You have probably already found yourself with a whole series of photos that you wanted to modify before publishing them or forwarding them by email to your loved ones. Each time, you spent an insane amount of time in Photoshop repeating these tasks photo by photo, despairing of wasted time. We are going to discover today how to automate these long and daunting tasks thanks to Photoshop's "Batch Process" feature.Thanks to this function, you will be able to save time in the systematic application of an effect or an action to a group of photos. To do this, you will have to start by learning how to create a Photoshop script including all the actions to be applied, then execute it using the software's automation tool.
Create a script
For the sake of this tutorial, we are going to take a series of "landscape" photos (largest dimension: horizontal), taken on average at 6 x 000 px, which we will convert to 4 x 000 px, 1 dpi resolution, and to which we will apply a watermark and a white frame.
The first step will be to create the Photoshop script that will group all the actions. To do this, in the "Script" window of Photoshop, start by creating a new set (icon) that you will rename as you wish. In this set, then create a new script (icon) which will contain the future actions.
Let the less skilled with computers rest assured: creating scripts is not complicated in Photoshop. Don't imagine having to write lines of code; in fact, clicking the "Rec" button ("Save" / icon) will save all the changes you make to a typical image and convert it to a script.
Open the first frame of your batch and start recording the script. For example, start by applying a 20 px white frame to it by selecting your entire photo (Ctrl+A or Cmd+A), then go to the "Edit > Outline" menu and select the settings that suit you (here, a 20px white outline placed inside the frame with no blending option).
At this point, you can already see that actions have been added to your script. Now resize your photo by going to the "Image > Image Size" menu and adjust as desired. Here, for images in landscape format, 1 px wide, 200 px high and a resolution of 800 dpi.
You then have to apply your watermark prepared upstream by importing it into your script. To do this, go to the "File > Import" menu and, in the window that opens, fill in the path to the file containing your watermark.
For the example we'll stop here, but you can apply anything you want to your script, such as a curve, contrast, vignetting, etc.
From now on, all you have to do is save this first model file using the "Save as" command to enter your compression parameters — here, type JPEG of quality 10 — and your format.
Once you have recorded all the actions you wanted to include, all you have to do is click on the "Stop" button (icon) in the script window.
Note: if you need to manage several image formats (for example, "landscape" formats, "portrait" formats and squares), do not hesitate to break down the steps and make a first script, for processing , then another for resizing; you can then apply the same processing script to your different image formats.
Apply the script to a batch of images
We will now apply the script to a series of photos. Regarding resizing here, make sure you have grouped all the photos you want to modify by type of format, by putting the "landscapes" in a single folder (largest horizontal dimension, here in 6 x 000 px ). Then, in Photoshop, go to the "File > Automation > Batch processing" menu: a new dialog window will open.
In this window, select the set where the script in question is located using the drop-down menus. In the "Source" field, fill in the location of the folder containing the photos to be processed, then, in "Destination", fill in the path of the folder where you want the processed files to be saved.
In the "File naming" frame, you can automate the names that the batch files will take, according to several criteria, if you wish to modify the original name.
If everything goes as planned, by clicking OK, Photoshop will open all the photos in the Source folder one by one and apply the actions contained in your script. Once the operation is complete, you should find all the resized photos with frame and watermark in the folder you entered earlier.
The alternative: the image processor
An alternative to batch processing is to use the "Image processor" function, especially if it is mainly only a question of resizing your photos or changing the format, because with this function, everything is already automated — you you don't have to create a specific script.
To open Photoshop's image processor, go to the "File > Scripts > Image processor" menu; a new window then opens. As before, you will have to enter the path to the folder containing your photos to be processed (you can also choose to process only the files already open in Photoshop), then the path of the folder to where you want to save the processed files.
Then you can choose the saving format according to the available criteria (JPEG, PSD or TIFF) and the respective compression settings. You can then choose the desired size, but not the resolution…
The icing on the cake, since the CS6 version of Photoshop, you can now include a script to be applied via the image processor, an ICC profile and fill in Copyright metadata.
With these two working methods, you now have all the tools in hand to automate the repetitive tasks that you systematically apply to all your photos before publishing them on social networks or sending them by email to your loved ones. Now is the time to make Photoshop work for you!