Published on November 8, 2021

In this blog I’ll show you 3 of my favourite quick actions, which you can find in Adobe Photoshop. The benefit of using quick actions is that Photoshop will do most of the work for you! I’ll show you how to:

  • Remove (and replace) a background
  • Make a black and white photo with a colored subject
  • Blur a background

To find the quick actions, select ‘window‘ in the top menu bar and make sure ‘properties‘ is selected.

Remove and replace background

If you want to download the image I used, click here. To use the quick actions, you need to duplicate the background layer first (press CTRL+J).

Select the new layer (Layer 1) and open the properties panel. Under the Quick Actions tab, select ‘remove background’.

Photoshop adds a layer mask to the selected layer. You won’t be able to see the transparency, because the background layer is still visible. Make the background layer invisible (click on the eye icon next to it) to see the new transparent background.

If the edges of your subject are too rough or shaky, click on the layer mask to select it and click ‘select and mask‘. A new window will open. Use the ‘refine edge brush tool‘ to brush over the edges that are too rough. The refine edge brush tool will make the edges smoother. Click OK if you’re done.

If you need a PNG file with a transparent background, you can now save your work. But if you want a new background, you need to add that first. If you want to add a solid colored background, add a ‘Solid Color‘ layer.

Pick a color and click OK. Drag your ‘Color Fill’ layer below the masked layer. You can see that my background is now black, instead of the white background we started with. And that’s how you quickly remove and replace a background!


Black and white photo with a colored subject

If you want to download the image I’m using, click here. Again the first thing you need to do, is duplicating the background layer (press CTRL+J). Select that new layer (Layer 1), open the properties panel and click ‘view more‘ under Quick Actions.

quick actions

A list with quick actions will open. Select ‘Make B/W background‘.

Photoshop adds a layer mask to the selected layer. You can refine the edges of this mask by clicking ‘Select and Mask‘ (use the refine edge brush tool to go over the rough or unselected areas), or you can edit the black and white area by clicking ‘Black & White‘.

And that’s how you create a black and white image with a colored subject!


Blur background

If you want to download the image I used, click here. Again duplicate the background layer (CTRL+J) and select the new layer (Layer 1). Open the properties panel and select ‘view more‘ under Quick Actions.

Select ‘blur background‘ from the list of quick actions.

Photoshop adds a layer mask to the selected layer. To refine that layer mask, click ‘Select and Mask‘ and use the refine edge brush tool to go over the rough or unselected areas. Select ‘Gaussian Blur‘ to adjust the amount of blurriness.

And that’s how you use the blur background quick action. I chose to add a subtle blur, but you can do whatever you like (see the image below for the result).

These were my favourite quick actions, but there are many more quick actions available. Take a look at all the other quick actions Photoshop offers (properties > quick actions > view more) and have fun editing!

Want to learn more about Adobe Photoshop? Check out my other blogs or take a look at my YouTube channel.

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My 3 favourite ‘quick actions’ in Photoshop!

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