Adobe® Photoshop® Variables
This ideas the technical name is data driven graphics but what it really means is any situation where as you're working, some parts of your graphic will stay the same and some will change so this could be for example um sports cards so you're photographing a whole bunch of little league baseball players and you want the background to be the same their league logo to stay the same but you want to change their photograph and their name and their team name and their position or you're creating business cards for a company and they want photo business cards where the company name and logo stays the same. But the fault of the person changes their name title and their email address or anything like that so it could be both graphic and text elements that change based on data now this is another example it's not smart object thing this is we're switching gears when you could implement smart hodges in here to a degree but this is a little different this is saying take advantage of layers and th...
is very specific function called variables so I discovered this a while ago this is a little story good lesson to be learned of think before you speak to quickly so my son that you saw earlier he's does some sports photography and when he was first getting into it a number of years ago we were driving by our local sports complex right near our house and there was a big banner that said eastern regional little league thing or like we should go and see if we could take photos that be fun so I jotted down the website I contacted the organized said listen my son and I do sports photos would you be ok if we came and took photos things like oh actually your timing is great because the guy we had lined up can't make it and we're desperately looking for someone like well how about that and he said the thing is he was going to kind of give us some eggs csere stuff like trader cards and I was like trader cards let me tell you how about this we'll give every player a little mini poster that has a head shot to action shots their name their team logo their physician you know all this stuff it'll be customized was like that's fantastic and I was on and he said and so yes so there's eighty four teams and I'm thinking any four teams with probably what fifteen kids per team I'm kind sentence darn it all that was a bad idea to kind of offer that without finding out that information first so I was like I'm going to be in photo shop for the next five years putting these things together luckily in the back of my mind I remembered think about it I think it's called variables and I kind of went looked at and I went, thank goodness it saved my you know what? Because what I did is I created a template of placeholders, and then you create a text file and just like the good old days of this thing called mail merge, you put them together so here's a couple of tips and I should have this is going to sound really ludicrous, considering what I just did with the whole may thing, but when you have text that you're going to replace, make sure that you're a placeholder text is much longer than ever need, so if you're going to kids names, pick some really long name like engelbert humperdinck jr and use that as your example, because every other name will fit if you put john smith or may, then some of the other months or names won't fit. So that's lesson I learned the hard way the first time is make sure you use placeholders that look on the list and go, wow, there's one team that's called new orleans east rangers united. You know, I need to make sure that fits, so I'll use that as my placeholder for anything, so I'm going actually show it to you in a different context because this is the example I have where it's media passes for some event, but I had to do fifty of the these and I don't want to sit here and go paste in the new photograph put in their name type it all in so like similar concept too smart objects the way that this works is you invest the time up front to make this different kind of template but then all the work is done for you and that little league example I want to say there were twenty five players on average per ten with some really ludicrous number it was like five hundred kids, so the first time we did it it was a bit of a mess because we've never done it before we didn't organize ourselves very well the second time we went to welcome to microsoft excel and had a beautiful you know, spreadsheet thing that was like name team name was much simpler so here's what you do in photo shop you build a normal photoshopped layer doctor there's nothing different about this. At this point, all you would do is say in here some of these things are going to change. For example, the different people could have a media past could be a photographer could be a writer, you know? So you say that that one element that could change and then their name and where they work that could change that will change this big rectangle is where their head shot photo is going to go so that's another variable that will change and just for the sake of argument this is either going to be a little circular us or k and flag just because it's fun but I mean it could be anything at all so this is the hard part is building your template and that's really not that hard because it just standard photo shop operations and the other tip for success I would say is if you're the kind of person that doesn't typically name your layers, this would be a good time to do it because in the next step you'll see if you just look pulled on a listen see untitled one or layer two or later seven copy too it's like I don't know what's going on here so this is a good time where naming your layers will help you so this part again for the most part is typical and you can do cool things like notice this unlimited access is semi see through that means when I put the photograph in, it'll be semisi through on top of the actual photographs you can still do typical photoshopped things that make it look more interesting, but the biggest things I would say is make sure text place holders are long names because you don't want to have one