Vincent Laforet’s Blog

August 5, 2008, 9:30 am
Filed under: Tech Tips


Need to resize images for your Blog every day?   Need to send 10,000 images out to a client at a certain size – and then a second batch in a different size and format?   If you’re like me – you hate doing repetitive tasks on a computer – after all that’s why you bought the darn thing thing for in the first place! (Oh – and did I mention you didn’t need to buy anything to get this done…)

Well – if you’re not already familiar with it – let me introduce you to a neat little app. called Automator – it comes free with every version of OSX – and once you start to use it – I promise you you’ll never stop.

Here’s the final script we’re going to put together:

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

Any programming software can be intimidating at first – but this is one of the most intuitive ones out there so don’t worry – here’s a very simple workflow for resizing images on the fly (in the end you’ll be able to apply this to any “hot folder” (i.e. any image(s) you drop on it get resized on the fly) or Right Click on any image and it becomes resized or even create a droplet… this stuff is genius and remains unused by most Mac users.  (Thanks to Sal at Apple for dreaming this app up – you can find more scripts here.

1. Launch Automator (It’s in your Applications folder)

2. Select “Custom” as a starting point

3. On the left, under “Library” click on “Files & Folders” and drag “Get Selected Finder Items” to the right grey window that says “Drag Actions or filters here to build you workflow”

4. back to the left side and under “Finder” click on “Rename Finder Items” and drag that to the right window.  On the top menu you can select from a variety of things (play with this on your own time!) and select “Add Text” from the pulldown menu.

5. I add “415px” in the blank box that says Add “this text” and select “before” in the drop down menu – this will add 415px to the name of any photo I drop onto it – for example Olympic1.jpg will result in 415pxOlympic1.jpg

6. back to the left side under “Photos”  click on “Scale Images” and drag it to the right grey window.

7. Enter the size you want to scale your image to – in my case I’ll enter 415 of course in the pulldown menu (that you don’t need to change in this example) which reads “To Size (pixels)”

That’s IT!  Your workflow is done…

Here are the final steps:

Save As… give it a name – in my case: “Resize415px”

Then the fun part:

You can also select the drop down menu in the “Save As…” menu, and instead of “Workflow” select “Application” – go ahead and save that action to your desktop – you should now see a Droplet on your desktop.  Drop any photo onto this droplet and Boom!  Your file is renamed and resized within seconds. Done.

Now two more options – go to “Save As Plugin:”

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

For “Finder” – give it a name (can be the same) – this means that any time you right click (or hold down the Control key on your keyboard and click) on an image – go down to the Automator menu and you’ll see your “Resize415px” script – release and boom your image is renamed and resized (and will be on the desktop.)

Click for Larger Image

Click for Larger Image

For “Folder Actions” (see * note below) – Attach it to a physical folder (create that folder now) on your desktop – such as “Drop files into here to resize to 415px” – and all you need to do is drop one or thousands of files onto this folder and all of your files will be resized.  (Check the “Enable Folder Actions” in the menu!)

(* Note: if you’re dropping thousands of files – I’d recommend you change the second step of your script – and instead of “Copy Finder Items” to the “Desktop” point it to another folder… duh – otherwise you’ll have thousands of files on your desktop – not good.)

(* Note 2: You can also change the script in step 2 – when it give you the warning that you’ll overwrite your first file – click “Don’t Add” – this is what I use for all of my scripts to be honest – (or if you’ve already created it or are in the process of – JUST DELETE STEP 2)  Personally,  I don’t need the first and resized copy – this will leave the file wherever it is (in whatever folder) and resize it for you right there w/o saving a second copy.  A definite must do if you’re working w/ several thousand files (unless you want to keep the originals.)

There are THOUSANDS of things you can do with this… want to create a folder or droplet so that you can send files to an FTP instantly… download Transmit by Panic and it comes w/ it’s own Automator action to do so…   want to rename files… change the format from PNG to JPEG – it’s all there… check here if you want to find more scrips.    You can also do all the resizing in Photoshop if you prefer – click here for that set of scripts.

If you’re confused by any part of this tutorial – type in “Automator Resize Image” into Google – and you’ll find thousands of examples of this workflow that might well be better than this one.

I’ll have plenty more coming your way if there’s interest. Let me know if this one was helpful/useful.


17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Thanks for the great tip. I’ve always just used Photoshop actions, but this seems to remove a couple of extra steps each time. And you’ve demystified what that Automator is all about! Very interested to hear your other tech tips.

Comment by Jim Hand

I’ve never opened Automator on my Mac. Just don’t understand how to use it. This is a great hack, thanks much. Please, feel free to share more for the rest of us lazy and uninformed photogs.

Comment by JL

[…] Check it out here. […]

Pingback by TECH TIP III « Vincent Laforet’s Blog | The Click

Glad to help – this thing is almost limitless in terms of what it can do … play with it and it will save you many hours of your life doing meaningless repetitive takes… and gray hair 😉

Comment by Vincent Laforet

HI Vincent,

Is there a simple way also to add a step that convert AdobeRGB to sRGB in this automator workflow


Comment by Tim

Automator, sadly to say is not availble for every version of OSX. I have 10.3.9 and it isn’t there.

Comment by John Ryan


The link to Ben Long’s Photoshop Automator Actions lets you download a slew of Automator scripts. According to the site, this includes tapping into Photoshop’s “convert to profile” feature.


Comment by Kevin

Oh WOW! Never knew abt Automator. The endless hours of repetitive resizing have been a nightmare – ur brain starts to feel like mush after a while. Thanks a mil for this!! Amazing!

Comment by ArabianMonkey

awesome! thanks for this.


Comment by robert

Hi Vincent, this post was extremely useful. I consider myself pretty dialed in with Mac Os X, but I’ve shied away from Automator. Thanks for breaking the ice. I’m not creating several different automation routines for mindless stuff. thanks!

Comment by Ed Fladung

oh, forgot to mention that it’s interesting that the “scale images” action only let’s you set the horizontal pixel size. Is height a second class citizen? [rhetorical question]

Comment by Ed Fladung

Hi Vincent:

I am a big fan of your work and your blog. I’d love to read a detailed step-by step of your workflow – from image capture to Photoshop tweaks that you commonly use. Thanks a lot.


Comment by Evan McGlinn

hi vincent, i use this sort of thing quite a bit, but have never managed to work out if there’s a way to specify resizing to be actioned on the longest dimension; in other words to process a batch of mixed landscape and portrait images so that the landscapes are 400px wide and the portraits are 400px tall, for example. other than sorting them before running them through a specific landscape or portrait batch or applet. any ideas ?

Comment by james madelin

I do not believe this

Comment by fornetti

[…] Este es un ejemplo que te ahorrará un tiempo considerable a la hora de guardar y organizar tus fotografías para incluirlas en tu web o insertarlas en una entrada del blog. Podemos añadir otras opciones interesantes como añadir un perfil de color a la imagen para su correcta visualización en la web o convertir las imágenes al formato de imagen seleccionado. Via […]

Pingback by Redimensionar imagenes en lote con Automator Mac OSX | numero f

A cool blog post there mate ! Thank you for that .

Comment by Baobong da

[…] Este es un ejemplo que te ahorrará un tiempo considerable a la hora de guardar y organizar tus fotografías para incluirlas en tu web o insertarlas en una entrada del blog. Podemos añadir otras opciones interesantes como añadir un perfil de color a la imagen para su correcta visualización en la web o convertir las imágenes al formato de imagen seleccionado. Via […]

Pingback by Redimensionar imágenes en lote con Automator | AppleMate

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