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Working With Photoshop Scripts
Increase Your Productivity
Many people are not familiar with the power of Photoshop Scripts and aren't aware that there are many excellent sample scripts and learning guides included with Photoshop. This tutorial will show you where to find the Photoshop Scripting Guides, show you how to install Photoshop Scripts, and explain how to work with Photoshop Scripts.
LATEST UPDATE: Our good friend Trevor Morris has sent us news of updates at his site concering Photoshop Scripts. Here are the links to Trevor's latest and a brief intro to each:
Scripting Photoshop, Part 1 — An Introduction
Whether it's automating tedious tasks, customizing commands, or adding new features, scripting makes almost anything possible in Adobe Photoshop.
The ability to script Photoshop debuted back in version seven as an optional plugin that could be downloaded from Adobe's website. As of version eight (CS), the scripting plugin is installed by default. Now, in version ten (CS3), scripting the backend of Photoshop is more accessible and powerful than it's ever been. Yet despite how long scripting has been part of Photoshop, it's surprising how few people take advantage of it — and even more surprising, is the number of people who aren't even aware that Photoshop can be scripted.
Read the rest of Scripting Photoshop, Part 1 — An Introduction.
Scripting Photoshop, Part 2 — A Practical Example
In Part 1 of this two-part tutorial about scripting Photoshop, we covered some of the basics of using scripts, as well as the many resources available. In this second part, we'll create a practical, real-world script from scratch.
As mentioned in the Introduction to Scripting Photoshop, toggling the visibility of a layer (on and off) is an example of conditional logic, something for which scripting is ideally suited. So, let's see how you would write such a script from scratch.
Read the rest of Scripting Photoshop, Part 2 — A Practical Example.
So Why Use Scripts Instead Of Actions?
Photoshop Scripts are Actions on steroids, and Scripts can be super smart. From the official Adobe Scripting Guide come these examples of scripting power:
- You can add conditional logic, so that the script automatically makes "decisions" based on the current situation. For example, you could write a script that decides which color border to add depending on the size of the selected area in an image: "If the selected area is smaller than 2 x 4 inches, add a green border; otherwise add a red border."
- A single script can perform actions that involve multiple applications. For example, you could target both Photoshop CS2 and another Adobe Creative Suite 2 Application in the same script.
- You can open, save, and rename files using scripts.
Unleash The Power Of Photoshop Scripts
Because of the way that Scripts can instruct Photoshop to automatically execute a set of desired actions or commands, scripts can be very useful for carrying out repetitive tasks. For instance, you could use a script to close all of your current documents without saving and without prompting to save changes, or you could use a script to convert a document color profile to sRGB, launch Save For Web and then reset the color profile after you exit Save For Web.
The two I've just mentioned exist and are free scripts that you can download from Trevor Morris and Jeff Tranberry respectively. Yes, others have done all the hard grunt work and left us with the sweet rewards of their creations. I'll show you exactly where to get them below, but right now let's look at how to load a script.
Installing A Photoshop Script
After downloading a script you must copy it into your Scripts folder. On a PC, the path would be:
C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop (CS or CS2)\Presets\Scripts\
On a MAC the path would be:
Applications> Photoshop (CS or CS2)> Presets> Scripts.
After copying a script to this folder you'll need to Quit and then Restart Photoshop before the script appears in the File> Scripts menu.
To Run A Photoshop Script
To run a script choose File> Scripts and select the script from the list, which will include any script file that was saved with a .js or .jsx extension and saved in the Presets/Scripts folder. If you want to run a script that was saved in a different location, simply choose File> Scripts> Browse and navigate to the specific script you want to use.
To Set Scripts To Run Automatically
Choose File> Scripts> Scripts Events Manager. Select Enable Events To Run Scripts/Actions. From the Photoshop Event menu, choose the event that will trigger the script.
Select Script and then choose the script to run when the event occurs. The event and its associated script will be listed in the dialog box.
To disable and remove individual events, select the event in the list and click Remove. To disable all events, but keep them in the list, deselect Enable Events To Run Scripts/Actions.
Photoshop Sample Scripts
This script demonstrates how to set the active layer to the last art layer of the active document or the first if the last is already active.
If there is an active document, this script will create four different selections and apply a different filter to each one of the selections. The filters applied are "Dust and Scratches," "Despeckle," "Diffuse Glow," and "Glass Effect." After all filters are applied, the last selection is deselected.
Crop a 10-pixel border from the image, and rotate the active document by 45 degrees.
Demonstrates how you can use the action manager to execute the Emboss filter.
This script will demonstrate how to load a selection from a saved alpha channel.
This script demonstrates how you can use the action manager to execute the Mosaic Tiles filter.
This script will demonstrate how to duplicate the first layer and move it to the end of a new layer set.
