Photoshop is great for so many things. It lets you do most of your image editing, even if it can be a little complicated and over the top.
What Is Batch Editing?
Batch editing is a great way to simplify your workflow. It is one of the fastest ways you can get through a ton of images, with only a few clicks.
Other programs, such as Lightroom, allow you to use batch editing to apply adjustments to many images in one go.
It does help if your images are of similar scenes, use the same light and similar subjects. Otherwise, the extra tweaking means you’ll spend more time on them, not saving it.
What Edits Are Possible
There are two ways to batch edit images in Photoshop. The first, more complicated way, is to use ‘Actions’.
This process allows you to create and save a process, that can be used time and time again. Once set up, you press a few buttons and let Photoshop do its thing.
The second way is to use the ‘Image Processor’. This is an easier solution, and means you can bypass the ‘Actions’ step.
The Actions step lets you do almost anything, as it records what you do to an image, and applies it to any group of images you wish.
With ‘Image Processor’, you can:
- Convert files to JPG, TIFF or PSD format. Or even all three at the same time
- Resize images through specific sizes or pixels
- Process Raw files
- Embed colour profiles and/or convert them to and from RGB and sRGB.
- Add metadata for copyrighting your shots
How to Batch Edit in Photoshop – Image Processor
We are going to look at the ‘Image Processor’ today, as that is the easiest method, and it covers most of the things that you’ll use Photoshop for.
The process is simple. Start by opening Photoshop, and click on Open… Find an image you want to edit.
NB: Opening a Raw file may force Camera Raw to open. This is normal. Just click on Open Image at the bottom.
Go to File>Scripts>Image Processor.
This will open a dialogue box where you can change any number of parameters to edit images in Photoshop.
Today we will be resizing images, so the first thing we need to do is select the images we want to edit.
We do this in the first area. You can choose to work from the images you have open, but for a larger number of files, locate it with the Select Folder button.
By checking the box under named Open first image to apply settings, it copies the settings from the first image that will be applied to the rest. We don’t need that today.
Next, we need to select where to save them. Click on the circle-check box next to Save in Same Location if you want to save them in the same place.
NB: This isn’t advisable, as it makes them more difficult to locate later, and could overwrite your original image.
We want to save the images in a new folder. Click on Select Folder, then when you go to locate the folder on your desktop, create a new one inside and call it ‘Resized’.
For file types, you can save as JPEG, PSD or TIFF. Or all three. For now, we want to save a JPEG, so click on the checkbox next to it. Input the size that you need.
Click Run and Photoshop will complete the task, and the resized images you’ll find in the folder you specified.
How to Batch Edit in Photoshop – Creating an Action
We are going to look at resizing images using ‘Actions’. This is a simple way to pull images into Photoshop, where the editing software will do all the work for you. Even saving, closing and then reopening the next sequential image.
Start by opening Photoshop. While it is loading, locate the folder that contains your images. Inside that folder, we want to create another folder called ‘Resized’. This is where the final resized images will go.
This helps keep your images separate and makes it faster when you need to search for them. Organisation is key.
NB: When it comes to resizing images, Photoshop doesn’t know that you only want to change the longest edge, for example. It is better to create an action for portrait orientated images, and another for landscape orientated shots. Otherwise, setting a 700-pixel parameter for the width will give you 700×500 for landscapes and 700×1000 for portrait shots. The other way is to rotate the images so they are all orientated the same way. This allows you to create one action.
Next, when Photoshop is open, you need to Open one of the images that you want to resize.
Go to the Actions panel, which will be located in the top-right of the Photoshop panel area.
If you can’t see it, then you can make it visible by clicking on Window>Actions.
We need to create a new action. To do so, locate the icon that looks like a page corner called Create New Action.
In the pop-up window, rename the action. Use ‘Resize Action’ or ‘Resize Images’ – anything that you will remember for next time.
Choose Default Actions, and then press Record. Once this is pressed, the window will disappear, and every action will be recorded.
Next, go to Image>Image Size. In the Image Size Window, set the Width and Height that you want to use for your images.
Personally, the images I resize are typically limited to 700 pixels on the longest edge. This is because I use a lot of images for web pages, and this allows me to keep the size down and consistent.
NB: You can change the size type if you aren’t looking to print. The default is set to Pixels, but you can choose from Inches, Centimetres, Pixels and Percent, among others.
Next, we need to save the file in the folder we made earlier. go to File>Save As.
Locate your folder, and make sure it is saving inside it. Here, you can change the file name if you wish.
Another window will pop-up, showing the same information.
To complete the action, you need to close the image tab. You do that by pressing the X in the right-hand corner of the image, under the top toolbar.
To stop the action you need to press Stop Playing/Recording at the bottom of the Actions panel.
The Action is now available in the Actions panel, meaning you can now use it.
How to Batch Edit in Photoshop – Using an Action
Now that you have the action saved, you now need to apply it.
To do this, go to File>Automate>Batch.
Here, you’ll see a large window named Batch. This is where we set all the parameters for the actions we create in the future.
In the Play area, set the Set drop-down menu to Default Actions. In the Action area, change it to the action name you chose.
While in the Source area, select Folder, and then click on the Choose button underneath. This needs to point to the folder that contains your images. The Destination folder needs to point to the Resize Images folder we created at the beginning.
If you don’t follow each step, your action might freeze or do something you unexpected. If this is the case, double-check every step and make sure it is all correct.
What you should expect with this action is that Photoshop will work on its own. First, it will open an image, resize it, save it and close it – in front of your eyes. It is almost as if you were doing it, just at supersonic speeds.
Check out how to use Photoshop custom shapes next!