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The Process Multiple Files command is a really efficient way to do the same thing to lots of photos at once. You can use this command to do some very practical things, like add a copyright to a batch of photos, or rename a batch of photos, or prepare a copy of a batch of photos in a particular size and format, maybe to upload to an online photo service. To do any of those things and more, in the Editor I'll go up to the File menu and choose Process Multiple Files. There's a lot to do this dialog box, I think the easiest way to approach it is just to start at the top and read down through all the sections.
You don't have to do all of these things to the files that you're processing, you can pick and choose, but you do have to designate which files you want to process and where you want to put the processed files. I can choose to process files as I'm importing them from a digital camera, or I can process just files that I've already opened into the editor, or I can choose to process a folder full of files. If I choose Folder, then in the Source field I'll click the Browse button and I'll navigate to the folder that contains the files I want to process.
If there are subfolders inside that folder that contains some files that I want to process, I'll check Include All Subfolders. I'll that unchecked for now. Next I have to designate the location where I want Elements to put the processed files. I'm careful not to save over the originals, so I usually do not check Same as Source here, instead I'm going to click the Browse button and I'll browse to a different location than my source location. I'll go to my Desktop, I'll click Make New Folder, and I'll give the folder a name, maybe something like finished, and I'll click OK.
In the next section I can opt to rename the files that I'm processing. I'll check Rename Files, and then I'll set up a naming convention in which each file will have names with two elements, which I can choose from these dropdown menus. If I choose Document Name, then that will use the current file name of each file as one of the elements. If I choose one of these Digit Serial Numbers, that will add a sequential serial number, or I could have Sequential Letters, or I can choose one of these date formats, which will come automatically out of the metadata for each photo file.
Or if I close this menu I can highlight the text in this field and I can type some text and then that text will appear in the file name of each of the files. So if all of these photos were taken of the same subject or in the same location, I might type that text. I know that all the photos in my source folder are sunflowers, so I'm going to type sunflowers, and then a hyphen. And from the second menu I'll choose one of these sequential serial numbers. This can be a 1, 2, 3, or Digit Serial Number; I'll go with 2 Digits.
And here I can set the starting serial number. So if I already have a file called sunflowers-01, I'll start with sunflowers-02. Over here I can see what the file naming convention is going to look like. And I usually make sure that my file names are going to be compatible with all operating systems, so I'll just put check marks here. If I want all the photos that I'm processing to be the same size, I can resize them here by checking Resize Images. This works best if all the source files are the same orientation, either all horizontal or all vertical.
I'm also careful to only do this to make photos smaller, not bigger, because sizing images up can cause a loss in photo quality. Let's say that I want my photos to be slightly smaller than the originals, which are around 700 pixels wide. In this field I'll type the width that I want in pixels, let's say 500 pixels. As long as Constrain Proportions is checked, I don't have to type anything in the height field, that will be calculated for me automatically. And as long as I'm measuring size in pixels, it doesn't matter what's in the Resolution field, because resolution in this case is a measure of the number of pixels that will be assigned to every inch if the file were printed in inches.
In the next section, I can choose to process the files in a different file format than the originals. So let's say that I need a copy of these files in the Photoshop format, I'll make sure that Convert Files to is checked, and then from the Format menu I'll choose the format that I want for the processed files. I'll go with PSD, which is Photoshop Document Format. I usually check log errors that result from processing files, which would create a small text file for me that would give me information about any processing errors that occur while I'm processing these files.
And then, I'll up to the Quick Fix area. I usually don't apply Auto Levels, Contrast, or Auto Color to multiple files, because they can have different effects on different photos, but I might choose to Auto Sharpen all of the files, because all digital images could benefit from a little sharpening. Then in the Labels section I have the ability to apply a custom watermark right on the face of each of my processed photos. To do that I'll make sure that this menu is set to Watermark, and then I'll come to the Custom Text field and I'll click there and, for example, if I were making proof prints I might type proof here, and then the word proof would appear on the face of each photo.
Or I can type a copyright here that will also appear in each photo. To create a copyright symbol on a Mac, all I would have to do is hold down the Option key as I pressed the G key on the keyboard. On a PC it's a little more complicated, I'll hold down the Alt key, and then I'll go all the way over to the keypad on the right-side of my keyboard. I won't use the numbers at the top of my keyboard. And on the keypad I'll type 0169, so again, that's Alt+0169 on the keypad; on a PC, or on a Mac, Option+G. And then I'll type the photographer's name, John Lorenz shot these particular photos in 2011.
There are other options here for determining the position, the font, the font size, the opacity, and the color of this watermark. I'll actually change the font size to make it big enough that we can really see it. And I want to keep in mind that this is going to make a permanent change on each photo, so I want to be sure that I really want this copyright on the front of each photo. There's one other option here, and that is to apply a caption instead of a watermark. Like a watermark, this caption would appear on the front of each photo, but instead of custom text, I can choose to have a caption include the file name, any description that I've entered in the File Info dialog box from the File menu, and/or the date that the file is modified, which is the date that I am processing it here.
But I'm going to go with watermark for now. Now that I'm done setting up all these fields, I'll go down and click OK, and Elements processes my files for me. Now I'm going to go out to my destination folder and find those files so you can see the file names, and I'll open one of the files for you so you can see the watermark. I'll go to File > Open, I'll navigate to the destination folder, and here are my processed files. Notice that each has a file name that comes from the file name convention that I specified in the Process Multiple Files dialog box, and each of these is a PSD file, as I specified there too.
And here's the log file that I asked to have made for me. I'll select one of these files so that you can see it in the Editor, and then I'll click Open. And here you can see that watermark that I asked Elements to add on the face of each of the processed photos. Finally, keep in mind that these processed photos are not automatically added into my Organizer, so if I do want them in the Organizer, then I would have to import them into the Organizer, just as I would any file, using the command Get Photos from Files & Folders.
So this Process Multiple Photos command is a great way to do the same thing to lots of photos at once. Give it a try the next time that you've got a batch of photos to process.
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