Batch Process is a Developer's Best Friend

The tour of the facility uses quite a few images that, thanks to a digital camera, offered the designers a few dozen choices for each section. The question is, after the choices are made, is the team prepared to reduce a dozen or so images from their current 400x300 size to the two sizes called for in the Freehand "comp" shown in Figure 6.24?

Figure 6.24. The comprehensive design and the Object Inspector give you all the information needed to do a batch process in Fireworks.


The answer, of course, is "No."

The solution is the batch process feature of Fireworks MX 2004. Batch process is one of those great "Let the Software Do the Work" techniques that only a handful of developers and designers use on a regular basis. This feature simply automates otherwise repetitive tasks and reduces the production time for the task from hours to minutes.

In this case, the comp, prepared in Freehand, gives us all the necessary information needed to scale the images. For the overview page, a series of fourteen images are presented. Click on an image, and you see the page developed for that image. As you can see, though, the fourteen images are one size, and the single image on the page is another. By selecting an image on the page and opening the Object Properties in Freehand, you can see not only the final dimensions of the selected image but its scaling percentage as well.

The dimensions of the thumbnails are 68 pixels wide by 51 pixels high. Each image is scaled to 17% of the original size. The single images are 249 pixels wide by 187 pixels high. They are scaled down to 62% of their original size. Armed with this information, a batch process in Fireworks becomes a breeze.

Follow these steps to batch process the images called for in the comp:

  1. Launch Fireworks MX 2004 and select File, Batch Process. When the Batch Process dialog box opens, navigate to the Tour_Pages folder located in your Chapter 6 Exercise Folder.

  2. A list of the files in the folder will appear. Click the Add All button or select only the files you want to process. The files will move into the area at the bottom of the Batch dialog box. If you want to remove a file at this point, select it and click the Remove button. Click the Next button to open the Batch Process dialog box.

  3. The Batch Process dialog box is divided into two distinct areas. On the left are the Batch Options and on the right is an area named Include in Batch. In this dialog box, you essentially decide what needs to be done to the files. Select Scale and click the Add button. Scale moves to the right and the bottom of the dialog box changes to reflect your scale options.

  4. In the Scale area, select Scale to Percentage from the list in the pop-down menu. A percentage input area opens. Select the 100 in that area and change it to 17% as shown in Figure 6.25. Click Next.

    Figure 6.25. Select your task or tasks in the Batch Process dialog box and determine the settings for the task before you click the Next button.


  5. The next screen you are presented with, as shown in Figure 6.26, simply asks where the processed files should be saved. Because one of the cardinal rules in our business is to never work on the original files, select Custom Location. This will open a Select Images Folder dialog box. Create a new folder named TourThumbs inside the Tour_Pages folder. Select this new folder and click the Choose button if you use a Mac or the Select Tour_Thumbs button on a PC.

    Figure 6.26. Always create a new folder for any artwork affected by a batch process. This avoids harming the original files if you make a mistake.


  6. When you return to the batch process window, click the Batch button. Fireworks will then open a Batch Process dialogue box that will open a Fireworks MX document window and will also tell you which image is currently being processed. When it finishes, the batch process dialog box will tell you the process is complete. Click OK and check out the files in your Tour_Thumbs folder.