that's too long and kind of goes over the top so this is all set up and it could be anything you want what some people do and I get this idea because ultimately I need to look through all these layers to say some of these will change those are the variables some will stay the same like the background color and the word media pass so what some people will do is they'll even name their layer with some little indicator to say this the's layers of the ones that are variable just to help you remember to me once you've done it once you kind of get it because the next up you'll see how it works so then we saved this document we go to the image menu two variables and then define and this is where we're going to tell a photo shop which of these layers are the ones that were going are going to change on the fly so here's why we name our layers because it comes up with a list so if you saw layer seven copy two would be like I don't know what that is so you have to be there looking over your layers panel they have a lot of layers that's why this is so important so I looked through this list okay media past that's not going to change that's always in the same media path so that's not a variable that's a constant so what we're looking through for this list is to track down the things that are actually variable so photographer is one of things that's variable because they might be a photographer he might be a blogger they might be a writer that's going to change so I say yes I would like this to be a variable I'd like to replace it with text this variables things is quite smart because it recognizes is a text layer so it assumes therefore I want to replace it text and I need to name this something so that in the next step I know which one is which and doesn't matter what you name it as long as you remember what it is take off the caps lock key so I'm gonna call this variable position now this will all come together when we get to the next step you see why I'm doing this? So once you've done that, then you go ok what else country that's going to change but the country is this little circle that's either going to be a u s flag aura can flag and you'll see shortly what I mean by that but it's smart enough to know that's a pixel base layer so it's not a text replacement it's a pixel replacement so once again I'm going to name this something name is not important as long as you remember what it isthe it give you some options how would you like to replace those pixels and I very carefully made graphics I know where the same size but if you didn't you have options to say fit or conform or as is are all these different things in this case I know my graphics are built to fit and you keep going through it's okay bars that's just those yellow bars that's nothing limit access doesn't change white bar doesn't change photo does it's a pixel base one I'm going to call this photo and what else we have media outlet that's a text one and that's there company that they work for and spelling no gonna make sure it's felt right and then full name is name now this may seem like it's taking a while but it is only because I'm explaining and narrating so when you do this just don't narrate it will take much less time don't say and I will rename that what you could but it would just be weird so you don't need to do that and this is takes longer the first time so now I've got them all and if I look on this list see how some of the names have little asterisks beside them those air identifying those air your variables so I could look through and go photographer country photo mia yeah that's what I need so if you had doing a sports polish you'd have action shot one action shot to whatever it is that part doesn't matter you click ok then in your folder this is what you're gonna end up with so for each of the people I have a head shot that I've named something hopefully consistent like first initial last name dot j peg throughout the board and then here's my two graphics u s and canadian so for each person you're going tohave a photo now if you had like in the case of my sports poster I had one called head shot and one action shot in a second action shot so they were called j smith one jason to j smith three and that was the kind of structure I set up two no one is the head shot two and three of the action shots so this is the part that we will we will change slightly you have to figure out this example the factors I'm changing our their head shot their text information and then one or the other of these graphics what pulls it all together is a little text file so the text file uh ok so this is where I have to match up what I did in photo shop so let me make sure here that I have the same thing because I think there's a couple there different country and ok so what I need to do is make sure in my text file the first line you put in whatever variables you titled in the photo shop so I had name photo company and I think I called it position didn't I have to go back and check oh it's locked ok let's go back to photo shop and do a double check to make sure that I have all these variables usually we do these one right after another I did this previously so I have to go back contracts are country his country and then media outlet his company and photographer is positioned ok all right so here and then this is a country ok so the first line you list your variables and then for each person you're going to comma separated have the information their name comma the name of the file which is their photo comma their company name comma their position comma and then whether it's u s or canadian flag so this is the hardest part of pulling it together however if you've set it up cleverly with like an excel spreadsheet then you have it all and columns just go export common delimited and then it's most of your work is done and just put this across the top now to put this in perspective moment we're doing it with one two three four like five imagine in my folder there were four hundred photographs and a big long text because that's where their magic really happens ok so now we pull it together and mean you can't see this but I