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Flexible Photo Organization Software?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the you'd-think-they'd-have-stuff-with-these-features dept.

131

Matthew Wecksell asks: "Several years after getting a digital camera, I find myself with far too many pictures to keep track of, with multiple folders titled 'At the Beach' and so on. Picassa will not let me assign multiple labels to a picture and then search against those labels the way iTunes will with my music (eg: Show me all pictures with '"Grandma Foo" and not "Grandma Bar"' to find pics that have just one of my two grandmothers). Also, I'd like to find a solution that lets me export the meta data or keep it in the picture files, not a proprietary database, so that in ten or twenty years, I can use another program on another platform and still have useful tags assigned to my pictures that I'm taking today — I have no interest in re-tagging my pics. Has anyone found a good solution to the picture organization problem? Is there any standard 'ID3' style for putting metadata into an EXIF header?"

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131 comments

Good luck (2, Informative)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932836)

I'll be watching this thread closely, I made the mistake of putting of my my pictures in iPhoto (which is a fine program otherwise) and I find I am unable to get out of it. The pictures are categorized nicely in directories but the tags and such are not transferable to any other program as far as I can tell. I would really like to move to F-Spot but I don't feel like duplicating hours of work on some 3000 pictures.

Finkployd

Re:Good luck (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933156)

I was about to suggest iPhoto, as finkployd seems to like iTunes. When you think about it, can you export all the iTunes tags? Not really, as you can't export AAC tracks without converting them to MP3 and losing some of the information... I use iPhoto extensively, although of course unlike iTunes there isn't a Windows version. But if you do use MacOS, iPhoto plays nicely with Aperture and Photoshop. The tag organisation is superb, although I haven't investigated exporting them.

Re:Good luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16933840)

Depending on how much metadata you are talking about, you could consider putting it in the file name. Isn't long-file-name support something like 128 characters?

Re:Good luck (1)

jZnat (793348) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934534)

You can at least keep your music in AAC without using iTunes due to OSS like faad and xine. It's not like iPhoto imports your pictures in JPEG2000 or something...

Now the metadata, on the other hand, is the problem with iTunes and iPhoto.

Re:Good luck (0, Offtopic)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935144)

Everytime this comes up I cringe.

You people _do_ know that iTunes can rip to MP3 just as well as AAC right? Sure MP3 isn't the default, but it takes all of 5 seconds to change. I use iTunes this way... and when I'm in Linux Amarok automatically pics up my iTunes MP3's... CD art, artist name, genre and all.

iTunes really isn't satan... I swear.

Friedmud

Re:Good luck (2)

MojoStan (776183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16941416)

You people _do_ know that iTunes can rip to MP3 just as well as AAC right? Sure MP3 isn't the default, but it takes all of 5 seconds to change. I use iTunes this way... and when I'm in Linux Amarok automatically pics up my iTunes MP3's... CD art, artist name, genre and all.
I don't think Peregr1n was implying [slashdot.org] that iTunes cannot rip to MP3. Peregr1n was replying to someone who made the mistake of imporitng/tagging 3000 photos in iPhoto and cannot easily transfer the tags [slashdot.org] (re-tagging would take hours). I'm pretty sure Peregr1n was comparing the very common "mistake" of ripping/tagging thousands of AAC files in iTunes and pointing out the difficulty of transfering the AAC tags.

I don't think this is Apple's fault, though. AFAIK, there is no established tagging standard for AAC files (like ID3 for MP3s).

One word: ACDSee (1)

Sheriff of Rockridge (843569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937484)

It allows for multiple tags on pictures, organized how you want. (eg. All pictures that contain me or my dog at the lake). Very easy to use. My favorite part about it is that it doesn't touch your directory structure and doesn't change any file names. The only thing I'm not sure about is how exportable the tags and other information is... Still, I think it's going to be the closest thing you find to what you're looking for.

Re:Good luck (1)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934078)

I made the mistake of putting of my my pictures in iPhoto (which is a fine program otherwise) and I find I am unable to get out of it. The pictures are categorized nicely in directories but the tags and such are not transferable to any other program as far as I can tell.

If I recall correctly, iPhoto is scriptable with AppleScript and Python. It shouldn't be too difficult (relative term, I know) to extract the information this way.

Re:Good luck (1)

fribhey (731586) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934764)

i guess you aren't aware that you can turn off the preference in iphoto to copy your photos to your iphoto library. when you turn off that option you can store your photos how you want and where you want.

Re:Good luck (1)

finkployd (12902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934998)

I am aware, but what does that have to do with the metadata (tags and such) problem?

Finkployd

Not so helpful hint regarding iPhoto keywords (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16934840)

...the tags and such are not transferable to any other program as far as I can tell.

I know this probably isn't helpful, but a program to export this kind of information from iPhoto should be relatively easy to write, thanks to Spotlight. iPhoto does kind of magic to associate metadata from it's database with files in the library. If you inspect (using mdls) the metadata on an image in the library and compare it to the same image copied out of the library, you can see that the library image has a number of keys that the other doesn't (and vice-versa). Of interest are kMDItemKeywords and kMDItemStarRating. A smart programmer could slurp this metadata from Spotlight and not have to reverse-engineer the iPhoto database or parse iPhoto's AlbumData.xml (which is where Spotlight gets the info.) Getting it into another program is an exercise for the reader, but there are a number of different ways.

I'd do this myself except that...well...I don't really have an excuse. Dang.

Re:Good luck (1)

Super_Z (756391) | more than 7 years ago | (#16940084)

AlbumData.xml is easily parseable. If you dont want to get down and dirty with the xml itself, you can use for example Mac::iPhoto [cpan.org] . It's only slightly buggy.

