PhotoshopNews » Scripting & Automation The latest news about the top pixel wrangling application on the planet. Sun, 17 Jul 2011 17:19:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Smart filtering with the Lens blur filter Wed, 28 Nov 2007 13:33:45 +0000 Martin Evening indola-03a-smalll.jpgindola-03-small.jpg

In Chapter 1 of my Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers book, I provided a brief example of how one might apply the Lens Blur filter to a Smart Object in Photoshop CS3 and keep the background blur settings editable. However, it was pointed out to me just recently that the Lens Blur filter is actually disabled in CS3 when you seek to apply it to a Smart Object. This is one of those things that I failed to notice as I was finalizing the book and it seems that I am not the only author who got caught out by this late change to the program. Fortunately there is an easy remedy for accessing Lens Blur as a Smart Filter.

At first, disabling Lens Blur for Smart Objects seems like an odd thing to have done, because if you can use the Lens Blur to make a background go out of focus, you might well want the opportunity to re-edit those settings at a later date and work from an original, unblurred image – an ideal case for using Smart Filters. But then it was explained to me that one of the key features of the Lens Blur filter is its ability to reference an alpha channel and use this as a depth map to control the level of blurring across different parts of the image. This is indeed a useful feature, but it did have the potential to cause confusion when working with Smart Filters. Imagine you had applied the Lens Blur filter to a Smart Object layer and had referenced an alpha channel in the source document. If you were to later edit the alpha channel in the source document, the Smart Object layer would not register any change, no change that is until the next time you double-clicked to open the Lens Blur filter. Doing that would cause the smart filter to reference the alpha channel again and if the channel had been edited, you would only then see a new rendering of the Lens Blur filter. Figure 1 has a summary taken from chapter 1 of my book that shows the Lens Blur being used as a smart filter to blur the background in a photo.



Figure 1. In this example I opened a raw DNG image as a Smart Object and added a normal pixel layer of a backdrop image, which I then converted to become a Smart Object layer. I then added a layer mask to reveal the model on the layer below. Once a layer or group of layers have been converted to a Smart Object, one can then apply Smart Filters. Here, you can see how I applied a Lens Blur filter to the Smart Object and applied a gradient to the Smart Filters mask to reveal some of the unsharpened detail in the original pixel layer.

Now to be honest, if you are the type of person who is inclined to use the Lens Blur filter with depth maps, you are probably going to be OK coping with anomalies like this. The good news is that although the Lens Blur has been disabled to get around Photoshop’s inability to ‘paramertize’ the depth map settings, there is a simple way to override this behavior.

How to enable the Lens Blur filter
Help is at hand though in the form of a script that you will find inside your Adobe Photoshop CS3 application folder. Here are the instructions you need to enable all filters:


1. To enable Smart Filters for all plug-ins, go to the File ➯ Scripts menu in Photoshop CS3 and choose Browse…


2. This will open a system navigation window and from there you will want to use the following directory path: Adobe Photoshop CS3 folder/Scripting Guide/Sample Scripts/Javascript and select: EnableAllPluginsforSmartFilters.jsx (shown here is the Macintosh navigation window, but the PC directory path is exactly the same).

3. Once you have located the EnableAllPluginsforSmartFilters.jsx script, you can click Load or double-click to run it, which will then show the Script Alert dialog. If you wish to proceed, click ‘Yes’ and the Lens Blur including all other filters will now be accessible for use as smart filters. If you want to turn off this behavior, run through the same steps described here and click ‘No’ when the Script Alert dialog shows.

The benefits and pitfalls of enabling all filters
Now that you can see how simple it is to enable all filters, it is tempting to leave this as the new default. Which you can do of course, but it is worth bearing in mind that it is not just the Lens Blur you are gaining access to, but all filters that were previously unavailable for use as smart filters. However, unlike the Lens Blur, some of these do not fit in well with a smart filter workflow.