got everything crossed right now to make sure it works because I did change a few things on the fly, so we'll see very soon whether is going to work and to go back to image variables, data sets and then I'm going to import text now I just have to go and find it it was in here variables next okay, now hopefully if I turn on preview yeah, look at that so there's the first one has put his photo win that's put the u s flag it's got his name is title and photographer if I click and go, let me see the next one then there is the next one, so hopefully as I go through everyone if the first one works frankly, the rest should the only reason it wouldn't if you forgot to put a photograph in or something. So this is just a preview to make sure they're actually working so here's something that I wish someone had told me the first time I was working with variable because I was like, figure it out I import the data I turn on preview is like, yes, it's all working so happy and then I clicked okay? And everything went away and I was like, oh no, I realized that was just a preview to make sure was working and I think it hasn't happened yet because I was like, what I do wrong it's like nothing that will happen so don't freak out if you're like ok I'm ready to go on all of a sudden it goes back to your template that's what's supposed to happen okay so the preview is just to make sure is this working is that our things kind of melding together the way that I want the way you make it work is you go file uh export data sets as files so we basically have set up the merge in photo shop using that variables command and then in this part I comments okay, now let's actually see if it's gonna work or not I'm going to make a folder choose that and then down here I can decide what kind of documents set up I want I don't want all this craziness with document set name and all the stop that just too complicated even that's too complicated. Okay, so then I click ok and it says please so it goes through and goes up subsectors it now if I had four hundred images that would zip a few more times but not that many considering how fast this is working and now I come in here and there's one step I must be wrong because normally you would see six different images in there so clearly in that output step by messed one little thing up so let's try that one more time because it's really impressive when it works properly data sets his files select folder let's make a complete you told us to make sure she was that uh I'll just leave everything maybe maybe I should just keep this on here. That would be the better choice. So now you see you have all these files now what particularly interesting about this to me is in an ideal world you would merge everything together everything perfectly and be like hey it's perfect chances are the first time you go oops that names a little too long it went off the edge of the page or that name so tiny I can't even read it or whatever so each of these is a psd file so if you look at them and go, let me look a little more closely at these and see how they look you could say overall they were pretty good but away don't like that one then you can say, well, let me edit that psd file so it has all the layers and here's you can still say that photos a little too dark or anything you want but the key point is it's merged together all the key information for you so this sky is the limit for this I mean it's anything you can think of where some elements stay the same and other elements are changing on the fly and I've seen people that and I have to tell the story he prime sure he would be okay with this because when this happened, it was actually one of the cooler things as an instructor of ever happened because the first time I decided to show variables and a seminars like this may be just a little too specific, you know, it's kind of a unique thing that maybe not everyone in the room of this many people, so I decided to show it and it got, you know, that kind of in a large crowd usually hear this kind of there's kind of murdering like, and this one guy came up during the break, and I'm not kidding you, he actually was started to tear up and he's going, this is going to change everything for me because once a week I work for a car dealer where I have to take the same photograph of the car and put on the dealer's name and logo and their address and change that every time there's like, now I'll do this and it's, just like I said, just don't tell them you know how to do that and you still charge them for four hours of work, but now it takes you ten minutes, so and since that day and they almost every time I've shown this someone's gone mike, and see some ways that I can use this you know, and the other thing I think is great about this is think of it from a photographer standpoint, it expands your offerings where now when you're doing like I don't know senior trader cards like some states they like to do that you can vision taking the photograph and putting their name and their their graduation year and things that in the past but it has been too much effort now you set up this little variable template and then just go let photo shop do most of the work for you so there's really something very cool parts of this once you get the grasp of how it works, I can see this for product catalogs yeah, I mean there's there's anything you can think of where some things stay the same and some things changed that's really what it comes down to on it could be as simple as just one thing changes or I've done once where I had four photographs that changed and, you know, I mean it's a pse faras you want to take it now here's an example of something the one little cash to this and I didn't I still don't quite understand why this happens, but now I'm prepared for it, so when I did one of these sports card things I thought to make it look more interesting I took the two action shot layers and I rotated them in my place holders, they're going to look cool if the photos were rotated when I had the whole merge thing at the end, all the photos were straight, so for some reason it didn't recognize the fact that it