Using the SandStorm Photoshop Action app

You’ve probably seen images and videos of particles exploding from an object. Using particles in Photoshop is not very easy. This is where SandStorm comes in. This is a simple and easy to use Photoshop action available on Envato Market. How easy is it to use? Let’s find out.

  1. First things first: create and load a Photoshop action
  2. Prepare an image for SandStorm
  3. Choosing colors for particles created in SandStorm
  4. How to play SandStorm action
  5. How to edit particles created by SandStorm

First things first: create and load a Photoshop action

Photoshop actions are not mysterious at all. They are simply shots of a series of repetitive Photoshop tasks that can be applied to a single file or a batch of files. For example, let’s say you have an image folder that needs to be resized by 50 percent. You can resize a single image into an action and apply that single action to all images in a folder. The creation process that Adobe outlines is not complicated.

To use the Photoshop action, go to Window > Actions to open the Actions pane. If your action is in a panel, it will be listed. Select an action and click the button Play at the bottom of the panel. If you’re using an action like SandStorm, select Load actions navigate to the folder containing the file extension .atn and press Open <.>†

Prepare an image for SandStorm

The effect needs a lot of space for particles because they can move up, down, left, right or in the center of the frame. To make this:

  1. Open Image > Image Size

  2. Select a width value and copy it to the clipboard.

  3. Change the resolution value from 72 to 300 dpi. This increases the width and height values.

  4. Select a width value and paste the original width value into the selection.

  5. To add a particle chamber, select Image > Canvas Size

  6. Change the height to 5000px. Click on the arrow down in the anchor area to make the extra space appear at the top of the image.

  7. Set the canvas extension color to black.

  8. Click Okay to accept the change.

Choosing colors for particles created in SandStorm

For the SandStorm action to work, you need two layers. The bottom layer should be called “Background” (this is Photoshop’s default setting for open images). The next added layer should be called “brush” in lowercase.

Make sure the background layer is locked and then select the brush layer. Change the foreground color to red or another color of your choice. Pick a brush and paint over the flames, sparks, logs and smoke on top of the fire.

How to play SandStorm action

With the colors selected, open the Actions panel and the SandStorm action. Select Up so that the particles move upwards. Press the button Play and look at the particle stream you create

How to edit particles created by SandStorm

When the effect is applied, you will notice that quite a few layers have been added above the background layer. Fold all layers together and open the color layer again.

Four adjustment layers can be adjusted to adjust the saturation, hue, and brightness of the particles and the background layer. If you don’t want to play with adjustment layers, unhide the color options layer or enable color options layer combinations that contain their own adjustment layers. In the case of this image, enable visibility color options for layers 1 and 8.

If you want to play around with particles, the in-depth video tutorial goes way beyond the basics covered here.

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