How to Use Affinity Photo’s ‘Batch Job’

How to use Affinity Photo New Batch Job

Affinity Photo has a very feature rich tool that allows you to batch process multiple images in a fast, and very efficient manner. In fact, I wished that some of the options that it had were available in Adobe Photoshop too! So, let’s look into how you can use the “New Batch Job…” command that’s in Affinity Photo’s ‘File’ Menu, and let’s also compare it to the tools that Adobe Photoshop has to achieve similar results.

Batch Job is Not Like Photoshop’s Batch Dialog

Affinity Photo is clearly not trying to emulate Adobe Photoshop’s Batch commands. While there are similarities to “Batch”, “Batch Job”, is actually more like Photoshop’s “Image Processor”.

There are some significant differences between Photoshop’s ‘batch’ and Affinity Photo’s ‘batch’ tools. Take a look at the comparison images below. While both do allow you to use actions, that’s probably where the resemblance ends.

Photoshop allows you flexibility to rename files, apply the commands to multiple folders saving new files, or to apply the actions to the same files and re-save them. In contrast, Affinity Photo only allows you to apply actions while saving new files. The originals are not touched. This is like Photoshop’s Image Processor.

Affinity Photo Batch Job feature compared to Adobe Photoshop Batch feature.
Batch Job (Affinity Photo) vs Batch (Photoshop)

Is ‘Batch Job’ A More Powerful ‘Image Processor’?

If you use Adobe photoshop to process multiple images, you know that converting a large number of files to JPG, TIFF or PSD formats is probably easier handled by Image Processor (File>Scripts>Image Processor…), rather than the Batch dialog (File>Automate>Batch…). A quick look at the image below will show you that ‘New Batch Job’ is more like ‘Image Processor’. But… is it just as good, or better than Adobe’s tool? Let’s find out.

Affinity Photo Batch Job feature compared to Adobe Photoshop Image Processor feature.
Batch Job (Affinity Photo) vs Image Processor (Adobe Photoshop)

Affinity Photo’s tool doesn’t just copy Photoshop. There are sime significant differences. Let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

Selecting / Opening Files

Batch Job doesn’t work with folders very well. In fact, it doesn’t work with folders at all, much less sub-folders. You MUST select each image that you want to process, and you can’t just add already open images. This is a big hindrance to people who use this feature extensively.

You should note that Batch Job can also process RAW files

Saving Files

The saving options available in Batch Job also fall a little short, when compared directly to Image Processor. Both software allow you to save to the same folder, or to choose a new destination.

However, Image Processor also allows you to choose whether to save all files into the same folder (Keep Folder Structure – ON), or whether to save each file type into its own folder (Keep Folder Structure – OFF). This has saved me time and helped me avoid making mistakes many, many times.

Affinity Photo’s Batch Job feature just puts all file types into the same folder. I’m not sure that I like that.

Now that we’ve got the negatives out of the way, let’s look at the positive side of things.

Save as file type advanced options

Save As... File Type and Options
Save As – Options

This is a real superpower that this innocuous dialog box has.

Each file type also has advanced options that are available under the ‘…’ button.

Pixel Format allows you to choose Color Modes: Grayscale, RGB, LAB and CMYK, based on the file format selected. You can also choose your bit depth: 8-bit, 16-bit, and even 32-bit when it comes to TIFF and EXR.

You can also choose the resampling method: Nearest Neighbour, Bilinear, etc. Matte Color allows you to choose which color gets filled in to transparent areas of the image.

You’ll see that the other options available to you depend on each file type (see images below). For example: for JPG files, you can choose the Quality, while for TIFF files you can choose between ZIP, LZW or no compression method. You also get to choose the ICC profile and bit-depth to save files in. With TIFF, you can even choose to convert your Expporo.

These are very powerful options.

