Video – Lightroom and Photoshop Automation

Last week at Photoshop World in Boston, I taught a class on Lightroom/Photoshop integration. The class went over really well and I think it gave people a good look at why and when you’d go between the two programs. Well, during the class a did a tutorial on how to automate Lightroom with a Photoshop action and a Droplet. Now there’s two things you should know about this technique: 1) It’s really cool, and 2) I totally screwed it up during class and missed a tiny step. So I came back home and naturally had to 1) Figure out where I messed it up and, 2) Do a video of the technique to regain my confidence back πŸ™‚

Anyway, if you were at the show and saw me mess up, then you’ll get to see this run flawlessly. And if you weren’t at Photoshop World, then you’ll get to see it run flawlessly, all the while never knowing the humiliation I suffered last Friday. Enjoy!

Click here to download the Video


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  1. I was recently catching up on all my podcast and saw the “Lightroom and Photoshop Automation” I think it’s an awesome tip and want to use if for placing my watermark.
    I have an action to make the watermark layer and have the WM saved as a brush. I usually will run action then place to mark where I want it. Is there a way to place it in the same spot on vertical or horizontal pics every time?
    I think I have seen in somewhere but I forgot and can’t find it

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    • McCauley,
      Yep, there sure is. Get Lightroom 3 and it’s automatic and built right into the Watermark dialog πŸ™‚
      Aside from LR3, it would be difficult to incorporate into an action.
      – Matt K

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  2. Have you had any issues with droplets running from Lightroom 3 BETA? I have Windows 7 64 bit + LR3 64 bit. If I run a droplet upon export I get a Photoshop error telling my the file cannot be found. But, if I drop a file directly on the droplet shortcut it opens Photoshop and processes it properly.

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  3. Seems like a cool tip! However.. the video seems to have gone missing..

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  4. Hi Matt,

    I tried this feature as well. But I get into a problem which I cannot solve – is there a way to make PS recognize the orientation of a picture? Because I cannot prepare an action that would do its thing on portrait and landscape images. Something like “according to the long edge” would be needed – a feature that is already in LR included, but doesn’t work on droplets…


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  5. I love the idea of this, but i set it up 3 times to do a watermark action and when I export from lightroom photoshop opens but it dose not run the files through the action…. any ideas where I am going wrong?????

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  6. Hi Matt,

    Fantastic tip and one I know exactly what I could use it for. My only question to you would be this surely we are now saving the image twice as a JPEG thus loosing information from double compression, am I Wrong in thinking this?


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  7. hey matt,
    once again……thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, and thank you!!


    ps, did i mention thank you?

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  8. @Brian Stevens & @Lim
    I completely agree also. I love the concept of droplets but always put off using them because of the double ‘jpg’ save and worrying about image quality loss.

    ADOBE: please considering adding droplet functionality as presets or similar and PLEEEASE add a customisable watermark feature!!!

    Thanks Matt for all you do.

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  9. Matt
    Have always enjoyed your presets and have found them of great use. But REALLY liked the this video. It has made such a time difference in certain of my workflows that you have just saved me a ton of time. Many thanks

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  10. @Brian Stevens. I completely agree with you. Having to double save makes this of limited use if I want to integrate changes made by the droplets back into Lightroom. I would have to double up and ultimately convert all my RAW files to another format. Not ideal. Something I hope Adobe will think about.

    Could be better if they could implement this so you could have the option as a preset as previously mentioned. Maybe there is? Matt? πŸ™‚

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  11. Matt,

    I have written several times to say how much I appreciate everything you do and how well you explain things. Now I want to add that I appreciate your file naming conventions and your consistency in how you name your videos and actions, etc. Everything stacks neatly in my Downloads folder or in the appropriate preset folder, etc. A small thing, perhaps, but it certainly does make things easier to locate.



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  12. Humiliation? That’s the worst, dude… I feel for you. Don’t beat yourself up… you’re the best.

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  13. Wow, I heard of droplets and always wondered what they were… This will be really nice to use since I avoid using some photoshop actions I have since I am usually processing more than one photo and it can get tedious doing it one by one. Thank you. BTW, I love your LR presets.

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  14. Matt – Thanks for doing this video. Just last week I created a droplet that allows for perspective correction for the lens or buildings. I also have one created to add a 1/4″ white border around my photos. I’m curious what other people would create droplets for in their workflow? Anybody else have ideas?

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  15. My only issue with how droplets are implemented in LR is that is only applies this after the photo has been exported. So essentially you end up doing a double save of your JPGs. I’m working in RAW and I don’t like the idea of it exporting out a JPG just to run the action and save again. Of course I could export as TIF first but that is even more of a pain. I’m hoping in the future they allow droplets/actions to run before the export is complete… thus making it do one save.

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  16. Wouldn’t it be a lot easy er. If we just could import these droplets into lightroom and work with it like pre sets. So u can view the effect of a droplet live on your screen. And not afterwards in a exported file.

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  17. Ahh, Matt. It happens to the best of us. I had a hiccup at the booth with the adjustment brush overlay. I’ll be damned if I didn’t hit the “H” key about a dozen times trying to hide the overlay instead of hitting “O” @seb3ds4: have you tried logging errors in your droplet to try and figure out what’s going wrong?

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  18. thanks Matt,
    for sharing this was a great video, now i batch out a bunch of custom watermarks with out doing it one by one. you just saved me a bunch of time thanks!
    you guys rocks!!!

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  19. Matt – When I run the action it saves the processed image into the export directory as you show, but puts an unprocess version back into lightroom so I have 2 versions of the same image on my hard disk ? any ideas ?

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  20. Thanks Matt really good to know this, It will defiantly come in useful and save me time. . .

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  21. Hi matt, thank you for all your regular advice. I’m a fan.
    I LR + droplet with photoshop since version 1. This part of lightroom works randomly. Depending on the number of files selected, LR produces many files, the droplet does not work for all images. for example: 150 files (path C: pics), 150 processed files (path C: drop) by Lr and 40 by the droplet. Accuracy, the single droplet via windows explorer, processes all the selected files. I think there is a worry on the way to list the operations a report actual exports in LR through a droplet. More fun again, the same operation just give different results. it is rather annoying to work properly. I hope Adobe will address the problem one day. I work under windows XP3pro. Sorry for the mistakes of languages, I’m french user.

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  22. That’s awesome! Had no idea droplets existed. Does anyone have any idea if that’ll work in PS 7.0?

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  23. Thanks for the video Matt well done.
    Normaly I dont bring photos back into lightroom at export
    but I think I might when I try this.


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  24. Cool, thanks. I love how tight LR is working with PS now. Also loving the new embedded video. Makes life easier.


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