"me too" (2, Insightful)

tom17 (659054) | more than 7 years ago | (#16932900)

I love the UI on Picassa, but I am finding that it has some shortcomings.

For example, I have all my pictures on one network share. On desktop PC "A" I arrange my pictures into albums using labels. on Desktop PC "B", you have to repeat this work. A central (or even just exportable) database of this would be hands.

Along with multiple labels

and possibility of heirarchical albums structure.

Re:"me too" (5, Informative)

Viraptor (898832) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933502)

No idea what system are you using, but if it's Linux, then try F-Spot (http://f-spot.org/Main_Page). It's basically Picasa, but:
  • uses labels (normal text ones) AND tags with tag hierarchy, so you can tag it with "My room" and it will also get parent tags "Home", "My city", "My country" and "Place". Any number of tags allowed, along with complex searches (("Grandma foo" OR "Grandma bar") AND EXCLUDE "My room" is possible)
  • has less "effects", but
  • has more sliders in color / contrast correction + histogram
  • supports camera and folder import

And yes - it has Picasaweb export!
Additionally it's a new project and is actively developed. Tags are kept in database, so network sharing will probably work with good configuration. Changes are kept like in Picasa - it always keeps the original file without modifications.

Re:"me too" (1)

papal_authority (642227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935884)

F-Spot is pretty nice, but I dislike the way it stores the comments in its own .comments directories. I'd rather it edited the EXIF data in the image itself, so when I email a pic to a friend, they get the comments. Hopefully F-Spot will do this eventually, but until then I'm sticking with gThumb (http://gthumb.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] ).

F-Spot uses Mono (3, Informative)

solferino (100959) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944112)

I've read good things about F-Spot too.

But for user awareness I'd like to point out that F-Spot is developed using Mono. You of course, can make your own decision about whether you are comfortable with this dependency.

Re:"me too" (2, Informative)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 7 years ago | (#16936400)

and possibility of heirarchical albums structure.

It's already there. Update Picasa through the Help menu entry or download it directly from http://picasa.google.com/ [google.com]

-clueless

Kimdaba/KPhotoAlbum (1)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933066)

KPhotoAlbum (previously called KimDaBa) is pretty good for free software. You can make custom tags, search with either/or/not/and logic, and it's pretty easy to use. One bad thing is that (in the older version I have anyways) it slows down a lot when you have 10,000+ photos in it. It stores its metadata in an XML file that you can backup so you don't lose your library. I've used it for about a year, until I moved over to an iMac+iPhoto.

http://kphotoalbum.org/ [kphotoalbum.org]

need a real filesystem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16933070)

We need a file structure that understands the data upon it.

Files should be managed based on metadata.

Re:need a real filesystem (1)

RetroGeek (206522) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933258)

That would be OS/2's HPFS which had Extended Attributes.

All sorts of useless stuff was stored in there including file associations (ie: which program to use to read the file).

I believe that the MAC file system uses forks, which have similar functionality.

Re:need a real filesystem (1)

Richard Steiner (1585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935242)

A program's icon was stored in the EA, also. You could store 64k of metadata per file, I think.

Mac resource forks are somewhat similar, but I think the Mac did it first. :-)

Photoshop Elements (2, Informative)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933082)

I believe that Photoshop Elements 4 stores the tag data in the photo headers. In general, PSE4 on Windows is a really good photo organiser, I prefer it to iPhoto in fact.

Re:Photoshop Elements (2, Interesting)

gutnor (872759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938446)

Photoshop Element (at least version 5.0) will store all tags as IPTC Keywords - i.e. available in Picassa and every program able to read EXIF and IPTC entry ( such as caption, ... )

However it does not do that in realtime with tags as it does with caption. You need to periodically launch the command "write tags and info to photo" that will process all your photo in batch. This can be surprising when you work with more than one program simultanously. Also this is important because when you are renaming some tags, Elements will *ADD* (i.e. not overwrite) them into the keywords of the photo.
On import however, Photoelement will propose you to import the various IPTC keywords it found as Tag.

Good stuff with Photoshop Element is that it integrates well with the editor and everytime you update a photo it keep the original and create a versionset stack and version history inside the organiser. ( By default it keeps the original and name the subsequent version "_Edited-X" so this information could be exported using a script )

Also if you take care about color calibration, PhotoElement is color managed.

Finally Photoshop Element is a good organiser. Its interface is not as efficient (especially zoming, slidshows, ...) as Adobe Lightroom but it provides more "home user" friendly features ( VersionSet, Tag hierarchy, ... )
Lightroom is free while in beta but sadly it is not going to be a cheap product since it is aimed at professional.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16933114)

" Is there any standard 'ID3' style for putting metadata into an EXIF header?"

Yes, yes, yes.
It's called IPTC. I think Picasa uses them, and jbrout too.

Too much photo management software doesn't use this standard, that sucks.

I'm doing something like this (4, Interesting)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933144)

Interestingly enough, I just stopped hacking on an application that will hopefully solve a lot of these problems just this minute to start reading slashdot. I actually just started coding on this project a couple of days ago, so it doesn't do a lot right now, but in a couple of days it should have at least the rudimentary features you are looking for (storage of tags, searching) and will hopefully be a bit usable.
You can check out the code here if you want:
http://code.google.com/p/mediabrowser/ [google.com]
The project is written in C++ with Gtkmm, you'll have to compile it yourself since I haven't built any packages or anything.
Hope that helps.

