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Author Topic: Why is it so hard to find a decent image organizer?  (Read 85254 times)
MrCrispy
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« on: February 19, 2007, 12:20:13 AM »

All I want from an image organizer is -

1. Fast and reposnsive. I'm working with over 10k pictures
2. Ability to select a folder in the tree view and see all pics in that and its subfolders
3. Tagging support for XMP and IPTC. Import and export
4. A proper way to organize/filter views based on tags
5. File monitoring for new folders/pics
6. A nice UI with support for multiple zoom levels

I've tried nearly everything out there - Photoshop Elements 5, AcdSee, Picajet, IView etc. This category can be divided into 2 segments

- the lightweight viewers such as XnView, FastStone, IrfanView
- full blown organizers like the big 3 above
- other apps like Picasa, Corel Paint Shop Pro etc

So far, Photoshop Elements is the only one which offers halfway decent support for organizing based on tags, but of course Adobe support only XMP and nearly everyone else likes IPTC. PE is also about as fast as a hippo crawling through molasses while drunk. It also has some really neat 'features' such as maintaining its own album db which is not in sync with the filesystem, taking forever to add 'watched' folders, slideshows taking up 100% cpu and so on.

I mean, all I want is say XnView along with the ability to filter based on tag combinations. I don't want/care about a million different image editing tools (I have Photoshop for that) or slideshow effects. Picasa has a nice UI, is lightweight, but is completely braindead about tagging. Also, its amazing that not a single program seems to support #2. I also want some software to add picture tags directly from Explorer, at the file and folder level - i.e I want to be able to say - tag all pics below this level with 'xyz'.

Is there anything else out there?
« Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 06:37:15 AM by MrCrispy » Logged
nudone
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2007, 01:23:30 AM »

ACDSee will do #2, but you will have to manually select the sub folders to view. Directory Opus will do #2 with a couple of clicks but it doesn't have tagging.

if you are prepared to work the way ACDSee wants you do work then it's tagging ability does the job - it's not as good as Pho Elements but once you get used to it you might find it acceptable.
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murratore
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2007, 02:40:32 AM »

Take a look at IDimager.

It supports nearly all of your wishes... -> www.idimager.com
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elpresi
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2007, 03:32:06 AM »

Hi,
about #2:

ExifPro is a very nice viewer that does show subfolders.
http://www.exifpro.com/
And IviewMediaPro also does, and uses IPTC/XMP tags, all in a very nice GUI.
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iphigenie
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2007, 03:32:26 AM »

I think it's because there are so many different needs... and so many different ways to get organised.
I tried a few recently (since i was planning to scan 1500 or more negatives and already have quite a few images from digital cameras)

Quite a few were totally inadequate with what i wanted to do, which was be able to tag my images with multiple tags (type of image, what's on it, who's on it, where is it etc.) mostly by ticking categories which i control and adding some keywords. And be able to do that on multiple images at once. Then be able to search quickly. Display speed was also a big requirement, i don't like waiting for a page of pics to load.

A lot of image manager tools are simple browsers with a bit of iptc/exif support, very family/casual in emphasis.

I liked idimager and imatch a lot for managing and tagging images. As I recall (it was November) there was much to like about both and quirks in both, but one of the two was much faster (i think it stored even thumbnails in its database) and the other more "transparent" to be able to write scripts that integrate with but alas was a pain when getting images from the scanner.

Acdsee was a bit weaker on the categorisation/management than the two above, but adequate nonetheless. In the latest version the quick image edit tool has some very good defaults, which really surprised me. The photoshop elements little management module was actually quite slick to use but was not very useful on the import side of things (i guess they expect people to use Bridge or some other workflow tool, or be simple and just move files around) and it lacked some of the features the others had.

Anyway I bought an older version of acdsee as everyone told me they were faster, and it still had the basic features that i liked on the scanning workflow side. It makes scanning one strip of negatives after another smoother than the others did, and it's also the only one i found that allowed me to edit all exif fields, so i could change the camera field from the name of the scanner to the name of the camera the picture had been taken with, and set the iso of the film etc. (and for the ones where i still had the notebooks, the aperture and shutter speed). I also like that acdsee stores almost everything with each images which means it's highly compatible with everything else, so I can switch to something else once all my importing is out of the way.

