Ok, so you have created a Photoshop Action with a Hotkey. Now, we will continue with the next step in how to implement that Action so that you don’t have to press that Hotkey to start the Action.
The first thing we will do is create a Photoshop Droplet (and after that, I’ll show you Automate Batch). This droplet will create an icon wherever you choose that will allow you to drag and drop files onto it, automatically beginning the action you have tied to it. For our purposes, we will use the same “Process for Web” Action we created in the last post and save our Droplet into a folder on the desktop that holds all of our Photoshop Droplets (so our desktop isn’t cluttered with icons). In the past, my folder held droplets for rotating 90CCW, rotating 90CW, size to horizontal 4×5, vertical 4×5, make 4-4x5s on 1-8×10, make webs, and more. But, basically easy fix type actions so that when you needed to rotate a folder of images (back before lightroom), you could just grab all the images in the finder, drag them on the Droplet, and never have to open Photoshop.
Create A Photoshop Droplet
It’s actually quite simple to Create A Droplet, but I’ll go over some of the settings that might cause headaches down the road.
In Photoshop, go to File/Automate/Create Droplet…
A dialog box will appear. Just work your way down from the top. The first step is a “Save Droplet In” button. Choose where you want to save it and what it will be called. I saved it in a folder on my desktop called “Photoshop Droplets” and named it “PROCESS FOR WEB”.
Next, find your Action with the drop down menus. Ours was Process for Web in the Default Actions.
Then, check the Include All Subfolders: this allows you to drop a folder onto your Droplet and it should run the action on everything inside that folder. Even inside the other folders.
Check both Suppress… boxes: this keeps you from having to address warning prompts that might pop up during your action. It’s very annoying to have to click ok or hit enter every time an image opens up. The whole reason we are automating this is to be more efficient!
IMPORTANT: Do not check the Override Open checkbox as nothing will open since it’s not in our Action. This will keep you from wondering why your Droplet doesn’t work.
And last, but not least, the Destination. We want our Droplet to run the action (make web images) and replace the files we drag onto it. We are downsizing a group of images from say 5mb to 130k. IMPORTANT: This is different than what the Action we created does. In our Action we created a “Save As” option and saved it into a specific folder. When creating this Droplet, it uses the settings we used (JPEG 10 QUALITY) and saves OVER whatever we drop onto the Droplet. So, make sure you are only dragging a copy. BUT, the droplet will not save anything if you do not have that Save As option in the action. Confusing, yes. Again, it’s like the Override Open checkbox – If there is no option in the action, the Droplet will not work properly if the box is checked. You can see what pops up when you check that box:
Click OK and you have a Droplet! Now, test it by dragging a COPY of the images you want to resize onto the droplet and you should the images open in Photoshop and disappear. You can then open or command-i the files in the finder to see if it actually shrunk them like the Action should. If you’re running on a souped up computer with lots of memory, you may not see the images flash up there and close because it’s working so fast. That’s a good thing – just think how long it would take you to open, change the size, save as. Not that long, but now you’re even saving that little amount of time and effort!
Now for Automate Batch
Basically the same as Creating a Droplet, but Automate Batch comes in handy when you want to have a little more control and you have to set the settings each time. For this example, we will use the same Process for Web action we created, but we will save it to a new folder and add a date before the Document Name and “WEB” after it in the file name.
In Photoshop, go to File/Automate/Batch…
A dialog box will pop up and as you can see below, it looks very similar to the Create A Droplet dialog. This time we will keep the settings the same down to the Destination. Choose “Folder” from the drop down menu instead of “Save and Close”. We will save the images to a folder on the desktop we created called ” RENAMED WEBS”.
You can see that in the first box in the File Naming section, we have manually added the Date and a dash, then we chose “Document Name”, then we manually added a dash and “WEB”, and finally the “extension”. It shows you an example of how the file will be named. Play around with naming conventions that suit your workflow. (We might address that soon in a blog post, as everyone names their files differently!)
Hit OK and your Action will begin working. It will open the files from your Source folder and save them with the new name in the Destination folder. Just like you told it to!
- It might take some trial and error to make these automation tricks work correctly. So ALWAYS test them out on copies first!
- I find that Droplets are easiest used in a Finder folder set to the Icon view as opposed to List, or Column view.
- Give it up for my cute model, Alphie. Two posts and he still doesn’t look super enthused to have his photo taken and posted online.