rotated and I I remember thinking once again, gosh, that is unfortunate because I would like them to be rotated. So at first I was like, I want to sit in, rotate every layer, but here's one of the things, the good thing about actions, memory we talked about actions I said actions are very specific, so if you click on a layer, it'll always look for that layer. Well, the good thing about variables is every layer is gonna have exactly the same name because we're all based on that place holder. So I realized in every result the left hand photo was called action layer one and I was called action later, too, so that I could record in action said click on the layer called action layer one, rotate ten degrees, then click, and that way I was able to do it. Batch normally that's one of the downsides toe actions in this case because of the way variables works that uses the same layer name in every single psd, then it was very simple for me to say, run variables get all these p s t s now do a batch action it says rotate, rotate and then export is j p and that way, I had all these j pegs that I could send off to print, but ultimate I still had all the psd files if someone said of his name is actually junior, or we usually call him dan, not danny or whatever, same rule of thumb, I still had the psd version, and then the flattened copy of it could you have done a smart object with those two tilted photos within very well, the problem with when you do that, it changes the rules a little bit because photoshopped that variables function, looks, looks at layers, it doesn't look at the smartness of them, so you have to be a little more careful in that regard, I'm for the most part avoided smart, logical variables, because I don't want to complicate things the point where I run into a roadblock, so there probably is some level where you could have some smartness in it. For the most part in this particular nation wouldn't need to, because if the only problem was rotate those layers, the fact that they all have the same found our layer name makes it easy to say, recorded action, says click on that layer and rotate yeah, I assume in your baseball experience that you made that excel sheet after the fact because you weren't quite prepared what you're getting for the second time, you're much more because they say, yeah, and also the other part of it was the first time it took a lot of time to go. Okay, gotta look through these photographs and ok, so the left hand photo is going to be called j smith one and the right hand once we had to kind of figure out the logistics the second time we had a naming system that said the head shot is one the act first act assad is too they want other one is three. So it's j smith one jason through j smith three and we knew that was a head shot, actually, action shot. But as we talked about before, any time you try something new, you learn something. So the first time we tried, it still saved me a ton of time, but the second time, that was, like actually more like, but it was still really fast because compared to that whole alternative thing, imagine how long would take me to go dragging a new voter wrath, make it fit type in the new name and hope I don't spell it wrong. So uh the smartest thing we did is get someone involved who could really type well so when they were on the spreadsheet they they were just like entering data like there's no tomorrow because I would've been like picking and trying to spell the name so but the funny thing is I since then have done this for ten photographs because even for ten it's still quicker for me to make a variable import ten than to do that ten times myself when a smart of it doesn't work if I can do it smart object but text is the one exception you khun go replace contents with a photo but with tax you have to ultimately still type it. So if you can cut out the typing part by having variable say, let me replace that text for you in whatever font and size everything else you've done that's a big plus um I want to switch gears a bit but before I do is there any questions about basically the variable side of things? Absolutely so chicken poo asks, how would you change the background colors for the team colors? How would you incorporate that variably well, that would probably be a little more challenging, I suppose, but I guess my first thought would be I would make the background another variable and then in my folder just have a series of jay pegs called blue red green and this pick appropriately I mean, if there were twenty seven colors that you have to keep doing that but it's the theory behind it is anything you want to change can either pixel based or text based just a matter of trying to figure out how many things you want to replace? Two people had asked both kickapoo and todd australia would there be any advantage to doing this and photoshopped versus doing it in in design? And people were asking, can this can't this be done in designing in design has a very similar function which to some degrees probably a little more robust, so the answer that question for most people is if you have in design know how to use it and know how to do that variable function I would do it there although personally I found this easier to understand than in designs in design is more powerful, but it took a little more kind of freaking out about the mechanics behind it. Interestingly enough, illustrator does it too and it's great if you're like a rocket scientist because it's so confusing and illustrators not even funny and I was so excited like it'll sure does this too, and I was like, now get your programmer fran to rewrite the xml file on like what it's like ok never mind let's do it illustrate earned photoshopped photo shop the beauty of it is your building on what you already know which is layers and things if you know how to use and design that yeah definitely that's a great functionality and for catalog work in design has made for that this has the benefit where it's just a slight variation on like you already know how to do and photoshopped thanks dave and key repeat again on how you would incorporate excel too runner to the