Home | Blog | Software | Reviews and Features | Forum | Help | Donate | About us
topbanner_forum
  *

avatar image

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length
  • December 08, 2016, 11:59:25 PM
  • Proudly celebrating 10 years online.
  • Donate now to become a lifetime supporting member of the site and get a non-expiring license key for all of our programs.
  • donate

Author Topic: How to manage large clipart collections?  (Read 7838 times)

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
How to manage large clipart collections?
« on: August 15, 2010, 10:20:22 PM »
I've been struggling with this for years.  I've collected several gigabytes of clipart and icons.  Many of these are vector formats (ai, eps) so they are not viewable as thumbnails in pretty much any program out there, excluding Adobe Bridge.  I've always struggled with two things: how to organize these enormous collections, and how to have thumbnails available to quickly choose a desired image?

In the early years, I was very anal about how to organize and name files.  So I would take collections, even if they were from official catalogs (like clipart explosion) and try to rename and reorganize them for my own purposes.  But packages like that usually come with a large book with thumbnails of all the files along with the associated file names.  So if I modify that, it makes the book useless.  But I was willing to do that because I want the book to be useless.  I want to select,view, preview, manage...all that from the computer, so i don't have to keep track of these big books.

The problem is that none of the image viewers out there can deal with vector images in ai/eps.  That leaves you with Adobe Bridge as the only option.  The problem with Bridge is that it's big and bloated, and everything else you expect from Adobe.  It also crashes a lot.  The images show up beautifully in their thumbnails, however.  Additionally, you can't customize the interface too much.  Then, I came across a little known program called ST Thumbnail explorer, which can read and display ai/eps thumbnails.  So that was ok for the thumbnail issue.  I still ended up using adobe bridge more.  ST sometimes was very slow or wouldn't be able to show all the thumbnails.  So Bridge is more reliable.

But, my larger question is how do the experts or pros deal with very large clipart collections?  The other problem I had with clipart is that if I let my image program create the database of thumbnails, the clipart directories would take FOREVER.  You can imagine: it has tons of little files, and each one has to be indexed.  Also, whenever I back up my hard drive, the clipart directories would always be the thing slowing it down drastically.  Once again, it's because there are so many little files.

That's why i finally decided to rid them off of my main hard drives.  Too much headache.  I only need to use them a handful of times a year, so I'm just going to move them to another hard drive and back it up to dvd's and be done with them.  because it's so hard to create your own index for these things, I gave up on my anal reorganization of them and just left them in their original filenames.  But it's SOOOOO hard to find anything.  Just browsing through them takes forever.  I found myself going to my favorite directories always because they were easy to find and I knew I more or less liked the images there.  But that wastes the gigabytes of other images.

Anyway, I guess the same question would apply to professional photographers who have tons of photos.  I can't seem to figure out how to manage so many files that are visual in their nature.  So I'm archiving them for now.  If I find a good solution, I'll bring them back to the hard drive.

Any recommendations/experiences are welcome.  Thanks!

vixay

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • **
  • Posts: 140
  • ViXaY
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2010, 11:25:44 PM »
I had a similar problem but not as extensive as yours. Since this was a work related issue, i assigned one graphic designer to create thumbnails in PNG for all AI files (in retrospect should have chosen jpeg for the metadata, don't know if png has a widely supported metadata structure). Then I used Gallery Server Pro to read the folder structure and serve it on a different pc. So now the collection is accessible via the network, easily searchable, and easy to add to as well. It actually takes care of a lot of these problems.
I also tried to use imagemagick to convert ai files automatically, but for that to work, the AI needs to be saved with the PDF option enabled, else it won't work. I am sure it can convert the .eps files directly though. So this might be a start.
"Drunk on the Nectar of Life!" -me

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2010, 12:20:45 AM »
I am a digital packrat and I collect a lot of the same type of files you do...tons of clipart, stock photos, vectors, icons, etc.

