Use Photoshop’s Script Events Manager

Do you use scripts to improve your Photoshop workflow? Do you wish you could, but don’t know a thing about scripting? Adobe has made it painfully easy for you to do so, and the Script Events Manager automates the whole process.

I am currently improving my photography workflow by shooting in Raw, purchasing a larger monitor and using Bridge a lot more to see at a glance the photos I have at hand. Because photography involves a lot of different files that require processing, it’s a prime opportunity to leverage Photoshop’s actions and scripting capabilities and let the computer do the mundane, repetitive work. I’ve used actions for years now and love it (I think it’s one of Photoshop’s greatest features) but scripts not so much.

That’s about to change, because Photoshop CS2 has radically expanded its ability to use scripts and scripting, and you’ll find several script-based image processors and “actions” in File –> Scripts. My How-To article will focus on the Script Events Manager, which you’ll find in the same menu and goes a step further by allowing you to execute a script triggered by a Photoshop command.

We’ll do a very easy one (and quite useless), then we’ll do one that’s more advanced and has real value to a photography workflow.

Step 1: Go to File –> Scripts –> Script Events Manager. The Script Events Manager dialog box will appear.

Step 2: Select “Start Application” in the field marked “Photoshop Event” and “Welcome.jsx” in the Script field. Click “Add” to add the script in the top field and ensure “Enable Events to Run Scripts/Actions” is checked.

Step 3: Quit Photoshop and restart.

Photoshop will start up as normal but, if you set the script event properly, you’ll also get a notice: “You have successfully configured an event triggering a JavaScript.” Awesome!

AWESOME?

Not quite awesome, but the technique is sound—and we might be able to do something similar that’s useful! If you take the time to explore the Photoshop Event and Script fields, you’ll see several options for both events and scripts. Just by using the default options, we can set up a couple useful script-based events that will appeal to photographers.

Step 4: Go to File –> Scripts –> Script Events Manager. The Script Events Manager dialog box will appear. Remove the script event added in Step 3.

Step 5: Select “Open Document” in the field marked “Photoshop Event” and “Display Camera Maker.jsx” in the Script field. Click “Add” to add the script in the top field.

Step 6: Select “Save Document” in the field marked “Photoshop Event” and “Save Extra JPEG.jsx” in the Script field. Click “Add” to add the script in the top field and ensure “Enable Events to Run Scripts/Actions” is checked. Click “Done”. (No need to restart Photoshop).

With these two script events in place, two things happen:

Camera information is supplied for every image opened in Photoshop. This is very helpful if you’re working with DNG files or Raw photographs, because even though Camera Raw is a great tool it doesn’t give you access to any metadata. After opening the image in Camera Raw, Photoshop’s script event will let you know the make and model of the camera used.

Every time a file is saved, a duplicate JPEG is saved with it. Some cameras (like my Nikon D70) can create a Raw and JPEG file for every frame I shoot, but that will eat up memory. I’d rather shoot completely in Raw, then when I convert it with Camera Raw and save as a Photoshop or TIFF file Photoshop will create a JPEG along with it. Shoot in one format, save in another format and get the third gratis!

MORE POWER

The Script Events Manager not only handles scripts but actions as well, making it similar to the File –> Automate –> Batch… command except it is triggered by an application event instead of a user event. So if you’re mad for actions like I am but not so much into scripting, there’s a lot you’ll like in the Script Events Manager.

Adobe has also made it quite easy to get into scripting: look in the Scripting Guide folder in the Photoshop application folder and you’ll see a variety of sample scripts, from VBScripts to AppleScripts to JavaScripts (which are marked by the .jsx suffix, like you saw in the default scripts earlier). Not only that, but there’s tons of Photoshop scripts out there; here are some good resources:

Adobe Studio Exchange
Trevor Morris scripts
Jeff Tranberry scripts
About.com Photoshop scripts