processing the bottom line is what we need to have is our text file which is this comma delimited comus separated whatever you want to call it that's the bail was called common limited but it basically has the end result is has to be whatever your data is has to be separated by comments so my spreadsheet I would set up to go name company phone number whatever all the variables and then filled the man just like a regular spreadsheet in cells without once I'm finished excel and most other similar problems haven't option called export as or save as calm a delimited which means it will be a text file that looks like this so then the only step you'd have to do is add that top line which is the name of your variables so they match up with the data underneath and to be realistic I would say there's a reasonably good chance the first time you try this it will not work because it just takes some going through. I was close the first time we made it cut. Realize a couple little mistakes. Okay, that didn't work because so that's, why anything like this? If you're doing anything that involves a whole bunch of files or any kind of batch work, I would say tried on, like, three before he tried on three hundred or three thousand, make sure it works effectively with a few and they go. Ok, now I know this works. Let me do the rest because I hate to watch photoshopped flash away for all this time at the end, you have one file. Is that a three hundred? So I want to make sure I do like two or three test files, and I actually have a little set up where I have just like test names like these are all fake just so that I can use them to test it and make sure it works. And then when I know that I bring in the rial files as important to note, this is exactly what my folder looks like. It's just a whole bunch of files in one place because the text file is looking to whatever's in the same folder as it. So you need to have your photos and any graphics in that one same folder, because that's what it's looking inside I haven't done this in a while, but isn't that what they refers to is the c s v file? It looks and ex like excel. You start out in excel and then you export it to a c s visa. I mean there's, I'm not sure what the file format is, but as long as the option casillas v, I think and have a couple of different format. So it either taber common to limited, but common element is the one that you want toe pick so that csb great, but it's calm a delimited is the important part of that equation, because that's, what gives you that text file separated by comments in a pinch? I mean, if you don't have a cell or there's only ten like in this case, I just typed it in because there was only five lines, and I just made sure at the end of each person I hit a carriage return to say next one so it has to be common delimited and then a paragraph or character turn to say, this is my next person, so that and the and the proof is, when you do that import preview and photo shop, you should see the preview happening where you have the little next one and says, oh, look, that's working if nothing happens and that tells you something isn't set up right or if the field is an updating, that means something is labeled wrong and that's when the advantages of that important preview is you can say well, let's see what's happening here and kind of look inside go wonder why this isn't working the way that I wanted to and again I love the fact that by nature it exports a multilayered psd file so then you can go into any one of these and say, ok, this is you know I need to edit these just to finish this discussion off so now I have a folder full of multilayered psd files but that's not what I want to send out to my printer so, gosh, I wish there was a way that I could somehow take a bunch of layered psd files and quickly make them into j pegs so I'm already in bridge, so I just select them all and I choose photoshopped image processor save a jpeg whatever size I need so it's a kind of a two step you know, do your variables, make sure psd files and take all those psd files and say flattened copy using something automatic like this and then just saving the same folder and it will go it's abs abs him now back and bridge I have the j pig now there were three hundred it would take a tad longer but still not like extremely like me opening each one and going save as so this variables is one of those things where it's certainly not as every day a smart objects but they're the two main things I love about variables is when I have a situation like this I know I have a solution but I look at the other way now it makes me think of opportunities that I might not have otherwise because I would have been a passel that's way too much work but now I can think oh, I could make a very variable layout and do that in very little time at all especially the best scenario is when someone else's away I have a spread sheet with all their names and everything like that's even better because they enough to enter anything you're just tweeting in going export and bring it into your variables so I've had a couple of times where someone said I'm sure that would be too much work but could you do this and I was like, well that's a lot of work I'm thinking to myself well variables so the best part of knowing this kind of proactive itself in photo shop is you can still charge what they think it should take you like if you were doing it manually that would take ten hours so you still build by that or maybe make it eight to sound like you're really good but it takes you on hoursworth of work but you build for how long for your knowledge that you're able to do this more quickly yeah I think it's back to what jim was saying earlier it's we want to get to a place where we can say yes during clients right? Yes, yes I can do that versus basking be way too much trouble right? And I would have to charge you so much that is not exactly time because there's somebody else out there who knows this that saying yes right? So you're either not going to get that sail or you'll lose the job entirely to somebody else so well and I I know in this particular case because I