Photoshop Presets- Key Concepts and Free Resources to Download

Repititive tasks and processes may make photo editing a tedious job for professional photographers, which is why they look for professional photo editing services. Experienced image editors can optimally use Adobe Photoshop to deliver finer image-versions that photographers can confidently use for their projects. Expert users of Photoshop can effectively utilize Photoshop presets and actions so as to make adjustments and edits a one-click process. While Photoshop actions appear similar to presets, they are different applications that are used for photo editing.

What Photoshop Presets are and how to create Presets in Photoshop

Presets are an aggregation of edits that users can record as a batch and apply the changes to one or several images with just a single click. Presets allow users to avoid tiresome, repetitive edits and to perform edits with a higher degree of accuracy and speed. When you modify an image as per your requirements by applying a preset, you may save the file in JPEG format and refine it further in Photoshop. This editing application comes equipped with primary editing sliders that can alter the effects of color, shadows, contrast, vibrance, and highlights. You may find it quite easy to create specific presets on your own. You may upload an image into Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and then you may start with the editing process.

Once you are done with editing and once you finalize the edits, you may consider creating a preset by saving the editing sequence:

  • Locate the icon list at the right section of the control bar and click on the presets icon.
  • Next, locate the Save icon at the bottom of the control bar and click on it.
  • Allocate a name to your preset and click “Ok”.

You may choose to keep on editing the same photo or new photos and save new sequences as new presets. This way, you can create an assortment of original presets that you can use anytime.

What Photoshop Actions are and how you can install them

Photoshop actions allow for quick and efficient image editing. When an action is created in Photoshop, the user actually records a sequence of edits that he has applied on one image so that he can apply the same on other photos as well. Once you upload a JPEG image for getting it processed on Photoshop, you will need just a click to apply an action to the photo. Professional photographers also keep pre-recorded actions that you can download and apply to your photos. Photoshop actions may serve as effective learning tools for photographers who want to enhance their editing skills. This is mainly because of the fact that users can examine actions in every layer and become aware of every adjustment that the photo editor has made.

Installing Photoshop Actions is very easy and it starts with downloading the action that you want to apply. Next, access the zip file, locate the .ATN file, and pull it into Photoshop for getting it uploaded. You can now access the file in Photoshop’s ‘Actions’ panel.

Photoshop Presets Vs. Actions: How do they differ?

Presets and actions work differently, but they both lead to the same outcomes. Both are excellent tools for professional image editing. However, there are key differences between the two and we have pinpointed the same for you to refer to:


  • The editing is performed in Adobe Camera Raw.
  • Presets promise a user-friendly experience.
  • The user needs to have prior knowledge of basic photo editing applications.
  • The full image is subjected to non-destructive edits.
  • Presets can be applied to JPEG or RAW files directly from the camera.
  • The changes are brought into effect instantly.


  • Image editing is performed in Photoshop.
  • Actions come equipped with a more sophisticated user interface.
  • The user needs to have some degree of experience in using Adobe Photoshop in order to be able to use Actions properly.
  • Users can apply actions only to individual layers.
  • Actions can be applied to JPEG formats only. This means, you need to convert RAW files into JPEG formats before you can apply Actions to them.
  • Users can exercise complete control over the speed with which edits are performed.

Top 5 Websites to download free Photoshop actions

  1. Behance

    This online platform allows artists to share and showcase their artwork. Users can get access to free Lightroom presets and Photoshop actions.

  2. MCP Action

    MCP actions consist of a series of pre-programmed steps and some actions may include hundreds of such steps. Users are allowed to modify each layer to create a customized image.

  3. DevianArt

    This website serves as a peer evaluation platform that enables users to share feedback about each other’s works. Users can download stock images, Photoshop actions, and brushes for free.

  4. PsdDude

    This platform offers free Photoshop actions either from its own repositories or from other websites.

  5. PanosFX

    PanosFX allows users to download styles, Photoshop actions, and brushes for free. However, some resources are offered at a price.

Photoshop Brushes

Photoshop brushes allow artists to create rich, appealing artwork in very less time while helping them to avoid the hassle of creating single design elements every time. For beginners, choosing the right Photoshop brushes may appear to be a challenging task given the fact that Photoshop brushes come in diverse forms and serve specific purposes. Photoshop has specialized brushes that may generate special effects similar to watercolor, grunge, cloud patterns, leaf designs, etc.

We can classify Photoshop brushes into 4 broad categories:

  1. Photoshop Painting Brushes: Such brushes can be used to resemble classic art effects.
  2. Natural Brushes: These are brushes to draw finer, detailed images of hair, trees, cloud, water, and fire effects.
  3. Grunge Brushes: These brushes can create distressed, blurry effects.
  4. Fantasy Brushes: This category features half-tone brushes that can produce sparkle effects.

Top 5 Websites to download free Photoshop brushes

  1. BrushLovers

    This website offers various categories of free photoshop brushes such as grunge, vintage, paint, texture, flowers, nature, light, people, animals etc.

  2. Brusheezy

    Brusheezy is a platform where artists can share their Photoshop brushes and other resources and explore the works of peers. All the resources can be downloaded for free and can be used in projects according to the license terms and conditions.

  3. Creative Bloq

    This website offers freebies as well as advice to digital, traditional, and VFX artists, creative designers, and illustrators to keep them updated about the latest design trends.

  4. Speckyboy

    This online platform allows users to download diverse Photoshop brushes that can be used to create diverse effects such as vintage, smoke, light, charcoal, water splash, watercolor, etc. The website also provides tutorial and tips to designers to help them keep themselves updated about the latest developments.

  5. Inspirationfeed

    Inspirationfeed offers design and development resources and industry guidelines so as to help Photoshop users make the most out of the latest trends. The platform does not only offer free Photoshop brushes, but it also provides other freebies such as graphics, actions, presets, textures, patterns, icons, mockups, templates, vectors, wallpapers, etc.

