Game, Set, Batch: Using Photoshop Batch Processes to Accelerate Your Workflow

Low-res photos may load in a flash but leave much to be desired in appearance, while high-res images devour bandwidth in the name of quality. Luckily, the “save for web” tool deftly walks the line between these two options, reducing image size with minimal loss in quality. However, repeating this process for every photo on your website can turn a simple process into the scene below:

:01 – With glee, you fire up Photoshop and embark on the quest to prepare your photos for the web. *confetti, fireworks, fanfare *.

:15 – you’re a pro, a finely tuned image-modifying machine. You’ve locked in your settings, created new folders, memorized the hotkeys. Set em up and knock em down.

:30 – The assembly line begins to slow. Fingers start to cramp. GrindGrindGrind.

:45 – Its photo 35. The screen is blurry. Your friends start to worry when your recliner was found empty during the Eagles game.

Time, picture: unknown. You’ve named your computer ‘Wilson’ and grown a ragged beard. Wilson doesn’t mind.

Exit, madness. Enter, photoshop batch edit commands.

By establishing a simple action chain tailored to editing photos for web, you can save heaps of time and finally lose those whiskers. 

  1. Access your actions palette through the “window” icon in the upper toolbar.
  2. Typically, user-created actions will be distributed into the Action Palette’s folders, but you’re big deal and you deserve it, so lets click on the folder icon at the bottom of the palette. A window will appear entitled “New Set“. Name this whatever you want. I named mine “Treat Yo Self” – (see Parks and Recreation).
  3. Right of the folder icon in the actions palette is the “Create New Action” button, click that to open the “New Action” window. Again, feel free to take gross liberties naming this action – permitting you can remember its function in the future. Inconvenience can be the death of humor. Yes, I made that saying up. 
  4. IMPORTANT: Open a photo before you begin recording to model the action on.
  5. Once you’ve collected yourself, click record on the actions palette.
  6. Open the image size dialogue through Toolbar -> Image -> image size
  7. Set the parameters to your desired values and click OK.
  8. Now select Save for Web” from the Menu.
  9. Here you can tweak and tinker your little heart out. But beware, these settings will be applied to all future photos fed into the action chain – so plan in advance. If you’re short on file space and KB’s are precious, the “Optimize to File Size” tool allows you to specify a target file size – assigning the dirty work of trimming image fat to photoshop – leaving lean, deliciousss pixels. 
  10. When you’re satisfied with your handiwork, click SAVE, and set the folder (or create a new one) where you want photoshop to your save optimized images.
  11. IMPORTANT: Close the image. Otherwise, when the batch process is run, all your optimized images will remain open, running amok Photoshop. (See: Fantasia – Sorcerer’s Apprentice). It will ask you to save, select NO, EVEN THOUGH THIS GOES AGAINST ALL HUMAN INSTINCTS. If you save again at this juncture, your original photos will be overwritten…leaving you alone and defeated, with only your low-resolution images to keep you company.
  12. Now STOP the action recording by selecting stop in the Action Palette. 


Now that you’re now the proud owner of a photoshop folder action, let’s put it to work.

  1. Open File -> Automate -> Batch
  2. When the dialogue opens, select your set and action. For source, select Folder, and choose the appropriate folder containing your high-res images in the directory.
  3. Click OK, and watch the money pile up.
  4. Give yourself a pat on the back.

Any action that can be properly modeled and recorded can be executed in batch format, cutting down on time-demanding processes, and potentially saving your sanity in the process. To tell you the truth, batch processes aren’t that great…they’re f%^%ing awesome.

~ by maf137 on October 1, 2012.

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