Is there a way to automate some highly repetitive tasks in Photoshop?

Example 1

I have a folder of images.

  1. For each of them, and I want to import each as its own layer
  2. I'd like them to be resized such that each is x% larger than the previous (or some other formula)
  3. I'd like them positioned within the canvase such that they form a sequence

Example 2

I have a single layer with an image; and I'd like to make y duplicates of that layer, where

  1. Each duplicated layer is z% smaller than the previous layer
  2. Each duplicated layer is w% rotated from the previous layer

To be able to achieve these, something more complex than a macro would be required. A scripting language, perhaps, or some form of advance macro?

Is it possible to achieve his in Photoshop?

If not, is it possible in any other image manipulation program (e.g. GIMP)?

  • Which OS? Different OSes have different solutions to offer. – Philip Regan Mar 20 '11 at 14:10
  • Have you use Action in Photoshop? – Winthan Aung Mar 20 '11 at 14:54
  • @Philip Regan : Windows Vista for Photoshop. Ubuntu for Inkscape and the rest. – bguiz Mar 20 '11 at 23:08
  • moderator attention : please add "scripting" or "automation" tags to this – bguiz Mar 25 '11 at 4:07

Yes, photoshop has something called actions. To use actions, go to Window -> Actions and create a new action. Then, do ONLY want you want you action to so (resize, duplicate, etc.) Once you have completed what you want your action to do, stop recording your action. Now, whenever you want, you can recall that action, and it will do the same thing, to whatever image you open in photoshop.

(I use CS5, in Windows 7)

In addition to that you can write your own scripts.

  • So actions are the equivalent of macros in photoshop. However, from the article you have linked, there doesn't appear to be any form of parameterisation or scripting capability - merely record and replay -or is there? – bguiz Mar 20 '11 at 23:14
  • @bguiz : That is what actions are mainly for, correct. Take a look at this link adobe.com/devnet/photoshop.html. You can do more hands-on scripts but that of course requires more work/knowledge to do. – Hanna Mar 20 '11 at 23:30
  • 1
    +1 and check @Johannes : Sorry, I had missed your second link earlier! This: adobe.com/devnet/photoshop/scripting.html was exactly what I was after. Thanks! – bguiz Mar 20 '11 at 23:40
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    @bguiz: You missed it because I had just added it afterwards :] – Hanna Mar 21 '11 at 0:04

You can script Photoshop to do things using using Ruby, Javascript, VB Script and Apple Script

This tutorial is worth checking out:

  • -1. "(and some other languages)"—Applescript, Visual Basic, and Javascript—have a much more established history with Adobe than Ruby. Ruby, if anything, is an also ran compared to the vast resources out there for the three that you have all but dismissed. – Philip Regan Mar 21 '11 at 13:15
  • @Phil : That -1's quite harsh - that was actually a very good link provided; and I don't think the answer was dismissive about other languages at all - relax! – bguiz Mar 22 '11 at 5:53
  • @bguiz: There are other reasons why I voted this down, my comment simply being what I saw as being the most obvious reason. – Philip Regan Mar 22 '11 at 13:08
  • @Phil Edited answer to allay your concerns – bojangle Mar 22 '11 at 23:59

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