Basically, smart filters are intended for use with value based filters only: things like the Add Noise or Unsharp mask filter. They do not work well with filters that use brushes, such as ‘Liquify’. With ‘all filters enabled’ you can add Liquify as a smart filter, but the usefulness of doing so is restricted to turning an applied Liquify filter on or off. For example, you won’t be able to tweak the Liquify settings. If you double-click a Liquify filter in a filter stack it will cancel the current liquify settings and reopen the Liquify dialog with it reset to show no adjustments. This is not exactly what you would expect to happen here, but it does at least allow you to experiment with various liquify treatments and use the History palette to compare different liquified versions of an image. Likewise, if you adjust any filters in a smart filter stack, these too will force the Liquify dialog to reopen, with everything reset again.

Third-party plug-ins
With third-party plug-ins, the same rules apply, except you will find that those plug-ins that have been recently updated for CS3 should have an embedded smart filter marker that will automatically make them compatible with Smart Filters in CS3. If that is not the case, then enabling all filters in the way I describe here will help your get around such restrictions. But again, with the same provisos as before. Any filter you apply as a smart filter must be a ‘value based’ filter if it is to fit in successfully with a smart filter workflow.

My thanks to Uwe Steinmuelller for pointing out the ‘enable all filters’ script to me.

cover-versioncs3-low.jpg Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers is published by Focal Press and can be purchased directly from Focal plus all the usual book publishing outlets.

This latest edition is 704 pages and comes with a DVD disk containing a CS3 Help Guide plus movie tutorials.

As a special perk for PhotoshopNews readers, Martin has made his Chapter 1: What’s New in Photoshop CS3 available for free download.

The 24 page PDF, outlines all the new features of Photoshop CS3 and Bridge 2, written from a user’s perspective. It offers an honest appraisal of what is on offer in Photoshop CS3.

Click here to download the PDF (4.05 MB)

You can also access a Photoshop News story on the latest Camera Raw 4.1 update and download a printable PDF supplement the book: Camera Raw 4.1 Update (2.5 MB)

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Scripting Sessions @ Photoshop World–Vegas Fri, 08 Jun 2007 20:11:40 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff Ok all you scripting geeks, get ready…back by popular demand and with an additional session, Jeff Tranberry, Photoshop QE engineer and all around script maven will be doing two Photoshop Scripting Sessions at Photoshop World Las Vegas.

Jeff writes, on his Adobe Blog (called Jeff Tranberry’s Photoshop Crawlspace):

We did a Beginners session at Photoshop World Boston back in April. This time Tom Ruark, a Computer Scientist at Adobe, who is responsible for the SDK, plug-in API, and scripting API for Photoshop, will show some more advanced stuff during the intermediate session. Tom and I will be on hand for both sessions, so come by and check it out.

Thursday, September 06
01:00p-02:45p – Photoshop Scripting (Beginners) – with Jeff Tranberry:
“Do you think Scripting is just for geeks? Photoshop offers a world of new possibilities to those who are familiar with writing scripts to automate and extend Photoshop. In this session you’ll learn the basics of scripting in Photoshop CS3 using Javascript and examine some real world examples of how you can make use of these basics to push Photoshop even further.”

03:00p-05:45p – Photoshop Scripting (Intermediate, Hands-on Workshop) – with Tom Ruark:
“In this session you’ll learn the how to write and debug more complex scripts using the Adobe ExtendScript Toolkit. You are encouraged to bring your own laptop to participate in the class workshop, where you can put your skills to work writing your own scripts with the help of the instructors. Class participants can then share their creation during a final show-and-tell discussion.”

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Digital Outback Photo Releases Free Script Thu, 31 Aug 2006 16:32:59 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff The Digital Outback Photo web site has released a free Photoshop Batch processor: XBatch

XBatch is simple to use and produces batch operations like Image Processor in Photoshop CS2 but maintains the folder hierarchy of the original folder of images.

