Teaching Photoshop Actions to watch a folder

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  08 August 2007
Question Teaching Photoshop Actions to watch a folder

I often use Photoshop Actions to automate repeatable commands in Photoshop.

I’ll also use tools like ImageMagick to script image processing commands, but ImageMagick does not have Photoshop’s breadth of powerful image processing commands. Plus it’s much easier to set up actions in Photoshop than ImageMagick.

I work with many images (1,000,000+ images) that are procedurally created. It’s a pain to find disk space for the images, take days to create the images, have Photoshop run on the images, and then process the images after Photoshop is done. The only part of my process which requires human intervention is starting a batch process in Photoshop twice a day to run actions on a directory full of files.

It would be much more convenient and powerful to have Photoshop continuously “watch” an input folder. When new images are moved into the folder, Photoshop runs an action on the images and saves the results to the output folder.

My process that runs outside of Photoshop creates the input images, and then moves them to the input folder. A separate process watches the output folder for finished images, and continues working on them. No human interaction. -- just a big image processing pipeline that efficiently works all weekend while I don’t worry about it.

A bonus would be a way to create a file in the “input” directory which tells Photoshop which action to run on the image files in the input directory.

I know there is additional scripting capability in Photoshop (above and beyond actions) using AppleScript, JavaScript and Visual Basic – but after looking through the scripting documentation, I haven’t seen access to local file system contents as part of scripting. I have only seen access to Photoshop’s internals.

Although I have spent a fair amount of time looking for a solution, I have not found a way to accomplish my goal.

Adobe has on-line reference to their scripting documentation here:

Anyone have some help for me?

- Andrew
  08 August 2007
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