FAQ: Photoshop and Elements Actions

What is an action?

An action is a series of steps recorded in Photoshop. Actions can enhance photos, change the look of an image, and even compile your photos into storyboards and collages.  Actions are shortcuts designed to save photographers time.

What is the difference between an action and a preset?

Actions work in Photoshop and Elements. Presets work in Lightroom. Actions cannot be installed in Lightroom. Presets cannot be used in Elements or Photoshop.

Can I use your products independently? Does my purchase include the software needed to run presets?

On every product page we have the following: “To use this MCP product, you must have one of the following software.” This will tell you exactly what you need in order to use our products.  Our products do not include the Adobe software needed to run them.

We have two versions of actions:

  1. Photoshop CS versions – we will list the number after the “CS” so you know what version is needed. All our actions work in CS2 and up.  Some work in CS.  None of our actions are tested in versions prior to CS. Do not buy if you have the old Photoshop 5, 6 or 7.
  2. Photoshop Elements – many of our products now work inside Elements 5-10; however, not all do. If you own Elements, please look for your version # of Elements on the product pages before buying. Our actions will not work on the scaled down version of Elements 9 sold through the Mac app store.

If you are unsure, please ask us, as we are unable to issue refunds for actions purchased and downloaded for incompatible versions of Photoshop or Elements. Our actions and presets do not work in non-Adobe products such as Aperture, Paint Shop Pro, Corel, Gimp, Picasa.  They will not work with any web versions of Photoshop, iPad, iPhone or the free photoshop.com.

Will actions work in Photoshop or Elements written in a language other than English?

We cannot promise that our actions will work flawlessly on non-English versions of Photoshop and Elements.  Many customers have gotten them to work using workarounds such as renaming the “Background” in English.  This is at your own risk.

Do actions work on PCs and Macs?

Yes, actions are cross-platform.  You need to make sure you have the appropriate version of Photoshop or Elements for your operating system.  Installation paths will vary based on your operating system.

Will the actions I buy for Photoshop or Elements work in future versions of the same program?

While we cannot guarantee future compatibility of our actions most actions are forward compatible.

Will the actions I buy for Elements work in full Photoshop? What is your upgrade policy?

Yes and no.  Yes, they will work.  They are created using full Photoshop.  Our actions for Elements often use complex designs to get around the limitations of PSE.  When installing actions designed for Elements in Photoshop, your actions palette may look unorganized and they will not use the more advanced Photoshop features.

If you wish to upgrade your actions from the Elements version to the Photoshop version, we give you a 50% discount off our current pricing.  We will need you to email us your order numbers or receipts from your original purchases and a list of which actions you want to upgrade from Elements to Photoshop.  You will then send payment to us as explained in a confirmation email.  Upon receipt of payment, we will email you the new actions.

How well do I need to know Photoshop/Elements to use actions? Are they just click and play?

Prior experience with the basic tools of Photoshop is helpful. On each product page you will see links to video tutorials explaining how to install and use the actions. We recommend watching these before purchasing if you have concerns, so you can see exactly what is involved with each set.  You may also watch the video instructions and follow along while you edit.

Actions vary in complexity. Some actions are literally click and play, while others require feedback from the user, explained in pop-up dialog boxes.  For the most flexibility, our actions often include layers and layer masks. Usually these masks are optional, but sometimes masking is required to achieve a specific outcome. Our videos will show you what you need to know.

In addition to our free videos, we offer group workshops for Photoshop and Elements.  The Watch Me Work class will show you in depth use of actions in your editing.

How do I know if these actions will fit my style of editing or photography? Will your actions make my photos look like your examples?

Results vary when using actions.  We cannot guarantee your photos will look exactly like the sample photos on our website.  Everything from the lighting, focus, exposure, composition, and the way the photo was taken will influence the end result.  The better your starting image, the more actions will enhance your work.  To achieve certain styles, in camera scenarios often influence the final image more than post processing.

Do you sell individual actions?

All our actions are sold in sets as shown on our website.

Can you tell me more about discounts, promo codes, and coupons you currently have available?

It has been our company policy not to offer sales throughout the year. We offer premium products with high value to photographers. We have one sale per year at Thanksgiving time – 10% off.  Please subscribe to our newsletter for details.

If you are looking to save money now, see our packages.  We bundle multiple action sets together at a discount.  We do not offer refunds if you buy a set and then wish to purchase a package with that same set.  We are unable to offer custom packages.

How do I install and use actions in Photoshop/Elements?

We offer video tutorials on installing and using actions in Photoshop and Elements.  You can find a link to these on every product page on our site.

Can I batch process with actions?

You cannot do this with our actions used in Elements.  For Photoshop, batch processing ability varies from action to action.  Most of our Photoshop actions will need adjustments prior to batching.  This is not included with the actions and is recommended for advanced users only.

What is your return policy?

Due to the digital nature of Elements and Photoshop actions, we cannot offer refunds because there is no way to take back the product.  Once downloaded, digital products are not returnable under any circumstances. Before selecting your actions, please check that your version of Photoshop will support all the features of the action set. All action sets require basic knowledge of Photoshop. Video tutorials are available for action sets on my site. Please watch these prior to purchase if you want to know how they work, ease of use, and if they fit into your particular workflow.

What is your actions replacement policy if my hard drive should crash and I lose my actions?

MCP Actions expects users to backup their actions onto an external hard drive or CD/DVD, for replacement purposes. It is your responsibility to back up your purchases. If you cannot locate your products after a computer failure or when moving computers, we will try and assist you, but are in no way obligated to store or re-issue your purchases.

For products purchased on this website which launched December 17th, 2009, as long as you can locate them in your downloadable product section, you may download products as many times as you need for your own use (see licensing under Terms at the bottom of my site). You will need to remember your log on information to access these. We are not responsible for keeping this information or your downloads.

For products purchased from my past website prior to December 17th, 2009, we will resend for free if you can provide me your receipt via email (either your paypal receipt or credit card receipt, not just the invoice showing you ordered). It is time consuming for me to look through thousands of transactions to locate your purchases. If you cannot provide a receipt, we will discount previously purchased actions at 50% off current website prices assuming we can verify your purchase. To start this process, you will need to provide us the following: month and year each set was purchased and email address used for payment. Incomplete or inaccurate information may make this option unavailable.

Can I back up actions up onto my external hard drive?

Yes, backing up your purchase should be your first step of any digital product purchase. Computers crash. Make sure you protect the actions you have purchased.

How can I move my actions to a new computer?

You are welcome to re-download the actions to your computer. If you purchased from our older site, see our video tutorial which teaches you to move your actions to a new computer.

When will I receive my actions?

Our actions are instant downloads. Upon completing payment, you will be redirected to our site. You should get an email with a link to these downloads too, but it occasionally ends up in spam. For actions purchased on this site, after December 17th, 2009, you will go to the My Account area. Then go to My Downloadable Products on the top, left hand side of the page. Your downloads are there. Just click on the download, then save and unzip. See Troubleshooting FAQ for a screen shot of how to download your actions if you are having trouble.

How do I unzip my actions so that I can use them?

Most computers come with unzipping/extracting software.  You can also download unzipping programs online specific for your operating system.  This process varies from PC to Mac.  We are not responsible for unzipping your files.  Please make sure you know how to unzip software prior to purchase.

What are your Terms of Use?

Before purchasing, every customer must acknowledge our terms of use.  Please read it thoroughly before completing your purchase.