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Discovering Photoshop 5.5
Automated Commands

Dateline: 09/28/99

Photoshop 5.0 comes with many new automated commands to ease repetitive tasks. In version 5.5 even more were added and a few from version 5.0 were further enhanced.

Action Palette Enhancements
The action palette has a few notable improvements in version 5. Now you can record more tools and palettes within actions. In addition, you can organize various actions into sets and save these sets to disk.

Automated Commands MenuThe automated commands are accessable through the File Menu, under Automate. The Automate menu is shown here to the right. I'll discuss each of these commands and their options below.

Batch Command
The batch command allows you to play an action on an entire folder of images. The dialog box is shown here.

Batch Command dialog box

In the Play section, you choose the action set and the action you want to perform, then choose the source and destination. The source can be a folder on your computer, or you can choose to import files. For the destination you can chose None, Save and Close, or Folder. None leaves the files open in Photoshop and - unless the action included a save command - it does not save the changes. Save and Close saves the changes in the original file location. Folder allows you to specify a different folder on your hard drive for the processed files. If you choose this option, you will be prompted for a filename with each processed file.

Conditional Mode Change
This command lets you choose from one or several different color mdes, and convert images to the color mode you specify. The dialog box for this command is shown below.

Conditional Mode Change dialog box

Contact Sheet II
This command was introduced in version 5 and further enhanced in version 5.5. The contact sheets command creates a new document displaying several image thumbnails on a single page. You choose the source folder for the images, the size and resolution of the contact sheet, and the layout options for the thumbnails. A small preview to the right of the dialog box shows you how the layout will appear, this was cropped from the screen capture below.

Contact Sheet II dialog box

When you OK the dialog, Photoshop automatically produces as many new documents as it takes to create the contact sheets for the selected folder. Be aware that if you choose a folder with many images, this process can take quite a bit of time.

While it's probably more convenient for some to have contact sheet capability right in Photoshop, the options are rather limited. If you're somone who needs to create contact sheets often, you'll probably find that a third party utility is more useful for this specific purpose than the Photoshop implementation.

Fit Image
Fit Image simply resamples an image to fit within the pixel height and width dimensions you specify. The image is resampled without changing the aspect ratio.

Fit Image dialog box

Multi-page PDF to PSD
This command is pretty self explanatory. You choose a PDF file to convert, and each page of the PDF generates a separate Photoshop file. The dialog box allows you to specify the file, the page range, the output resolution and mode, the destination folder and base file name. Each page of the PDF is written to a new Photosop file and automatically saved using the base name and an appended number for each consecutive page.

Multi-page PDF to PSD dialog box

Picture Package
The picture package command is new to version 5.5 of Photoshop. It lets you create various layouts of a single image, such as those produced by portrait studios. You can choose an image from disk, or the frontmost open document within Photoshop. You can only choose a single image, so you can't mix multiple images within a single layout. Next choose the desired layout, resolution, and color mode for the package layout.

Picture Package Dialog Box

Layout options for Picture PackageNote that this is not a print option, and the results will be produced in a new Photoshop document which can then be printed. The various layout options are listed to the right and displayed left to right in the preview images below.
(2) 5 x 7
(1) 5 x 7 & (4) 2.5 x 3.5
(1) 5 x 7 & (2) 2.5 x 3.5 & (4) 2 x 2.5
(1) 5 x 7 & (8) 2 x 2.5
(4) 4 x 5
(2) 4 x 5 & (4) 2.5 x 3.5
(2) 4 x 5 & (2) 2.5 x 3.5 & (4) 2 x 2.5
(2) 4 x 5 & (8) 2 x 2.5
(8) 2.5 x 3.5
(4) 2.5 x 3.5 & (8) 2 x 2.5
(16) 2 x 2.5

Web Photo Gallery
Also new in version 5.5, the Web Photo Gallery command allows you to publish a Web page gallery of images complete with thumbnails and links to the larger individual images... continued

I hope that this overview of automated commands showed you some new time-saving techniques in Photoshop.

Return to the Introduction/Table of Contents.
Go to the Next Page: Web Photo Gallery Command
Also see: Photoshop Resources

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Sue Chastain
Your Guide to Graphics Software
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Screen shots captured with Corel Capture 9.

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