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How To Automate Photoshop To Process A Bunch Of Photos?

It’s not uncommon that on some occasions we need to perform a series of touch up actions repeatedly for a group of images. For sure it’s painful, if you can’t automate this repeated task, isn’t it?

For example, the free Android time-lapse app running on my HTC One X doesn’t save photos in right orientation even the camera positioned to shot in landscape mode (the tradeoff of using freeware?). So, I need to rotate (and few other touch-up) for hundreds images before converting them into a time-lapse movie.
There is no short of photo editing freeware that supports batch editing function like rotating, cropping, auto-adjust, etc. As am using Photoshop for most of the photo post-processing tasks, so this guide is about scripting Photoshop to achieve automation.

Here is a “silent” screencast of how I create a batch action and apply it to a bunch of photos:


Prior to execute the following guide, make a backup of the folder which contains the bunch of images you’re going to process.

1. Duplicate one of the images to be processed to serve as “sample” and drag it to Photoshop (i.e. open it).

2. Click Window menu and select Actions. Alternately, hit ALT+F9 to open Actions window.

3. Click “Create New Set” icon and give it a name as it prompts.

4. Click “Create New Action” icon and then select “Record” button.

5. Now, Photoshop starts to record each of your touch-up actions made on the sample image.

6. Once you’ve done all the touch-up, hit CTRL+ALT+S to bring up “Save As” dialog box and make the “Save As” to overwrite original image (REMEMBER to make a backup of all images prior to execute this action, as mentioned earlier!).

7. Close the saved image window and choose “No” when it prompts to save changes to the Adobe Photoshop document before closing (i.e. save into PSD file format).

8. Click the “Stop” button to terminate recording.

9. Remove or delete the sample image from the folder.

10. Back to Photoshop CS3, Make sure toggle the dialog prompt to OFF for each of the actions you’ve created:

Prevent Photoshop prompts any dialog box when it automates the actions, i.e. disable any kind of interaction during the batch editing mode.

11. Click File menu then select “Automate” and “Batch” option.

12. Select the “Set” and “Action” created, set the source folder that contains images to be processed (DO NOT tick “include all subfolders” unless that’s what you really want), and make sure tick the check-box of “Override Action Save As Commands”, so that Photoshop will not ask you to save changes but use the “save as” step recorded in the “action”.

Automates Photoshop to perform a series of touch-up actions for each of the images found in a selected folder.

Lastly, click OK button and walk away for a cup of coffee. Let’s see Photoshop replays the recorded actions for every images found in the selected source folder :).

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