Batch Processing


Today’s Question: We are in the constant midst of downsizing image space on our server. I’m being asked to save all of my files to 3MB. It there a way to batch process files in my folders [using Photoshop CS6]? I have larger files (originals) backed up on external drives and also DVDs.

Tim’s Quick Answer: Photoshop actually includes an Image Processor tool that makes it very easy to batch process images to create files of different file types or different file sizes (based on pixel dimensions and/or compression). I recommend using Adobe Bridge in this case, selecting the images you want to process and then choosing Tools > Photoshop > Image Processor from the menu to get started with the batch processing.

More Detail: In this case you might want to save the images on the server as JPEG images, on the assumption that file size is a higher priority than image quality in this situation. This is mitigated by the fact that you have the original captures backed up in another location, so the files on the server can be thought of as working copies. You can always revert to those original captures if you need a file of higher resolution or quality.

In the Image Processor dialog I recommend using the “Save in Same Location” option. This will not cause the source images to be over-written, and in fact the files won’t exactly be placed in the same folder. Instead, the resulting images will be placed in a subfolder below the current folder, with a filename based on the file type you choose.

You can then turn on the appropriate checkbox for the type of file you want to save as a result of this batch process. In this case I would probably opt for the “Save as JPEG” option. You can then adjust the settings for the JPEG images, including the Quality setting and the “Resize to Fit” option that allows you to reduce the pixel dimensions for the photos.

For a JPEG image, using pixel dimensions of around 3,000 by 2,000 pixels with a moderately high Quality setting (perhaps about a value of 8) will generally produce image files that are below 3MB in size. The specific size of each image will depend on the relative complexity of the image itself, as that impacts the degree to which compression can reduce the file size.

Once you’ve established the settings for the Image Processor, click the Run button and the photos you selected will be processed. You can then archive the original versions of the photos on the server, and move the images created by Image Processor into their location.