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Trevor Morris Updates a Lot of Scripts Mon, 21 Aug 2006 18:17:22 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff gfxtm.gif Trevor Morris, who runs the GFX web site has uploaded a bunch of new Photoshop scripts including a beta to a new Black & White Variations script.

  • Hide All Layers – set the visibility of all layers to off (invisible)
  • Show All Layers – set the visibility of all layers to on (visible)
  • Search For Layers – searches for layers by name and selects the first match
  • Sort Layers – sorts all layers in the active document alphanumerically (from top to bottom)

Be sure to check out his Photoshop Tutorials while you’re there.

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Into scripting?

PS-Scripts is a community resource site for Photoshop scripting and Photoshop automation.

It has been established by a group of the more active contributors to the Adobe Photoshop User to User forum in response to a need for various functionalities that the latter does not provide. Also some merit is seen in having a place for Photoshop scripters to meet and share ideas which is independent of Adobe itself. PS-Scripts was initially created by: Andrew Hall, Xbytor, nzmike, MickM, rstucky, Larry Ligon. Check it out if you are into scripting.

Also check out the Photoshop Scripting User to User Forum hosted by Adobe.

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Adobe Photoshop CS2 Official JavaScript Reference Fri, 07 Oct 2005 19:52:13 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff Do you spend too much time doing repetitive production tasks such as placing and replacing images, resizing them, dragging them from one document to another, and preparing images for printing instead of being creative? Do you use Adobe Photoshop CS2 and have some experience with scripting? You’re in luck.

Since Adobe Creative Suite 2 was created with built-in support for scripting, virtually every repetitive or time-consuming task that creative professionals have to do in the Adobe Creative Suite can be streamlined with the help of a script.

This book describes how to use JavaScript to manipulate and extend Adobe Photoshop within Adobe Creative Suite 2, and provides reference information for the JavaScript objects, properties, and functions defined by Adobe’s applications. Now available in print for the first time, this scripting reference provides the information experienced JavaScript users need to create custom scripts for Photoshop, whether you’re looking to automate Camera Raw options and settings, automatically resize and export large batches of images into your page-layout application, or want to automatically add metadata, like a copyright notice, to selected image files. These are just a few examples of how you can use Photoshop CS2′s built-in scripting capabilities to save you from hours of repetitive tasks.

Adobe Photoshop CS2 Official JavaScript Reference
Published by Adobe Press
ISBN: 0321409701
Published: Oct 10, 2005; Copyright 2006
Dimensions 7 X 9-1/4 ; Pages: 464; Edition: 1st.
List Price: $39.99

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PhotoshopNews inside of Adobe Bridge Mon, 15 Aug 2005 19:34:52 +0000 Jeff Schewe

In cooperation with PixelGenius, PhotoshopNews is pleased to announce the availability of a new Adobe Bridge script to put inside of Bridge. Yes, right inside of Bridge!

The script, with installers for both Mac and Windows, will correctly install as a Favorite in Bridge and allow you to navigate to PhotoshopNews inside of Bridge.

Useful if you wish to keep track of Photoshop news & updates or trouble shoot Photoshop “Issues” while you have a little free time like when running a long Photoshop Batch operation in the background.

You can browse the actual PSN web site and view all the stories right inside of Bridge without using a web browser or RSS news reader.


Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

PSN is listed as a Favorite and you can view all the PhotoshopNews content inside of Bridge.

Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

Clicking on a story title will navigate to the story page view such as the story on new Dr. Brown tutorials and scripts.

There’s even a Search function directly in the Favorites panel to allow you to search for specific information.

Clicking on Search will allow you to enter in phrases or in this case, a name–John Nack (Senior Product Manager of Photoshop) and find the results in PhotoshopNews.

Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

Here’s a result of the search, a PSN story with an interview with John Nack.

But wait, there’s more!

The script also installs a drop down menu in Bridge Help to navigate directly to all of the Photoshop related story categories on PhotoshopNews.

Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

Here’s the result for the Photoshop “Issues” editorial category.

Of course, you can also just navigate inside of the normal web site such as clicking on the PSN Top Stories category.

Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

Here’s the result for the PSN Top Stories editorial category.

All of the editorial and photos are available inside of Bridge. You can even view the PSN Top Story A Visit to Adobe inside of Bridge…somehow, we find that particularly fitting.

Click on the image to see larger sized image in a new window.

There are a couple of caveats however. This really only works optimally when you have high-speed broadband internet connections. If you are on dial-up, you really don’t want to get bogged down viewing PhotoshopNews on a slow net connection. For those users, we would suggest using an RSS News Reader to check up on PSN.

The other slightly odd viewing experience is that if you click on an external link in one of the PSN Stories, you will naviagate to that web site with no problem, but there’s no “Back Button” in Bridge to take you back to the previous web site. However, you can always get back to PSN via the Favorites button. For the “Links” column in PSN, most of the links will launch inside a separate web browser.

In combination with PixelGenius engineering, Mike Skurski teamed up with JavaScript maven Tom Fors (he’s the fellow who scripted the ACR-Calibrator script) to bring this new script to PhotoshopNews readers for free. This was one of the things PG cooked up during our PixelGenius meeting in early July. To see the report, check out the story: PixelGenius Meeting Report

For those of you who may wonder, yes, we ran this concept by Adobe and the Photoshop/Bridge Team. This is what John Nack had to say: “I hadn’t gotten to try out the installer until now, but I just did and it’s pretty sweet! It successfully installed the link in Bridge, and I was able to search the site (for my own name, naturally).”

We have both Mac and Windows installers that will correctly install all of the required components inside of Bridge. Note, Bridge must not be running when you install the scripts. Additionally, for the Mac installer, there is an uninstaller that will remove everything and leave Bridge in its default condition. For Windows, you just need to run the software uninstall routine.

The PSN Mac installer download is a .dmg file while the PSN Windows installer is a .zip file. You will need to decompress and decode the zip download file using a utility such as StuffIt or WinZip. The PSN script was designed and tested with Adobe Bridge version 1.02. While it may work with 1.00 and 1.01, we would highly suggest downloading and installing the most recent Bridge 1.02 version. To download the most recent version, check this PSN story Adobe Bridge Update 1.02 posted.

This is the PSN Mac Script installer.
Click HERE to download the installer for Mac.

This is the PSN Windows Script installer.
Click HERE to download the installer for Windows.

For those of you on slow net connections, you can add PhotoshopNews RSS news feeds directly in the Suite version of Adobe Bridge and read the feeds in Bridge Center. Check this PSN story for instruction: Adding PhotoshopNews RSS to Bridge Center

PhotoshopNews hopes you’ll find this new method of reading PSN useful (and even a little bit fun). Let us know what you think. In the near future, PhotoshopNews and PixelGenius will be announcing additional productivity scripts for both Bridge and Photoshop CS2, so stay tuned…inside of Bridge!


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Adobe Bridge Batch Issue Thu, 23 Jun 2005 20:27:57 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff There is an issue when running the Batch automate function from within Bridge, where actions that contain calls to scripts will fail.

This is a known issue and there is no fix at this time.

The only work around to this issue is to use Batch hosted from within Photoshop CS2 itself instead of Batch hosted in Bridge. Batch hosted from within Photoshop CS2 will run actions that call scripts.

However, since there is no way to select images in Bridge and then switch to Photoshop CS2′s Batch and run batch operations on Bridge selected images, users will need to make selections in Bridge and put them in a folder. Then, from within Photoshop CS2′s Batch command, select the folder containing the images.

Actions that do not contain script calls will run as expected from Batch hosted by Bridge.

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Actions automate repetitive Photoshop tasks Wed, 22 Jun 2005 03:58:46 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff Source: Microsoft Pro Photo Home

Creating actions in Adobe Photoshop allows you to automate repetitive tasks to improve efficiency and consistency in your digital workflow.