Re:I'm doing something like this (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933462)

Sweet, I hope it understands lots of different description formats to import from. I'm using ACDSee Classic, which stores descriptions (which I use like tags) in 4DOS-style descript.ion files in each directory. When they went looking for a metadata mechanism that was format-independent, they found an established convention dating back a decade or more. :)

Anyway, in my copious free time, I'm going to set up Gallery2 on some hosting space, and wrangle some Perl to automatically tag uploaded photos in G2 based on their descript.ion text. If your code implements any of that functionality, excellent.

Re:I'm doing something like this (1)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934132)

Right now it doesn't import from anything else, but if you have some ideas for things that you would like to see imported, by all means post a feature request on the site.
Basically, at the moment you can open up a directory full of images, and go through and add titles, tags, and watermarks - then put it all in a MySQL database. You can search tags in the database to look at your pictures. I also have a PHP script that will allow you to view the database on the web.
If a lot of people start requesting importing some types of files for metadata I'll do my best to add it in though.

Re:I'm doing something like this (2, Insightful)

thinsoldier (937530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938262)

here' the thing with descript.ion files
If I were to move a dozen photos from one dir to another using explorer the descript.ion file in the other directory has none of the info about the files I just put there.
All that info is in the .ion file of the previous directory. If I copy that .ion file over to the new destination folder it overwrites the old one and now only those 12 recently moved photos will have metadata and the hundreds of other photos in that dir lose everything.

descript.ion files suck unless every app in the os capable of moving files keeps constant track of them.

I've been an acdsee user since version 4 and it just doesn't cut it for me. To manually 'tag' stuff (stored in its database or .ion) takes too many clicks and keys and to edit exif data takes even more.

Crazy Idea:
An new xml image filefomat .imx

[imx]
        [meta] ...meta data here ...
        [/meta]
        [binaryimagedata] ...jpg or whatever binary image data here...
        [/binaryimagedata]
[/imx]

there, it can wrap any common existing file format.

Re:I'm doing something like this (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938874)

And then that requires that every program capable of opening an image file be rewritten to understand .imx!

I find that ACDSee's move/copy functions are better than Explorer's anyway; they have superior "file by this name already exists" handling. If there were a dupe-finder (like dff.sourceforge) that could reconcile different descript.ion tags associated with identical files, I'd be in heaven.

Re:I'm doing something like this (1)

thinsoldier (937530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16940706)

used to agree with you about using acdsee in place of explorer but I dislike the interface so much now that I often forget to open it and wind up arranging image in explorer or whatever image management software I decided at random to try this week.

imx work around
install an imx service that watching all .imx files system wide. When a program tries to 'open' one the service opens it, pulls out the image data, saves it to a temp location. The image editor works with that temp file and whenever it's saved the service updates the actual .imx file

Of course this is all just reinventing the wheel with xml for no really good reason other than the already existing wheels need their tires changed.
IPTC is really the right way to go I think but when you have apps like ACDSee(so I've heard, need to check for myself) and other that kill exif and iptc info when u edit the file, then my imx monitoring service starts to sound like a good idea i think.

Besides didn't you see the big "CRAZY idea" disclaimer.

Re:I'm doing something like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16934436)

wish list:

. relies entirely on metadata
. columnizes metadata via filebrowser window
. completely integrated into filesystem manager
. both extensible and pluggable
. written and compiled for performance and scalability

please, and thanks in advance

Re:I'm doing something like this (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935508)

What are you doing that will be different/better than Digikam, KPhotoAlbum, F-Spot, etc.? There are some very mature F/LOSS applications in this space, so I'm curious as to why you're starting from scratch. Not that there's anything wrong with writing a new app just for the fun of it.

Aside: Interestingly, this is an area where I think the F/LOSS offerings are substantially *better* than the commercial offerings on Windows and Mac. I'm not sure why that is, but it is. I suspect there probably are commercial tools that match or exceed the F/LOSS tools, but they're high-end tools used only by professionals. Certainly, the consumer-level tools on Windows and Mac don't match up well at all against the Free stuff.

Re:I'm doing something like this (3, Interesting)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935876)

Right now, I'm not really doing anything that much different or better than Digikam or F-Spot (haven't used KPhotoAlbum, so I can't speak to that) partially because those are really good programs, and partially because my app is still in the "just started it a few days ago" phase.
The motivation at first started out being that I just wanted to learn Gtk and play with ImageMagick a bit. Since I've been hacking on it for a few days, I have some ideas that I think will make my application a different alternative. For one, I want to support video and audio as well as images. Pretty much every phone and digital camera now days takes short video clips at least, and I think they should be integrated in with photos nicely in an album. Some of my other ideas are a bit more experimental.
As I was saying to a couple of people on IRC last night, in the end maybe some people will find the software useful, but it's probably going to become a sort of dumping grounds for me to play around with a lot of ideas I have for various image algorithms, and will eventually become completely incomprehencible to anyone below the rank of Advanced God.
If anyone is interested, a couple of the ideas I've had are:
Doing some facial recognition and learning algorithms so that the program will start to associate name tags with people in the photos, and automatically tag new photos with the people it sees in the photo.
Draw a picture that resembles the photo you are looking for, and search the database for it.
Using texture synthesis to clean up images.
Working on creating a UI with OpenGL.
those are just some of the potential ideas I have floating about in my head, if anyone is interested in lending a hand on coding on it send me an email.

Re:I'm doing something like this (2, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16936908)

For one, I want to support video and audio as well as images. Pretty much every phone and digital camera now days takes short video clips at least, and I think they should be integrated in with photos nicely in an album.

KPhotoAlbum does that already, BTW.

foobar (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16933198)

Let me guess, your grandfathers names are 'widget' and 'gizmo' right ?

