Free Photoshop actions: Special effects
Giving photos a vector look can be hard work; the obvious thing to do is paste them into Ilustrator and use Live Trace, but getting the effect you want can take a lot of fiddling with settings. Instead, use Vectorize Me Babe; put it into action and you'll get an instant vector effect, which you can amplify by simply running the action again.
54. Glitch Effect
You can't beat the look of stuff recorded onto a knackered old VHS tape, and this free action by Syed Faraz Ahmad does a pretty good job of recreating it, with plenty of glitches and colour smearing.
Transform your photos into posters, covers or backgrounds for text with Plexiglass, a set of Photoshop actions that make it easy to add abstract effects and borders to any image with a single click.
56. 3D Isometric Map
A brilliant action that converts a flat vector map into an isometric 3D map mockup. There are three different styles of map available: sand, ice and grass, and the action also allows you to drop in your choice of buildings, trees, landscape elements and signs.
57. Pencil Draw
This action uses contrast to find the edges in your image and automatically render a pencil sketch effect. Start from a full-colour image with no need to convert to black and white first.
Create round stickers with a curl in the corner, or polaroid-style images with clear sticky tape holding them in place. This site requires you to register for free before you can download the action.
Automatically convert your text into a snazzy 1930s-style retro treatment with shiny sequins and a nice 3D effect. It’s also easy to adjust after running the action, as all the layers are retained.
60. Stamp Generator
Turn an image into a stamp automatically using an included Photoshop brush to define how the frill will sit along the edge of the final artwork.
61. Denim & Leather
This Photoshop action automatically generates a blue denim texture, 'sews' on a leather patch and embosses your own artwork onto the leather. The nice, simple and effective output could be adapted for a variety of purposes.
Make the focal point of an image really stand out with this action from Christopher Fowler, which will train a virtual spotlight on your picture.
63. Fold Paper
Automatically render your artwork onto a trifold paper design in pseudo-3D, complete with shadows and shading on the image. Ideal for rendering paper designs ahead of presenting them on-screen to clients.
64. Long Shadow
This free Photoshop action allows you to create a long shadow from your text content, and you can tweak the shadow's opacity.
Generate standard triptych panels for print, with a 3D effect visual triptych generator also available. Print sizes include 1000x600mm, 1300x800, 1600x1000 with 50mm depth at 288dpi.
66. Action 3D
This quirky action from JonasFan93 creates a pseudo 3D anaglyphic image by separating out colour channels within your image and offsetting them. This freebie offers a number of different styles that are more suitable for use in printed brochures and website design where you’re aiming for a stylised effect.