While photographers tend to feel that each image deserves individual attention to ensure the best result possible, all too often, time is wasted on repetitive tasks that could easily be automated through batch processes on a large number of images. Automation can greatly reduce the time and tedium associated with repetitive tasks.

If you find you are performing the same tasks in the same order for a number of images, or if you have a group of images that need very similar corrections, you’ve probably found a candidate for automation in Photoshop.

Actions to the Rescue
Photoshop automations are defined in terms of actions. Actions contain a list of recorded steps that can be applied to images on demand. The basic process requires that you complete a specific task or series of tasks on a target image. Your computer records all of your mouse movements, clicks, and keystrokes so that they can be “played back” and applied to any image you work with in the future. You can run the action on a file (or group of files) at any time.

Read entire article

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New Adobe Bridge Script-Import Camera Wed, 08 Jun 2005 13:34:02 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff At Adobe Studio Exchange, there is a new script written for Adobe Bridge, available for downloading:
Import Camera.

Scripts for importing images via Bridge

These scripts can import image files from a camera (or other removable media) to your hard drive. This download is a zip file composed of the Import Camera script, several supporting scripts, and documentation.

Please see the included Import Camera.pdf file for information on installation and operation. By downloading this software from the Adobe Web site you agree to the terms of our license agreement Please read it before downloading.

License Type: Adobe EULA
Date created: 6/1/2005
Last modified: 6/1/2005
Product & Version: Bridge CS2 and higher
Type: Scripts
Platforms: Win,Mac
Category: Scripts for Bridge

Direct Download Link
Size: 355.78k

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Letter to the Editor – What about Scripting? Sun, 17 Apr 2005 18:23:59 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff PhotoshopNews reader, Larry, wrote in and said:
I’m looking for any information about the updates to the JavaScript scripting in Photoshop CS2. I can’t seem to find anyone who knows anything about new User Interface functions for JavaScript scripting.Here you go Larry.

Photoshop CS2 will have even more scripting support with the addition of the new Scripts Events Manager.

The Script Events Manager Dialog
(click image for full size view)

The Scripts Event Manager will allow users to attach specific scripts and run them based upon events occurring in Photoshop CS2. So a user could, for example, call a specific script and run it every time Photoshop is launched. Users could create a script that would set their preferences to a certain state and always be ensured that Photoshop would be set up a certain way. Another example would be when opening a “New Document” the new document event could prompt a script that would make sure that the document properties were exactly as required.

Detail of the Events drop-down menu. Note: users can define their own events for any supported scriptable event from the Scripting Reference.

For those who are unable to write custom Javascripts, the Script Events Manager can also be used to call a saved Action from a specified Action Set. While actions are somewhat more limited in automating Photoshop functionality, actions have the benefit that users can record and edit actions without any scripting experience.

Detail of the Events Manager Actions list-note, custom actions will show up under user named action sets

While previous versions of Photoshop had script running functionality, the new Script Events Manager further extends the usefulness of scripts in Photoshop CS2. With the additional ability to control not only scripts but actions and also combinations of scripts and actions, the Script Events Manager is one of those “stealth” features that crop up in Photoshop where not much is mentioned until it gets into the hands of users who discover just how powerful it can be.

In addition, Adobe Bridge, the new stand-alone application for browsing, has been opened up even more for script additions. There is an entire script SDK for writing and running scripts in Bridge. This SDK will (we believe) be on the installer disks for Photoshop CS2 as well as Creative Suite 2.

Hope this helps Larry.

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Categories Wed, 01 Sep 2004 16:35:05 +0000 PSN Editorial Staff

This is a test. . .it’s only a test. . .
If, this were a real emergancy, you would be out of luck!

Actually, this is just a placeholder to make sure all the content categories show.

You can quit reading now. . .


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