Re:foobar (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16934088)

I pity the foo whose grandmas have those names.

Hmm. (4, Informative)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933238)

Is there any standard 'ID3' style for putting metadata into an EXIF header?


Why, yes, and they're described in section 4.6 of the EXIF specification [exif.org] .

Re:Hmm. (4, Informative)

jmkaza (173878) | more than 7 years ago | (#16936790)

Of course, actually reading section 4.6 shows that the only tags available are TIFF Attributes indicating such exciting information as the 'Subsampling ratio of Y to C', and the ever useful 'White point chromaticity'.
As far as convenient ID3 type info that you can do something with; no.

Re:Hmm. (1)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937672)

Look down a bit further. Stuff like the ImageDescription, UserComments, DateTime and GPS coordinate tags look to be suitable.
Not to mention that ImageDescription and UserComments can be of arbitrary length, which means you could pack some formatted data in there if you like.

at least flickr gets them off of your drive (1)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933262)

Flickr has the nice advantage of getting them off of your drive and making them painfully easy to feed/share/etc. and the tagging isn't "that" bad. However, it only lets you have 3 "sets" in free mode, which makes it difficult unless you use really broad categories. I produce so many pictures that the bandwidth is a real problem for me, and probably will be until I bite the bullet and buy a ton of throughput for a month or two ("available" space is measured on flickr in throughput, so a few big pictures all at once and you're done for the month).

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (2, Insightful)

Cecil (37810) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934022)

Maybe I'm a control freak, but I don't feel comfortable trusting someone else to a) store my photos, b) keep my photos secure, c) store a tag index for all of those photos. I don't even trust them to do it safely *right now*, much less to have done it and still be doing it 10 or 20 years down the road.

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (1)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935422)

Maybe you are a control freak.

I personally trust a company I'm paying to do a service for me... more than I trust myself. I originally started using Flickr because you get unlimited space for only $25 a month... and they will keep the photos forever. My computers are in a constant state of flux... I'm always trying new software or buying new hardware or whatever. I'm more worried about me accidentally deleting years worth of pictures than I am of Flickr erasing them.

But what's stopping you from doing both? I certainly keep all of my photos on my computers as well as on Flickr. No one's holding a gun to your head and saying "Once you upload that photo you _must_ delete it from your hardrive!". Redundancy is good.

Now, if you have, ummm... sensitive photos..... I probably wouldn't upload those. So your "b)" point is definitely valid.

Friedmud

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (1)

Cecil (37810) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938760)

My point was that it's not really a *solution* to what the guy was asking for. It's not really organized if it's organized on only their site and if they ever crash or you're working offline, all you've got left is a big mess of image files scattered across a few HDs and DVDs.

The image files are important sure, but those are easy to back up and store like anything else, it's not the problem here. The problem is the organization, the tags, the settings, the galleries, those are important *too*, and there doesn't seem to be a great way to reliably keep track of those. Flickr is not a solution for that.

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (1)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935310)

Ummm... I think you have the wrong idea about how you pay for Flickr.

It's just $25 for a year... with 2GB a month of upload and unlimited storage space. If you are taking more than 2GB of pictures a month then you have special needs... and probably should consider buying your own server and loading it up with a bunch of RAID.

I've been paying for Flickr for a little while now... and have been _very_ satisfied. $25 a month to store my photos forever is a steal.

Friedmud

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16939678)

ugh, per year dude. not per month.

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (1)

friedmud (512466) | more than 7 years ago | (#16943328)

No really... it's 2GB _per month_. It resets every month.

You pay $25 per _year_ and get 2GB per _month_.

Friedmud

Re:at least flickr gets them off of your drive (1)

TheVoice900 (467327) | more than 7 years ago | (#16943096)

Special needs? It only takes ~200 photos on an 8 megapixel camera to fill up a 2GB memory card, even a casual shooter can do that in a weekend.

Request the features in Picasa (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933296)

If you like everything else about Picasa just request the features you want to be added. I'm sure it'll come along eventually and you won't have to move all your images again.

And thus, he said "iPhoto?" (2, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933412)

I use iPhoto and besides albums I can assign keywords to the pictures making it easy to search by keyword. If iPhoto is not enough then Aperature is supposed to provide even more so I assume it would have better organizational stuff too.

Of course, both require a Mac.

But I love iPhoto. All my photos have names, ratings, and a set a keywords with everything from file type to portrait/landscape, to camera model and lens (I, of course, had to set all these).

Aperture or Lightroom (2, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933490)

If you were using a Mac, I'd suggest Aperture...

But since you mentioned Picassa, I'll assume you are using Windows. You may want to look at Lightroom, you can organize photos and attach keywords which you can then search on. Lightroom will generate XMP files alongside images, which hold all your metadata (Aperture can do the same). Lightroom also stores these keywords inside a local database, making search very fast.

Make mine multi-user. And hierarchical. (2, Interesting)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933532)

I've been looking for the same thing, and, at least in the Mac world, it ain't out there. The closest I've found is Shoebox [kavasoft.com] , which has a great hierarchical tagging system, but it's still single-user. And it's been a little buggy for me.

Big bonus for Shoebox, though, is the hierarchical tags -- I can't believe how far we've gone with all sorts of folksonomy tagging systems, but virtually nobody's using a hierarchy of tags. Keeping these flat, especially if you want to start organizing and grouping by family, is just unusable after a 25-50 tags or so. With Shoebox's system, you can set things up like "John's Family" with John, his wife, and all kids as sub tags. Then, if, say, "Tim" (John's oldest son) marries "Jane", create "Tim's Family" as a sub to John's family, or even as a sub to Tim, and you can use aliases to have Tim show up in both places. It's hard to explain without pictures, but trust me, it's really very flexible.

