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1  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: EM2 running on Windows 7 64 bit on: December 01, 2009, 12:31:13 PM
So I'm posting very, very late but I too have been using EM2 with Win7 64-bit without any problems at all...
2  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: My suggestions for EM3 on: August 31, 2009, 03:10:42 PM
Ah, hadn't seen that gem.  :Smiley I've avoided it because my taxonomic vocabularies are "constrained to the defined terms" (the checkbox on the image you provided). That seems to prevent the exploding keywords. My default list does have a few.
3  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: My suggestions for EM3 on: August 31, 2009, 09:15:58 AM
...the only downside is the ever expanding keyword file as you have to enter general terms over and over again. With your inclusion of the full branch it is even [worse].

I'm not sure I follow. My keyword file doesn't expand. In fact, it hasn't changed since I created it. I create the file in Excel and fill out the columns appropriately, then save it as a .csv. Change the file extension to .txt and EM sees it as a vocabulary. If by general terms you mean higher taxonomic levels, then it's fairly easy to either download the information with most of this present and fill in the remainder in Excel in mere seconds.
4  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: My suggestions for EM3 on: August 31, 2009, 05:33:48 AM
I'm not using hierarchical keywords. I'm using flat keywords but all the keywords at once. It's very easy to create a vocabulary file like this by getting the data somewhere on the net and cleaning it up in Excel to save as .csv file. With catalog sets, I'd have to constantly expand and collapse groups to find what I needed and then drag files to annotate them. I'd also have to enter all the information by hand I believe, as I know of no way to import the data. The approach I've been using has worked well.
5  DAM Stuff / Backup Strategies and Tools / Re: Backing up just metadata on: August 30, 2009, 05:54:03 PM
Doesn't this imply that the catalog won't get corrupted or become unreadable? While I don't expect my DVDs to last forever (or even 50 years), I worry about problems where a catalog becomes corrupted and you only learn of problems when you try annotating back to the files. Also, it wouldn't take much change to have a cataloging program fall out of use and no longer run on current operating systems. You might have a catalog but no program to read it. I know this is probably a long shot, but always having your metadata stored in the files themselves seems like an extra layer of data protection.

I suppose you're advise is good, since I can still annotate the files on my external drives and only rely on the catalog + DVD copies in the event of a complete loss (fire, theft, etc).

Thanks as always! No more questions for me today  Grin
6  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: My suggestions for EM3 on: August 30, 2009, 05:43:08 PM
Well, one beautiful use of Keyword sets that I make use of for taxonomies. Keywords like this:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Tyrannus forficatus, Tyranninae, Tyrannidae, Passeriformes, Aves, Vertebrata, Chordata, Animalia, Birds

This allows looking for one species, a genus, a family, etc. And when taxonomies change, it will be easy to search through the collection at the appropriate level and rework keywords as needed.

I guess it sounds like you tend towards using keywords as a general tool and then make catalog sets to further narrow things down. I make catalog sets when I need or want them, but often I don't do anything beyond keywording and never take the time to go through and make a catalog set for an events best pictures. Instead, I'd like a way of finding an event when I need to, and then I can make a catalog set if I want to further narrow it down. But I'll ponder my approach, and I appreciate the feedback.

I'd invite anyone else you wishes to leave their thoughts on what they think really ought to be included in the next version of Expression Media.
7  DAM Stuff / Backup Strategies and Tools / Backing up just metadata on: August 30, 2009, 05:09:58 PM
This post isn't quite as stupid as the title makes it sound...

I've had nothing but harddrive backups for a good while now, but I've had my data on four disks (a primary, a local backup run nightly, and two offsite backup drives) and I felt fairly good that all four drives wouldn't fail me at once. My collection has grown to the point that I needed to purchase some larger drives and as I thought it through, I decided it would be more cost effective to have a primary archive external drive at home, an offsite archive backup drive that I bring home only when adding more files to the archive, and then burn DVDs kept in a different town as a greater level of protection.

I'm having some heartburn about metadata. I occasionally go through old pictures, add keywords, change ratings, etc. I then immediately annotate the changes back to the original files. (I never trust that an xMedia catalog might not go belly up and therefore need to be recreated from the pictures themselves.) The problem with DVDs of course is that once they're burned, that's it. (That's also quite an advantage in different circumstances, I'm well aware.)

Instead of having to burn an entire bucket to DVD when the metadata changes on files, I was wondering if exporting the metadata and just back that up would work. That way, in the event of a disaster, after recovering the pictures from DVD, I could take the most recent backups of the metadata and have all my work. Because metadata is so small, backing it up would be easy.

The one issue that concerns me is just how to restore metadata to files. I know that something like ExifTool can do just such a thing, but it makes me a little nervous to rely on something that might not be around into the future.