This script demonstrates how to rotate a layer 45 degrees clockwise.
Creates a selection and create a border around it. The script then sets the stroke color and width of the new stroke.
Assuming there are "Red" and "Blue" channels in your document, make the "Red" and "Blue" channels the active channels of the document.
Take It To The Bridge
Photoshop Scripts & Resources
If you get hooked you'll want to learn more about creating scripts and you'll be on the lookout for new ones to download, and so what follows are two really great Photoshop Scripting Resources that will keep you busy.
Free Photoshop Scripts From Trevor Morris
Trevor Morris from GFX^TM has updated his Photoshop Scripts page to include scripts for both Photoshop CS and Photoshop CS2. All scripts should now work in both versions of Photoshop. The scripts include:
Array Generator - generates a two-dimensional array by cloning the selected layer; user defines number of rows and columns, as well as the horizontal and vertical spacing.
Center Layer - a simple script that centers the active layer.
Close Without Saving - closes the current document without saving and without prompting to save changes.
Close ALL Without Saving - closes ALL current documents without saving and without prompting to save changes.
Contract Canvas Selection - contracts a selection that touches the document boundaries on one or more sides (which Photoshop is not capable of doing).
Import Folder As Layers - imports a series of images (from the designated folder) as named layers into a new document.
Layers to Comps - creates a layer comp for each layer in the active document.
Rename Layers - renames all layers in the active document using the supplied pattern (and numbers them).
Toggle Layer Visibility - toggle the visibility of the current layer (on or off).
You'll also find Event-Based Scripts for Photoshop CS2 and some installation instructions. Visit Trevor's site to download the Photoshop Scripts.
Free Photoshop Scripts From Jeff Tranberry
Although Jeff Tranberry is on the Photoshop development team and his name appears on the Photoshop credits, his Photoshop Scripting Page is not an official Adobe resource but part of his own personal website which he updates in his spare time.
On the main Scripting Page of his site you'll find some great scripting tips along with some Photoshop Scripts you can download.
Converting a document's profile to sRGB for Save For Web
Setting attributes while creating a New Document
Add scripts to Bridge
Targeting Photoshop with a script
Triggering a script using a keyboard shortcut
Using Terminal to get a path
Installing and using the ScriptingListener plug-in
Using an 'include' to reference an external script
Converting to sRGB for Save For Web
Create New Document
Create Frames from Layers
Close all open docs without saving
Turn off the preference for "Resize Image During Paste/Place"
Turn on the preference for "Resize Image During Paste/Place"
Create a .log file
Get the active document name
Open a folder of documents
Get the time and date
Jeff's script, "Converting A Document's Profile To sRGB For Save For Web" converts a document color profile to sRGB, launches Save For Web, and then resets the color profile after you exit Save For Web.
NEW: Hacking Layers To Files To Support PNG
(December 15, 2005) "While presenting a seminar on 'Photoshop & Flash: Optimizing Pixels and Workflow' at the Macromedia Max conference, Mike Ninness mentioned that he wished Photoshop's 'Layers To Files' script could save to PNG. A friend in the audience sent me an email, so I whipped something together that night."
Jeff has also put together an External Links section that points to sites that offer free scripts, script forums and script tutorials.
More Photoshop Script Resources - A Quick Roundup
Still want more? OK - at Adobe you can find a Scripting Forum that contains a lot of tips and tricks, and you can also browse through some free and commercial scripts at the Adobe Studio Exchange. Russell Brown offers free Photoshop scripts along with Quicktime movies that show you how to use them. Darrell Heathrowe has a very comprehensive tutorial on using the Action Events Manager, some Scripts Events Manager Tips, and some other tutorials for Actions and Scripts. There's also an entire Photoshop Scripting Community that has launched and is showing great potential as a major resource center.
Well, that's it for now, but do come back because I'll be updating this page periodically as resource sites often post new scripts and tutorials. Until then, happy scripting!
Working With Layers In Photoshop CS2
Learn how to work with layers in Photoshop CS2, including how to select content on a layer, how to select multiple layers, and how to create Layer Groups.
Working With Type In Photoshop CS2
Learn how to change the size of font previews, work with the bounding box, and use smart guides to align type layers in Photoshop CS2.
Tips And Tricks For Beginners
These Photoshop beginner tips and tricks address some of the most common things you'll do in Photoshop, and learning them will save you lots of time down the road.
Photoshop Keyboard Shortcuts
Learn how to edit and create sets of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop CS and CS2. Also includes links to free keyboard shortcuts PDFs.
The Photoshop Blog offers the latest Photoshop and Digital Photography news and software updates, tips and tutorials, and random thoughts from graphic artist, digital photographer and Photoshop expert Jennifer Apple.
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Photoshop CS3 Tutorial High Dynamic Range
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