Batch Processing For PNG

Relating to my previous post which resulted in multiple files of the type I didn’t require, I needed a way of automatically changing the file format.
If I were using Lightroom, then exporting as JPG, PSD or TIFF is a synch. Unfortunately I need PNG files because they support transparency and are lightweight for the web. While Lightroom can Import PNG files, it cannot create them from PSD files, or Tiff files.

The only option is to bring the files in to Photoshop and export as PNG files. I could choose “save as” PNG but the Export for Web gives more options.


Rather than bring all the files in to Photoshop and dealing with them one by one we can use the power of batch processing directly from Photoshop: File > Automate > Batch… or as I prefer, from Bridge: Tools > Photoshop > Batch…


The reason I prefer Bridge is because I can easily see and select which files will be processed ahead of time. This includes files that are not in the same folders. Using collections, images from several locations can be organized.

Before we can process a batch of images we need to create an action upon which the Batch will call. Recording an action is really quite simple. With an image open and ready to be saved click the New Action icon in the Actions Panel. Name the action and choose which set to place it in.


At this point everything you do is being recorded (some things cannot be recorded directly in a an action but in this case those don’t apply) including where the file is saved.
Once the action is recorded it can be selected in the Batch dialog.

On the right side of the dialog you’ll have options of where to save the files but since our action includes the location of a PNG folder on the desktop we can leave it set to None. Thats really all there is to it. If the PNG folder on the desktop ever gets deleted it will cause the action to stop with an error. Make a new folder and run the action again.


The result. PNG’s with transparency in their own folder ready to deploy.

Can’t I do this from Lightroom?

Good question. The short answer is no. The reason is we are in this instance creating not only a PNG file but a file with transparency. The alternative answer is yes, sort of. You will still need to setup an action in Photoshop and the create a Droplet
Photoshop: File > Automate > Create Droplet…
It looks very much like the Batch dialog with regard to selecting the action and destination but you will also choose where to save this Droplet.


In order for Lightroom to use it we will save it in the Export Actions Folder.
On Mac: /Users/[user name]/Library/Application Support/Adobe/Lightroom/Export Actions/
On PC: \Users\[user name]\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Lightroom\Export Actions\.

Lightroom can access the droplet from the Export Dialog. At the bottom of the options select Post processing / After Export. There you will see the Droplet.
Its important to note that as we are exporting a file, albeit the original, we are creating duplicate files. That is why you’ll see my settings send the file to the desktop in a subfolder “Trash” These files are purely for the action to run on and can be discarded.


So all we are really doing here is substituting Lightroom for Bridge. Both can organize the files prior to running the action so its simply a personal preference of the interface. After you have set up the Export Dialog, go ahead and save it as a preset. Then next time you have selected your images you can simply call the export and action process from the File Menu.


Dont forget to delete the temporary file created on the Desktop in the Trash folder.