For the purpose of automated and unassisted batch-processing (using bash and GNU make) I need a command-line tool to develop jpgs from my raw+xmp files.

I am on OS X and have the complete Adobe tool chain available (Lightroom 4, Bridge 5, Photoshop 5), however, have not yet found a way to interface to them from the command line; the answer to this question indicates that, at least for Lightroom, this is not yet possible. On Mac OS X it might be implementable via some crazy (and brittle) UI scripting, but Adobe products are generally not open to that as well because of their very specific UI toolkits.

I certainly would prefer developing via the Adobe engine, but if this is not possible, I would also go for another engine given that it – at least to some degree – applies the development settings stored in the XMP sidecars.

I know about dcraw (Open Source) and Apple's sips, but as far as I understand they would not apply the (Adobe) development settings stored in the XMP sidecars. But maybe there is some conversion tool available?

Any further suggestions?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Why not go the Lightroom-API way, using Lua? You should be able to execute these Lua scripts using bash and then the possibilities are endless, surely. \$\endgroup\$
    – Unapiedra
    May 26, 2013 at 11:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Unapiedra: Sounds complicated, but feasable. Do you have an example for sich a Lua script that could be taken as starting point? \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    May 26, 2013 at 18:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think using a non-Adobe engine will be a non-starter. It's easy to see, for example, that Clarity is set to +20, but unless someone else implements the same Clarity algorithm, that's not going to help. And I doubt anyone can do that, for both technical and intellectual property reasons. And starting with Process 2012, even the simple-sounding adjustments (Exposure, Blacks, Whites...) are complicated image-adaptive algorithms, much like HDR tone mapping operators. \$\endgroup\$
    – coneslayer
    May 26, 2013 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @coneslayer: Well, in the end it is a trade-off decision. For me, being command-line scriptable is more important than perfect quality. If the quality is okayish, it might be a starter. \$\endgroup\$
    – Daniel
    May 27, 2013 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


Adobe Lightroom (not so sure about Photoshop and rest) does not support command-line-scripting. You can easily write plug-ins and there are numerous resources to help you (SDK Guide, Lightroom SDK). But according to a thread on the Adobe-Forums, calling a script that executes a specific Lightroom action does not work from the command line.

A pity, really.


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