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Choice of Software
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Dale
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« on: December 19, 2009, 08:42:45 AM »

Reading the DAM book (excellent, by the way) has been very helpful, but raised a few new questions.

I currently use PSE6 (WinXP) and have about 15,000 images mostly JPEG, largely uncataloged and not well organized. I may make 1,000-1,500 images when I’m overseas for a couple of months. Otherwise the volume is much smaller and sporadic. I don’t earn money from photography yet, though that could change. I use my desktop at home and a laptop on the road.

I am probably going to make three major changes:

•   Migrate to a new organizing program.
•   Establish a workflow along the order outlined in the book.
•   Begin to shoot in RAW rather than JPEG.

The question I am wrestling with is what software/combination of software should I use? Some considerations are…

•   Ability to migrate to different software in the future.
•   Ability to alter date/time in metadata when I forget to reset my camera on changing time zones.
•   Ability to add/edit relevant metadata fields, especially notes.
•   Effective in terms of time and cost investment.
•   Compatibility (rarely possible, I understand).
•   Ability to produce slideshows and other presentation formats.
•   License includes both desktop and laptop.

It’s not clear to me which, or what combination, would provide an effective solution without being unnecessarily redundant or overly costly.  Here’s what I seemed to have gleaned as to options in each category.

1.   Image Ingestion – Lightroom, Photoshop (Bridge), ImageIngestor Pro.
2.    Review/ACR – Lightroom, Photoshop, PSE (with some limitations?)
3.    Cataloging/Rating – Lightroom, Photoshop, IDImagerPro, Expression Media
4.   Additional Editing – Photoshop, PSE.

This is where I am now (and it all may be wrong). Any insight is appreciated.

StlSailor

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Dale
danaltick
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« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2009, 09:16:25 AM »

StlSailor,

First, could you please use your first name in your posts.  We go by first names here, thanks.

If you're running under Windows, I would say the most robust combination would be PS CS4 w/ ACR 5 and Bridge CS4, IDimager Pro v5, and ImageIngester Pro.  This should do everything you've listed above.  To change the Exif date you should be able to use a modified script in IDimager.

The next step down would be LR3 instead of IDimager Pro.

I'm not familiar enough with PSE to comment, but know it would be significant step down for asset management and image editing.  It is an amateur product.

Also IDimager has a much improved image downloader/ingester that I haven't yet evaluated.  The advantage of using a built-in downloader is you can catalog at the ingestion phase.  IIP does support cataloging for Expression Media only.  The nice thing about IIP is you can put the EM catalog set info into your Raw XMP sidecars and have them be carried into your DNG's after conversion without having to catalog your Raws first.  My (and many people's) concern over EM though is Microsoft's continued support; no word on that yet.

Peter, does go into much detail in the book on meeting specific requirements for your needs; both software and hardware.  Be sure to finish reading the book for more info on this.

Hope that helps.

Dan
« Last Edit: December 20, 2009, 09:20:57 AM by danaltick » Logged

WindowsXP, ImageIngester Pro, RapidFixer, IVMP 3, ACR4, Photoshop CS4, Controlled Keyword Catalog, Canon EOS50D
Dale
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« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2009, 08:57:05 AM »

Dan,

Thanks for your reply.

Quote
If you're running under Windows, I would say the most robust combination would be PS CS4 w/ ACR 5 and Bridge CS4, IDimager Pro v5, and ImageIngester Pro.  This should do everything you've listed above.  To change the Exif date you should be able to use a modified script in IDimager.
Based on what I read in Peter’s book, and a few reviews, I can see why you selected this program set. Though I had a few questions about LR3, if PS CS4 weren’t such a costly alternative, this would probably end the discussion.

Quote
The next step down would be LR3 instead of IDimager Pro.
It sounds like, then, that you view LR3 and IDimager Pro as substitutable programs. After reading your post, I reviewed their websites again and I can see that makes sense. I had thought of LR3 as substitutable with PS CS4 because both have ACR. I suppose the reason they aren’t substitutable is because of additional editing functions beyond ACR in PS CS4? I gather the additional enhancements to ACR in LR3 are not that significant?

Quote
I'm not familiar enough with PSE to comment, but know it would be significant step down for asset management and image editing.  It is an amateur product.
I have completely given up on PSE asset management (I won’t burden this post with my thoughts about that). Same for slide shows.

