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Format multiple files with a template and variables

From: Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts

Video: Format multiple files with a template and variables

So, I've got a great power shortcut for you here. This is a feature that's not a keyboard shortcut type of power shortcut, but it's one of those hidden obscure features that once you know about it, you're like, "Oh man! I needed that a long time ago. I wish I knew it was there." And some variables. The ability to use a template and buying that template with a set of data like a text file and a folder of images and create a series of images that are all treated the same way. So, classic example that is like sports photography and our event photographer who has to take a series of shots, let's say it's cheerleaders for lack of a better example.

Format multiple files with a template and variables

So, I've got a great power shortcut for you here. This is a feature that's not a keyboard shortcut type of power shortcut, but it's one of those hidden obscure features that once you know about it, you're like, "Oh man! I needed that a long time ago. I wish I knew it was there." And some variables. The ability to use a template and buying that template with a set of data like a text file and a folder of images and create a series of images that are all treated the same way. So, classic example that is like sports photography and our event photographer who has to take a series of shots, let's say it's cheerleaders for lack of a better example.

You want the name of the cheerleader and their school and a custom background and a special effect or something like that. So, I've created something similar to this. This is a template file that I've got going here and this is where I want my images to come in and I want them to have a nice white border, a nice soft vignette effect on the inside of the border. I want the name of the image here or the title that I'm using to be here in large type and I want its location to be here in all caps underneath. So, in terms of setting up a template, it's no big deal. It just creating a Photoshop document, the way you want your multiple documents to look like. Let's jump over to Bridge for a second. These are the sample images that I want to format all the same way. You can see that that's my representative image for the template and the data is just a tab delimited text file, saved as something like Word or Excel.

So, here's my Nature Series.txt document. I'm going to open this in a text editor, so you can see what this is all about and create your dataset. You can use something like Excel or Word. All you need is to have a header row, which has the name of your fields for your data. So title, location and the photo are my fields here. The important part is to pay attention to the case-sensitivity. So, if it's uppercase, you're going to need to remember that and that will come into play in a few minutes. Then each row is a record in your dataset and each value is separated by a tab. You notice that the filenames are in the dataset, they correspond to the actual image names that you're going to be applying this variable template to.

To make things easy, I've put all my sample images in the same directory or same location as my template. Let's go see about connecting all this stuff together. So, let's go reopen the Template file in Photoshop and you can see I've got three layers here, a Photo layer, a Location layer and a Title layer and I've named them exactly the same as those field values that I showed in the text file. Again, from Word or Excel, you'd just save your document as what's called a Tab Delimited text file and it just puts a tab between each value and then it puts a carriage return between each record. To set this up, you go to the Image menu and you'd choose Variables > Define and Photoshop says, "Okay, well, I see that you've got some layers here." You've got a little layer list that corresponds to the layers that can become variables inside your document and then it asks you, "Okay, for the Title layer, what kind of variable do you want it to be?" I want it to be a Text Replacement. What's the name of this? Well, I'm going to name it exactly the same as my layer name here and that corresponds to the field name in the dataset.

Once you've bound and told which layer to which kind of replacement it to be, it puts a little asterisk next to it, so we'll go to the next layer. Location, again we want that to be a Text Replacement Variable and we'll make that the location and then finally the Photo layer, we'll have that be a Pixel Replacement and we'll call that Photo and we want it to be best fit with an alignment of center and so forth. Okay, that looks great! Actually I'm going to do a Fill and I'm going to clip it to the bounding box of the layer. So you've got some options of how you want your images to come in if they're different sizes. Okay, so I've done all the association of defining the variables. Now, I need to bind it to the actual data file. So, I've chosen Data Sets here. There's an Import button and I'll click that and navigate to that Tab Delimited text file.