Anyway, the downsides:
* Again, a little buggy / flaky
* Proprietary: Can't export the data, though you can export the tag hierarchy (just not the associations between tags and the photos, at least not that I've found)
* Single-user: It's licensed for a single userid on a single CPU, so my wife can't even access it on the same box, let alone me or her on any other box in the house.

If we could get the organizational abilities of Shoebox (or a similar hierarchical tag system) in a client-server model, running on a linux server with clients on windows, mac, or whatever, then I think I'd have a personal winner. Bonus points if it speaks DPAP so iPhoto can read the libraries (to make printing, editing, etc., easier). Oh, and it'd have to have an easy way to store/track multiple versions of a photo, for when you crop, clean out redeye, etc.

I'm "this close" to starting to hack something together myself, but simply have no time with all the other unfinished projects in my life (not to mention my son). At least I should write up a more careful specifications document and post it on a blog somewhere, for someone who actually has time to start hacking at. Really, the back-end DB stuff is trivial, you just need a decent front end. And a web interface just wouldn't be all that usable for huge collections, either. (otherwise, I'd recommend giving Zoph [nother.net] a look, as it's got a lot of the DB stuff but it's 100% web based).

IMatch (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16933638)

Unfortunately is windows only, but is full of features.
It has the possibility of multiple categories assignment and the categories can be organized in hierarchical mode. You can even assign keywords. Categories and keywords (with all the file metadata) can be used for searching images, for example you can do the search you cite but you can put even restrinction on file size, resolution and others attribute.
It has two ways of decoupling the db data from the program : the first is using IPTC (it can export categories and keyword to IPTC), the second is using a XML export function wich will export all the db info in a documented XML format.
It has even batch processing and a scripting engine (in Real Basic) wich can access all the program classes. ( http://photools.com/ [photools.com] )

Re:IMatch (1)

jayrtfm (148260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937684)

Ditto what he said.
It also has a "find by image content" and tons more features.
The programmer is very active on the user forums.

Re:IMatch (1)

thinsoldier (937530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938520)

so it exports new copies of the photos was all the metadata embedded in the image file?

Re:IMatch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16939210)

IMatch can both embed IPTC in files (for the formats that allow it) and keep photo attributes in an internal "properties" database. The latest version also supports the Adobe-promoted "XMP" format, which uses "sidecar" files for the file formats that don't allow embedded metadata.

All the internal data can be easily exported to XML, so your metadata isn't held hostage.

At least as important, however, is that IMatch is completely scriptable. (In VBA, unfortunately.) It has a complete metadata API so scripts can be written that do just about anything you might need. There's an active user community exchanging scripts. As an example, over the last few years the user community evolved a script for automated web page generation that is simply amazing.

IMatch isn't free, but at $50 (US) it's reasonably priced. There's a free trial available. www.photools.com.

DigiKam (4, Informative)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933662)

I used to use a simple script to I wrote to create an index.html page from a directory of photos. This worked surprisingly well; but then I discovered digikam [digikam.org] , and now I wouldn't look back.

Re:DigiKam (1)

Lordrashmi (167121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935556)

I love digikam, but I also want to be able to use it (atleast browse/search by tags) from windows. For now I am using Picasa, since it runs on both Linux and Windows.

My method, but not using software. (1, Insightful)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933766)

I have a large collection of photos I've taken over about 6 years.

My method is probably not for everyone, but it's just a simple way of storing them.

I have a directory structure as follows:

photos/2006/0101-nakedlinuxchix0rz/*.jpg
photos/2006/0428-steveballmertakingitupthebummy/*. jpg
so bascially: photos///*.files

It's not software, but I prefer it because it's not dependant on a software package, and with grep or start -> find it's rather easy to locate my photos.

Just a thought, it probably sucks but it works for me.

Re:My method, but not using software. (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934148)

This also keeps things simple, and won't require application upgrades etc. Additionally, once you have stored the photos in a directory structure, you will never forget where they are or have to call your favorite tech guy to help you find them on your hard drive. This is a common thing I am asked to do... find files for neophytes. I teach them how to use the directory structure for all their data, not just photos... it is a sound way to do things.

Re:My method, but not using software. (1)

Robwiz (864947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938214)

Count me in for the plain old file-system method!
(Although the tags would certianly be useful at times...)

My reasoning was this: How can I identify my photos in a way that is obvious to me,
and obvious even if I copy a few photos on to a CD to send someone else, or email someone else?

Use a folder/hierarchy system for the basics.
Remember that you have date and timestamps to help you sort.
Rename the files using your keywords. Consider using a 3 digit number at the start of the
file name (e.g. 001) if you have over 100 pictures in a folder - it saves a lot of time
when your image software wants to sort by name.

On the down side, it's a tedious job - but I imagine any tagging would be almost as bad.
There are utilities that help you rename massive numbers of files in a text editor and
then apply the changes en masse. /600 pictures from a 1 week vacation //Re-lived the highlights while renaming the pictures /// No, it didn't take a week to rename them all.

Re:My method, but not using software. (1)

n1hilist (997601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938696)

I think before one starts doing any sort of tagging, one should first have a good directory structure and naming convention.

This is the same with my music collection... /music/bandname/year-albumname/01-songname.ext

Once I have that I can easily do manually tagging, and if the tagging system fails, at least I have a sorting method that works.

On a funny note, this one time, at lan camp, this one dude, had a porn share, with a brilliantly (and rather disturbing) sorted porn archive... all neatly categorized by genre, I was quite amazed until I got to the 'bukakae' and 'scat' folders.