Extensis Portfolio is worth every penny of its $199.95 price tag (single user edition). This is software made for the pros and there are multi-user and server versions of it that are quite expensive that big companies use. It's powerful, but not bloated like Adobe products.

If you catalog everything as you acquire it, it's so much easier to deal with. And you said you wanted to burn it to DVD. Extensis makes that easy by collecting, organizing, and packaging the photos and including a copy of the database, linked to the full size images that will be on each disk.

You can include so much info for each image and assign as many keywords as you wish. And it's pretty speedy once the images have been cataloged. It creates the thumbnails or extracts them from the original (if they exist) and they become part of the database. It doesn't have to go find the original file and create a new thumbnail each time you browse or search. Browsing through 1000's of files in Portfolio is faster than waiting for Explorer to render thumbnails for a large folder full of images.

And it will make thumbnails for a lot of image, document, and audio/video formats, including AI, EPS, and a lot of RAW formats. But you aren't limited to that. You can literally catalog anything with it.

I am currently using it to collect, catalog, and organize a ton of free, public domain, and CC licensed stock photos for a friend's project, assigning keywords as I go along. When I am finished, I'll export the whole thing for burning to disk, and it will include a freeware redistributable application for viewing and searching the database. (this is provided with the software)

Screenshot:

Screenshot - 8_11_2010 , 9_19_16 PM.pngHow to manage large clipart collections?

I have the photos organized in folders according to what site they came from. In each folder I have placed a text file with the license info for use of the images. The software watches the folders for new images, and will add them to the database when I manually sync the folders (I have it set up this way to make assigning keywords easier, so I don't miss any)

If you have been as much of a maniac about renaming files and organizing them with descriptive folder names, as you said, the software can automatically assign keywords based on file and folder names to make the job much easier on you. And it's pretty customizable, too, with an assortment of different view styles and will order the view based on a ton of different information.

« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 01:16:46 PM by app103 »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2010, 10:53:56 AM »
Thanks app!
I'm going to give Extensis a try tonight.  I like the idea of it cataloging what's on my dvd's.  Reminds me of whereisit, which can also do thumbnails, now that I think about it.  but i don't want to mix these thumbnails with all my other files.  That's the big problem with clipart: if the collection is small, it's easy to just use whatever software you normally use for pictures and images.  But when it gets huge, you want to keep it separate from your family photos, normal images, etc.

Thanks for being very clear and understanding app, I always appreciate your advice.

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2010, 11:27:02 AM »
Ummm...you might have misunderstood...it isn't for cataloging what is already burned to disk. It is for cataloging and then using their export function to create packages to burn to disk. Catalog first and then burn.

I would probably copy the disks you have to the hard drive, catalog them, export it and reburn it so you have a database on the disk linked to the photos on the disk. Then you can go ahead and delete the copy on your hard drive if you want.

You can make as many databases as you want, so if you feel like creating one just for the family photos, all your desktop wallpapers, sound effect wav files, etc. that works too. In fact, I have about 4G of photos taken by my daughter that we need to sit down and catalog together. File names are all default camera assigned names, folders only are date stamped. (that's going to be a lot of work!)

The thumbnails are stored in the database file and not loose on your hard drive, so it won't make a whole bunch of clutter mixed in with your original images.

If you have any troubles with figuring out how to use the software or how to do something in particular with it, just send me a private message and I'll try to explain it.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2010, 11:32:08 AM by app103 »

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2010, 11:50:06 AM »
Ummm...you might have misunderstood...it isn't for cataloging what is already burned to disk. It is for cataloging and then using their export function to create packages to burn to disk. Catalog first and then burn.

I would probably copy the disks you have to the hard drive, catalog them, export it and reburn it so you have a database on the disk linked to the photos on the disk. Then you can go ahead and delete the copy on your hard drive if you want.