Photoshop Patterns

Patterns refer to images that are repeatedly used so as to fill a selection. Photoshop features several preset patterns and users can create new patterns and store them in repositories so as to use them later using different tools and commands. The options bar for the Paint Bucket, Healing Brush, and Patch tools have pop-up panels displaying the preset patterns. Users are allowed to choose a display option on their own from the pop-up panel menu in order to change the way the patterns are displayed. Alternatively, pattern presets can be managed by using the preset manager option.

Steps to create a preset pattern to define an image

  • Start by using the Rectangle Marquee tool on an image in order to select a section that you want to use as a pattern.
  • Set the feather to 0 pixels.
  • Please be aware that the large images may appear somewhat clumsy.
  • Next, choose ‘Edit’ and then the ‘Define Pattern’ option.
  • You may name your pattern and enter the same in the Pattern Name dialog box.

Photoshop Gradients

Photoshop gradients are effects that are created when colors, shades, or brightness levels fade into other colors, shades, or brightness levels, respectively. To be more precise, gradients are color effects that a user can apply to modify existing colors as per set patterns. Gradients include different colors that appear in different densities and extend in diverse directions. A user can combine the color effects and apply them on an image so as to create a drastic change on the color as well as other on other aspects of the image.

Web and graphic designers commonly use gradients to create stunning appeals. There are several websites that allow users to download gradients for free and this is proves to be really helpful for designers who can instantly make use of the already-prepared gradients, experiment with new gradients quickly, and add momentum to the design process.You may want to create personalized gradients on your own, but at times, a repository of ready-to-use gradients will prove to be handy.

Creating a gradient in Photoshop

Graphic designers typically use gradients to express weather conditions or to create a virtual shadow. Designers can direct a gradient towards a specific direction by making an appropriate use of Photoshop’s gradient tool. The gradient can be rotated from left to right or in any direction.

Creating a gradient is very easy. Start by selecting the gradient tool and then combine the different colors while making sure to place them in the correct sequence.Draw a line in the direction of the gradient and perform a few more edits till you are able to create the perfect type of contrast throughout the entire image.

With gradients, you can create vintage effects or generate an appeal that instills the look and feel of sunrise or sunset effects or indicates a particular time of the day. After you apply a gradient, you must execute appropriate customizations in order to ensure realistic outcomes. You can optimally use this tool to create a collection of gradients by carrying out all possible experimentation with color schemes and regular/irregular patterns. With more and more practice, you will be in a position to use diverse features and methods so as to generate the best outcomes.

Top 5 websites to download free gradients

There are a number of websites that allow graphic designers to download different types of gradients for free. Some of the most popular websites that you can consider checking out are:

  1. Vandelay Design

    This company equips professionals with design education, thereby allowing them to remain aware of the latest developments in the industry. Apart from offering an assortment of premium-quality gradients, Vandelay Design also offers freebies that may include PSDs, responsive HTML templates, brushes, UI kits, and vectors.

  2. GraphicsFuel

    GraphicsFuel offers free as well as premium graphic design resources to help professionals experience an easy designing process. Designers are also encouraged to contribute to the website’s freebie library so that the design community, as a whole, gets benefited and encouraged.
  3. AllFreeDesigns

    This platform guides beginners with a step-by-step process on how they can optimally use the Photoshop gradient tool and install gradients. The website allows users to download more than 2,300 gradients for free.
  4. UI Gradients

    This website allows users free access to subtle and clean gradients. The website has a user-friendly interface that promotes easy navigation. Users are allowed to copy the CSS codes to their clipboards and paste them into their projects right away.
  5. Colin Keaney’s Blend

    This is a project created by designer Colin Keany who was looking to create a simple platform. However, the outcome was an advanced tool that allows for the creation of custom CSS3 ingredients.

Photoshop Filters

Filters are used in Adobe Photoshop CC to instill quick effects in an image. Users can combine filters as well to generate unique outcomes. Filters can be used to create innumerable effects. Whether you need to create a ‘rain’ or a ‘fog’ effect in your photo or you want the sky to appear ‘painted’, you will find specific filters for every effect that you want to create.

Some of the mostly commonly-used filters are:

  • Motion Blur: This filter can be used to create life-like motion effects.
  • Displacement Wrap: With this filter, users can create remarkable water reflections as well as subtle distortions in textures.
  • Surface Blur: This filter allows for the retention of the edge detail and is commonly used to even out facial skin.
  • Noise Reduction: When rasters are filtered, enlarged, or sharpened, images may get impacted with the accumulation of rasters. This can be addressed by applying the “Reduce Noise” feature on individual layers or on a merged layer.
  • Oil Paint: This filter is commonly used to give the image background a cartoonesque look and feel. Use the Pen tool to create a simple path and then choose the ‘flame’ option from the Filter menu. Select the type of flame that you wish to use and then use the Advanced Settings option to incorporate the necessary modifications.
  • Plastic Wrap: This filter can be used to create liquid effects. To make sure that you get the desired effects, you may focus on certain portions of the image and adjust the settings accordingly.
  • Render Clouds: Start by drawing a blank layer and apply the Motion Blur effect. Apply a soft brush to mask away areas so as to unveil the details from the background.

Easy Installation

The Preset Manager is the best option to install presets in the latest Photoshop versions. Older versions that were launched before 2009 did not have the Preset Manager feature. In case you have installed compatible applications, such as Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, you may apply the ‘open with’ command to select the program where you are looking to load the presets.

An optimal use of the Photoshop program will call for a high level of expertise of the users. But with free Photoshop resources and ready-to-use presets, users can add momentum to their projects and complete them with better efficiency and quality.