Question: “Nat, not sure if you have time to answer this but I could use some help. I want to make a JPEG copy of all my RAW files on my hard drive, various folders and subfolders, this would involve changing the files to a smaller file size. Is there a way to do all this in one operation with photoshop CS2 or 3?? I have a lot of photos and have to do it one folder at a time right now. My sense is that PS won’t open multiple folders in one auto operation.”

Answer: You can do this using Photoshop CS2, but it’s not as easy as doing it in Lightroom. I’d recommend you use Lightroom.

If that’s not practical for you, to make a jpeg of all the raw files on your hard drive, you could use a droplet saved from a Photoshop action and drop your hard drive icon on the droplet. But instead, I’d recommend you only do a few folders at a time, because if you start the process of converting thousands of files and something goes wrong, it could create a large mess. So drop a selection of several subfolders onto the droplet.

Let me know if you have any questions about recording an action and saving the droplet.

Since you already have your raw files sorted into folders, to process the whole hard drive with a script or an action, you would need to be able to select non-contiguous groups of files. The system dialog boxes used to select files don’t allow this, nor do the file browsing tools in Bridge (unless you use Collections). You’re always looking at the contents of a single folder. Image Processor handles this scenario well, and if you can live with doing a folder at a time, this would be my first recommendation.

But to most effectively batch process more than one folder at a time, you need to be able to make virtual groupings first by referencing the files without moving them and allowing non-contiguous selections that can be used by the file conversion script. Lightroom is the best way to do this. You can create virtual collections and batch process files in any sequence you want, with lots of control over the output.

You could use the Collection feature in Bridge and run Image Processor or ACR to save the jpgs from those selected files. You can also batch process multiple files from ACR if you select multiple files in Bridge and open them into ACR together. Then use the “Save As….” command from ACR.

The creation of an identical directory structure for your jpegs poses a major challenge – if that’s what you want to do – and this is another reason for doing, at most, a few folders at a time. If you have the converted jpgs saved in the same folder with the raw files, you can then manually create the duplicate folder structure and move the converted jpgs into those folders.

Anyway, hope this helps, and gives you some ideas for how to solve the problem!

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