You can make as many databases as you want, so if you feel like creating one just for the family photos, all your desktop wallpapers, sound effect wav files, etc. that works too. In fact, I have about 4G of photos taken by my daughter that we need to sit down and catalog together. File names are all default camera assigned names, folders only are date stamped. (that's going to be a lot of work!)

The thumbnails are stored in the database file and not loose on your hard drive, so it won't make a whole bunch of clutter mixed in with your original images.

If you have any troubles with figuring out how to use the software or how to do something in particular with it, just send me a private message and I'll try to explain it.
I see.  Yes, I did misunderstand, but no big deal.  I can do it the way you described.  I just wasted 8 dvd's, but that's ok.  I started looking into writeable blu-ray disks.  Have you had experience with them?  Are they ok to use now?  before, they were too expensive and I wasn't sure if the format was going to last.  But I just checked prices and you can get 15 single sided disks for about $30, which is pretty good considering each disk holds 25GB.  What do you think?

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2010, 12:04:33 PM »
I have no blu-ray experience and I don't even own any hardware for burning or reading it. It is something I have avoided because of cost. Even at $30 for 15 disks ($0.08 per gig), it's still too expensive for me. I can get 100 DVD's for $20 or less (about $0.04 per gig).

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2010, 12:10:23 PM »
I have no blu-ray experience and I don't even own any hardware for burning or reading it. It is something I have avoided because of cost. Even at $30 for 15 disks ($0.08 per gig), it's still too expensive for me. I can get 100 DVD's for $20 or less (about $0.04 per gig).
This is true.  However, it is cheap enough where I may consider it because one bluray disc holds about 8 dvd's, which i love.  Whatever.  This is something i won't deal with for a few months, I think.

question for extensis:
can I move all my clipart files to a separate hard drive, and use Extensis to create a thumbnail gallery or contact sheet that is stored on my main drive?  Meaning, i don't want it reading the thumbnails live every time I want to browse them.  I want a static thumbnail gallery always available for quick browsing.  I should probably play around with it before peppering you with preemptive questions...

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2010, 12:30:22 PM »
can I move all my clipart files to a separate hard drive, and use Extensis to create a thumbnail gallery or contact sheet that is stored on my main drive?  Meaning, i don't want it reading the thumbnails live every time I want to browse them.  I want a static thumbnail gallery always available for quick browsing.  I should probably play around with it before peppering you with preemptive questions...

Yes! You can store the databases anywhere you want. In fact, because the thumbnails are stored in the database and it doesn't even need access to the originals once they have been cataloged, you could export the collections, burn them to disk, and keep a copy of the databases from the disks on your hard drive and just insert the disks when you need access to the original full sized images. (it will tell you to insert the disk)

I discovered this software through a stock photo collection I purchased about 10 years ago, containing about 7000 images. I copied the database from the disk to my hard drive, and I can browse and search it without the disk being in the drive. If I try to access the originals from the database, it tells me to insert the disk where the originals are located. Unfortunately, the database on that disk is locked and password protected by the company that created it, to prevent adding files or editing the file locations, otherwise I'd copy the images to my hard drive too, and just repair the database to point to the new location.

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2010, 01:14:46 PM »
Extensis Portfolio is worth every penny of its $99.95 price tag (single user edition).

I make it $199.95 for the full version with the $99.95 being for the upgrade. And prices twice as high in the UK (and nearly that in Euroland). Decent product, but definitely at the pricey end.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2010, 01:17:48 PM »
can I move all my clipart files to a separate hard drive, and use Extensis to create a thumbnail gallery or contact sheet that is stored on my main drive?  Meaning, i don't want it reading the thumbnails live every time I want to browse them.  I want a static thumbnail gallery always available for quick browsing.  I should probably play around with it before peppering you with preemptive questions...
Awesome!  Sounds just right.
Yes! You can store the databases anywhere you want. In fact, because the thumbnails are stored in the database and it doesn't even need access to the originals once they have been cataloged, you could export the collections, burn them to disk, and keep a copy of the databases from the disks on your hard drive and just insert the disks when you need access to the original full sized images. (it will tell you to insert the disk)

