Working in Photoshop I often find myself in need to turn an image into a stencil – to remove all the white areas and turn them into transparency. While doing so is not technically very difficult, repeating the same set of commands over and over can get quite tedious on larger projects.

That is why I constructed this simple Photoshop action, which I am now sharing with you. It will allow you to turn grayscale or full-color image into a stencil in just one click.


  1. Download the zip file from the address below.
  2. Open the zip file and extract the Quba HQ Actions.atn to a folder of your choice.
    You will only need this file once, so desktop is as good a place as any.
  3. Double-click the Quba HQ Actions.atn to load it into Photoshop.
    Alternatively you can drag it into the Photoshop window, or use the Load Actions command in the Actions palette of the program.
  4. You’re done. Your Actions palette should now contain a folder named Quba HQ Actions which in turn contains Quba HQ: Image to stencil action.
    You may now delete both the zip file and the extracted atn file. Photoshop is keeping a copy of the action in its own folder.


  • The action will convert any grayscale or color image into a stencil using your current foreground color. All the white areas will become fully transparent, blacks fully opaque and the tones in between – various levels of transparency.
  • Your source layer will be disabled (visibility off) and the new one, named Stencil will be created above it.
  • Make sure that you are running the action on an editable layer. Running it on Background will result in script error. (To turn background into an editable layer, simply double-click it and hit enter.
  • The action has been tested with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and CS4 on both Windows and Mac. It may work with other versions, but I cannot guarantee it.

Enjoy using this preset, and drop me a line, or comment on this post if you find it useful.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.