Ben Long at completedigitalphotography.com has just released version 3 of his Photoshop Action Pack, a collection of Automator Actions that allow users of Photoshop CS and CS2 to drive Photoshop from within Apple’s Automator. Packing a total of 85 separate actions, version 3 of the Action Pack now lets users process Camera Raw files from within their Automator workflows, allowing them to use Automator to drive their raw photography pipeline.
Automator ships with every copy of OS X 10.4, and allows users to easily construct automation routines by simply dragging and dropping special Automator Actions together to create a workflow. Before you can control a specific app, though, you need to install the appropriate actions that will allow Automator to talk to the program in question. The Photoshop Action Pack provides everything you need to control all of Photoshop’s major functions from within Automator.
Version 3 includes 11 new actions including Add Empty Adjustment Layer, Add Graphic Watermark, Channel Mixer, Duplicate Current Layer, Photo Filter, Resize to File Size, Exposure, and Reduce Noise. In addition, many new features have been added to existing actions, including:
* New save options in the Render action. Save as EPS is now provided as is Save for Web, which allows you to create optimized GIF and JPEG images. Save for Web has been one of the most requested actions, and with version 3, it’s finally here.
* Many actions such as Color Balance, Hue/Saturation, and the new Channel Mixer action can now by applied as Adjustment Layers.
* Many effects, including Smart Sharpen, Shadow/Highlight, Unsharp Mask, and Mono Gaussian Noise, will automatically duplicate the current layer, and apply themselves to the duplicate layer (with or without a Layer Mask) allowing you a modicum of non-destructive editing power.
Version 3 can now open any of Photoshop’s supported Camera Raw formats, and will automatically use the associated Camera Raw configuration metadata for its conversions. This means that you can now configure your raw conversions using Camera Raw, and then launch the actual conversion using an Automator workflow, which might include additional processing or output steps.
Finally, the update includes numerous bug fixes, most notably the ability to handle file names with international characters, (as well as some punctuation that was messing up earlier versions) and some other little issues here and there.
For those who wonder why they should hassle with Automator when Photoshop has its own internal automation mechanism, the answer is twofold: first, Automator lets you control multiple applications from within a single workflow, so you can easily create workflows that automatically process images in Photoshop, and then use other apps to perform additional operations – copying, archiving, placing in a page layout program, transferring to an FTP site, and so on. Second, Photoshop’s built-in Actions palette does not include any logic control – you can’t branch based on the properties of an image. The Photoshop Action Pack provides a number of “filter” actions which let you filter your images for processing based on file type, color mode, EXIF and IPTC tags, orientation, size, and more.
As with previous versions, the Photoshop Action Pack is still free and can be downloaded from: