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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
Now it's one thing to be able to apply an action to one image at a time, and if that's all Photoshop could do, that would still be a very powerful function. However, just imagine if you could take an action and apply it to an entire folder full of images at a time. So you have got a folder full of 10, or 20, or 100, or 500, or 1,000 images, and you can let that action loose on all of them. So you let the action run at the end of the day. You come back in the morning, and it's all done for you. Photoshop has spent the evening being your diligent robot, and that's what's known as batch processing.
However, before I show you how batch processing works, which I will in this exercise, I want you to go ahead and close all of the images that are open inside of Photoshop, because one of the images that we are going to modify using the batch Process function is Avignon street.jpg file. And because it's open, and I have already assigned one of these actions to it, why then if I apply batch processing to it, then Photoshop is going to redouble the sharpening effect. So, we don't want that happen. Go ahead and make sure everything is closed. That's the safest solution.
Go up to the File menu, choose the Close All command, or press Ctrl+Alt+W, Command+Option+W on a Mac, and then when you are asked to save changes, you want to select Apply to All, because every single one of these images has been modifies, and you want to say No, or on the Mac you would click the Don't Save button. That way you can close all of the images without harming them one iota. Now we don't want to save our changes, because we can reapply them in a heartbeat using these actions. All right now we will go up to the Bridge icon here in the Applications bar, and I will click on it. And I once again have the Bridge trained on the contents of the Original wide format subfolder, inside the 34_actions folder.
Let's scroll all the way to the top of the list here and just select two images: Arles Amphitheatre.psd and Avignon street.jpg. And just as I recommend after you get done recording an action you test it on the file you used to create the action in the first place and then test the action on other files, when you are testing your ability to batch process using that action, you want to start small and work your way up. So we will start which is a couple of images to make sure everything is working properly, which as we will see, is not quite the case yet. And then we will make our adjustments accordingly.
All right so, select those two images, if you are working along with me. Go up to the Tools menu, choose Photoshop, and choose Batch. Now you start things off by selecting this set that contains the action you want to apply. So the Batch command allows you to apply one and only one action at a time. So specify the set first, which is going to be Productivity. It's most certainly not going to be anything inside that Default action set. That's for sure. And then specify the action you want to use. Now I could go with CMYK and adjustable sharpen. The problem is that action requires feedback.
First, we get that message that requires us to click the Continue button, and then we get the Fade dialog box which requires us, at the very least, to click OK, which means we are going to be spending a lot of time babysitting this batch processing operation. Can you imagine if you are batch processing 500 images, having to click the Continue button 500 times and the OK button 500 times, let alone modify the Opacity value 500 times? So the idea behind batch processing is that you don't have to do anything. You just let Photoshop run. That means no alert messages, no dialog boxes, no stops.
So go ahead and select Convert to CMYK, which has none of those things. Source should be set to Bridge, which means that we are going to batch process those two images that I selected inside the Bridge. Now this check box, Override Action "Open" Commands, that only applies if there is an open operation inside the action itself, and that would mean that we are opening some other file to bring in with the other files that we are processing here, and that's not the case for us. So don't worry about that one. Include All Subfolders, that's great if you have got a folder that contains a bunch of other folders, and you want to open the images inside those folders as well.
That's not the case for us. Suppress the dialog boxes and the warnings. I would only turn on those check boxes if you have to. So see if you get any dialog boxes or warnings first, and then worry about that later. We won't get any File Open option dialog boxes though, because we don't have any open operations inside of our actions. Next comes Destination. Do not leave it set to None. What that does is it just goes ahead and opens all the images and leaves them open. It doesn't close them, and it doesn't save the results. So your batch processing 500 images, you come in the next morning, and lo and behold Photoshop presents with 500 open images.
Go ahead and choose one of the other options. Save and Close works well under certain condition, but it doesn't work well the way we have the action set up right now. You have got to be able to use this check box, as strange as it sounds, Override Action "Save As" Commands, in order to make this option work, and I will show you how to do it. But we are not set up that way currently. What will happen now, if we go ahead and select this option, is that Photoshop will go ahead and save over the original images and then close the images. The closing is fine; the saving over the originals is a very bad idea, especially where batch processing is concerned.
It means that you trust the automation so much you are willing to forgo those original images - never a good idea. So what we want instead is Folder. So go ahead and choose Folder. Don't worry about this check box because we don't have a Save As command in our action. If you want to change the file naming conventions, you can. We don't have to. We are just going to save our images using their current file names and then finally, do you want to stop for errors or not. When you are first getting a sense of whether your action is going to work, you do want to stop for errors. If you are pretty sure you understand what those errors look like, and you don't want to interrupt the batch processing, then log the errors to a file.
For now, I will say Stop for Errors although I don't anticipate encountering any, and then I will click on the OK button, and it says you must choose a destination folder. I forgot that step. Very good. Thank you. And sure enough, I have got to click on the Choose button in order to specify where my files get saved. So I will click on Choose, and I will go ahead and navigate my way into the Exercise Files folder, into the 34_actions folder. I have created this empty folder for you, called CMYK for print. So go ahead and click on that, click OK, now click OK and Photoshop goes ahead and runs through the steps for those two images. You saw it happen onscreen. It went ahead and saved out the results, and it closed the images as well.
Now I am going to click on the Bridge icon, once again, up here in the Application bar, to switch back to the Bridge. And I am going to click on the CMYK for print folder in order to select it, and sure enough, we have got Arles amphitheater.psd and Avignon street.jpg. And if you want to see what they look like, go ahead and select both of them and press Ctrl+O or Command+O on a Mac to open them up inside Photoshop, and you can see that yes, indeed this image is sharpened. It's been converted to the CMYK mode. It's a flat image, even though it started off flat in the first place, and then the other one, Arles amphitheater.psd, also a CMYK image, also sharpened, also a flat image, so everything worked out beautifully.
But we do have a problem: the two images are saved to different file formats, and I don't want that. I will explain why that's a problem, and how to fix it, in the next exercise.
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