I looked everywhere, I cant figure this out.

In this step of the process, I'm working with restoring and archiving old-film prints (with negs lost/scratched), and final process some neg/slides, all 35mm. Were talking about digitizing, adding corrections, then either reprinting, or keeping digital. Post process consists of alpha layer dust cleaning, separating the images from the plate scan, any final cropping/color correction, etc.., and final print or whatever.

I want to take these scans, which are now a multi-image plate(scan bed of four 4x6 film prints in this case, also negs/slides), in .tiff format, and separate them into their constituent parts(crop's).

I know there is a million ways, I'm concerned with this particular way.The ideal process i'm aiming for is i noticed that it seems easier to actually crop them using the select tool, then layer via copy. But I'm fully open.

First step, crop using layers:

  1. enable select tool
  2. put square around image 1 on the plate
  3. right click this area, and select layer via copy (viola, its alone)
  4. on that new layer , select image, trim
  5. click back on bg layer.

Rinse and repeat for all separate images on plate.

Is this the best way?

Now i can create/run an action on this right?

Second step: Extract to individual, creating then using an action/script (need help/ideas here)

Tiff now has layers 1-4(one layer per image on the plate, already trimmed), and a background layer.

  1. select layer 1
  2. save as, tiff, discarding layers
  3. close and not save new image, moves back to original image tab automatically
  4. rinse and repeat for all 4
  5. close original file and don't save.

Leaving me with this as the entire flow (for this portion, from top to bottom).

  1. Open some multi-scan tiff's that need processing
  2. Set up their layers on each file
  3. Automate, batch, select the action, then maybe use the save as feature there, or just run the action (on all opened files)(need help/ideas here)

One Trouble is, when i run the action, the save as step is overwriting the individual saves, however there's got to be an easier way to separate the tiffs than the save-as step in my initial action. I just am not that good at running batch actions, and overriding, or maybe there's existing ways for this already.

Any suggestions on the ideal, maybe layer via cut instead of layer via copy, some url I can briefly research and refine my question, some layer duplicate auto trim magic or something, I'm open.

I can tell you one thing, the real difficulty here is in finding articles that point to taking a TIFF, and making 4 TIFF'S out of it lossless, most are making 4 PNG's out of a tiff, or 4 tiffs out of a PSD, or some crap like that.

Please help. !!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's about how to use a graphic editor for a process without a clear photographic application. \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ The problem isn't that your question is too long - it's that it's off-topic for this Stack Exchange site; the help center explicitly includes "Image Manipulation (outside of the Photography context)" in its list of things that this site is not about. If there is a photographic context here (which almost certainly involves a camera and a lens), could you edit your question to include that? \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Jan 4, 2017 at 21:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ My apologies there. Yes absolutely. This is all photography. its the film/neg/slide scans from all my work. Ok, so i have added details, adding the photography related info, sorry about that. Is this the correct place to post this? \$\endgroup\$
    – blamb
    Jan 4, 2017 at 22:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ How is scanning negatives/slides out of photography context? \$\endgroup\$
    – MirekE
    Jan 5, 2017 at 15:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ basic question, can anybody find a working method, to take a tiff, make a few layers, then separate those layers, into their own tiffs, and duplicate that action? Or is this for a photoshop forum? \$\endgroup\$
    – blamb
    Jan 5, 2017 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


I think you're making this way too complicated. Just make four copies of each scanned TIFF in the operating system (you could write a shell script or batch file to do this for you), and then just open each file and crop to the image you want.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, thats exactly what i dont want to do, make four copies, unless its in the action, why would i want to introduce more steps? For example, the mandatory step is that i open the image, and select the crops, its maddedning monotonous to open 4 images, pick the individual unique image on each, and crop, because i have to switch between tabs, and that causes 4 2ooMB(about 900MB total) files for crops that will end up 4 closer to 4 40MB files. i can then only open about 1 plate comfortably in photoshop before i get stressed, along with my system. \$\endgroup\$
    – blamb
    Jan 6, 2017 at 22:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @blamb to me, it would be write script; run script. So... fewer steps to me. YMMV depending on coding expertise. But this is SE, after all. \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Jan 6, 2017 at 22:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ If i instead open 4 PLATES, not copies, i can make 16 images from that, with the same amount of image data loaded into photoshop, making thie entire process 4 times more efficient. i have about 20k photos. Sorry, was editing my last comment. Actually, no i Totally missed that. Ill look at that now, things just got more interesting.. Ok i looked, wont work, too much image data, its already a few thousand 200 mb plate scans. If you ask me, scripting the layers to make the tifs is the way to go, versus this. \$\endgroup\$
    – blamb
    Jan 6, 2017 at 22:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, that's just for copying the files. You may want to add this restriction (limited memory) to your question, but not sure you're going to get much help, as this question is all about scanning/file manipulation/using Photoshop, and not so much about taking photos. I'm also still not clear on why you're using layers... \$\endgroup\$
    – inkista
    Jan 6, 2017 at 22:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, just too much image data. And on your last point, yeah i see then. Thanks for the try though! This will work for someone who has fewer images, or wants to take up 4 times the space, and spend times carousing through tabs all day to get your crops done, but im trying to streamline. :-) Ill point this answer, after the post gets some more attention, thanks for the time. :-) Any better suggestions im all ears, on making a layer the new save as tif, automated. \$\endgroup\$
    – blamb
    Jan 6, 2017 at 22:55

Photoshop already comes with the right tool for you:

From the file menu, select Automate/Crop and Straighten photos - voila, you should now have them in separate images.

Saving them all as TIFF can easily be put in an action.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the response. Crop and straighten photos does not work, i need to manually find the edges, all that crop and straighten has EVER done for me, on thousands of photos, is chop single photos up into a million pieces, leaving me a madness of tabs, again. Maybe this is because most is nature photography. So its not just me then, this IS a difficult process to automate the layers of a pic, into new tiffs.... Yeah. thats why im here for the help, please. :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – blamb
    Jan 9, 2017 at 2:16

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