IPTC metadata is what you want (4, Informative)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933896)

Is there any standard 'ID3' style for putting metadata into an EXIF header?
IPTC allows lots of metadata, e.g., caption, category, city, headline, keywords, etc. Google for it. Note that IPTC has nothing to do with EXIF. For JPEG files, IPTC metadata is stored in the segment having the APPD marker.

Re:IPTC metadata is what you want (1)

Teun (17872) | more than 7 years ago | (#16942840)

A quick way of entering or editing IPTC data and becoming aware of the options is to use IrfanView (and it runs under wine).

IPTC metadata (4, Interesting)

uglyhead69 (186990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16933972)

Your Grandmother's names are Foo and Bar?!

That is so incredibly cool!

It sounds like what you really need is a basic IPTC editor. That way all the metadata you associate with the file stays with the file wherever it goes. If you're using a mac and have $300 you aren't terribly good friends with, you could buy Aperture. It has a really nice system for assigning IPTC fields in batches, and you can also set up hierarchies of IPTC keywords. (Think tags, but IPTC keywords have been in use a long time with the photo industry, and they call them IPTC keywords) Oh and Aperture does loads of other stuff. Its overkill if you don't shoot in RAW mode and do some post-processing. If you're talking about snapshots here, I would just find a simple tool for whatever you platform of choice is to let you edit IPTC headers. Get them all labeled first, then worry about management software in another year or so once you have finished all the labeling.

Oh and try not to take any pictures in the meantime. You'll only make more work for yourself. Say hi to the Granmas for me!

Re:IPTC metadata (2, Interesting)

Demosthenex (513513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937062)

I use Mapivi for photo management, IPTC metadata tagging, searches, etc.

It is quite powerful, and the author is very responsive.

http://mapivi.sourceforge.net/mapivi.shtml [sourceforge.net]

The argument for IPTC is simple: The data is stored in the image.

I'm working on some perl scripts to search IPTC data in images, and create directories of symlinks to the results. That way I could use a tag like Xmas, and then run a query based on the year in the datestamp and the tag Xmas, and end up with subdirs for each year and all the photos symlinked from their original location.

Then I can group upload to Gallery, or just run album on the symlinks.

Demo

Re:IPTC metadata (1)

thinsoldier (937530) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938728)

10 seconds reading the description on the page and I'm convinced this is what I've been wanting for a long time. Especially now that I'm desperately trying to switch to dual booting linux and windows I hate having my image data stuck in acdsee.

Re:IPTC metadata (1)

Demosthenex (513513) | more than 7 years ago | (#16941474)

I've evaluated it a few times over the years. It has the best IPTC support of all the OSS tools I've looked at.

Like I said, I intend to work on some perl scripts to run queries against images with IPTC data. Mapivi can do searches and output file lists, but inside the GUI. I'd like to automate a tree of symlinks regularly refreshed by an automated query. If you find something that can do that without me reinventing the wheel, let me know.

You should also checkout exiftool for mass file renames and data extraction.

Demo

Use Adobe Photoshop Album (1)

anacron (85469) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934178)

I have been using Adobe Photoshop Album for the past year or so and have found it to be great. It's tag based, and will even let you create dynamic collections based on tags. It's like a standing search.

Currently have over 15,000 photos in there and performance doesn't seem to be an issue.

The only gripe I have is that it doesn't (yet) support RAW photos. Hopefully they'll change that in the next release. .anacron

There are many (1)

dingDaShan (818817) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934490)

Actually, EXIF information is pretty much just camera settings, dates, geotagging, and the like. IPTC is the standard used by newspapers, news agencies, and more. This information can be embedded onto many images, jpeg, tiff, etc. This allows captions, locations, credits, bylines, and more. You can use any of the following software http://www.iptc.org/photometadata/softwaresupportl ist1.php [iptc.org] that is officially sanctioned by IPTC standard. My favorite is Picasa for adding captions, because you can simply use the arrow keys to go through images, and then just type a caption whenever you see fit. However there are better applications that allow you to batch edit all IPTC data. A good free app is XnView http://perso.orange.fr/pierre.g/xnview/endownloadw in32.html [orange.fr] , although there are others out there. However, nothing is a good substitute for dating and naming images properly. For organizational purposes, make a naming scheme for yourself that works. Date folders in a YYYY-MM-DD format with perhaps a description after that, but be careful not to use people's names on the folder because a search for that person will come up with folders of stuff instead of just the pictures that you want. A better solution is to type people's names that are in the picture into the keywords part of the IPTC data. For naming files, use the same dating scheme, and then simply add the photographer's initials, a category, or whatever else you see fit. hope this helps

My method (1)

ecloud (3022) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934496)

I just use folders for events or periods of time, and the folder contains the date in a standard form; e.g. 2006-summer, 200607-china, 20060504-phoenix-zoo, etc. Usually I can remember approximately when a picture was taken.

But yeah EXIF tags have a comment field so why don't you just put a sequence of keywords in there (or whole sentences if you like) and then use a full-text search engine? I've had good luck with Swish++ [sourceforge.net] to search other kinds of documents (MP3 metadata, Word docs, PDFs, plain text, HTML, C source files, etc.) It can be extended with filters based on MIME type to extract keywords from each kind of document that it finds.

Also see this [ecloud.org] regarding how to extract dates/times from EXIF files and incorporate them into the filename.

Exifdater console utility (1)

wrecked (681366) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934714)

I use a console utility called EXIFdater [tuwien.ac.at] , licensed under the GPL. The author thoughtfully provides both C source code (compilable with gcc) and a Win32 executable binary.