How do others handle this? Burn whole buckets again every time the metadata changes? Never change an image once it's archived? Accept that in the unlikely event of a catastrophic failure, metadata changes get lost?

8  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: How to write the "Event" to metadata on: August 30, 2009, 04:52:26 PM
Hmmm. Maybe I am being way too silly about this question. I had thought that since Photoshop couldn't see the xMedia XMP fields (like CatalogSets or Event) that it was removing them when I made derivative files. But upon further testing, that doesn't appear to be the case at all, and I must have been confused. Derivatives still have the Event just fine and xMedia can read it. That makes sense for Photoshop. Just because it can't read an XMP namespace doesn't mean it should destroy it upon writing a file.

So the only real question would seem to be whether my idea is a good one to begin with. I freely concede that it might not be but if so am trying to understand why.
9  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: How to write the "Event" to metadata on: August 30, 2009, 04:38:48 PM
Hi Peter. I agree that CatalogSets are perfect for what you call intent, and I'm already using them for that very purpose. I cringe a bit at the keyword suggestion, and the main reason is that now I would have a huge number of pictures that didn't have "John Smith" in them but instead were of his birthday party. Now a keyword search for John Smith returns pictures of a wrapped present, the family pet, and the sunset outside the house... Whereas if I keep this out of the keywords, a search for "John Smith" returns only pictures of the person.

Do you or others think it's a bad idea to use the Event field? Bad as in it ties me to one piece of Software (xMedia) and makes me work harder with other (like Photoshop) to ensure that the Event data stays with a field through subsequent derivatives?

I know that ImageIngester has an Event field and I assume it's the same field as xMedia's.

Sorry if I'm making this more difficult than it needs to be. It just seems simple and there seems to be a perfect solution available (the Event field), but I'm trying to make sure I understand its implications.

And I just discovered that EM shows a nice Event dropdown list right under the File Type on the Organize pane... Very nice.
10  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / Re: My suggestions for EM3 on: August 30, 2009, 04:25:14 PM
Yes Peter,

I'm aware that one can drag images to keywords. However, I don't see that as being particularly beneficial to me, unless I missed something. For starters, I have a few hundred Keywords in the panel. I also assign many keywords as sets, where typing one keyword loads a list of 4 or 10 all at once. I wouldn't get that by dragging images to the keywords panel. Finally, I find that typing is much quicker than using the mouse, which is one of my greatest frustrations with EM. I hate how every time I enter a keyword I have to use the mouse to focus the keyword field so that I can enter further keywords.
11  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / My suggestions for EM3 on: August 30, 2009, 01:58:51 PM
In response to this post announcing that Expression Media is still important to Microsoft, I wrote a lengthy email to Josh Weisberg about my suggestions for EM3. This is largely a list of processes that I think do not work very well or could be greatly improved, with perhaps just a few new features requests. I thought it worth posting here for others to see, and possibly add their own list of what they'd like to see. Perhaps it doesn't matter and no one will really listen anyway, but then again perhaps they will. It seems Peter has had the ear of at least a few folks at times.

So without further ado, here it is. And forgive any typos. I didn't proof it like I should because I've spent too long typing this anyway.

I’ve got a laundry list of ideas, and I really hope they could be considered? My father has been a software developer for 25 years, and I have just a few good ideas I believe. I’ll rattle them off as quick as a I can, and list them in order of most to least importance to me.