So, I'll click the Select File button and there's my text file that I'm going to load into Photoshop. Go ahead and click OK and you can see now it's starting to populate this document with my sample data. So, instead of just saying Title and Location, now it actually says Majestic Rainier in Medina Park, Bellevue. I can cycle through the different data sets in this document, so here's the next value and if I just wait a split second, it loads that additional image in there and changes the variable data, just like so. So, I can click on the next one as well and I get the next image. Pretty cool, huh? So this is just to preview the data, all right.

When I click OK, it actually just goes back and shows you the template. What you want to do now is process this data set out as individual files and to do that, you go to the File menu and choose Export > Data Sets as Files and that's going to bring up this dialog box where you can choose a location. I'll go ahead and create a folder on the desktop and we'll call it Processed, Create, choose that folder and then you can do a naming scheme for your results. I'll just go in and go with the default but you can type in anything you want and create a name and structure there. And I'll just go ahead and do all the data sets that are in that text file.

I'm going to go ahead and click OK and now I'm going to kick back and watch Photoshop do its thing, while it's automating the production of all these different versions based on that data set. If I navigate back out to my desktop here, you can go and take a look at the Processed folder and there are those five images, all processed as separate files now and if I double-click on one of them, you'll see it got populated with its data. So, there you have it, a killer power shortcut. It does take a little bit of setup, but I encourage you to try this out on your own, because it's an easy way to automate the processing of multiple files.

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This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts
Photoshop CS4 Power Shortcuts