Image Resizing and Aspect Ratio

Each Save as file type allows for a customised width and height option. Just enter the pixel size that you want the longest edge to have, and make sure that the checkbox below the A column is ticked. This checkbox ensures that the original aspect ratio of the image is maintained.

Parallel Processing

An example of parallel processing in progress in the Batch window
An example of parallel processing in progress in the Batch window
Parallel Processing Checkbox
Parallel Processing Checkbox

This is a big one feature, hidden way at the bottom of the window. It’s turned on or off just by clicking a check-box.

Affinity Photo has the option to process multiple images simultaneously, making the most of your multi-core CPU. This is great if you’re processing hundreds of images, and I’ve seen small files being processed much quicker than in Adobe Photoshop.

If you are processing large images, it’s probably best that you are using an SSD drive to read and write your files, and also have a lot of RAM available. If not, turn off parallel processing to just run a single image through the batch process at a time.

When the batch process is running, you will see a list of files, with their paths displayed, as well as the action that is currently being performed.

In the example to the right, you see that 8 images are currently being processed. I am running Affinity Photo on a 4 core processor that has hyperthreading enabled, which allows for 8 threads.

Choose a Macro to Use

Macros section of "Batch Job" feature in Affinity Photo.
Macros section of “Batch Job” feature in Affinity Photo. Two Macros have been applied.

Here’s another place in which Affinity Photo outstrips Adobe Photoshop. You can choose a macro action to run from the list of Available Macros. Once you select, and click Apply, these get moved to the stack on the right, entitled Applied Macros. You can create a stack of macros (called ‘Actions’ in Photoshop) to perform some very complicated set of operations, with ease.

Some of the defaults, “Convert to sRGB” and “Strip Metadata” are already in the advanced save options, so they may or may not be redundant. However, you’re also able to create your own macros, and use them in these batch processes.

In short, this is a very powerful tool in the hands of someone who knows how to use it well. It could also lead to disaster, so some experimentation may be in order. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. 😉

9 Steps to Use “New Batch Job…” in Affinity Photo:

  1. Open “Batch Job” by clicking File>New Batch Job… in Affinity Photo
  2. Select your image Sources by clicking on the ‘add’ button.
  3. Choose where to save the processed files in a) the original location, or b) a new location (choose … to select the destination folder)
  4. Choose a file format to output (you can choose from AFPhoto, JPG, PNG, TIFF and EXR)
  5. Choose whether you want to have the images resized, and what the dimensions will be. Tick the check box under ‘A’ to ensure that the original aspect ratio is preserved
  6. Click the ‘…’ button at the end of each file type choice to access advanced options that are customised to each file type.
  7. Choose which Macros to enable by selecting them and clicking the ‘apply’ button. They will appear under the Applied Macros pane.
  8. Click OK to run the batch process.
  9. The Batch pane will open up, showing the progress that the app makes as it applies the actions that you’ve selected, and then saves them to the drive. It will automatically close once it’s done.

Differences from Photoshop’s Image Processor

Like I’ve mentioned, this feature isn’t quite perfect as yet. There are a few differences from Photoshops implementation, but there are improvements too.

Unlike photoshop, Affinity Photo does not open up the images that it is processing, for you to see. This could be because of the parallel processing feature. It could also be to keep processing more efficient. I don’t know as yet.

I would like to see improvements in the file handling, with the option to add folders to the batch process too. Having each file format save to its own folder (like Image Processor) would also be welcome.

Conclusion

With the “Batch Job” feature, Affinity Photo has a very powerful counter to Adobe’s Image Processor tool.

The Parallel Processing, and the advanced save options that are customisable for each file type make it more powerful than its Adobe Photoshop counterpart. However, it also has some pitfalls in the form of the lack of real file handling capabilities.

If you’ve used both, do let us know which tool you prefer.

Affinity Photo is a low cost, but feature rich software that I have been exploring, and I will be writing more about this software in the days to come. Download the trial version of Affinity Photo and try it out yourself for free.

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