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Comments in image files

 
 
Peter in New Zealand
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      09-25-2008
Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which was a real
help for me. Now I have another question, and hope someone can help me once
more.

I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows" fields
don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they are something
completely different.

All I really want to do is be able to add my own comments and have them
included in the image file so that they travel with it. For this reason I am
not interested in a setup where this sort of data is stored in a separate
file, as that would potentially loose the data if the image file was moved.
I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS other than Windows.

My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields and
find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with IPTC for
all this?

Opinions of those more experienced than myself (which isn't hard) are
gratefully sought.

--
Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
compulsive computer fiddler.


 
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Peter in New Zealand
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      09-25-2008
>> My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields
>> and find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with
>> IPTC for all this?

>
> I would avoid anything that does not tag the image file itself. I'm not
> familliar with what windows does, but if it is external to the image
> itself, then it means less portability (losing your additional data
> accidentally or through incompatibility) as well as hide bounding you to
> Windows if you don't want to lose all that extra data.
>
> In Finder, (Max OS X), I can enter any keyword that was entered in the
> IPTC keyword record and the finder will cough it up in a heartbeat. (no
> silly wagging tail dogs, it is frickin fast). Filenames too; as well as
> most text data withing a file.
>
> Other tools will also search the IPTC records, including Adobe Lightroom,
> Apple Aperture and so on.


Thanks Alan, that's a very good point. I opened a jpg in Notepad and
actually found what looks like the Windows fields embedded within the file.
Then I moved it away from it's location and checked it in Photome. The data
still showed up, but when I returned it to its original place Photome no
longer showed it as embedded. But the original program (MS Digital Image
2006) still displayed it. So results seem a little contradictory at best. I
can't find any external file that sound be storing the data either.

I think I will stick with IPTC as you suggest. MS have a nasty habit of
changing things sometimes without warning. Witness the abandoning of Windows
Mail in Vista, along with its contacts in favour of Live Mail etc.
Functionally the MS fields look great, but I don't trust them. IPTC has been
around for long enough to have staying power regardless of what MS or anyone
else wants.

So - - - all I have to do now is work out the best software to use, but
that's another story. Once again, thank you Alan for your helpful comments.

--
Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
compulsive computer fiddler.


 
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Peter in New Zealand
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      09-25-2008

"l v" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) m...
> Peter in New Zealand wrote:
>> Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which was a
>> real help for me. Now I have another question, and hope someone can help
>> me once more.
>>
>> I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
>> looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
>> pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
>> that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
>> Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
>> available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows"
>> fields don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they are
>> something completely different.
>>
>> All I really want to do is be able to add my own comments and have them
>> included in the image file so that they travel with it. For this reason I
>> am not interested in a setup where this sort of data is stored in a
>> separate file, as that would potentially loose the data if the image file
>> was moved. I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS other
>> than Windows.
>>
>> My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields
>> and find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with
>> IPTC for all this?
>>
>> Opinions of those more experienced than myself (which isn't hard) are
>> gratefully sought.
>>

>
> Stick with the IPTC. It's the industry standard for tagging images and
> more and is platform independent. Software on the other hand is
> inconsistent as to what and how it displays IPTC information, IMO.
>
> There are free software for updating IPTC fields. Infraview to name one,
> but there are many. It'll handle searching on the IPTC and EXIF fields as
> well provided you'd installed the free plug-ins.
>
> I, however, moved away from simply tagging my images or using creative
> folder/file names on my hard drive. Look for a digital image management
> tool. These allow you to tag, sort, search, filter, organize, batch
> process, etc your digital image library. There are many on the market.
> Free ones may not fit your needs and may be more trouble than they are
> worth. Adobe has Bridge, Lightroom and I'm sure more. Microsoft has one
> maybe 2. Picasa is another but I've never even looked at it so I could be
> wrong. I ended up buying photools.com IMatch as it fit very well into my
> existing home grown workflow which I had built using Perl scripts which I
> developed. IMatch allowed to keep utilizing my Perl scripts while
> providing a good GUI and functionally and I have not encountered any
> problems with my library of 12,000+ images. Other IMatch users develop
> their own IMatch scripts and publish them for others to freely use. It is
> also cheaper than a tank of gas but there is a bit of a learning curve
> and a few quirks, like any application. It does use a database but the
> image's IPTC is updated and can export xmp files so you are not locked
> into a single platform nor application. Not limited to only images
> either.
>
> --
>
> Len


