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Photoshop Automation of Photo Editing
One of the challenges faced by any automation process is the scaling, cropping and position of photographs. Text can be automatically formatted, but with photos you can’t assume 100 percent scaling, or that the client can have the photo cropped to exactly fit the desired position.

One of the best possible solutions is to create a second copy of all the photos and have them scaled and cropped in advance. Then the final script imports them to InDesign at 100 percent.

But working on high-res photos in Photoshop, opening each high-res image individually, and especially cropping them, is a tedious, time-consuming process. It is much easier to crop and position photos within a graphic in InDesign.

This script uses InDesign to display the photos in frames at the exact size of the final publication, and it puts all the photos in one document on what we called "proof sheets." The script automatically creates this document, and then imports the photos for each county, scaling them so that the narrowest dimension will fill the box, while maintaining proportions (a features not currently available in InDesign or QuarkXPress).

This allowed the graphics department to quickly review all photos in a single document, using some of InDesign’s excellent features and keyboard shortcuts to scale and position them. Each photo can then be done in a matter of seconds.

When completed, the user saves the InDesign document and runs a second script. It reads the scaling, cropping and position info for each photo in InDesign, opens it in Photoshop, crops it, changes the resolution, and applies some standard editing before saving it out as a copy of the original image.

This approach provides many other benefits:
  • The client is able to quickly confirm that each photo is saved in the correct folder and by the correct name before the final publication is produced.
  • The original image is maintained unaltered for use on other projects, while they have a much smaller image to work with for any additional photo editing.
  • The proofing of photos is a separate process which can be accomplished early on in the automation, especially since for this (and many) projects, the photos are much less likely to change in the future than the data.
How Do I Learn To Do This?
The AppleScript Pro Sessions training event covers using AppleScript with Photoshop, and a special section shows how to create the basics of this script which uses Photoshop and InDesign together.

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