I'm probably going to re-evaluate some of the same programs once all the negatives and slides have been scanned, to decide between upgrading to the latest acdsee (where the management tools have improved and there are more database-like features) or picking one of the other management tools, idimager or imatch probably

Idimager (http://www.idimager.com/) and imatch (http://www.photools.com/) are worth a look, both of them. They're both small independent developers who are quite active in their forums and listening to their customers.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 03:34:18 AM by iphigenie » Logged
f0dder
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2007, 03:55:09 AM »

I kinda like Microsoft's Digital Image Suite 2006. It's a bit "dumbed down" and probably not powerful enough for you, but it's interface is pretty, and it's simple enough that even a computer almost-illiterate I know can use it. I dunno if it can still be purchased though, I remember it was a bit hard finding it even at www.microsoft.com .
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nudone
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« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2007, 05:19:10 AM »

Hi,
about #2:

ExifPro is a very nice viewer that does show subfolders.
http://www.exifpro.com/
And IviewMediaPro also does, and uses IPTC/XMP tags, all in a very nice GUI.

just giving EXIF Pro a test drive now. looks pretty good, but it seems to start crawling along when generating thumbnails.

i shall play with it for a while.

edit:
i've finished. it's not bad. i couldn't figure out how to display my tagged images (i must be asleep or something). But, as i use ACDSee i've just gone back to that.

for anyone interested it viewing multiple folders at the same time in ACDSee, well you've probably figured this already, but i've just discovered (rediscovered) you can use the shift key to select a range of folder to display in one go. just use shift when clicking of folders in the 'folders' panel. of course, you can also use the ctrl key in the usual manner. this seems like a pretty neat feature to me as you can select to simultaneously view folders from all over your drive.

now if only ACD Systems would improve the tagging features to the program.

edit (again):
hehe, you can also use the shift click method on the categories (tags) panel to select a range of tags all in one go.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 05:44:13 AM by nudone » Logged
Nighted
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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2007, 05:24:41 PM »

If only ACDSee would put back the feature that lets you see thumbnails of every image in a folder and every subdirectory in that folder. This seems to have disappeared. Who knows why, it was one of my favourite features.

FastStone is good, but the author seems to refuse to remove some very annoying glitches in favour of bumping up the version number for very trivial enhancements. For example, when viewing GIFs, the image name doesn't display if you have it set to show in fullscreen. I mentioned that to him a long time ago.

I'm using both actually, because each has unique abilities. It would not take much to make me switch to FastStone though if the author would only add a couple very need features. (at least to a long time ACDSee users point of view) Wink
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Curt
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« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2007, 06:01:42 PM »

I kinda like Microsoft's Digital Image Suite 2006. (...) I dunno if it can still be purchased though, I remember it was a bit hard finding it even at www.microsoft.com .

FUI:

Compare Microsoft Digital Image Suite versions.




Mail-in rebate offer:
Microsoft® Digital Image Suite Anniversary Edition, $50
Microsoft® Digital Image Suite Plus, $100

[edit]:

60 days Starter trial (110 MB download..):

Microsoft Digital Image Starter Edition 2006 version 11.1 has all the high-quality, easy-to-use tools you need to create, organize, enhance, and share family memories – whether you're an advanced shutterbug or just getting started in the world of digital photography. This 60-day downloadable trial contains features available in the full retail version of Microsoft Digital Image Suite Anniversary Edition, which will de-feature to minimal functionality once your trial period has ended.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2007, 06:37:25 PM by Curt » Logged
Curt
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« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2007, 07:18:54 PM »

60 days Starter trial (110 MB download..):
I gave it a go, and installed the Starter (250 MB required..), but during install process it told me that the English versions of both Internet Explorer 6 AND Outlook Express was going to be installed as well...  mad .. my versions are of course localized; Danish. But then the installation was aborted and a popup told that it was not possible to install Internet Explorer, and so Image Suite could not be installed ???!!! This is outright dumm. Encredibly silly.  thumb down  thumb down  thumb down

Right now I am ...(censored)...   Angry
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2007, 07:24:10 PM »

I'm trying out IDImager and Imatch at the moment. Also, Adobe released Lightroom (their Apeture competitor) today. The way I test these apps is to let them import about 5000 pics which have various tags in them. Then i play around to see how easy it is - if I have to open the help file then its not a good sign!

