Mass Image Resizing Using Photoshop Actions

By Dr Diablo | Photoshop CS3 | Beginner

We all have been in a situation where we had to take a bundle of photos from our camera at the end of the day to email these 80 pictures, it is no shock how large the total size of these images can be. The average image size from an 8 megapixel camera is around 2.5MB. Multiply that by 50 would throw you back at 125MB file size - which is basically a disaster for you in terms of uploading time and major problem for those running slow internet connections.

Of course the easy solution for this is to resize the images, but in practical terms that is impossible if you have tens or even hundreds of photographs. This tutorial will teach you how to use Photoshop Actions to resize a massive number of images in one go. An Action is a series of tasks that you play back on a single file or a batch of files.

Our tutorial is divided into the following sections:

  1. Prepare the images.
  2. Record the command.
  3. Batch play the command.

Preparing Your Images

Start off by putting all the images that you want to resize in a separate folder on your desktop. I used five images as shown below (total size around 12MB), but you can use any number of images when you follow this tutorial yourself.

Plaine Images from Digital Camera

Recording Actions

Open up Photoshop and go through File>Open, select one of the images and click Open.

Opening the Image

The image will now be open within your workspace, the idea here is that we are going to use Actions to record the steps for resizing a single image, and then automatically play those steps for the rest of the images to complete the resize process automatically. Go through Window>Actions to bring up the Actions Panel. Click the Create New Set to create a set for your custom made actions.

Create New Set

Click on the Create New Action button from the Actions Panel to start the recording process.

Create New Action

Give a name to your Action and click Record to start, I named my Action Image Resizing.

New Action Panel

From now on, Photoshop will be recording every command you make, so make sure you follow the following steps correctly. Select the image and go through Image>Image Size, and just change the width to 640 and the height to 480. In my opinion, resizing images to 640x480 is pretty enough, but if you want to increase that, you can change it to 800x600 or whatever size you want as long as the proportions are constrained.

Image Size Properties

Go through File>Save for Web & Devices and input the options as shown in the screenshot below. Click the screenshot to enlarge.

Exporting Image through Save for Web & Devices

Save your image wherever you want while making sure you leave the file name as it is. Close the image, go back to your Actions Panel and click on the Stop button. This has stopped the recording so that the action has been recorded until you closed your image in previous step.

Stop Recording

Batch playing the command

Now that all of the actions are recorded all you have to do is simply Automate the action on a batch of images saved in a specific folder. Go through File>Automate>Batch and input the settings as shown in the screenshot below, you may want to click the screenshot to enlarge it. The Batch menu allows you to play a previously saved Action on multiple similar files. The Source section is where you select your desired source folder and the Destination section indicates where will the output images be located at. We selected to Override "Save As" Commands so that our Save for Web & Devices Step are also applied. Finally, the File Naming section allows selection of various ways to save your output files, in the screenshot below the output images will have their original file name along with their original extension.

Automatic Batch Properties

Once you click OK, Photoshop will open each image and lays the saved action, this process will take you less than 10 seconds. Now if you check the size of your images, you will see that they will be 419 KBs in total, that makes the reduction rate of 96.5%!

Final Total Size

This concludes our tutorial, I hope that you learnt something new from it, feel free to email me on diablo@republicofcode.com for any comments or questions or alternatively post in the Oman3D Forum to get instant feedback.

- End of Tutorial.