191 video lessons · 10761 viewers

Michael Ninness
Author

 
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  1. 1m 43s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. Using the exercise files
      43s
  2. 48m 33s
    1. The Make Better key
      2m 48s
    2. Tool shortcuts
      2m 50s
    3. Spring-loaded tool shortcuts
      1m 43s
    4. Zooming
      2m 35s
    5. Bird's-Eye View
      1m 50s
    6. Hiding panels
      2m 24s
    7. Changing brush size and hardness
      2m 59s
    8. Resetting and swapping colors
      2m 34s
    9. Opacity
      2m 30s
    10. Labels and arrow keys
      3m 15s
    11. Scrubby sliders
      3m 7s
    12. Measurement system overrides
      2m 14s
    13. Auto Select Layer
      2m 42s
    14. Nudging
      52s
    15. Previewing, resetting, canceling, and applying
      1m 39s
    16. Context menus
      2m 41s
    17. Undo
      1m 59s
    18. Editing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 43s
    19. Discovering what's new and finding help
      3m 1s
    20. Resetting preferences at launch
      1m 7s
  3. 46m 37s
    1. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    2. The Application bar
      1m 45s
    3. Opening files from Bridge
      1m 51s
    4. Working with tabbed documents
      2m 7s
    5. Cycling through open documents
      49s
    6. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 22s
    7. Moving layers between documents
      1m 47s
    8. Keyboard shortcuts for tile options
      2m 7s
    9. Stop tabbing my documents!
      1m 50s
    10. Panning and zooming all windows
      2m 40s
    11. Closing all documents
      20s
    12. Open GL navigation
      2m 27s
    13. New document tricks
      1m 22s
    14. The Rotate view
      1m 37s
    15. Cycling through the screen modes
      1m 52s
    16. Customizing the application background
      1m 33s
    17. Status bar tricks
      1m 44s
    18. Panel management options
      3m 32s
    19. Managing panels with multiple panel docks
      2m 30s
    20. Creating a panel flotilla
      2m 47s
    21. Saving custom workspaces
      3m 0s
    22. Quick spot and dust removal workflow
      3m 9s
    23. Opening a flattened version of a layered file
      2m 10s
  4. 8m 50s
    1. Tool presets
      2m 25s
    2. Resetting all tools
      1m 9s
    3. Changing the Tools panel
      1m 59s
    4. Customizing presets with the Preset Manager
      3m 17s
  5. 4m 57s
    1. Accessing the Move tool from any tool
      1m 33s
    2. Selecting layers
      3m 24s
  6. 15m 7s
    1. Selection modifiers
      4m 8s
    2. Transforming selections
      2m 56s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 22s
    4. Viewing a selection as an alpha channel
      1m 31s
    5. Reselecting a previous selection
      2m 10s
  7. 8m 3s
    1. The lasso tools
      2m 9s
    2. The Magnetic Lasso tool
      5m 54s
  8. 9m 41s
    1. Options for the Crop tool
      1m 16s
    2. The Hide and Delete options in the Crop tool
      1m 22s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      55s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      2m 45s
    5. Relative canvas size
      1m 9s
    6. Cropping in perspective
      2m 14s
  9. 4m 12s
    1. The Eyedropper tool
      1m 10s
    2. The Color Sampler tool
      1m 23s
    3. Straightening a crooked image
      49s
    4. Measuring an angle
      50s
  10. 5m 26s
    1. Saving file size when healing and cloning
      1m 42s
    2. Cloning from a different document
      58s
    3. Clone first, then heal
      2m 46s
  11. 7m 27s
    1. A new way to change brush size and hardness
      2m 17s
    2. Cycling through the brushes
      1m 51s
    3. Painting a straight line
      2m 2s
    4. Painting a dotted line
      1m 17s
  12. 2m 6s
    1. Cycling through gradient styles
      2m 6s
  13. 3m 34s
    1. Using fill commands instead of the Bucket tool
      3m 34s
  14. 6m 45s
    1. Options for the shape tools
      4m 2s
    2. Arrow options for the Line tool
      1m 38s
    3. Add a new shape to an existing shape layer
      1m 5s
  15. 36m 10s
    1. Point type vs. paragraph type
      2m 10s
    2. Canceling and applying text edits
      2m 1s
    3. Repositioning text while in the Type tool
      1m 32s
    4. Selecting text on a type layer
      2m 19s
    5. Renaming a text layer
      1m 58s
    6. Shift + click near an existing type layer
      1m 9s
    7. A better way to preview fonts
      3m 7s
    8. Jumping directly to the font you want
      3m 8s
    9. Changing type size and color
      3m 0s
    10. Accessing the Character and Paragraph panels
      1m 50s
    11. Type size keyboard shortcuts
      52s
    12. Kerning and tracking keyboard shortcuts
      2m 10s
    13. Leading keyboard shortcuts
      59s
    14. Alignment keyboard shortcuts
      1m 4s
    15. Changing multiple type layers at once
      1m 15s
    16. How to hang your punctuation
      1m 16s
    17. Using filters and keeping type editable
      2m 54s
    18. Checking spelling
      51s
    19. Using presets for the Type tool as styles