Hi Len, and many thanks for your comments. I appreciate the time you have
taken and the detail of your comments. IMatch does look good, but I will
need to think before investing the price of buying it. It's not that I doubt
the value for money aspect (esp. after your comments), but simply a need to
take care with what I spend money on. Nevertheless it does look interesting.
In the meantime I have come to the conclusion that the best setup for me is
to use Windows XP itself as the thumbnail browser, and for any work on
images, to open them in Irfanview. I have used Irfanview for years and it's
astounding what it can do now.

I also agree completely with your comments re IPTC. It's a standard that's
been around long enough to survive most software writer's vissitudes (is
that spelt right?). Irfanview seems to work very well with IPTC and EXIF
data, as well as embedded JPG comments.

Many of the budget priced, or free programs around do some things extremely
well, but with something missing, so that a number are needed to cover most
serious image work requirements. I think the Windows/Irfanview combination
will do well enough for me in the meantime while I am considering IMatch.

Once again, my grateful thanks for your experience and helpful comments.

--
Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
compulsive computer fiddler.


 
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ray
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      09-25-2008
On Thu, 25 Sep 2008 13:08:19 +1200, Peter in New Zealand wrote:

> Recently I was helped by this group with a question or two, which was a
> real help for me. Now I have another question, and hope someone can help
> me once more.
>
> I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
> looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
> pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
> that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
> Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
> available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows"
> fields don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they
> are something completely different.
>
> All I really want to do is be able to add my own comments and have them
> included in the image file so that they travel with it. For this reason
> I am not interested in a setup where this sort of data is stored in a
> separate file, as that would potentially loose the data if the image
> file was moved. I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
> other than Windows.


Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
someone who does?

>
> My question is this - do people here use the Windows properties fields
> and find them portable with the image file? Or should I stick only with
> IPTC for all this?
>
> Opinions of those more experienced than myself (which isn't hard) are
> gratefully sought.


 
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Jürgen Exner
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      09-25-2008
"Peter in New Zealand" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>I have been experimenting with a pile of various photo organisers and
>looking for one to settle on that will enable me to add comments etc to
>pictures. It seems this sort of function falls into two main groups, one
>that uses EXIF, IPTC, and so on. The other seems to be particular to
>Windows, with fields for subject, title, description, copyright etc.
>available through the right click "properties" menu. These "Windows" fields
>don't seem to show up in IPTC or EXIF at all, so I assume they are something
>completely different.


Actually those "Windows" fields are stored in the EXIF as can easily be
confirmed with any binary editor and they are visible in at least
Photoshop Elements ("File -> File Info -> Description") and IrfanView.

jue
 
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Peter in New Zealand
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      09-25-2008
I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
>> other than Windows.

>
> Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
> someone who does?
>

Now that's a very good point. I actually do have friends who have a Mac, and
I guess the "Windows" fields might not show up on that. Although they did
seem to be embedded in the jpg file when I looked at one with Notepad. That
said, I guess the Mac (being a Mac) might still not "want" to see them.
(Please - no offence to any Mac owners intended - grin).

You remind me of a valid point - thank you.

--
Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
compulsive computer fiddler.