found out some information after the fact that the person who was going to do it the reason they dropped out is because they realize it's going to take me forever because they didn't know how to do this so they actually dropped out of saying sorry I can make your tournament after all because they realized they had done the same thing and going oh sure I'll just make sports cars and I went, oh jeez that's going to take forever so in that case they because of their not knowing how to do that they end up backing away from a paid job because I realized I'll make no money I'm gonna paying this much and make seventeen cents an hour for a long time to take me so you know that's that's a big part of it that's why all of these functions and just to kind of revisit all things we've been talking about with smart objects it's now I'm not showing you this just because it's cool I mean that's part of it but that's not the main reason it's that whole edit faster do things more quickly make more money because you're getting to the things you want to do which is to take photographs and then you spend less time and photoshopped getting to an end result so you have templates you can reuse and you have printing layouts that are set to go on all those things that are smarter so you're being more productive that's why this whole four days was under the umbrella name of make money with photo shop because it's cut to the chase and get things done now we change gears the next two days and talk about let's spend a little more time to be more creative but still do it in a way that's relatively fast so you're not like kind of going well that's gonna take me forever and ever ok so dave we still have a number of questions on variable is new to a lot of people I know we have about half an hour before we were going to take the neck break showed can we keep it please? All right, so another question from head cases could I use the same variables text files with different templates even if the templates don't have all have the same variable layers? Well, the key to what working is the this top line here that has the name of your variables in your text file has to match your photo shop layer variable names so you could we use so for example say you've got things set up it's all the names of your branches of your I don't know car dealerships that never changes then you could reuse that information, but the top line has to match with what you've defined in photo shop, so if it's always the same, you could just keep we're using because I know I'm always going to call it, you know, name, address phone number that's always gonna be the same, but if you decide on one this one needs to be a different kind of a looks all remain that layer variable than in here in the text fall they've got a match so the good news is to a large degree the answer is yes, you could reuse the same text file as long as you're but it it is crucial that they match up otherwise you get an era that just says don't forget what the exact wording but affected says no it's not gonna work because something's not matching up or you'll preview the variability ago why is there nothing happening on that layer? Because something's not matching in terms of the naming you know this only works if your fields stay constant, right? It's exactly what I swore if you I mean the bottom line is they have to match so if you decide in your photo shopped file, that would make better sense to call this variable photo instead of photograph you have to make sure in the text value change it so the variable name changes to the same thing. So that's why when I first made this text file, I use different variable names that do a double check and make sure they now matched up with the names I just defined in photos. So matching names is that really one of the keys to making this work and having the same number of fields per person that you have for your variables across the top? And you could have one where for example, trying things apple or some reason one person didn't have something like they're the coach, they don't have a number, so you go khama khama and that way we just say I'm going to put nothing in there because they don't have one but a house that you have to make sure the number of commas match up with the number of variables so it's all about matching things that's what makes us work nice and I think there would have been a little bit of confusion with vicky had a question that asked davis working in bridge and then bringing the photos into photo shop can you use light room in the same way as a substitute for bridge as all my photos are in les room not bridge but that defines where the photos actually being grabbed from right that's that's all that is is this this text file is really what's giving all the instructions so wherever the text file is is where the photographs have to be so you might start in light room but you'd probably end up export emma's j picks and put him in your variables data folder or something for that specifically this purpose so the original source of them could easily be light room but I don't know that I do it from lightning first all because it's not going to work very effectively with like raw files you want to make sure you're using j pegs and things that are going p s d s and stuff like that big red dog asks probably not actually a big red dog but asked do the photo files have to be j bigger? They can be any well reported to be honest I've only ever tried j peg and psd I'm guessing it probably could use tiff ahs well I'd be less likely to think of rafael would probably work, but it might I just haven't tried it because from the first time I tried this years ago, frankly, there wasn't wrong. This has been around for a long enough that I first did this a long enough ago that my only option was j peg or ptsd. So that's what I tried now, it could well be that you could do it, but it might slow things down. Advance of j peg, is there going to be smaller? You could use png files being what it is, so if you were doing like webgraphics, you wanted him to be small, so you might choose to use png files because they're already