Using Scripts with Photoshop - dummies

Using Scripts with Photoshop

By Peter Bauer

You can use AppleScript (Mac), Visual Basic (Windows), and JavaScript (both) with Photoshop. Scripts are much more powerful than Photoshop’s Actions because they can control elements outside of Photoshop itself. AppleScripts and Visual Basic scripts can even run multiple programs and play JavaScripts. You can find plenty of information to get you started in books and videos available on the web.

You can find pre-recorded scripts on the Internet. Go to the Photoshop exchange and click Scripts.

If you shoot in your camera’s Raw format, perhaps the most useful of the several pre-recorded scripts installed with Photoshop is Image Processor. (See this figure.)

Choose File→Scripts→Image Processor to batch-convert your Raw images to JPEG, PSD, or TIFF — and you can even resize the images automatically while converting! (And while Image Processor is designed to work with Raw files, you can actually convert any file format that Photoshop can open.)

Figure 16-11: Image Processor can batch-convert to speed your workflow.
Figure 16-11: Image Processor can batch-convert to speed your workflow.

Image Processor is much simpler than it appears:

  • Select the images to process. If the images are already open in Photoshop, great! If not, click the button and select a folder of images. If the source folder has subfolders and you want to process the images in those subfolders, select that option.

  • Choose a destination. You can save the files in the folder of origination (and even maintain the subfolder structure), or you can click the button and select a different folder in which to save the processed images.

    Do not click the Select Folder button and select the source folder. If you want to keep the processed images in the same folder as the unprocessed images, simply click the Save in Same Location button. Photoshop is smart enough — most of the time — to recognize the source folder and avoid reprocessing already-processed images in an endless loop, but don’t risk it.

  • Select the file format and options. Each of the three file formats offers the option of resizing. JPEG offers options for Quality (the amount of compression — and associated image degradation) and to convert to sRGB (for the web or e-mail).

    Maximizing compatibility for PSD files ensures that the image can be seen and opened by other programs of the Creative Suite and earlier versions of Photoshop. TIFF’s LZW compression can significantly reduce file size, without degrading the image at all.

At the bottom of the Image Processor dialog box, you also have the options to run an Action on the images as they’re processed, to add your copyright information to the file’s metadata (not on the image itself), and to embed the color profile in the image.

Note also the Save and Load buttons. If you set up a couple of folders, one where you dump the originals and another where you save from Image Processor, you can save your usual setup and load it whenever you need to repeat the job.