Photo Organisation Software?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Cobus Kruger, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. Cobus Kruger

    Cobus Kruger Guest

    Hi Guys,

    I have finally purchased the Canon EOS 350D to trade up from my old film
    Pentax MZ30. OK, so that's not really the point of this message, but I
    love saying that :)

    On the Canon disk they supply a lot of software with overlapping
    functionality in some areas, but in other areas the suite seems rather
    weak. For example, the album software (PhotoRecord) allows me to make
    really nice looking albums, but those albums don't really seem to be
    good for anything except for looking pretty on my PC.

    ZoomBrowser allows me to assign keywords to photo's but doesn't seem to
    offer a real way of organising everything (especially on-disk, as in
    moving files to more relevant folders).

    Ideally, I would like something with the following feature set:
    1. Basic editing features are good enough - advanced editing will always
    require a dedicated tool. But better is... uhm better, I suppose.
    2. Keyword/category assignment.
    3. Detailed search criteria, preferably including image size, a quality
    rating of some sort, and of course, keywords/categories.
    4. Google's Picasa seemed to do a pretty useful job of matching like
    images in the same folder, so that portraits are automatically separated
    from landscapes (or was I imagining things). Something like that will be
    much enjoyed.
    4. Creating albums that can then be published to the web, or a DVD, or
    shared with people who don't necessarily have the same software.
    5. Organising images not only by category, but also where they are
    physically stored. Unfortunately I have allowed my files to get a little
    messy before they became to numerous to sort out. Now if I want to
    archive, say holiday photos from a given holiday, I'll need to pick them
    out almost one by one from multiple folders (don't ask). Doing that
    using keywords and categories seem to make sense, but then I really need
    to get the files sorted on disk, or I won't be moving the whole set
    anywhere.
    6. A good image browser, of course.

    Anyone know of good software that will fulfil my wishes?

    Kind Regards,

    Cobus Kruger
     
    Cobus Kruger, Aug 18, 2005
    #1
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  2. I am going to guess you will get as many suggestions as there are
    products.

    My current personal choice is Adobe's Elements 3.0 The longer I have it
    and the more I work with it the better I like it. Funny I keep finding
    answers to problems I had with it months ago, and only now finding the
    answer that works for me.
     
    Joseph Meehan, Aug 18, 2005
    #2
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  3. Cobus Kruger

    wavelength Guest

    IMHO of course...

    Hate zoom browser, hate Elements3.0 organizer even more. Love ACDSee,
    Picasa2. Use Picasa religiously to find file names easily, and then go
    back to photoshop to edit.

    I don't do much tagging or even captioning, maybe Elements would be
    beneficial for that, but I hate paperwork. I used to watch my mom sort
    and tag medical records whn I was a kid. Don't want do ever do anything
    similar to that. I even kind of like finding older pictures that I had
    forgotten by myself.
     
    wavelength, Aug 18, 2005
    #3
  4. Cobus Kruger

    Mark² Guest

    ACDSee from www.acdsystems.com

    Free, fully functional demo.
    Others will praise the fully free IfanView, but I don't care for it.
    ACDSee also has an optional upgrade that let you deal accurately with color
    profiles.
     
    Mark², Aug 18, 2005
    #4
  5. Cobus Kruger

    Fred Guest

    Fred, Aug 19, 2005
    #5
  6. Cobus Kruger

    Mr. Mark Guest

    ZoomBrowser allows me to assign keywords to photo's but doesn't seem to
    Explorer. Comes free with Windows ;)
     
    Mr. Mark, Aug 19, 2005
    #6
  7. Cobus Kruger

    Cobus Kruger Guest

    :)

    Mind you, the next version of Windows was supposed to include keywords
    and categories in the file system. Think it has been postponed though.

    Any ideas for something that includes the rest of my wish list?
     
    Cobus Kruger, Aug 19, 2005
    #7
  8. Cobus Kruger

    dmc Guest

    I've got much the same ideal requirements but ideally want something I
    can run on my powerbook. Anyone got suggestions for MacOS?