  • Better and faster keywording entry. I cannot beg enough for the following:
  • Allow users to enter keywords for one or more pictures without ever taking their hands off the keyboard.
  • Hitting “Enter? should add the keywords that are typed (or matched by partially typing) and select the keyword field again, so that if you continue typing, you can match further keywords.
  • Hitting “Tab? would advance to the next picture, but typing would once again start matching keywords for that picture.
  • There is an incredibly maddening bug when entering keywords. Consider the following scenario. Image1.jpg and Image2.jpg. I use keywords sets, like “John Smith, Smiths, Family, People? to add all four keywords Image1.jpg at once. I now select both Image1.jpg and Image2.jpg and enter the keyword set “Mary Smith, Smiths, Family, People?. When I’m finished, Image2.jpg has only the keyword “Mary Smith? and is missing the keywords “Smiths, Family, People?. This is presumably because xMedia see that these three keywords exist for Image1.jpg and therefore doesn’t apply them. However, if I select Image2.jpg first and then select Image1.jpg and apply the “Mary Smith, etc, etc? keywords, now both images have all the right keywords. This has caused me more frustration over the years and I’m terribly tired of it.
  • Allow users to select multiple vocabularies for use at one time. I’d allow one vocabulary to be the “default? vocabulary, such that if a user adds a new keyword term, xMedia would add it to the default vocab file. It’s very time consuming to select one vocabulary, go through my images and apply keywords only to those that match a vocabulary, then select another vocabulary and go through my images to apply its keywords, and so on. I dream of being able to select multiple vocabularies at once and have xMedia lookup keywords from all of them. Here’s a mockup of what this interface might look like.
  • In the light table view, preload images into memory for lightning fast performance as users look through a list of images to evaluate them. I suggest loading the next 10 images in the list and maybe the last 5 going back in the list. You could check how much memory a computer has to scale up or down this feature appropriately. But as it stands, it’s painful to flip through a group of DNG or TIF images, waiting for them to load in the light table. It needs to be instantaneous.
  • Allow users to show both the Info and Organize panels at the same time. Maybe side by side. Maybe one on the left side and one on the right side. With wide format screens increasingly common, it’s incredibly frustrating to have to switch constantly back and forth between these two panels.
  • Allow custom keyboard shortcuts. Maybe I want 1-4 to assign ratings and 5-9 to assign labels. Maybe I want different shortcuts for List, Thumbnail, and Media views.
  • Add virtual stacks to the thumbnail view. Allow users the option of stacking pictures automatically by filename such that jpacker_070627_3837.dng, jpacker_070627_3837_master.tif, jpacker_070627_3837.jpg would all show up as one stack. Perhaps hovering over the stack would expand it to show all thumbnails. Allow an option for stacks by time of capture, such that all shots captured within a certain timestamp would automatically stack. Finally allow a user to select a group of shots and make a stack manually. Perhaps even allow the user to choose which image is chosen to represent the stack. Otherwise use the most recent image? Allow storing manual stacks in the metadata so that it doesn’t have to be created again if a catalog is recreated.
  • Read the real DNG file, not just its embedded preview.
  • Allow DNG previews to be rebuilt from within xMedia. I want to select 2 or 2000 dng files and choose Action -> Rebuild DNG Previews and be able to choose a previews size, color profile perhaps, etc. It’s painful to open up groups of DNGs in Camera RAW just to update the preview images. (I don’t have Lightroom, but it hear it can do this.)
  • Remember the size and position of each catalog as it was last saved on a specific computer! As it stands now, if you close a catalog sized for a 1600 x 1200 screen and then copy that catalog to a smaller screen (like a laptop), the catalog comes up sized as it last was on the big screen! It should stay sized appropriately for each individual computer.
  • Allow hiding the Hierarchial Keywords palette. Some people don’t want it or need it. In fact, why not allow every palette to be shown or hidden and reordered and resized anyway users want.
  • On picking GPS coordinates, allow users to select one or more photos, then search the map, add a push pin, and then hit an Ok or Apply button. This would be slightly easier and quicker than having to drag pictures onto the map.
  • Where possible, look up GPS coordinates from existing location data.
  • If I have a mess of a top level folder with various numbers and levels of subfolders, I should be able to toggle the entire thing on or off in a single click. Don’t make users laboriously drill down to find each and every individual subfolder and deal with them all individually.
  • Allow an option to store preview images as jpgs in a subfolder besides the catalog. This allows catalogs to grow to enormous numbers of records without hitting the 1.8GB file size limit. It’s particularly frustrating that you can’t keep a full-sized preview without the catalog becoming enormous and quickly filling up. It might improve performance too? It would also allow users to select a photo, and export a jpg or email a jpg even if the original files were offline.

I'm hopeful that EM3 will be released, in good order, and improve in a number of areas. I'm also hopeful that Microsoft will do a better job of communicating. If not, then I take the view that someone said about cataloging software being serial monogamy and will look forward to the next great thing, whoever it comes from.
12  Software Discussions / Media Pro & Expression Media / How to write the "Event" to metadata on: August 30, 2009, 10:51:05 AM
Here is my goal. I've been wanting to add some metadata for keeping track of a photo session, like someone's birthday party or wedding. A quick search for "John Smith" in this field could bring up the relevant photos nicely. The Event field in EM seemed perfect.

However, I soon realized that I couldn't get Photoshop to see this field, and I further quickly realized that this was due to what one might call the proprietary nature of the field. Sure, XMP is an open spec. But there are inherit risks (or at least increased difficulties) in using a field that other software can't see easily.

I'll spare the whole story, but I tried in vain to get Photoshop CS3 to see EM metadata like Events and CatalogSets. I finally ordered an upgrade to CS4 as I've been considering it for other reasons, and hopefully I can use John Beardy's graciously provided extension to use EM's XMP fields in Photoshop.

My question is simple. Is there a better metadata field to store event info? One that will be future proof and work across different software with no extra effort, (say if I were to switch from EM to something else). I didn't want to use the caption field, because it's more specific to an individual photo. Plus, at times it might be necessary to update the event field in bulk, and if you have a caption that includes the event plus other information about an individual picture, now you can't change the caption in bulk without overwriting previous data. I could use a keyword, but now when I search for "John Smith", I'm going to possibly get back pictures of the birthday cake as opposed to only those pictures of John Smith.