I discovered this software through a stock photo collection I purchased about 10 years ago, containing about 7000 images. I copied the database from the disk to my hard drive, and I can browse and search it without the disk being in the drive. If I try to access the originals from the database, it tells me to insert the disk where the originals are located. Unfortunately, the database on that disk is locked and password protected by the company that created it, to prevent adding files or editing the file locations, otherwise I'd copy the images to my hard drive too, and just repair the database to point to the new location.

app103

  • That scary taskbar girl
  • Global Moderator
  • Joined in 2006
  • *****
  • Posts: 5,666
    • View Profile
    • App's Apps
    • Read more about this member.
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2010, 01:27:01 PM »
Extensis Portfolio is worth every penny of its $99.95 price tag (single user edition).

I make it $199.95 for the full version with the $99.95 being for the upgrade. And prices twice as high in the UK (and nearly that in Euroland). Decent product, but definitely at the pricey end.

Yes, your are right. My mistake. I have edited my original post with the correct price.

I agree that it is pricey, but it's a buy it once thing as far as I am concerned, and I'd only consider upgrading it if it didn't want to run on whatever my current OS was, at some point down the line or they offered me support for some file type I absolutely had to have thumbnails for that the current version didn't offer. Since neither of those is likely to happen any time soon (if at all) it is likely that I will never upgrade mine.

Plus, I do create artwork of my own, and at some time in the future I will have enough of my own work to create and sell disks of my art, cataloged, with a database, and a copy of the free redistributable viewer application. This will allow the software to pay for itself.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2010, 02:36:55 PM »
I agree, it is pricey for the simple task that i am looking for.  However, if it's the only program that does what it does, then they are free to price it however they like.  I don't have too much of a problem.  I may not purchase it until I need to, but it's good for me to know that it's out there.

eleman

  • Spam Killer
  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2009
  • **
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 393
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2010, 08:25:07 AM »
I had the same problem of having more than enough .ai .eps .pdf files and so on. I wanted to make their thumbnails.

NConvert is a batch utility to convert graphic files with support of more than 400 graphics formats!

That is the free solution I found for creating thumbnails.

I am now thinking of a way to create a database of sorts to be able to search on the basis of file names, but I have not decided on which approach to take for that.

superboyac

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2005
  • ***
  • Posts: 6,070
  • Is your software in my list?
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 07:53:43 PM »
Looks like Adobe's Bridge Lightroom is the only program that can do what I'm asking.  Pretty steep price, $150, but this is sort of a very specific featureset i suppose.  Still, if any of the millions of image catalogers could figure out how to add eps and ai files with thumbnails seamlessly, that would be the better option.  But nothing really exists like that.  Everyone says reading those vector files is a lot more complicated than it seems.  So if anyone is following...Lightroom Bridge is the only one that does this without any headaches.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 08:22:08 PM by superboyac »

cmpm

  • Charter Member
  • Joined in 2006
  • ***
  • default avatar
  • Posts: 2,025
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2012, 10:05:47 PM »
these are viewers
probably not what you want
but free anyway
so worth a look imo
and you can save them to another format i think

http://epsviewer.org/
http://aiviewer.com/

Dormouse

  • Supporting Member
  • Joined in 2007
  • **
  • Posts: 1,044
    • View Profile
    • Donate to Member
Re: How to manage large clipart collections?
« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2012, 04:07:33 AM »
XnView supports a huge number of formats including ai and eps.

But it is only a browser. I'm not sure how effective it would be as part of a catalog/search process.

IMatch supports both ai and eps formats.

And it is a well respected, fast and capable image cataloger.
Not that I've ever used it for as many tiny files as you describe (and only for a brief test time for other image formats); I might take another look at it.