Droplets For The Lazy

Photoshop can make easy work of your batch processing with Droplets. This tutorial explains how EASY it is to get going.

Batch processing. Doing the same thing repeatedly in the same way. People don’t seem to know that Photoshop can do this, and how easy it is. Droplets can solve your batch processing problems easily.

In order to use a Photoshop Droplet, you have to use an Action. What’s an action? It’s basically a script of automated commands that Photoshop follows. For this example, I’m going to use a very popular action: resizing a group of photos.

The first step is going to be creating the Action. Make sure your Action Palette is open. If not, go [Window > Actions] or [Alt+F9]. Click on the [New Action Set] button in the Actions palette, just so your action easier to find later. Name it whatever you want, I try to name it as detailed as possible to what it is, since I lack a “memory.”

Click on the [Create New Action] button. Name it whatever you want, I suggest keeping the similar naming scheme stated before. Click [Record]. You’ll be able to tell that the Action is recording by the little red button on the bottom of the Actions Palette. From now on, everything you do will be recorded by Photoshop. Then secretly emailed to your mom (j/k).


Since I’m going to be resizing this massive image into a smaller, more friendly format for sharing with all of my e-friends, I’m going to go under [Image > Image Size]. I’m changing my image size from 2160×1440 to 640×480. That’s right 480. Ok, it’s not 480, it’s 427, even though I named that Action otherwise. I’m not changing the resolution because I’m going to save it out as a JPEG, which is automatically converted to 72dpi. After I click OK, you can see that that [Image Resize] was recorded in the Actions Palette.



Now go to [File > Save As]. You can leave the directory as the current directory. Append something to the end of the file name. I’m using “_small.” The JPEG dialog box will pop-up, since I’m saving as JPEG. I set the quality to 8. Not too crappy, and not too large of a file size. Click OK and close the image.



Now you can stop your Action recording. Click on the square Stop Recording button next to the Record Button on the Actions Palette.


Now to create the Droplet. This part gets a little complicated, because there’s a lot of different settings. The best advice I can give is to play around. I’ll show you my method, but ultimately, you’ll end up developing your own. Anyways, onward and upward.

Go under [File > Automate > Create Droplet]. The dialog box will open. Click the [Choose] button. The Save dialog box will open. Choose the directory, or wherever you want to put your Droplet file. Name it accordingly also.

Under Set: choose the Action Set you made.
Under Action: choose the Action you made.

Then click on the two checkboxes: [Suppress File Open Options Dialog] and [Suppress Color Profile Warnings].


Where it says Destination: choose Folder. The [Choose] button will appear now. Click on that and in the dialog box that opens, select a folder you want to use. I set it up to use as a temporary folder. So I made a folder called “Resize.” I also configured my options as you can see below.


You now have a Droplet file. All you have to do is navigate to the file on your computer, not in Photoshop, then just drag-and-drop whatever image files you want to resize onto the Droplet icon. Photoshop will open, process through your images, then save the resized images to the folder you specified.


You can use this for any Action that you make in Photoshop.

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Comments Spill 11 Comments »

  1. August 5, 2008 12:41 pmPatti

    I followed all the steps, created the droplet, ran the action and the pictures were resizing.

    But i can’t, for the life of me, find where they were saved.

    They didn’t save to the destination folder I specified.

  2. October 9, 2008 6:22 pmRaymond

    Ah, that explains it! Thanks very much this is what I need to interface with Photoshop. I was going to use OLE Automation but this seems more straightforward. I want to take the images that my tethered shooting script downloads and have them immediately processed in some way. So I can just make a droplet with the required settings then have the script call it.

  3. December 2, 2008 10:02 amzenone

    This process works fine, except it renames any files i process with the droplet to the name of the image i used when i created the action, how to i keep the name of the file I am processing?

  4. December 14, 2008 10:56 pmMitch

    I’m still using PS7. When I made my first droplet and dragged a folder of images to it, I used the original images and much to my dismay, every image was modified to the droplet/action settings and I lost the “originals”. My solution was to copy all the images I wanted automated by my droplet, keeping the originals intact. I don’t know how newer versions of Pshop handles droplets.

  5. February 3, 2009 1:48 amMarco Jona

    Zenone: What you need is to have a “Save as” in your action (and not Save); then in the droplet check the Override Action Save As Commands”.
    Now you have 2 options:
    1) Choose the Destination as “Save ad Close” and your image will be saved without prompt (overwrite! be careful).
    2)Choose a specific folder and parameters for the name in the destination and you will get copies of your images, but always in the same directory.

  6. February 3, 2009 1:53 amMarco Jona

    Another thing: you can place your droplet in your SendTo folder (Documents and Settings/[your username]/SendTo); this way, you can just select the pictures you want to apply your action to, right click -> SendTo ->[your droplet name]

  7. February 19, 2009 10:00 amMark Johnson Music & Media » Blog Archive » Photoshop Droplets

    [...] http://www.photoshoplab.com/droplets-for-the-lazy.html ? [...]

  8. March 26, 2009 10:25 pmda5id

    I must be doing something wrong. I made the action and the droplet on the desktop, but when I try and drag a folder of jpgs onto the droplet I get a black “bar and circle’ saying I’m not allowed to drop it on there. If i try and drag one image onto the droplet, it opens up photoshop but nothing happens.

  9. April 16, 2009 5:59 pmJohn

    The droplet works great but the file renaming does not work with Save for Web (cs3) but it does with Save As. In Save for Web it just saves the file with existing doc name, no custom naming.

    Anyone had this problem?

  10. May 17, 2009 4:32 pmTerri

    Great tutorial, thanks~!

  11. June 5, 2009 12:26 pmKelsey

    For some reason, Photoshop goes through all the processes-it looks like it is anyway, but then it doesn’t save to the folder that I tell it to. There’s nothing in the folder, Help!

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