PL5 keywords, one step closer, many steps still to go

Here are my requirements for a proper DAM and until this is available I will not be using PL to manage my metadata:

  1. Only index files/folders that I tell PL to - do not index folders just by visiting them!
  2. Have the ability to open different databases.
  3. For each database, tell PL which folders to ‘watch’ for changes.

These two features will allow me to fully control what folders and photos are indexed and also allow me to have a seperate database for seperate projects. This allows me to manage my photos in smaller and more manageable chunks.

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There are many elements of IPTC that are not present in Photolab and Photo Mechanic looks like it supports most of them and it also is much more flexible. It has a lot of variables that can automate a lot and make things really smooth and easy but as long as you are fine with the elements DXO has picked for you everything will be fine.

The only major problems I see with Photolab PhotoLibrary now is the lack of an interface for importing and exporting keywordlists for the ones migrating and the problems exporting structured keywords and the lack of interface in “References” where we can configure the communication with other software. It would be good to be able to set the owner of the metadata.

Photolab doesn’t scale like Photo Mechanic or any other real DAM-software for that matter where we can have as many catalogs we want and search simultanously in any mix of them. Some DAM can even search both their own images together with images from AP or Reuters or whatever. Both Lightroom and Photolab are monolithic in that respect but there is a plus for Photolab where the default is that it always updates metadata in the XMP-files and XMP-compatible image files. Lightroon is a single point of failure by default as it is built and Photolab isn’t. You can export data to XMP in Lightroom too, but it is something you have to remember to select manually.

I think it’s terrific that Photolab users now have several options for storing and retrieving their images in a safe way. One low end, simple and cheap with Photolab 5 and a possibility to scale to multicatalog-systems like PM Plus all the way up to full scale DAM-systems over XMP and IPTC - as long as they stay away from structured keywords. To be honest I really didn’t expect PhotoLibrary should be as good as it is in this version which really is 1.0.

Even if I do all my metadata work outside PhotoLibrary I still appreciate a lot that it’s visible and searchable in Photolab. It works like an extra control station before exporting image derivates of my RAW.

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Selective indexing of folders is one thing I think you can do in Photolab already but you have to look elsewhere for possibilities NOT to index certain folders. Software like PM Plus has so many more sofisticated tools than Photolab, but for most people PhotoLibrary will be fine.

I also think ot would be very good with autopolling of indexed foldertrees.

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Come to Switzerland and see the fourth variation which is called “milklike drink” :laughing:

I’m not looking hard for the best of the best – that was Apple Aperture, pretty simple. No fancy noise reduction but a solid and stable DAM to find pictures, albums, projects again without wasting endless time with keywording. Not as lousy as these so-called DAM are these days. Actually I didn’t know what I lost until I was trying to adapt to the “other RAW editors”. And be it Danish bug pastries like C1 or French CrDxOissants: none of them could do what AA did - make organisation of images easy. Some of them can do what AA never could: be a better RAW editor.
I would give both licenses of DxO with all the “additional” yet necessary ad-ons and C1 with their useless styles for getting back Aperture. I’m a big fan of finding images quickly. This keyword stuff is so pointless for people who want to organize only their own images. It makes a lot sense for photo agencies but for me it’s stupidly boring extra work.

Joakim I was just talking about milk. Nowadays some people demands oats in the milk so of course there is a whole section with Oatly. :-).

I don’t agree with you concerning the use of keywords the trick though is that it has to be really effective otherwise people will not use it. I once tried it with Lightroon and gave up pretty quickly just of that reason, but I’m fine with PM because it’s much more effective.

For me it’s far from sufficient with named folders and files. When having a properly tagged archive I now can search through my images in completely new ways and that gives lots of new possibilities I newer have had before. It is absolutely a treshold but when you get over it really adds a lot of value.

A good start is naming folders and files properly and add metadata on top of that.

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Photo Mechanic is not able to do collections. For that you need PhotoMechanic Plus.

$ 229.–

A license for DxO PL5 + Film Pack + View Point = CHF 239 + 155 + 87 = CHF 481.–

So altogether a package of roughly $ 700.- Guys, are you insane? Or in other words: To use DxO PL5 with halfway proper DAM functionalities you’d need to add 3 extra apps. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: :roll_eyes: yeah, why not burning some cash… some lenses cost more. But only once. And not annually updates…

I was lucky because they sold PM Plus for around 100 U$ when it was released.

