CoffeeShop "Once Upon a Time" Photoshop/PSE Action!

UPDATE! I just posted a new tutorial with some tips/tricks using this action, you can read it here.

I have had so much fun the last days going to a local park and exploring the trails with the boys.  I had some cute photos I took with my phone and I wanted to give them a fairy tale/enchanted forest look with saturated colors and some selective blurring.  With your help on my Facebook page, I decided to call this action Once Upon a Time.

This action allows you to artistically adjust the depth of field of your subject by selectively blurring the image.  It also saturates the color, adds contrast, burns the edges, and has an adjustable dodge/burn layer.

This would be a perfect action if you dressed your kids up in vintage costumes in the woods.  But I did not do this because I want my sons to visit me in the nursing home when I get old.  ;-)  You can use this action on portraits, still life photos, and landscapes.  And the action is completely adjustable.

I will post a step-by-step tutorial later so you can do this on your own without the action if you want.

Running the Action:

1.  Adjust the free transform bars to taste.  The area in the box will be focused, areas outside of the box will be blurred.  I usually just pull down the top bar and pull up the bottom bar, but  you can also drag in the sides like I did in this sample.  If you can't see all of the free transform box click Ctrl-0 (zero).  Press the check when you are done.

If you decide to not use the blur layer you can turn it off later.

2.  Adjust the feather for your selection.  Use a higher number for larger resolution images (up to 200).

3.  Adjust the gaussian blur.  It is preset to 8 but you might want more or less blur.

4.  The action will finish running and hopefully your image will look like something you would see in a fairy tale!

5.  You will have 6 layers that you can adjust the opacity or turn off.  I also included layer masks so you can paint the effects off the layers if you want.

To use the Dodge/Burn layer, paint on your image with a black brush to darken (burn) parts of your image and paint with a white brush to lighten (dodge) areas. If you have to start over just fill with 50% gray.

Mouse over for before.

Download the CoffeeShop Once Upon a Time Photoshop/PSE Action! You can also download it here.

Do you want to download my favorite CoffeeShop Actions or Design Elements in one convenient zipped file AND help support this blog? Just click here for my action pack (includes this action!) or here for a download of some of my most popular design elements, storyboards, and textures. 

For complete info on installing all of my actions, click here.


Rock & Royalty Photography July 22, 2012 at 2:33 PM  

this is amazing. maybe one of my fave actions yet! you're so ridiculously talented.

Emily July 22, 2012 at 3:23 PM  

Wow, amazing transformation! I love the new banner and background too :)

Jody July 22, 2012 at 3:51 PM  

I LOVE this Action!
Thank YOU :)

Amarie July 22, 2012 at 4:22 PM  

Rita, you are so funny! Thanks!

Patti July 22, 2012 at 5:14 PM  

Can't wait to give this one a try - it's loading up right now......
Thanks again for sharing your talents with the rest of us!

Pink Tree Studio July 22, 2012 at 5:16 PM  

Thanks, Rita~~this is cool!

Becky July 22, 2012 at 5:38 PM  

Thank you!

Anonymous July 22, 2012 at 5:46 PM  

I have been waiting for something like this. I love it and thank you!!

Joanie July 22, 2012 at 5:58 PM  

Rita! this is a great action! Love the look AND the name! (Also protecting your nursing home visits- bwahahahaha)

Krista Q. July 22, 2012 at 9:34 PM  

Thank You Rita. This looks like a fun action to play with.

Deanna July 22, 2012 at 11:02 PM  

Absolutely can't wait to try this action! Thanks for all that you do. I have learned so much from you! Love, love, love your blog!

amy! July 22, 2012 at 11:29 PM  

oooh I love this action...looks fab on your gorgeous example and I'm sure I can make it look just as good with one of my pix. thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous July 23, 2012 at 5:23 AM  

OooH, I likey! Thank you Rita for sharing.

CBH July 23, 2012 at 7:24 AM  

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies (please, notice the new url for my blog), under the Page 2 post on Jul. 23, 2012. Thanks again.

CBH July 23, 2012 at 7:25 AM  

Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies (please, notice the new url for my blog), under the Page 2 post on Jul. 23, 2012. Thanks again.

Wendy July 23, 2012 at 8:23 AM  

Hi Rita, I am so happy I have found your Blog (via starsunflowersstudios, Su). Your are an amazing lady with a beautiful family. You bring such wonderful resources but I also love your Friday Photo's, they make me smile too. I have been following you for a week now and browsing your Blog but only just plucked up courage to introduce myself, so here I am. Lol.
Blessings & Hugs xx

Jennifer Rice July 24, 2012 at 7:00 AM  

Very cool! Can't wait to play with this one :) BTW, I'd LOVE to know how you do the "mouse over" thing on the blog for your before's and after's! Such a great way to see the difference!

Danijela July 24, 2012 at 2:31 PM  

Wow, this change is amazing. Thanks for explaining this so well. Have a great week.

nathanhoguephotography July 27, 2012 at 11:58 PM  

Of all the amazing actions you've shared with us, this has to be my favorite action you've created so far. Love your generous spirit and appreciate your inspiration for unbounded creativity. Thank you so very much!

MRivas July 28, 2012 at 9:53 AM  

Thank you! Can't wait to play with this one.

JLI July 28, 2012 at 10:04 AM  

What a great action! I kinda like that the gaussian blur gives a bit of a tilt shift effect. This is great! I think I'll get lots of use out of it!

Gina Miller July 28, 2012 at 6:06 PM  

Oh I love it! Great job creating this. :)

stick July 29, 2012 at 9:34 AM  

Fantastic action! Continued thanks for all your hard work and generosity :)

RedWillow ~ a Beauty seeker August 2, 2012 at 11:05 AM  

Thank you for this action. I love it.
I have used it once or twice and love the results.

Anita Bower August 5, 2012 at 5:45 PM  

When I try running this in Elements 10, I get a message that says "the command transform is not currently available." This means I can't create the area to be in focus. What am I doing wrong?

Anonymous January 19, 2013 at 4:30 PM  

Thank you for all your hard work on making actions for the PSE program. Great actions!

Cristina March 7, 2013 at 9:16 PM  

This action is AMAZING. Definitely my favorite! Thank you so, so much for all your beautiful work!!!

Afrina October 14, 2013 at 2:34 PM  

Love this tutorial so much! ♥
Really appreciate it ^^