For editing, though, if you can excuse the interface, it has worked reasonably well. But I would still expect the ACR in PS CS4 is more capable than the one in PSE despite being based on the same engine. I’m sure other editing functions are more capable also. The question is whether it trips the cost/benefit trigger (perhaps someone knows where to get a good price on PS CS4).

Quote
My (and many people's) concern over EM though is Microsoft's continued support; no word on that yet.
Given MS’s track record for continuing acquired products, I didn’t have any confidence that Expression Media will be around all that long.

Quote
Peter, does go into much detail in the book on meeting specific requirements for your needs; both software and hardware.  Be sure to finish reading the book for more info on this.
I actually read the book a couple of times over the previous two to three days. Each section made perfect sense individually. Putting it all together, though, raised a few questions (that was due to my lack of knowledge on PS CS4 and LR3, not due to Peter’s book). Choosing the right software seemed difficult because of function overlap in most of the programs. (For example it seems like IIP, LR3, and IDI will all do image ingestion; CS4, LR3 and PSE have ACR; LR3 and IDI both catalog and create slideshows, etc.). With your comments and further review of the websites, the overall purpose of LR3 is becoming clearer.

Thanks again for your comments,

Dale

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Dale
BobSmith
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2009, 03:09:38 PM »

LightRoom alone could do everything you're asking about.  You may be perfectly happy with the simplicity of a one program workflow.

The nature of my work is such that Photoshop/Bridge/Expression Media suits me better.  My mind just thinks in terms of Photoshop editing.  I've done it so long that I work more efficiently that way.  However I also work in a college art lab where Lightroom is used exclusively in entry level digital photography classes.  I am amazed at the quality of work generated by the students using just that tool.  They do far more intricate image editing in Lightroom than I'd ever dream of trying.  It's all they know so they use it very, very thoroughly.  I'm guessing that it would do most of the editing that you'd want to do.  For some of the things that it can't do you might be perfectly happy with Elements... for blending images, building composites and so forth.  Photoshop is great if it fits into your budget but I'd try working with Lightroom and Elements for a while first before committing to the Photoshop purchase.

Bob Smith
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2009, 08:05:30 PM »

I agree with Bob, that I'd try Lightroom for nearly everything first, and then add other applications as necessary.  The one difference I have with him is that I like to do as much in LR/ACR as possible before going to Photoshop - including local edits at time, and certainly as mich global tonal and color correction as possible.

One important strategy is to only add complexity (new programs, new hardware) as there is an actual reason to do so.
Peter
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Dale
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« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2009, 09:23:31 AM »

Peter and Bob,

Thanks for your replies.

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LightRoom alone could do everything you're asking about.  You may be perfectly happy with the simplicity of a one program workflow.
Quote
I agree with Bob, that I'd try Lightroom for nearly everything first, and then add other applications as necessary. 
Initially I did not see where Lightroom fit. I have a better idea now. There seemed to be a lot of caveats throughout the book as to things LR didn't do as well as it might. On the other hand, a one program workflow does bring simplicity. I saw they had a downloadable trial version (though I couldn't tell what the limitations were) as well as a downloadable version of LR3 beta. Now that I understand better what it does, I may download one or the other and try it out.

Quote
The nature of my work is such that Photoshop/Bridge/Expression Media suits me better.
I would investigate EM more closely but I don't have a high level of confidence in MS keeping it going. (Of course, after using the organizer in PSE I'm not exactly an Adobe fan either, but there aren't many alternatives and at least it should be around in the future).

Quote
One important strategy is to only add complexity (new programs, new hardware) as there is an actual reason to do so.
That makes a lot of sense to me.

Again, thanks for the thoughts.

Dale

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Dale
BobSmith
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« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2009, 03:19:47 PM »

I think the Lightroom demos are fully functional, just time limited... thirty days or something like that.  If you work with the Lightroom 3 Beta, the beta will expire when the final version is released.  Or that's how its worked in the past.

I use Expression Media for cataloging as I want to keep track of more than just photos... and even among my photos there are files that Lightroom can't deal with (CMYK for example).  I doesn't sound like that affects you.  I would love to use Lightroom as my main cataloging app but it's just not a good fit for me yet.  I would imagine that may change.  Or Adobe or someone else will come out with something that competes well with EM (and is supported on Macs).  Till then EM works fine for me.  I would be happy as could be with Lightroom right now even if it just showed so much as a generic icon of a file that it can't handle.  I just want to know that the file(s) exist in a given folder along side things that Lightroom can display and manage.

Bob Smith
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