… but you are right, software can accumulate to large numbers especially if you have to subscribe and get lost in complicated work flows including a number of different applications. Still people spend enormous amounts on high end cameras and lenses and complain about an Photolab upgrade for 700 Euro and many times the RAW converter makes a bigger difference than new cameras and lenses when talking image quality.

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Don’t forget almond “milk” :blush:

You don’t have to agree with me @Stenis, no one has to, because I on my side find keywords the wrong way if I’m not working with photo agencies. @Stenis, within Aperture I find each picture faster than you can put a search for keywords together, and then you still don’t know if the image you’re looking for maybe falls short of one keyword.

That’s unfortunately a big bummer in these expensive apps: None of them uses intelligent folders as standing searches, none of them can search for words in albums or names of variants. I thought since Aperture would have been some progress in contemporary apps, but all I can see is crippled functionality because of forced dual OS use, they all have to work with Windows and Mac OS and therefore can only provide basic functionality of the weakest OS.

Be happy with your keywords, I really mean it, if you find a good reliable way to find your images, stick to it. I once had that and now it’s gone.

well, a weak RAW converter will not make your images shine - but a weak lens or a complicated body will not make some images happening… hardware is often overrated, I agree, but software is often filled with bugs, complicated handling or opposite of ergonomic usability - DxO in parts is a very good example for the latter. And it always produces variable costs per year. Some lenses I bought 10 years ago I still use without paying an annual fee to questionable “improvements”, other lenses came with firmware updates at no (=0) costs for me.

I once had an I-Pod and I hated it of two clear reasons. First the relevant issue here. I don’t like applications like the I-Pod who has another mandatory forcing way to do things in the storage that I don’t want it too.

The other was the one button interface. There are better interfaces than that.

You can newer achive the same resulution in searches without metadata so if you say you are faster in Aperture I guess it is a matter of the resolution you are satisfied with. In some real DAM-system implementations the metadata isn’t just for searching. It’s even used to direct automatic processes and work flows. I know cases where PM Plus and more flexible and competent applications systems than entry level applications like Lightroom and Photolab PhotoLibrary even are used on the clients together with Enterprice DAM. Then we talk about scalability. Photolab with it’s limited core approach to IPTC is crippled just by that, when talking metadata limitations. There is definitely situations when things like that matter. In these cases Aperture is even more of an entry level toy than PhotoLibrary.

Agree, both my camera Sony A7 III and Photolab suffers from structural growth. In the camera we have legacy choises of Focus Area that is not optimal with for example the newer AF-methods and Photolab has a lot if different ways of doing the same thing of the same reason. I guess that can be confusing for some people.

There a re so many statements in your post to disagree with that I just think “well, Apple has dumped Aperture – I clearly have no reason to defend them” and “this thread is about keywords and the shortcomings in DxO” (which btw never comes even remotely close to what I can do with Aperture in terms of organizing my images). I also think you never worked with Aperture or learnt to use it. :thinking:

And before anything in automatic processes can go on, the first step is entering keywords which can be very time consuming – but neither the first (automatic processes) nor the latter (well thought keywording) is something DxO photo labs can do. Keywords are one way to find images of other photogs which make them very helpful for photo agencies as I already said. But for me, knowing when and where I took images, there are better options to find them again. I learnt and used these until Apple abandoned their own product. Today’s apps of them are for "smart"phone users switching off their brains. :smirk:

There was never a single iPod with only one button interface to interact with. And btw. there also was never an excuse to buy something you hate. :wink:

Edit: I think it would be cool to sit together and see how you and me organize our imageries. It’s a bit hard to elaborate about some things as there might be little helpers in DxO I could not discover so far and maybe we could understand the reasons of each of us to do things in a certain way. When you’re complaining about

I don’t like applications like the I-Pod who has another mandatory forcing way to do things in the storage that I don’t want it too.

then how do you like to be forced to use keywords to find images? :grin:

Ok it’s one button and a wheel to be more precise - and navigation links on the screen.

Besides I never bought my I-Pod, we got 5 as a present/bribe when we bought XML Spy-tools to my job a long time ago.

I was never forced to use metadata, I started to love it when I worked with implementing a DAM for the Digital City Museum of Stockholm. Metadata-driven systems now are the very backbone in cultural organisations like museums and libraries all over the world.