I have to say that there seems to be a disturbing trend among graphic apps - the ones which are easy to use don't have any powerful features, and the ones designed for pros seem to lack ease of use and 'discoverability'. Lightroom seems like Photoshop Elements on steroids with workflow added - its UI is light years ahead of anything else, almost Apple-like in its goodness. But once again, not terribly fast. The other app which I like so far is IView Media Pro. Microsoft bought these guys last year and its going to be sold as 'Expression Media', so thats a good or bad sign w.r.t future development, depending on how evil you think MS are smiley
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #11 on: February 21, 2007, 06:44:12 PM »

Depends how much you want to spend ...

Adobe Lightroom is now available but it isn't cheap ($199 at the mo discounted from $299).

It is squarely aimed at the Pro user (ideally using Photoshop CS2 too) who has thousands of photos to manage - and one of it's goals is processing RAW digital images in single image or batch mode. There are also printing, slideshow and web building modules which are easy to use.

I was lucky enough to get a free copy because I used to use Pixemantec RawEssentials Premium. The were absorbed into Adobe and as a gesture of good will to Pixemantec customers Adobe offered a free copy of Lightroom which is considerably more expensive and does a lot more.

If you need something serious and you don't mind paying check out the trial version (fully working for 30 days) at http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/ or take a look at the Flash demo on the webpage.
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David1904
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2007, 04:50:19 PM »

Imatch does lots of stuff - may be worth a look.
I've begun using it, but i'm in re-installation mode after a hard disk failure so haven't got back to it yet
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2007, 07:26:03 PM »

I'm disappointed with Lightroom's  performance. Its very slow refreshing thumbnails when I scroll through my library.

All these apps seem designed for the pro photographer and offer much more than just cataloging - unfortunately I could care less about workflow, developing etc since I am not a pro. All I want is flexible tagging, viewing and speed!
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lanux128
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2007, 08:54:35 PM »

btw, MrCrispy, how's IDImager holding up?
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« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2007, 12:57:36 AM »

I know that this is not what you want but for some quick editing of tags, it has potential.

http://www.microsoft.com/...y/prophoto/photoinfo.mspx
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« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2007, 05:53:03 AM »

1. Fast and reposnsive. I'm working with over 10k pictures
Me too, close to 10k picture

All I want from an image organizer is -

1. Fast and reposnsive. I'm working with over 10k pictures
2. Ability to select a folder in the tree view and see all pics in that and its subfolders
3. Tagging support for XMP and IPTC. Import and export
4. A proper way to organize/filter views based on tags
5. File monitoring for new folders/pics
6. A nice UI with support for multiple zoom levels
And I use AcdSee 8. I have tried ver 9, and have found that it supports IPTC.
Except for XMP support (which I am not sure), I think the rest of your 1 to 6 requirements are already there in ACDSee 9.

To be fair to ACDSee, I think it is excellent in term of flexibility and speed (with some minor stability problem), from early ver of ACDSee to ver 8 this program is being geared towards an image organizer rather than a super-speed image viewer.

However, IMHO, I doubt how much better the future of this program can be:
Technically:
1) It is ridiculous that a database centric image organizer fails to provide a smooth path for user to transfer its database from ver to ver (and they are not new in this business). I can imagine the kind of FEAR of those non-technical-literate users in loosing their image database when doing upgrade.
2) The program is not unicode ready. This means under WinXP you can have only 2 diff languages supported (i.e. the native language of your Windows XP, the other one via non-unicode language setting)
3) In spite of frequent request of many users for a support of "NOT" in Boolean expression (when doing search or filter) the author simply ignore that eager and crucial feature. Longtime/experience users might know to play trick with its combination of "Selective browser" and "Uncategoried" category to archive some "NOT" expression, but it is not straight forward and thus is slow and inconvenient.
4) Newer ver make user like me feel that they are changing direction again. They now want to gear towards image editor direction (from an image organizer).

Marketing:
I don't know how many have the same feel as mine, a recent example, the company's claim of a "new" version 9 is rather insincere. I mean that ver is simply a minor upgrade/update (from user's perspective) especially in term of organizing images.
I personally have seen the down of many software applications when they start practising this kind of marketting strategy, especially when there are many competitors in the same field...
The more you play trick to squeeze money (from supporting users), the more users you are going to lost and normally that situation will quickly go into a deteriorate cycle... My advise to their marketting group is to revise their marketting strategy seriuosly before it is too late!
um... I am glad to see more competitors come into the field... IDImager ... ExifPro ... eheheh...good news!
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2007, 08:01:38 AM »

Thumbs down thumb down on Microsoft's program. I didn't even get to try it, since it flatly refuses to look at pictures in shared directories. I think that for the kind of people reading this now, storing your photos on a server so that your spouse can share them is a pretty common practice.