 
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Peter in New Zealand
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-25-2008
>
> Actually those "Windows" fields are stored in the EXIF as can easily be
> confirmed with any binary editor and they are visible in at least
> Photoshop Elements ("File -> File Info -> Description") and IrfanView.
>
> jue


Yes, I discovered that myself looking at one with Notepad. Whether, as Ray
pointed out, another OS would "see" them is another matter. But it's
interesting. Certainly Photome, which seems to show absolutely everything
that is inside the file in the way of metadata, shows the Windows fields. Of
course, it's running on Windows anyway.

Oh boy, I really do wish the industry, profession, whatever, would work out
a standard here, although I guess IPTC is about as close to a standard as we
are likely to get. At least it's been around for a while.

In the meantime the software I have used for the past year or so, Microsoft
Digital Image 2006, concentrates on the "Windows" fields (natch), and isn't
so hot with IPTC. I would hate to change boats in mid stream as it were,
having accumulated a significant number of images with the Windows fields
used in them through that software. Ah well, it's all really interesting.
And I am appreciating the comments, thoughts, and discussion here.

--
Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
compulsive computer fiddler.


 
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ray
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      09-25-2008
On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 07:44:07 +1200, Peter in New Zealand wrote:

> I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
>>> other than Windows.

>>
>> Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
>> someone who does?
>>

> Now that's a very good point. I actually do have friends who have a Mac,
> and I guess the "Windows" fields might not show up on that. Although
> they did seem to be embedded in the jpg file when I looked at one with
> Notepad. That said, I guess the Mac (being a Mac) might still not "want"
> to see them. (Please - no offence to any Mac owners intended - grin).
>
> You remind me of a valid point - thank you.


Exactly - this is why there are standards - even though MS chooses to
ignore many of them.
 
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Peter in New Zealand
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      09-25-2008

"ray" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed)...
> On Fri, 26 Sep 2008 07:44:07 +1200, Peter in New Zealand wrote:
>
>> I can't imagine I would ever use them on anything OS
>>>> other than Windows.
>>>
>>> Have you ever considered that you might want to exchange photos with
>>> someone who does?
>>>

>> Now that's a very good point. I actually do have friends who have a Mac,
>> and I guess the "Windows" fields might not show up on that. Although
>> they did seem to be embedded in the jpg file when I looked at one with
>> Notepad. That said, I guess the Mac (being a Mac) might still not "want"
>> to see them. (Please - no offence to any Mac owners intended - grin).
>>
>> You remind me of a valid point - thank you.

>
> Exactly - this is why there are standards - even though MS chooses to
> ignore many of them.


Can anyone tell me why, oh why, if these "Windows" EXIF fields show up in a
text editor (I mean, ther're definitely in there y'know) and Photome shows
them, why do they not appear in Irfanview, XnView, Picasa, or Faststone?
Even the new Windows Photo Gallery only shows one of them. Arrrgh!

Does anyone here identify with my frustration?

Maybe I should just forget-about-it-all and ignore IPTC and EXIF and use
v-e-r-y l-o-n-g file names to hold all the data. I'm only half joking. I
just gotta settle on one main program for managing my digital images, and I
need metadata in a form that will hopefully be retrievable in 50 years time
or so. Maybe MS Digital Image is OK, considering my grandchildren will
hopefully still be able to get at the metadata with a simple text editor if
all else fails.

Any even a cursory reading of this post will reveal that I am a bit of a
cheapskate, as just about every program I mention is freeware.

--
Peter in New Zealand. (Email address is fake)
Collector of old cameras, tropical fish fancier, good coffee nutter, and
compulsive computer fiddler.


 
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Jürgen Exner
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      09-25-2008
"Peter in New Zealand" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>Can anyone tell me why, oh why, if these "Windows" EXIF fields show up in a
>text editor (I mean, ther're definitely in there y'know) and Photome shows
>them, why do they not appear in Irfanview,


They are accessible in IrfanView:
- Image -> Information -> ExifInfo
- Image -> Information -> IPTC Info -> "Caption" and "Origin" tabs

I don't know about all fields, but at least those I tried do show up.


jue
 
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