I have my own cultural inheritance to take care of after 16 years as a backpacker (1972-1986) and as the informal “owner” of the family archive. I have continued to travel a lot and after that period mainly in Africa. Today I have 70 000 digital images on my computer and 25 000 are tagged and developed. The problem is not finding when and where they are taken because I have a base folder structure named after country/place and year and filenames covering the next level of “place” to start with.

Since I mainly make reports/illustrated stories that I publish in my portfolios and blogs, images are starting to live their own life on the Internet after a while and that’s why metadata also is necessary for me.

The City museum owns about 4 miljon analog images but only 27 200 historical images are published on their webb today which is kind od disappointing.

It’s not even 2000 more than I have myself to handle of ready made images. On top of that I have 45 000 that I is waiting for some kind of action. So that’s why I need the metadata and really efficient metadata tools and by the way, metadata for me is far more than keywords.

There are also a clear distinction between a metadata driven system and one relying on a physical structure all through. A metadata driven system don’t really need all that much of physical order since it lives virtually. I guess that in most Enterprise DAM-systems physical folders doesn’t play much of a significant role at all because they might just be created randomly and autonatically for every 1000:nd image or so, just to optimize speed. In systems like these there are no other structures than the catalogs/indexes and the ones created on the fly by your searches and that is the very beauty of it. Collections are just a search pattern not anything physical. It’s the essence of flexibility.

And another stupid prejudice goes down the drain: I thought all Scandinavian photographers, especially the ones working in heritage projects, would be at home with Capture One Heritage? For a museum it’s clearly evident to use metadata extensively.

I’m working as technical writer and even our small company benefited very much from the introduction of an XML-based editorial system which I’m feeding with metadata as often as possible. That’s the only way to handle all informations needed for technical documents and to use them for proper manuals, fact sheets and other stuff in 13 languages. So, I’m not completely new to XML.

I think even iTunes is based on XML. Nice story with the iPods, you got one for free, at no cost, from a company who wanted to imply how cool they are?

I think, the point in organizing image collections is “who uses and needs it” and that leads to “what is needed”. An app like Aperture with face recognition and GPS overview is helping me without the need to include places or names in file names and so far my keywording remains rather poor.

Did you ever try-out Excire? 45k images is a lot to browse through. Sure, sometimes it comes up with absurd stupid suggestions like these here:

Animal; Bird; Unsaturated; Duck; Colourless; Vehicle; Boat; Water; Predator; Sea animal; Dolphin; Nature; Low contrast

8 out of 13, not bad. By clicking the × I can get rid of the wrong ones. I sometimes use it as a starting base when I’m in categorizing mood…

I’m retired since five years and I finally have a lot of time that I didn’t have before. During the last years we have got more automatic recognition analysing systems even in relatively cheap phones but that in best case can do some of the keywording. Our system cameras usually still are dead stupid, so images taken with them has to rely on other software to get their metadata and software like PM Plus kan do a lot of useful tricks with built in variables. Still in museums you need skilled people like antiquarians to add context to the images.

In the City museums legacy SQL-databases they had registred a lot more images than these 27 000 i was talking about (houndreds of thousands of images). So one of the things we did was to automate the metadata appending with the automation hub in Fotoware called ColorFactory.

When the photo technicians had scanned a historic registrered image and restored and polished it he/she just renamed the file with the image image code from the database and sent it to a watched folder and then the system found the root of the filename, matched it with the right record in the database view that was mapped with the corresponding elements in the XMP-schema of the museum that was very extensive and had around 200 elements, since it covered the data from two different systems (one for historical pictures and one for images of artefacts) as well as metadata used to control the work flows.

Then ColorFactory pushed the metadata into the TIF-files and stored them in a base file archive. In the next step it created a JPEG delivery file with all the pixels and all the metadata on the base file and stored it among the other files in the delivery file archive. The last step was to create a smaller more efficient system file in JPEG with only 1280x760. These files were carrying the museums metadata master data.

If somebody downloaded a delivery file the current metadata was brought automatically from the small system file to the delivery file before download.

As you see these systems are doing a lot of smart things and it’s far from just a matter of adding a few keywords. Tools like the one you point at can be very helpful if just keywording is the main object but it’s not even in my private image sphere. For me even contact data are equally important and "“picture taken” in PMPlus and that is effectively handled by templates.

