In my last post, Actions and Batch Processing, I talked about how to add adjustment layers to a group of images using batch processing. In that tutorial, the images were neither saved nor outputted to a specific folder. I had a number of requests for instructions on how to batch process with Source > Folder and Destination > Folder. So, while this set of instructions is fairly wordy, it is meant as a sub-tutorial to my last one.
Let's start off with a bit of background. If there is a series of commands you apply to images on a regular basis, and you do it the same way every time, you can set up something called Actions. Some examples of this would be flattening layers in .psd images, changing the colour space, resizing them for web, and adding Unsharp Mask, or a black and white conversion method you like for portraits that has several steps. You can create actions for this that will run the commands on images automatically. Then, if you want to perform those commands on a specific group of images (either a group of images you have open, or all the images in one folder), you can do so with Batch Processing. That is what we will talk about now.
I am assuming now that you already have an action created. The first time you do this, it is a good idea to copy several images into a test folder so you can run through these steps without having to worry about doing something bad (and likely permanent!) to your original images.
With Photoshop CS (or CS2, which is what I based this tutorial off), click File > Automate > Batch. This window will appear:
Play box: Choose the set and action that you want applied to the group of photos.
Source box: Choose either Opened Files (Note: This will apply the action to all images open in Photoshop) or Folder.
If Folder is chosen, be sure to select Override Actions "Open" Commands if 'Open' is part of your chosen action.
Decide whether you want to include subfolders or not.
Choosing Suppress File Open Options Dialogs will cause Photoshop to steamroll through this step. ie: the File > Open options window will not appear for you. You decide if you want to select this option.
(Note: I don't have the Open command as part of any of my actions.)
Suppress Colour Profile Warnings may be a good one to leave unchecked as you could lose colour information (and thus image info), forcing the image from its native colour space into another.
None is what we covered in the Actions and Batch Processing tutorial. Use this if your action does not have Close as the final step, and if you want to keep working on the images after the action has run.
(Note: for actions that require further work after the action is applied, I like to omit the Save command. This is just my preference.
Save and Close will save the images back where they came from and overwrite the originals. I prefer to keep my originals as is.
(Note: if you have created layers, or your action adds layers, make sure to add Layers > Flatten Image as part of the action, or saving as a .jpg or .tif will not work.)
Folder is my preference. You can choose the same original folder, but with the steps below change its file name easily! Now, choose your output folder. I recommend changing the folder if the images are batch processed for a one-time use (ex: uploading to a website, then deleted from hard drive) or if you do not rename the images somehow. I always prefer to rename a newly saved image no matter where I put it (ex:img-sharpened.jpg, img-web.jpg, img-b&w.jpg, etc.).
If part of your action is to Save, then be sure to check Override Action "Save As" Commands or every picture will be given the same name as the file you saved when you first created the action. This "feature" is just one more reason not to save the new files in the same place as the originals. If you just did work on 30-odd images and were batch processing the same action on all of them as the last step, they could be lost as they'd all be saved to the same file name, and thus overwritten.
File Naming sub-box: You have some flexibility here, but for the sake of file management, here's what I do: keep the original name (titled Document Name) in the first drop-down menu, then in the second drop-down menu, add a space-hyphen-space then a word/phrase (ex: - web, or - sharpen). I like to keep out-of-camera file names attached so I can more easily find the originals later.
You can keep adding more options in the drop-down menus. And you don't need to keep the original file name, either. You could have 'Sunday Brunch' (just an example) as the beginning of the file name (and thus the common denominator in all the images about to be batch processed), then use a serial (1, 2, 3, 4 Digit Serial Number or Serial Letter) from the drop-down menu to consecutively number all the images. To completely rename the images, just type whatever name you want used in the first drop-down menu.
You can even add the date to the image, though if you do, I would definitely recommend adding a serial to it iff you had the whole series completely renamed (ie: if they all say "SundayBrunch061106", you'll need something to follow to differentiate them. Again, this is why I keep the "DSC_####" as the prefix on all my edited pics.)
Finally, choose Extension as the option in the last drop-down menu. This will automatically put the file extension on each image. (Don't worry that the example given says ".gif" - it will not make them gifs unless you tell it to. Saving a jpg will keep it a jpg.)
The Starting Serial tick-box only comes into play if you select Serial Number or Serial Letter from the drop-down menus. You can have your images start numbering from wherever you like.
Compatibility: I use a PC (with WinXP) so 'Windows' is selected by default for me. Checking the others makes sure the file names will be recognized on the other respective systems. I don't check the others, and have never had a problem. My primary concern is having my images work on my system, and follow the file-naming scheme I create for them.
Errors box: I prefer it to Stop for Errors, such as trying to save a jpg that has layers (can't be done!), because sometimes I rush and make a mistake. This will not catch all your errors (such as overwriting the same file, over and over again - remember Override Action "Save As" Commands from earlier?), but still helps. It hasn't caused me any problems (other than occasional self-doubt!).
When finished, click OK, and you're finished!
I do hope this was some help. If I was unclear or mistaken at any point, or if you want more information added, please Email me.