Exifdater reads date EXIF data from a jpg file, and renames the file according to the pattern that you specify in the command parameters. It can incorporate the original filename in the new filename. You can then organize your photos according to date, simply using your filesystem. This way you are not locked into any database format.

Here is a script that I wrote to run exifdater with my favourite parameters:

#!/bin/sh
# this script is /usr/local/bin/exifrename
# usage exifrename FILE
# for multiple files: for i in $(ls);do exifrename $i; done


exifdater -p @y-@n-@d. $1


# @y=year, @n=month, @d=day
# the '-' and '.' characters are literal strings


So if I use the above script on a file originally named IMG_005.jpg, it renames it 2006-11-21.IMG_005.jpg

The exifdater page also has a link to a public domain utility called jhead [sentex.ca] . I haven't used it yet, but it appears to have more features [sentex.ca] than exifdater, including editing the JPEG header comments.

Re:Exifdater console utility (1)

WaxParadigm (311909) | more than 7 years ago | (#16939844)

Exifer and jhead used together can be great. I received copies of digital photos from a friend's wedding, taken by a professional using two DSLRs. They were REALLY out of order because of file name mis-match, so I named them as yyyymmdd-hhmmss-[c1/c2].jpg using exifer, based on the date/time picture was taken. That put them almost in order, but the cameras were obviously off by at least 10 minutes. So, I picked the one that seemed to have had it's time set more accurately (c1) and used that as a baseline. I was able to find pictures from both cameras that would have been taken within a second or two of eachother and used that offset as an input into jhead to modify the timestamp for pics taken by the other camera (c2). I then re-renamed them using the same format and the result was a directory of pictures sorted in order.

Of course, if you're a pro photographer you can skip the jhead portion if you just remember to set the cameras' internal clocks to the same (accurate) time...but not all pros are pros.

My open, simple approach to the problem (4, Interesting)

xleeko (551231) | more than 7 years ago | (#16934716)

I dealt with this a couple of years ago by adopting an external form for descriptions and a picture naming convention.  See the screed/tirade below :-)

I wrote a couple of scripts for bulk-importing lots of files and started a windows GUI editor to encourage family to adopt it, but got distracted.  I have just been doing everything with emacs in the meantime.

==
== Photo Description Tools
==

Digital photos are wonderful, but for all of their megapixels they lack the simple feature of prints -- you can't write on the back of them.

On the surface, it seems simple enough.  When I take a picture of Uncle Harvey, the JPEG file is one million bytes in size.  You would think that it wouldn't be difficult to add in the twelve extra bytes for the string "Uncle Harvey".

The problem is that everyone wants to do it differently.  In what has become computing industry standard practice, each vendor wants to lock you into their private database for notes, and when the technology or business environment changes, you lose everything.

In the past year, I have shot many photos, and since I can't jot notes on the back, have forgotten many details about the subjects.  I can't wait another few years for a winner to emerge before recording this information.  I need to capture it now!

I keep my physical photos for 30-40 years, and want to keep my digital photos for just as long.  If you believe that your current solution is going to survive that long, good for you.  I don't, and this is my open way of saving the information in a way that will survive for many years and hopefully outlast the stupid vendor contests.

That data belongs to you!  Don't let someone else lock it up!

These protocols were written to scratch this particular itch.  The following are
my design goals:

   - Let me capture BASIC information about the photos

   - Store the master copy of the information in a separate file,
     so that we never lose it if some vendor decides to strip
    things from the picture file.

   - Store the master copy in an open format so that I can write
    tools against it or even just edit it with a text editor
    and never be held hostage to a particular tool.

   - Copy the info into the file multiple times in all the competing
    protocols, so that it will be visible in whatever system
    you happen to be using.

In order to make this happen, I have defined two specs that will
govern the tools I write.  If it other people and projects want to
adopt them too, so much the better.

The first is the pixtag file format for picture descriptions.  This is
simple enough to write by hand with notepad.exe or emacs (I am doing a
lot of this while building my tools), but structured enough for tools
to easily read and manage.

The second is a naming convention for files.  You can use pixtag
regardless of what you name your image files, but if you plan on
keeping your pictures for decades, you better use something better
than the IMG_1234 that comes out of your camera.  Plus, you better
plan on mixing those files with ones from other people, scans of
traditional prints, and so on.

PIXTAG DESCRIPTION FILE

There is some flexibility in how the master file is handled.  In most
cases, I expect that there will be one file with all of the pictures a
person has, or one file per directory (what I do) However, some people
may want to partitioning files by year, or overachievers may even load
everything into a mysql database.

I suggest the pixtag file extension for the master files.  So for a
single file it might look like:

    loffredo.pixtag

For multiple years or directories it might look like

    196x_loffredo.pixtag
    197x_loffredo.pixtag
    1980_loffredo.pixtag
    1981_loffredo.pixtag

        200510_halloween.pixtag

The contents of the file is simple text, so it can be edited with a
simple text editor like notepad or emacs, and processed with easy to
write tools.  A simple file is show below.

    <pixtag>

    <photo file="20030801_163001.jpg" >
      <desc>Uncle Harvey with a Monkey. The big party at Uncle
        Harvey's House</desc>
    </photo>

    </pixtag>

The entire file is enclosed by the <pixtag></pixtag> pair of tags.
Each individual photo is described by a <photo></photo> block.  Within
the opening tag, the file="filename" tells us the name of the image
file. Within the photo block, a <desc></desc> pair of tags enclose
the text describing the photo.  That's all you need for a file.