I don’t really think a certain product is really anything to get glued to because as long as it supports XMP you can always go somewhere else when you need scale up or down of different reasons. If you compare products like Lightroom and Photolab they are cheap toys for none specialists that don’t mind putting in some extra time to get it done. I will embrase all new tech including recognition but it’s still far from an answer to all our metadata needs. If you are a sports photographer for example you might be far better off subscribing player info to PM Plus than relying on face recognition for now. That’s what they seem to do these people.

Personally I’m convinced I’d better add as much metadata as possible in my images on the Internet. I just tried to Google myself and found a lot of my historical images. That hasn’t always been the case but Google seems to find more of them now than before and it has implications for me. I just wished I had started a little earlier with that:Åke+Sändh&tbm=isch&chips=q:sten+åke+sändh,online_chips:sändh+portfolio:y5sMwlYmeB8%3D&hl=sv&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjRu5mH_Kn0AhVPuyoKHafjADYQ4lYoA3oECAEQFw&biw=980&bih=1362

I didn’t try Exire but it looks it can be useful for many focusing on keywording. I think there will happen a lot in the coming five years when tech like this will get more mainstream and much cheaper. I guess relatively small companies like Camera Bits and DXO will have to licence tech like this and rather stay focused on their core business. As we have seen recently DXO hadn’t the muscles doing both an overhaul of PhotoLibrary and take on the further development of the masking system and the implementation of the Camera Wheel in Local Adjustments which was a huge disappointment for me. At least that I had expected.

By the way my folder structure and naming is a legacy but it has served me well and still does because it makes it easy to find even images witout any metadata for further refinement of the metadata. It is also a quite common starting point when bigger organizations tries to get some order among their legacy info silos. In cases like that named folders can be of great importance as a starting point.

I know the organization unit in Stockholm that was responsible for the maintenance of all the roads and streets stored their images and documents concerning their projects in marked folders as late as around 2013 because they visited us to look at DAM-tech. But since they had that old structure a DAM could have improved their situation from day one because a DAM-index would have indexed all the text in all their Office-documents amd PDF-files too and not just the folder info. So we shall not despice old folder based storing all together. Sometimes it’s really useful even when starting up DAM-based document and image systems.


Great Sten-Åke

How does it feel to go down in history without having a grip on his work ?

I presently use Photo Supreme for a DAM. When my new PC arrives next month I will be switching to Imatch. Reading above about Excire’s auto tagging got me excited since only 10-20% of our 24,000 images are properly tagged. I thought perhaps I would use Excire for tagging images either going to Imatch or already there.

I Googled “Excire Imatch” and among others found this interesting thread about Excire not using established standards in some parts of their tagging. It’s on the Imatch Forum.

In the past I have read of other software not following the Standards and stayed away from it. I would like my tagging to be safely read by other software in the future so have become very cautious about how it’s generated.

(I hope I haven’t broken any ‘Community’ rules by posting the above.)

As you probably know already, IMatch allows use of several autotagging services, including Clarifai, imagga, Google Cloud Vision and Microsoft Azure Computer Vision. You need to set up an account with these services, but you have great flexibility in IMatch as to whether and how to use them.

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Thanks, I have seen discussion of those services at Imatch. My only concern is for our friends and family having their photos going to an online service with potential privacy issues. Perhaps my fears are unfounded. That was the appeal to me with Excire though since everything would be done locally.

Pascal, I´m just trying to stress that the keywording often is a very limited part of the metadata and that some of the systems that focus on automating keywording or tagging latitude and longitud data has it´s limitations.

When it comes to GPS-data I had a Sony A55 with GPS and the problem with that besides it consumed a lot of battery also was not to trust. Since system cameras not always are on the camera GPS was not always ready when the picture was taken so one time when I went from Arlanda Airport in Stockholm and later landed in Nairobi, the GPS-coordinates on my first pictures there said they were taken at Arlanda but I think phones are far better. My old A55 had the bad habit to use the last position even for the next image if it didn´t have synced with the satellites on the new place. How smart is that?

When it comes to keywords and automatic systems for keywording they can´t either be of all that much help for everybody. Museums for example can´t use them because they usually are extremely picky about their keyword vocabularies. There are standards for that that don´t harmonise at all with what Apple, Samsung or any other metadata automation system might suggest. I’m not surprised to read above about Excire.

In my own metadata mangement world I use keywords in english that I create myself after my own needs and the ones I have seen in my phone taken images are in swedish, which is completely useless on the Internet.