Droplets are among Photoshop’s lesser-known features, but if you need to process batches of images in Photoshop, they can save you a lot of time. So, what is a Droplet, anyway?
In short, they are a way to automate your Photoshop work for batch processing. Creating a Droplet in Photoshop makes an icon shaped like a downward-pointing arrow that you drag multiple images onto to apply an action in a batch. You don’t even need to open Photoshop to do this – just drag and drop as many images as you need at a time onto the Droplet and Photoshop will do the rest automatically.
One of our favorite YouTubers for making clear and concise Photoshop tutorials, Nathaniel Dodson of tutvid, offers instructions to teach you exactly how to create, modify, and use Droplets in Photoshop.
Make Sure Your Action Has Save Settings
For the most effective processing of large batches of photos, the action you’re using to create the Droplet will need to end with save settings. Chances are, whatever action you’d like to apply to a hundred images at once doesn’t, but it’s easy to add. Just open the Actions panel, click the last step in the action, hit the “record” button, and save the image with the settings you’d like applied to every image in the batch. Then, press the “stop” button in the Actions panel, and you’re ready to create your Droplet.
If you’d like to keep your original action without the save step at the end, make a new action, press record, run the original action, add the save settings and stop recording.
- Open Photoshop and use the menu to navigate to File > Automate > Create Droplet…
- Choose where your Droplet is going to live. This is where you will find your icon to use it for processing files. In Nathaniel’s video, he’s chosen his desktop.
- Choose which action the Droplet will apply. First select the set that your action is in, then select the action.
- Choose where the files will go when Photoshop saves them. Choosing “none” will leave them open in Photoshop – not good for large batches. “Save and close” will overwrite the original, and “Folder” allows you to select a location to send new versions of all the files.
- Set the naming convention that Photoshop will use for all the files. You can select from a drop-down menu the type of information you want Photoshop to use to name files. Choose whatever and as many types as you like, just make sure that “extension” goes last.
- Press “OK” to create your Droplet.
- To use the Droplet, just drop images or a folder containing images and your action will be applied to every file and saved as specified.
To watch the process in action and learn some critical caveats, watch the tutorial below.