cf/x convert review: Simplify the batch processing of image file formats
While there are batch facilities built into Photoshop that enable you to convert image formats they require a couple of things. Firstly that you actually have to load Photoshop in the first place, then load all the images in which can take some time. Then there’s the limitation that if they are RAW files you need to process them first. So this is where cf/x convert comes in, which is a standalone package to convert images. Simply drag and drop the entire folder of images into the workspace and they appear with handy sized thumbnails. Images can be quickly rotated if they are the wrong way round and they can be sorted manually, by name and date, ascending or descending, width, height or size. This also applies to RAW files which are loaded just like everything else, and don’t have to be laboriously opened.
The options for the conversion are all on the right, starting with what file format to use. These cover JPG, PNG, PDF, PSD, TIFF, GIF and BMP as well as some special options to create a single PDF book where each image occupies a page, or as a PDF contact sheet with 30 images per page. There’s also an option to turn everything into a HTLM catalogue with converted JPG resources.
Images can be saved at their actual resolution or you can resize them, for example when converting images for use on websites. You can shrink or expand the size, though the latter isn’t recommended and the app does flag this up with a warning as well. The parameters for shrinking are by percentage, pixels, inches or millimetres and can be based on the width, height, width and height which may crop certain images, the longest edge or the shortest edge, which is a neat way of doing it.
The good news is that the original images are never overwritten, but file names can be based on the original, or you can give them all a batch name prefix which is appended with a number. Files can be saved in the same location or custom folders. There’s a final set of options for keeping or losing the EXIF metadata and any alpha transparency and adding a watermark or header and footer. The watermark is only a text overlay, smack in the middle of the image, so it would be nice to see the option for graphics and more accurate positioning.
Clicking on the green arrow button sets the process off with large green tick marks appearing over the thumbnail for a successful conversion or a red one if the process is interrupted or fails for some reason. When finished you get some stats over how long it has taken. So, 31 12Mp RAW files, converted and saved as TIFFs took 90 seconds. Converting from TIFFs to JPEGs is considerably quicker. An interesting safe guard is that it checks the naming conventions and if you are saving to the original folder, ensures you don’t overwrite them.
The fact that you can batch convert RAW files without having to process and open them is what makes this app worth having for the busy studio. It would be nice to be able to be more precise and graphic with watermarking, but otherwise it offers a slick interface, intelligent resizing options, some neat extra output and does all the hard work for you.