We believe that Player is the most flexible and reliable solution for automating Photoshop 3, and will continue to play a role with Photoshop 4 -- though a smaller one.
Adobe announced and demonstrated Photoshop 4 at Seybold Expo (September '96), to ship in November. One of the new features is an Actions palette. The following description is based on a brief look, plus followup discussion with others who saw a demo. (Feedback welcome!) It's included here on a "best efforts" basis; PreFab is not responsible for errors or omissions.
The user can click Record, type a name for the Action (macro), perform a series of operations, then click stop. Each Action appears in the palette, using a nice outline metaphor. Double-clicking on a step will bring up the appropriate dialog. Individual steps can be rearranged, deleted and copy/pasted between Actions. Actions can be assigned to one of the Function keys (with optional shift key), but NOT to cmd/opt/ctrl combinations thereof, or to any other keys. When an Action runs, it does not display the dialogs and therefore should run fine in the background. There is an option to display any of the dialogs and pause for user input.
An Action can be run on a folder of images. I don't know about an output folder, adding ".gif" or whatever, or what happens if a file with the new name already exists.
OSA Support: AppleScript & Frontier
- The AppleScript dictionary in the beta version has lots of verbs (no object model support), but apparently they don't work yet. Rumor has it that they may be pulled out before release. I assume Adobe will leave "do script" to execute a named Action.
- I doubt there will be direct support for Frontier. (Frontier can generate "glue" tables by reading the dictionary, so that's not a problem.)
- I doubt there will be a way to pass parameters to an Action (e.g. reduce by 33% vs. 50%), nor a way to get information from Photoshop back to a script.
- From the script writer's perspective, Photoshop is not (I assume) recordable.
Role for Player
- The best solution for Photoshop 3 (and for Illustrator and many other apps).
- Control non-scriptable Photoshop plug-ins. (It's possible that an Action can control new third-party plug-ins, but I doubt it will control existing ones.)
- Fill gaps in Photoshop 4's Actions. (It's too early to tell whether the gaps will be small or large.)
Advantages of Photoshop 4 Actions
- Easier to create and edit simple scripts.
- Runs in the backround.
Advantages of Player & OSA Scripting
- Can prompt the user at the beginning of a batch and apply the settings to every image.
- Simple control from other applications, e.g. FaceSpan or Luminous OPEN.
- Integrate with other applications as part of a complete workflow solution.
- Easier to distribute automation solutions.
- Create libraries of commonly used functions (subroutines), pass options as parameters.
- Create flexible, reliable scripts using variables, comments, repeat loops, if/then decisions.
This document is preliminary; feedback welcome!
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