small. So this again, this this could be anything, and there and result is going to be a psd. You can then turn into something else. So for example, I helped another company that we're doing web banner ads, where was a travel company and they wanted to have visit name of city and then a little star rating and the price on that wanted they wanted change on the fly zone reads they want have like fifty banner ads is this was a while back before today's technology, so we created a template that was like visit name of city was one place holder and then we had graphics it was like five stars and four stars and then prices that we're in a cool little thought and then that was another form of you know putting it together and they that case all the files were png files because the and result was they want to make a small little very efficient graphic that they could upload as a web banner now today's world there's a whole another way to do that where it's you know flashers or other technology that's better than that but at that time that was a much better alternative then manually going okay what's next on the list san francisco eighty nine dollars that's kind of the point is that you can and the other thing I would remind us all is variables might not work one hundred percent but using way back to the beginning of my comment about if you get partway there in variables fits into that category so if I can get most of the way there where I get a bunch of psc fascinate tweak a little bit that's still way better than me going paste paste pays type type type so even if you tried various gosh I can't quite get it to work if you can get almost work that's still a good thing that's still better than me going let me we create this myself let's say this was from and lane in oregon who said so how do we make sure that the individual photos are the same size? I'm sure you've covered that, but my brain is about ready to explode. So was that something you did before we flirt with this variable? It was I mean, to a degree I decided this particular example, I'm going to make a placeholder that's this big? So when I was preparing the graphics, I tried as much as I could to make them the same size. However, even if they're not even they're close one of the options whenever you're defining variable like a photo you see down here, it says what method you want and the one I issues usually fit that means if it's a little too big, it will scale it down so it's almost more important to a degree that the ratio is the same as opposed to the size being exact. We had a really square photograph now it's going to be out of whack a little bit, but all of these photographs I don't think they're all exactly the same size, but they're pretty much exactly the same race you are very close to it. So when I chose fit as my method for replacing the photograph, it's like I'm going to fit it to that place holder, you could also choose phil, but in a case like that that's like saying clip it inside so you could you could stretch it to some weird proportions or you could say, I know my photographs are the right size, I just choose, as is so that's more in an ideal world, you would prepare and say let's, make sure all my photos or if not the same size very close to it, and that will eliminate some of those worries. But sometimes you only know that until you, especially in a situation where you're not in control of the photos, but people are saying here's, a folder full of photos that we're using for a head shots, I would probably still going to look at the mongo who we need toe scale some of those to be the same same kind of sizing to make this part work better. Um, in your example, here, the photo is going to go on that yellow rectangle, right? Is it replacing the yellow rectangular zip line over the top of it is actually replacing it so it doesn't scale quite enough. You won't see the yellow around the correct ok and the reason that that's kind of interesting if you look more closely, you'll see that the yellow square actually has a stroke on it. So I want my photographs to have a stroke of the place. The place holder has a stroke in a drop shadow the photo where places that we will also have a stroke in a drop shadow, but it won't be and that's a good point. It won't be like a while the strokes way out here on my photos in the middle it's going to conform the stroke toe whatever the size of your actual replaced layers. Cool, dave, ohio asks, is there a way to automate the file numbering oven image to become the layer name when it importing it into a new image? I want to say that that's more of a scripting thing, nika scripting actions can only do so much and very lonely so much, but scripting can do almost anything if you know how to do it, which I don't, but there are people to do, and you can say if file name equals this, then layer name and there's all this programming mumbo jumbo that they do that can look inside, file names and applications and you say, launch this other software so scripting does ah whole lot more than action does it's just for most average users, scripting is a little bit mysterious enough that that it's like a little bit out of their realm. The good thing is there are photoshopped scripting forums I don't know the name of it, but if you search for photo shop scripting forum, I'm sure you could find people that are interested in scripting and not always but there's always a good chance that you could post that when, if there's a script that does this, they'll say, oh yeah, it's right over here or I can make that in five minutes because someone knows what they're doing, what they told us, just a script that does, if then and or blobby body law, there you go. So for a lot of things, scripting is the solution is just not for most people, something that's, as simple as these kind of things kind of goes back to the same when the questions asked about, couldn't you do this in a design, you could it's a little harder to learn it first, and this is aimed at people who already know if you are no use photo shop, you can pretty much do this because it's just one more dialog box to learn how to use.