      2m 35s
  16. 50m 28s
    1. Converting a background layer
      53s
    2. Duplicating a layer with the keyboard
      1m 13s
    3. Duplicating a layer with the mouse
      55s
    4. Duplicating layers across documents
      2m 0s
    5. Selecting layers with the keyboard
      2m 44s
    6. Changing layer stacking order
      1m 58s
    7. Layer visibility shortcuts
      1m 31s
    8. Undoing layer visibility
      1m 34s
    9. Creating new layers
      1m 30s
    10. Creating a new layer below the active layer
      40s
    11. Locking transparency
      1m 22s
    12. Making selections from layers
      3m 29s
    13. Turning selections into layers
      4m 39s
    14. Changing the thumbnails in the Layers panel
      1m 24s
    15. Changing layer opacity
      1m 0s
    16. Changing fill opacity
      2m 9s
    17. Grouping and ungrouping layers
      1m 28s
    18. Collapsing and expanding all layer groups
      1m 52s
    19. Deleting layers and groups
      1m 4s
    20. Layer clipping masks
      3m 28s
    21. Cycling through the blend modes
      1m 57s
    22. Keyboard shortcuts for specific blend modes
      1m 25s
    23. Merging layers
      2m 27s
    24. Creating a composite copy of a layer group
      1m 48s
    25. Creating a composite copy of visible layers
      2m 26s
    26. Copying visible layers
      2m 44s
    27. Color-coding layers
      48s
  17. 18m 19s
    1. Different ways to view a layer mask
      1m 58s
    2. Toggling between a layer and a layer mask
      1m 25s
    3. Moving a layer mask to a different layer
      1m 19s
    4. Duplicating a layer mask
      1m 53s
    5. Adding a layer mask on a layer group
      2m 48s
    6. Pasting into a layer mask
      2m 6s
    7. Moving layers and layer masks
      1m 42s
    8. Inverting layer masks
      2m 9s
    9. Refine Mask shortcuts
      2m 9s
    10. Deleting a layer mask
      50s
  18. 22m 55s
    1. Working smarter by changing your keyboard shortcuts
      3m 50s
    2. Toggling the preview of an adjustment layer
      1m 10s
    3. Targeted Curves adjustments
      1m 38s
    4. Targeted Hue/Saturation adjustments
      1m 30s
    5. Adjustment layer options
      58s
    6. Cycling through channels for Curves and Levels
      1m 32s
    7. Cycling through Hue/Saturation colors
      1m 2s
    8. Clipping adjustment layers automatically
      2m 37s
    9. Starting with a selection
      2m 1s
    10. Saving time with adjustment layer presets
      3m 22s
    11. Bonus: Auto commands as adjustment layers
      3m 15s
  19. 10m 10s
    1. Options for the Curves adjustment layer
      1m 52s
    2. Setting a curve point in the composite channel
      2m 0s
    3. Setting a curve point in each color channel
      1m 58s
    4. Working with curve points
      1m 57s
    5. Accessing the Tonal Clipping preview
      2m 23s
  20. 13m 35s
    1. Scaling layer styles
      1m 59s
    2. Moving and copying layer styles
      1m 50s
    3. Creating strokes with sharp corners
      1m 16s
    4. Saving a layer style
      3m 16s
    5. Adding a watermark to an image
      2m 45s
    6. Performance tip: Hide all layer effects
      1m 1s
    7. Tricks for opening the Layer Style dialog box
      1m 28s
  21. 6m 54s
    1. Doing the Channel Walk
      3m 38s
    2. Loading selections from channels with the mouse
      1m 32s
    3. Loading selections from channels with the keyboard
      1m 44s
  22. 13m 30s
    1. Toggling the rulers, guides and grids
      2m 12s
    2. Locking and snapping
      1m 51s
    3. Changing the orientation of guides
      2m 8s
    4. Snapping guides to ruler marks
      38s
    5. Changing the measurement system
      1m 1s
    6. Using Percentage to create guides
      2m 30s
    7. Guides and image size
      1m 43s
    8. Changing the ruler origin point
      1m 27s
  23. 17m 58s
    1. Everyday modifiers for Free Transform
      1m 43s
    2. Distorting transformations
      54s
    3. Skewing transformations
      58s
    4. Perspective transformations
      57s
    5. Where are the Free Transform handles?
      1m 33s
    6. Transform Again
      1m 21s
    7. Transform Again and Copy
      1m 18s
    8. Moving the transformation center point
      1m 32s
    9. Aligning a layer to the center of a document
      1m 17s
    10. Nondestructive transformations
      3m 38s
    11. Warp transformations
      2m 47s
  24. 7m 18s
    1. Reapplying the last filter you used
      42s
    2. Reopening the last filter you used
      40s
    3. Assigning shortcuts to your favorite filters
      1m 15s
    4. Using filters nondestructively
      2m 0s
    5. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      2m 41s
  25. 10m 3s
    1. Combining files to layers from Adobe Bridge
      44s
    2. Making Bicubic Sharper the default algorithm
      2m 44s
    3. Choosing a different color ramp
      1m 9s
    4. Format multiple files with a template and variables
      5m 26s
  26. 1m 14s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 14s

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