them when really necessary.

  4. Just set the condition to be selected, then you record the naming part. If it’s selected that is the first Layer that will be renamed.

  5. 90% of the Scripts and Actions I tried have an absurd amount of Groups, masks and Color Modes that are completely random and unnecessary. Most of these adjustments are so generic that you’ll rarely ever going to use them.

Try to keep the document as clean as possible: most of the users are not as expert as you in navigating through Layers, they might not be aware of your complex clipping and masking techniques all combined and at the end not be able to actually modify the aspect of the final result.

The other slice of users is expert as much as us and just need to the Action or Script to create an actual work. So they’re never going to use any of the premade Gradient that we included but adjust the final composition manually.

Give priority to Layers that actually create a different final effect, keep the final .psd as essential as possible.

Shortly this should be the start of your Action every time, creating the effect on a New Document.


I hope it helps! If you have extra tips please share

this is wonderful my friend, what a huge threat indeed! i agree with what u said , i have always been bothered , my photoshop is using french language and most of the actions are not working , so your whole message is really well thought of , useful and everything, i hope a lot of people will read it :slight_smile:

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Many thanks for the tips!