I recently wrote a bit more about this particular idiocy at my blog in this article: http://www.thewuestefelds.com/blog/?p=76
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ivanv
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2007, 08:39:19 AM »

I noticed nobody mentioned Extensis Portfolio. It's not all that cheap, but it has *all* the features you want.

1. Fast and reposnsive - Initial synchronization isn't fast at all, but searches are lightning fast.
2. Ability to select a folder in the tree view and see all pics in that and its subfolders - Integrated with #5.
3. Tagging support for XMP and IPTC - Covered. Here's some info on XMP: http://dl.extensis.com/do...ortfolio_XMP_Workflow.pdf
4. A proper way to organize/filter views based on tags - They are named keywords on Portfolio, but work the same way.
5. File monitoring for new folders/pics - Of course.
6. A nice UI with support for multiple zoom levels - You can pretty much customize the way files are displayed to your heart's desire (using different "views").
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2007, 11:51:22 AM »

Quote
I noticed nobody mentioned Extensis Portfolio. It's not all that cheap, but it has *all* the features you want.

This is an understatement...! A cursory look at the website for their base product is admittedly compelling - the features and the GUI impress - but the price caused me to choke on my Cheerios. $199! They describe this price as "surprisingly affordable". To whom? Bill Gates? Certainly not this humble consumer... I'll dig around though. Maybe they have an academic license?
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nudone
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2007, 12:55:40 PM »

i thought i'd try the demo of Extensis Portfolio after reading the comment by ivanv. i uninstalled it after about 10 minutes. i always seem to forget that i've tried portfolio several times in the past - i always remove it and then just wonder what it's meant to do that's better than a typical image file manager.

i guess i'm just not professional enough to use it's features. what i can see looks very limited.

i'd like to hear what you thoughts are if you try the demo, Darwin.
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ivanv
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2007, 01:06:43 PM »

I don't use Portfolio for my images (I use Picasa for that), I use it to catalog some assets, like clipart, icons, etc., which is actually what it is intended for. It is far more advanced in the cataloging arena than most "image organizers", but I decided to mention it as it fits the feature list provided by MrCrispy.
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2007, 01:31:01 PM »

I haven't installed the demo for Portfolio and don't think I'll bother. I can't see myself buying a license even if I love it, so am not too motivated. I have a full version of Corel's Snapfire Plus (came as a freebie with PSP XI, which I won in an online contest) that I have yet to install. From the reviews that I read at the time that I won it, it appears not to be in the same league as ACDSEE, Picasa and the organizer that is built into Photoshop Elements (5?). I'll install it and see what I can report.
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MrCrispy
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« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2007, 02:07:08 PM »

Portfolio at $199 is competing with Lightroom. It does seem to have a lot of features but after playing with the UI for 10min, I don't think it's what I'm after. I didn't see the kind of UI which would let me easily select sets of photos with different tags. There's a Find dialog in which I define queries and see results, but I want something like Photoshop Elements/Lightroom where in one panel I see a list of all the tags read from metadata.

Something like this -

Tag1
-- tag2
-- tag3
Tag4

Ratings
*
**
***

Folders
xyz
-- abc
-----def

In front of each of these would be a checkbox to let me select that criteria. So I can say I want to see all pictures in folder abc or its subfolders, having a rating of 3,4,5 and tagged with 'home'. I should be able to do this very quickly without having to open extra dialogs. Also to change metadata, I should be able to select pictures and drag them to the category, or drag the category over the pics.

Most of Adobe's products (Lightroom, Elements) do something like that, as well as IView Media Pro. But they are just too slow. Browsing is one area where AcdSee is actually  pretty good, but its lack of a decent organizer and proper support for xmp/iptc lets it down.

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nudone
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« Reply #24 on: February 23, 2007, 02:50:02 PM »

ivanv, would you mind describing a little more about Extensis Portfolio, i.e. what are the differences between it and Picassa for example. i don't fully understand what a catalogue program does but i'd like to as it might be something i need. i thought ext portfolio would be something i'd use as it supports illustrator files (not particularly well i have to say). my 'projects' contain illustrator and all the usual pixel based files - so i'd like to be able to manage them altogether (i use adobe bridge for such things at the moment).

i appreciate what i do might just not be right for Portfolio but i hope you can reveal a bit more about the program.
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