By using scripting with Creative Suite, you can reap the following benefits:
- Speed. In my own informal testing, I've watched scripts complete tasks hundreds of times faster than a human could complete the same tasks.
- Accuracy. What if we made a mistake in the previous bullet point? What if we typed an i instead of an o? To catch mistakes in text, we generally have to read what we've typed, perceive the error, and then reenter the text to correct it—not a time-consuming task for a single document. Apply this same process to tens or hundreds of documents, however, and you begin to see how scripting can help.
- Lowered costs. Increased speed and accuracy equal an improved bottom line. You're not only saving in labor and reprinting costs, you're also fostering happier, more productive, potentially healthier employees, and you're able to redirect resources from graphics production to higher-value work such as brand development and graphic design.
- Design and brand consistency. Thanks to both faulty operator decisions and inadvertent errors, a certain amount of inconsistency is inherent in any manually produced work. Scripting, in contrast, ensures consistency, making sure that things are done the way you want them to be.
- Multiplier effect. With scripting you can be in two or more places at once, as well as do two or more times the work.
- Logic. By applying the logic you've written into them, scripts can react to situations and make decisions on the fly—consistently and with lightning speed. Logic also gives scripts the flexibility to react to unanticipated situations.
A Bit of Tough Love
Now that I've outlined the benefits of scripting, I'm going to reveal what few scripting evangelists are willing to divulge—namely, that scripting can be one of the most infuriating and confusing tasks you'll ever wrestle with and you won't always win. But in the right hands, scripting is a beautiful thing—even an art form. In writing scripts you will practice some of the same processes as those in design or music or literature. Simplicity, form following function, flow, and balance. There are ways to turn a phrase, lead the eye, make interpretations. In short, a script can have grace.
I may be overstating the case, but if all you want to see is a boring, geeky tool, that's what you'll see. Do yourself a favor: Check your preconceptions at the door and keep your brain open as we explore what scripting has to offer.