    Darren
     
    dmc, Aug 19, 2005
    #8
  9. Cobus Kruger

    pz Guest

    pz, Aug 19, 2005
    #9
  10. Cobus Kruger

    Paul Allen Guest

    I liked my old Olympus OM-2n, too. It's pushing 30 and only on its
    fourth battery. :)

    But, to the point. I am a programmer who has a digital camera, so I
    have an interest in this topic. I started working on a little perl/Tk
    script to help organize my images about two and a half years ago. It's
    grown into something that roughly matches what you're asking for. I'd
    like to explore around the edges a bit.
    That's my philosophy. I can do lossless cropping and rotation in my
    script, but more complex manipulation is done externally.
    I call them "tags", and I've implemented them as a hierarchy. So, I've
    got "people/Kincaids/Aunt Betty" and "places/Yosemite". You add new
    tags as you need them by adding children/siblings to a graphical tree.
    I'm finding that this gets unwieldy as the number of tags gets large.
    I need to implement a way to deepen the hierarchy. For example, the
    "places" tag has about 50 sub-tags now. Mount Rainier and Yosemite
    should be under "places/national parks" instead of directly under
    "places".
    Interesting! Why is image size a search criterion? Would it be more
    useful to search by x and y dimensions, but pixel count, by size in
    bytes?

    My wife wants to be able to search by date, to answer questions like,
    "What were we doing two years ago in March?" That didn't occur to
    me when I was designing my database. What other kinds of searches
    are there that a programmer would never think of?

    My software puts images in "containers". A "shoebox" is about the
    right size to be archived to removabe media. Shoeboxes contain
    "folders" and "galleries". Galleries contain one or more "rooms".
    A folder generally contains related images: a trip to a museum, a
    vacation, shots taken around the yard during the Spring, etc. The
    best images may get "linked" into one or more gallery rooms for
    sharing on the web.

    Images may be selected within the whole collection, within a particular
    container, or within the current selection. They may also be selected
    without regard to tags, with particular tags, or with exactly zero tags.
    (This last is useful for tracking down images that have not been tagged
    yet!) The tag mechanism could be hijacked to record image quality. I
    sort-of do that with "key image", "tag for printing", and "tag for web"
    tags.
    My script depends on a partnership with the operator's brain for that
    sort of organisation. :)
    I've got the web angle worked, in a Spartan sort of way. I'd like to
    be able to produce a bootable CD or DVD that would come up running my
    script with a best-of-the-best collection of images and full search
    capability. I use Linux, while most of my relatives use Windows.
    Distributing self-contained media avoids the need to port the whole
    contraption to Windows. It's probably a lot simpler to just put web
    content on a CD and have people point a web browser at it.
    The first think my script ever did was organise images physically,
    so I haven't spent much effort on the problem of corralling an out-
    of-control collection. Currently, it just knows how to import
    everything in a directory into a folder. It's just smart enough
    too avoid importing the same image twice. Currently, it recognizes
    images by filename and EXIF timestamp. (It never messes with image
    filenames.)

    For your problem, would it be useful to be able to choose images from
    a display of thumbs and import batches into folders? Would you need
    a way to visually distinguish images that have been imported from
    those that have not? Is drag-and-drop the most natural metaphor?
    Or would "highlight some images and pick 'import' from the menu"
    do as well?

    My software doesn't allow images under its control to be scattered
    around the disk. For efficient archiving, physical containment is
    necessary, I think. But there may be usability reasons to figure
    out a way to keep track of images wherever they may be scattered.
    (I think that's Microsoft's Longhorn concept.) Suggestions along
    these lines are welcome.
    Yeah. :)

    What do you like in an image browser? Is it useful to be able to
    see the selection dialog while you're looking at thumbnails?
    Would it be useful if there was a thumbnail view organized according
    to the tag hierarchy? What kind of metadata do you think an image
    needs? (Currently, I keep short and long descriptions in additon
    to the tags. What else is useful?) Do you want easy access to
    image metadata while you're browsing? Or is metadata maintenance
    completely separate from browsing?
    Well, my software will be coming to a Sourceforge project near you
    at some point. :) Whether it ever runs on Windows is an open issue.
    One thing you didn't mention is the ability to handle RAW images.
    My script currently only knows about JPEG images, since I don't have
    a camera with RAW capability. (It's just software, however, and I'm
    not going to hide the source.)
    Same to you. Thanks for posing your question. You got me thinking.
    Paul Allen
     
    Paul Allen, Aug 19, 2005
    #10
  11. I'd try a trial version of PS Elements 3. And the newer iPhoto. I myself
    use PS CS, and iPhoto for web pages on .mac.
     
    John McWilliams, Aug 19, 2005
    #11
  12. Cobus Kruger

    imp Guest

    Picasa can do all of this...
    Check. Picasa has both Keywords and Labels.
    Check. The search function takes multiple inputs, including criteria you
    mention. The quality rating is basic (either starred on unstarred), but
    it's easy to implement a more complex system using keywords -- "1stars"
    to "5stars".
    I didn't notice this. Perhaps it was just the order you took them.
    Check, mostly.

