Automated processing of a series of similar images with ColorPerfect 2.20 and above

ColorPerfect's automation features are intended for our advanced users. Please do obtain a sound understanding of how to use ColorPerfect's various controls on individual images before attempting to integrate the items presented on this page into your imaging workflow. If you don't know where to start in exploring ColorPerfect's features looking at the videos on our YouTube Channel typically is a good idea.

Providing a way to automate ColorPerfect has proven challenging to implement due to the way settings for actions and scripting are being handled in Adobe Photoshop. For other plug-ins providing a limited number of adjustments Adobe's approach for that might be suitable but for a system of ColorPerfect's complexity it clearly is not. After several years we have now devised a working automation angle for ColorPerfect but please be aware that it is a prototypical implementation. That means that it might stay what it currently is or that it might change radically in future versions of ColorPerfect. Tell us what you think about it to help with the feature's evolution if you like.

Understanding the Restore Settings button as a prerequisite for automating ColorPerfect

 

To be able to use ColorPerfect's automation features familiarize yourself with the Restore Settings button on ColorPerfect's Start panel. Make sure to read the help text on that button in the plug-in itself, too.

The Start panel as such is only visible directly after calling the ColorPerfect plug-in. It disappears upon the first interaction with anything on the graphical user interface (GUI) outside of the Start panel itself. The revert button (<<) at the upper left corner of the plug-in always restarts ColorPerfect and consequentially also brings back the Start panel.

Restore Settings is a cycle arrangement. Pressing the according button takes your from one loop state to another. The 5th press of the button takes you back to where you started. Each step provides a different starting point for your manual use of ColorPerfect. The automation options will also use those starting points. Thus you need to understand the five available states of Restore Settings before automating anything.

Restore Settings - As Optioned

The default choice for Restore Settings in manual operations is "As Optioned" which is linked to the Remember section on ColorPerfect's options screen. Whatever combination of settings is activated there gets restored to subsequent images whenever "As Optioned" is active.

It is important to realize that the exact settings to be restored always stem from the immediately previous image processed in the same mode and not from the time when the choice to keep restoring things was made. By default nothing is ticked in the Remember section and thus nothing gets restored for the new user of ColorPerfect.

The four modes ColorNeg, ColorPos, PerfectRAW and TouchUp have individual Remember options. When visiting ColorPerfect's options screen and ticking some of the Remember check boxes reverting (<< button) and choosing the same mode again will immediately bring those choices into effect based on the last successfully processed image of the according mode if such exists.

Restore Settings - Optimized

Optimized restores all but a handful of situation-dependent settings from the previous use of the plug-in in the same mode. The settings that do not get restored but are optimized are mostly related to black point (B Point, BP Tails, BP Colors). They typically vary from image to image even if the subsequent one is of the very same scene.

Restore Settings - Basic

Basic takes things one step further away from the previous call to ColorPerfect. The image's overall brightness as controlled by Black and the image's color balance as controlled by a CC filter pack are no longer being restored. Instead they will be determined automatically based on the thresholds as defined on the options screen. Where applicable the CC filter pack to use will be derived from data captured by the digital camera and passed into the ColorPerfect PerfectRAW system by our auxiliary program MakeTiff. In case of PerfectRAW the Smart Clip settings also do not get remembered for Basic.

Restore Settings - Fresh Start

"Fresh Start" does not use anything from a previous image. It always provides a clean slate and is not useful for automating ColorPerfect. Therefore it is simply not provided in our automation solution below. In manual operations "Fresh Start" becomes useful as soon as "As Optioned" has been customized from the Remember section of the options screen.

Restore Settings - Exact

Exact actually restores everything, including the black point related settings that usually benefit from optimization. Most often it is not a good idea to use Exact.

Exact exists for special use cases. For example some users like to include a lot of film base or even sprocket holes. Doing that can fool ColorPerfect's initial imaging assessments. Users working with such images would thus first crop their image and work it to a state they like using ColorPerfect and then undo both their edit and their cropping in Photoshop to then call ColorPerfect again and to use Exact to apply everything as they had it before to the version with the sprocket holes etc.

So, please resist the temptation of restoring "everything" unless you have good reason to do so and have reviewed the optimized alternative.

Automating ColorPerfect using our custom set of Adobe Photoshop Actions

 

If you have ever tried recording a Photoshop action with ColorPerfect in it you will have found that for one the settings you had in ColorPerfect do not get stored in the recording and that for another ColorPerfect's graphical user interface still always comes up. Both is by design as the way Photoshop handles related things would seriously impair ColorPerfect in its regular mode of operations.

With the automation extension we implemented in ColorPerfect 2.20 it is still not possible to record any specific settings for future use. What is possible is to process an individual image to whatever goal and then to apply the same processing to as many other images as you like in an automated way. That is without ever seeing the plug-in's graphical user interface in that process.

In order to use the automation feature we provide a special set of Adobe Photoshop actions. They are named after the according states of the Restore Settings button. The same things can be accomplished using Adobe Photoshop JSX scripting but in order of not complicating matters further we request that users who'd rather like to script these aspects of ColorPerfect just get in touch with us.

The use of the actions themselves is very simple. Group all images that shall get the same processing into a folder. Those might be linear scans or Tiff files produced by MakeTiff or maybe even camera JPEGs to be processed in TouchUp mode. Choose a representative image to manually work into the state you'd like to apply to the set. OK out of ColorPerfect once you are done with that and use Photoshop's File > Automate > Batch feature to process all items in your folder into some other target folder using whatever action from our downloadable set that suits your needs. 

To install our set of automation actions choose Window > Actions in Photoshop and then choose "Load Actions..." from the fly out menu that can be accessed from the top right corner of Photoshop's actions panel. Point the according file selection dialog to the *.atn file found in the downloaded zip archive.

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