I've search these forums repeatedly and haven't found much. I'll also embarrassingly confess to not having the 2nd edition of The DAM book.  Cheesy (The 1st edition was too good Peter, and as a graduate student who's not really a photographer, I already spend more that I really ought to on this hobby.)

Thanks everyone for any advice.
13  DAM Stuff / Software Discussions / Problems with timestamps, Expression Media, and Adobe Camera Raw on: August 20, 2009, 07:32:15 PM
For what it's worth, I came across a problem that nearly drove me insane until I finally figured it out (at least I think). I wanted to briefly share in the small chance that some poor soul stumbles along the information and finds it useful.

First, let me quickly give you my setup.

  • RAW files converted to .DNG with ImageIngester at the time of ingestion.
  • Photoshop CS3 with Adobe Camera Raw 4.6 used to perform basic adjustments and cropping.
  • Expression Media 2 (SP2) used to apply keywords, ratings, etc.
  • Metadata is written to the .DNG files and not sidecar files.
  • Windows 7 release candidate 64-bit (in practice, almost exactly like Vista 64-bit -- but better  Wink )

Now the problem. I traveled overseas recently and realized that I had forgotten to reset the camera's internal clock. So I used Expression Media to change the times. No problem.

Turns out that when I got home and started processing images, I realized that any image edited in Adobe Camera Raw reverted to the old timestamp. This left me with quite a mess to sort out in EM but after some work I got the timestamps sorted out.

I finally figured out that what's happening is that EM is changing the timestamp in the EXIF data, whereas the original timestamp remains in the XMP data.

I used EXIF Tool GUI to figure this out (it's a little clunky but in a pinch works) and found a solution. You can select your images and choose Modify -> XMP: DateTime copy from EXIF. This will sync the two timestamps and now editing in ACR doesn't change the timestamp.

I'm not really sure who to blame. Someone should definitely be blamed though. Frankly, EM ought to change the timestamp in both places and Adobe ought not to touch the EXIF timestamp when performing an edit.

Anyway, just thought I'd share.
14  Software Discussions / ImageIngester and ImageVerifier / Referencing the state in macro field on: May 23, 2009, 04:10:48 PM

I sent an email to Marc, but realized I should post here in case someone else already know the answer or if I find an answer, then I can share it for others benefit.

I just purchased Image Ingester. One question I have is if there's a way to reference the state stored in the content metadata template, for use in my folder names.

Ultimately, what I'm after is folder’s named like this:

2009-05-23 Location, State

I've tried this for the folder arrangement and name:

{@datetime,1,4}-{@datetime,5,2}-{@datetime,7,2} {@qf.location}, {@IPTCimage.state}

But this doesn’t seem to work.

So I can use a quick field, as shown below, but now I have to enter the state every time when it’s usually my home state.

{@datetime,1,4}-{@datetime,5,2}-{@datetime,7,2} {@qf.location}, {@qf.state}

I suppose I could use a userdata field, but now on those rare occasions where I have been out of state, I have to remember to change the output path or the custom userdata field gets used. This is precisely what I want to avoid because I’ll do it so infrequently that I’ll forget.

Is what I want possible?

15  General / GPS/ Geotagging / Anybody using GeoSetter with DNG files? on: August 23, 2008, 01:31:32 PM
I just discovered GeoSetter this morning and it looks amazing! However I'm having a problem saving files.

I'm working with .dng files on Vista Ultimate. Whenever I make any change to a file, it saves fine the first time. All subsequent attempts to edit anything in the file and save it produce error messages like so:

Error: Can't read ProfileIFD data - C:\Users\jay\Desktop\jpacker_080619_6225.dng

I've tried changing the GeoSetter settings of how .dng files are handled to various different options. I've run the program as an administrator. Nothing works. I can't edit a file more than once... I even used ImageIngester to call the DNG converter and verify that my DNG files were valid, both before and after being saved by GeoSetter. In both cases they are.

I believe this is a problem more with ExifTools, the utility that GeoSetter uses to write information to the file. In fact, GeoSetter's documentation clearly explains that any errors regarding saving a file are coming from ExifTools, not GeoSetter. (Still doesn't mean that GeoSetter couldn't have a problem with it's implementation of ExifTools).

I tried searching the ExifTools site, GeoSetter's help files, and the web, but no luck. I've also put in an email to both authors of these tools.

I'm asking here because it would be nice if someone has a solution (okay, probably not likely) but also it would be helpful to know if anyone else is having these problems. If everyone else can use DNG files with GeoSetter, then the problem must be something unique to my system or files... If someone else has noticed these problems (or can reproduce them), then that would at least tell me that it's a bug.

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