One of the most useful and fun features of Photoshop is called Actions. The actions palette lets users to record a sequence of image editing steps as an “action” that can be saved, then applied again at a future time. This action can be applied to a selection in an image, another image file, or in a batch operation to hundreds of different image files. The order in which tasks are executed can be edited by dragging-and-dropping.
One of actions most useful features is that they can be saved and shared with others. The sharing process is made easier by the fact that actions are cross-platform and in either Mac OS or Windows form, actions use an “.ATN” extension.
The key to creating and using actions is the Actions Palette. The palette has two modes: List View and Button. List mode lets you create and edit actions starting with the New Action command that is accessed when you click on the right-facing triangle in the upper right-had corner of the palette. Button Mode is activated by checking the “Button Mode” item at the bottom of the palette. When it is selected you will see a checkmark next to it and you can now play back any actions that you may have created.
Actions are not applications or even plug-ins; they are simply a series of instructions and one of their best aspects is the ability to use actions created by others, such as Panos Efstathiadis.
The PanosFX Puzzle Effects action, for example, turn your photos into impressive 2D and 3D jigsaw puzzles creates an impressive array of different puzzle effects. The 2D actions let you create 23 different puzzle styles. Each puzzle piece is actually an individual layer. This allows you to move and rotate any individual pieces or groups of pieces to create even more impressive effects! The 3D actions let you choose from 24 absolutely puzzle styles and can be used to create awesome 3D animations!
PanosFX Puzzle Effects is available for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. The Elements version contains the 2D actions only, since 3D is not available in for that program. The Photoshop version costs €15.50 or $ 17.41 at today’s exchange rate; the PSE version costs is €12.50 or $ 14.03 at today’s exchange rate. Considering the cool effects these actions produce, I think it’s a best buy.