After running the Overlay and Orton Effect actions that I have created, there are still a number of adjustments that need to be made before the images are complete.
When I created the actions, I inserted some Levels layers that brighten each layer about 1 f/Stop. This is a simple estimate and may not work well at all for a given image.
Take this image, which is pretty bright
I wanted to add some texture, so I added this cracked paint to give it a more worn feel:
When I ran the Overlay action, it created a composite that looks like this:
This adds the feel, but the color saturation is off and the strength of the texture is really more harsh than I wanted. The action set the following levels:
So starting at the Background Levels, I started making adjustments. Because I wanted more saturated color, I wanted to darken the Background Layer. Moving the mid-point slider (grey triangle) to the right (lower numbers) will darken the image.
Adjusting the Background Levels layer to a mid-point of 1.16 gives me slightly richer colors.
Next I make an adjustment to the Texture Levels to lighten the mid-point so that it will soften the texture a little.
Moving the mid-point slider up to 1.89 lightens the texture and makes the effect just a little bit softer than the default. The image is getting closer to where I want it, but it is just a little bit lighter than I wanted.
Then slightly darkening the Overall Levels by moving the mid-point slider down to 0.94 and resetting the white-point slider to 229 finalizes the image for me.
The changes that I made in this image are pretty minor, but the end result is significantly better in my opinion. The point is that some adjustment is not only desirable, but necessary. The actions do not necessarily produce a finished image, but they significantly reduce the amount of work that you have to do with each image.