    Web: Actions > Make a Webpage.

    DVD: Create > Movie. You'll need an MPEG2 codec installed and you'll
    still need an external DVD burning program. A separate slideshow program
    is easier, like this freeware: http://www.videohelp.com/~tin2tin/.

    Sharing: Use the Gift CD button, Export button, Email button, Hello and
    Blogger buttons (if you use these) or burn the web gallery created with
    Make a Webpage onto a CD.
    Operations done in Picasa (such as renaming and moving) are reflected on
    your hard drive. You'll be able to sort by keywords and categories then
    drag the selection into a new folder. The only thing that Picasa can't
    do is create the new folder. For that, you'll have use Windows Explorer
    and move at least one image into it so that Picasa can see it.
    Check. Undocumented feature: Ctrl-Alt to view currently selected,
    displayed or pointed at image in fullscreen.
    Yup, you're already using it. I think a lot of people underestimate
    Picasa because it's free and user-friendly.

    Hope this helps.
     
    imp, Aug 19, 2005
    #12
  13. Cobus Kruger

    KennyJr Guest

    I'm with you, I don't care for IfranView. I like ACDSee much better even
    if it isn't free.

    Don't much care for Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, I'll stick with Elements
    2 for my more advanced photo editing.
     
    KennyJr, Aug 19, 2005
    #13
  14. Cobus Kruger

    Cobus Kruger Guest

    Have to admit that I posted before I realised that I downloaded Picasa 2
    but completely neglected installing it. As a result though, I have
    received plenty of suggestions, which I am busy working my way through.

    I never noticed the keyword support before because it is something I
    would expect to find on the context menu, but there you have it. And to
    think that for years I have been telling people to RTFS when using
    software before they squeal for help :)

    Folder management in Picasa 2 is still not what I had in mind though,
    and the whole album idea seems completely missing, although a collage
    could probably do for a small set of pics.
    Found it under the Folder menu. Exactly what I had in mind, thanks.
     
    Cobus Kruger, Aug 20, 2005
    #14
  15. Cobus Kruger

    Cobus Kruger Guest

    That's the way I like it - a little bit of zest!

    Very interesting. Sometimes keywords overlap a bit and you end up adding
    them in sets. For example, baby pics will always get the keyword baby,
    and pics featuring my son will always get the keyword Llewellyn. So baby
    pics of my son... and it gets repeated for all of them. I suppose a
    hierarchy can help minimise that clutter.
    I always like keeping my originals in the highest possible resolution,
    but pics that I receive, say via email, are seldom of that quality.
    Depending on what I am searching for I may only be interested in high
    resolution pics. Google's image search has simple large/medium/small
    options and that will probably suffice for most people most of the time,
    I'd say. Pixel count or minimum dimensions may be more useful when one
    gets serious though.
    Never ask a fellow programmer that :)
    Depending on the time of day this could be a real bummer - I'm not a
    morning person :)
    I reckoned that one could organise it by doing keyword searches and
    moving the whole batch or some subset of it to its destined location.
    Then I had my second cup of coffee and realised that photos containing
    keywords mom, dad and llewellyn would probably end up in folders for my
    parents, my son and one or more holidays/occasions/events. Bummer. So I
    deal with the organisation details by neglecting to do it until someone
    else comes up with a logical way. Ignoring the requirement of unique
    file names, even a big folder containing everything makes sense to me in
    some ways.
    I like to easily (without going to a dialog box) choose a thumbnail size
    - Picasa has a slider that works like a charm for this. Any kind of
    grouping is useful. My camera stores things like ISO speed and aperture
    size in the EXIF tags, but these are perhaps more interesting as search
    criteria. I like screens that are free from clutter, so long
    descriptions and plenty of editing brunt probably works best once you
    have selected an image (The "Simplicity Rocks" mantra)
    The Canon JPEGs on the "Large; Fine" setting are perfect, and they
    retain meta data as mentioned before. I think some of this don't go into
    RAW images, or at least plenty of RAW image viewers cannot read it all.
    So (at present) I would say that it is probably one of those features
    I'd appreciate but not often use.
    And to think; I did it all for selfish reasons :)

    Ciao
     
    Cobus Kruger, Aug 20, 2005
    #15
  16. Cobus Kruger

    emmarzheng Guest

    emmarzheng, Aug 22, 2005
    #16
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