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Automate Photoshop

, 17 Jul 2006 CPOL
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How to automate Photoshop with VB.NET.


You have a bunch of pictures, but they don't look that great. You'd like to increase contrast, or improve colors. Luckily, you have Adobe Photoshop CS2 with its wonderful Auto Contrast function. No problem if it's all about tens of pictures. What if there are hundreds, or even thousands? Open every picture in Photoshop, apply adjustments, save it... Oh, it is boring. Why not just automate all these tasks and let Photoshop work hard while we are lying on the beach?

Using the code

Let's do it in eight easy steps:

  1. Create a Windows Application project.
  2. Add a reference to the Photoshop Object Library.

  3. To use the Photoshop object in our application, import the Photoshop namespace:
    Imports Photoshop
  4. Declare the two objects we are going to work with (the Photoshop Application object and the Photoshop Document object):
    Dim appRef As Photoshop.Application
    Dim currentDoc As Photoshop.Document
  5. Now, we should define the folder containing our pictures and the folder for the improved pictures. Add two FolderBrowseDialog controls (input and output folders can be the same, the pictures will just be overwritten; however, it is not always such a good idea). Also, add the necessary TextBoxes and Button controls.

    Add Button controls to start the process and to finish the application.

  6. Open the Photoshop application when our form is loading. Set Photoshop as invisible (we still see it when it is starting, though).
    appRef = New ApplicationClass
    appRef.Visible = False
    appRef.DisplayDialogs = PsDialogModes.psDisplayNoDialogs
    appRef.PlaybackDisplayDialogs = PsDialogModes.psDisplayNoDialogs
  7. On the application exit event, don't forget to quit Photoshop as well.
  8. Finally, the last step - process every image in the folder.
    Dim files() As String = IO.Directory.GetFiles(txtFrom.Text, "*.jpg")
    For Each fl As String In files
       currentDoc = appRef.Open(fl)
       Dim currentLayer As Photoshop.ArtLayer = _
           CType(currentDoc.ActiveLayer, Photoshop.ArtLayer)
       Dim jpeg As New Photoshop.JPEGSaveOptions
       jpeg.Quality = 8
       currentDoc.SaveAs(txtTo.Text + _
          IO.Path.GetFileName(fl), jpeg, False, 2)

Enjoy your life, and when you are back, you will find all your pictures just perfect.

Points of interest

We applied only one Auto Contrast adjustment feature. Sure there is zillion possibilities in Photoshop to improve the image we could use in our application. Just do a research of the Photoshop Document object.

Photoshop has a feature called batch processing. It could be extremely useful in our automation process. However, for some unknown reason, I could not make it work.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Web Developer
Canada Canada
Lifelong software developer. From IBM mainframes to Microsoft .Net, and lots in between.
Born and raised in Vilnius, Lithuania. Today live in Toronto, Ontario. Tomorrow - who knows?

Comments and Discussions

Questioncreateobject("Photoshop.Application") gives ActiveX error in VB Pinmembersolankinkdpr29-Jan-13 3:41 
Questioninternal error in photoshop elements automation Pinmembercooldj_0075-Nov-12 19:36 
GeneralSet Photoshop as invisible when iam using it from Pinmemberkrishnaramu10-Feb-11 2:17 
GeneralRe: Set Photoshop as invisible when iam using it from Pinmembertamilpuyal_2814-Apr-11 3:26 
GeneralMy vote of 5 PinmemberYogesh Babarao Shiraskar15-Jul-10 8:15 
GeneralPhotoshop like image editor with a drag and drop image gallery Pinmemberikbegins2-Jun-10 0:34 
GeneralRe: Photoshop like image editor with a drag and drop image gallery Pinmembertamilpuyal_284-Jun-10 7:52 
GeneralPhotoshop CS2 COM Object problems Pinmemberblaine landish10-Jun-09 10:40 
GeneralRe: Photoshop CS2 COM Object problems Pinmembervadimas10-Jun-09 11:34 
QuestionHow to Handle Adjustment Dialog Boxes Pinmemberkamalraaja11-Apr-07 4:53 

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