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Photoshop Batch Processing

Jun 12, 2008
For those of you who don't already know, Photoshop has these nifty little features called Actions. Now, these actions can be used for many things, including the creation of beautiful and eye catching effects, maximizing your productivity, or simply to carry out the tedious and mundane tasks that you just doesn't feel like doing.

I recently had the pleasure of a little thing called Batch Processing. I'm a dedicated designer, but there was no way I was going sit in front of my computer for hours changing the Hue/Saturation for every single image for my forum. What is Batch Processing, you say? Well, it's something that processes a batch,and I'm going to show you how to do it.

When you're creating an action you need it to do one thing: Something. In my case, I needed to change the Hue/Saturation for 75+ images from blue to my "trademark" teal. Maybe you need an action for a different purpose, but humor me and tell yourself, "Hey, I need to make my image the same color as hers!" Next, you'll need something to work on. Get a small image, like an icon, preferably the one I'm using for this tutorial.

Next go to Windows > Actions, making sure it is checked. If checked, you should see a tab in the Layers Palette appropriately labeled Actions.

Click on the arrow button to open the Actions menu and go to "new Set." This will create a folder for your action (you don't really need the folder, it just helps with organization.)

Now go back to the Actions menu and choose "New Action." Have an idea of the steps you'll need to take and their order before recording an action. Since this is a fairly simple action, you will master this in no time at all.

Now for the recording part. There will be a small circle icon between the square and the triangle at the bottom of the palette that you will need to click. Now Photoshop will record everything you do until the end of the Action. If you have an error, simply stop the Action by pushing the square icon and go back to your last step taken.

For our action, the first thing we need to do is change the Mode of the image to RGB, since .gif files are saved in Index mode which don't take too kindly to colorization. So with the action recording, go to Image > Mode > RGB.

Next, we'll have to strip the image of it's current color to make adding our (my) own color easier to apply, so go to Image > Adjustment > Desaturate.

There will be a naked grey image left to which we need to add some color. While still recording your action, go to Image > Adjustments > Hue/Saturation. I keep the rose color settings saved in a .ahu (Hue/Saturation) file already so all I have to do is press Load and select Rose.ahu, but you can achieve this color by using the sliders.

Our final step is to save it for the web. Make sure your action still recording and go to File > Save For the Web and set your file type and optimization settings. I use the standard GIF settings. Select your destination directory and save.

Stop recording and say "Yay, I made an action!" because you're finished. Now to put your newly born action into... ahem... action, we'll do a Batch Process. What this will do is take all the images in a specified directory and apply whatever changes were recorded in the action. Just for the sake of the tutorial, create a directory and drop some images into it, or just duplicate one that you already have.

Go to File > Automate > Batch and make sure the name of the Action Set you just created is in the first dropdown list and the name of the Action is in the second. Set the third dropdown box (next to Source) to Folder and use the Choose button to find your duplicated or created folder of images. For destination, you can either leave it set to it's default "None" to have the action applied and saved in the source folder, or save the "actionized" images into a separate folder. Once you have everything configured to your liking, click OK.

The hard part of the job is now done for you! All that is left is to relax and watch your pictures color themselves thanks to Actions and Batch Processing.
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