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Batch Editing in Photoshop

Batch Editing in Photoshop

Yesterday, I demonstrated how to record a very simple Action in Photoshop–you know, that image-editing program that I told you is pretty much a requirement for the successful blogger [cough]. Today, I’m going to show you how using Actions can help you speed through your image editing by using Batches.

I’ve already shown you how you can use Photoshop Actions to speed up your photo editing on an image-by-image basis. The next step is identifying a set of pictures that all need to be adjusted in similar ways, e.g. rotated, resized, and shrunk down so that they will load quickly on the web. Sure, you can go through them one by one and edit each by hand, but an easier way of dealing with pictures is to group them into folders according to the specific types of changes they need, and then run them through specific Actions via Batches.

Batch processing in Photoshop uses Actions to consolidate these editing actions, and you can use the actions you record yourself or the ones that come pre-loaded with Photoshop. Nearly anything you do in Photoshop can be done with Actions, though some work better than others. For example, adjusting brightness and contrast is trickier to fix via an Action than is resizing, since you may need to look at a picture individually to get the color exactly right, rather than relying upon a preset brightness balance to do your work for you.

Access the Batch function through the File Menu, under Automate.

Access the Batch function through the File Menu, under Automate.

Let’s say you already have the Action you want to use on a group of pictures all recorded and ready to go. For the purposes of demonstration, we’ll use the resize Action we recorded yesterday to process a batch of photos. To get the batch started, go to the File menu, and select Automate–>Batch. This will call up the Batch dialog box.

This is the batch dialog window.

This is the batch dialog window.

As you can see, the Action we created yesterday is already chosen as the default action. It will always be the case that the most recent action is the active one. Now we need to choose a source folder for our batch–we’ll choose this folder I’ve conveniently named “images to be resized.” We also need to tell the program where to send the resized photos, so for that purpose I’ve created a folder called “resized images.”

You can use any folder, but if it's on the desktop, it's easier to find.

You can use any folder, but if it's on the desktop, it's easier to find.

If you want to rename the files, you can also provide a range of options for renaming them (e.g. use a serial number and the original document name, or throw in the date. You can also use the original file names, which is fine if you’re using a different destination folder.

The folder dialog allows you to tell the program where to send your pictures.

The folder dialog allows you to tell the program where to send your pictures.


After you’ve done this, just hit OK. And that’s it.

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