Since I am using the unique file names described below, I don't plan
on putting any directory information in the file= tag.  I plan on just
h aving the tools search through many directories for that unique file
name.  That way, it doesn't matter if I move pictures around, group
them into directories based on some sort of subject matter, etc.

Since we might have many photos taken during a particular event, it
would be nice to have some way to just describe that event once and
then reference it, rather than repeating the same text in every one of
the photos.  The <event></event> tag lets you do this if you want to:

    <pixtag>

    <event id="20030801_party" >
      <desc>The big party at Uncle Harvey's House</desc>
    </event>

    <photo file="20030801_163001.jpg" >
      <desc>Uncle Harvey with a Monkey</desc>
      <event ref="20030801_party" />
    </photo>

    </pixtag>

When you declare the <event>, the opening tag needs an id="eventname"
that we will use to refer to it later.  I suggest using the date, and
a short word or two separated by underscores.  Within the event block,
we use the <desc></desc> tags, the same way we do in our photo blocks,
for text describing the event.

Finally, we indicate that a photo was taken at a particular event by
putting in a reference tag of the form:

    <event ref="eventname" />

Note that the closing /> is a little different than we have seen
before, but is important.  Photos can reference as many events as you
would like.  Just add more <event ref="" /> tags to the photo block.

Technically, all of this is well-formed XML, but I don't want to make
a big deal about it, because a) the only people who care are software
developers, and b) the first thing they would want to do is make the
format more complex with various XML arcana.

Going forward, I will define some more optional tags when it comes
time to store the EXIF camera settings from pictures, and of course, I
fully suspect that some enterprising types will add their own tags for
their personal applications.  That's fine, but for the base format, I
refer back to the design goals -- keep it simple!

IMAGE FILE NAMING CONVENTION --

For my own uses, I am adopting the following convention for file
names.  This should hold up for all of the digital photos taken by
myself and others decades into the future as well as for any print
photos from decades in the past scanned from many sources.

The key element is to name the photos by time.  For digital camera
photos, the exact time is available through the exif tag, so jhead or
some other tool can be used to extract it and rename the file.  For
scans where the exact time is not known, approximate dates, times,
or even seasons can be used, as well as a scan sequence number.

To allow for photos from multiple people, each photo has a suffix with
the initials or other identifing tag of the source.

The general form is as follows:

   [date]_[time-or-sequence]_[personal-id].jpg

Th e DATE is written in year, month, day format, with some options for
just narrowing it down to months, years, or seasons as below.  If you
want to specify a range like "Sometime Sept 2-Oct 10, 1985" just do it
in your description, and make the date "1985_fal" or "198509xx"

The TIME-OR-SEQUENCE is written in hour, minute, second format with
options to narrow it as below.  If it is one of many scanned photos
from a particular event, you can use a scan sequence number instead
of the form s00001, s00002, s00003, etc.

The PERSONAL-ID should just be your initials or some other tag. For
manageability, it is best to keep it around three letters.

So here are some examples.

20030124_242902_dtl.jpg -- From digital cameras, date followed by time
             in 24hour format, followed by three initials
             to identify the originator.   The time includes
             the seconds so we can have multiple photos
             per minute.

20030124_s00001_dtl.jpg -- Scanned traditional photos, date followed by
             a scan serial number prefixed with an "s" and
             followed by the three initials

The jhead tool can do this renaming for you automatically based on
EXIF timestamp information in digital camera files.  The command line
invocation is as follows.  Windows uses % for shell variables so we
need to double it (%%) on Win98 to make them happy.  For some reason
WinXP command shells do not need it doubled, probably Win2k too, but
I have not tested that.

Windows 98  --> jhead -n%%Y%%m%%d_%%H%%M%%S_dtl  file.jpg
Unix, WinXP --> jhead -n%Y%m%d_%H%M%S_dtl  file.jpg

jhead -ta+1:00 *.jpg    --> adds one hour to the exif timestamp

In general, scanned photos should always have a date, but can then be
named based on the time if known, or a serial number if not.  When the
value is not known, "x" should be used to signal approximate values.

20030124_09xxxx_dtl.jpg -- Picture with approximate time (~9am)
200301xx_s00001_dtl.jpg -- Picture from sometime in january
197x1225_s00001_dtl.jpg -- Picture from some christmas in the 70s

The following convention can also be used to narrow things down to
a season:

2003_spr_s00001_dtl.jpg -- Scanned picture from sometime in spring

    "_spr"        sometime in spring
    "_sum"        sometime in summer
    "_fal"        sometime in fall
    "_win"        sometime in winter

Check this out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16934838)

I use firehand technologies ember. there is a free version too.
http://www.firehand.com/Ember/index.html [firehand.com]

KPhotoAlbum (3, Informative)

swillden (191260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935090)

I don't know what platform you're on, but if you're on a Unix system, I *highly* recommend KPhotoAlbum (previously called KimDaBa).

Some of its features:

  • All metadata is stored in an XML file, though optional SQL database support is nearly complete. Even after the SQL backend is done, you'll have a choice of using either SQL or XML. Either one gives you great data portability. The SQL backend ultimately promises multi-user access, and I'm working on a database synchronization tool, so that I can have an SQLite DB on my laptop and a MySQL DB on my home file server and automatically keep them in sync, allowing changes to be made in either place (my wife will probably always use the MySQL DB).
  • Tagging is very flexible. Define any number of categories, any number of tags within categories, arbitrary hierarchical and cross-hierarchical organization of tags within categories, etc. Basically, there's no tagging structure you can't build with it.
  • Tagging is very easy to do. The UI requires a little time to learn (though there are some videos to speed you through it), but that's because it's design is focused on making it possible to very efficiently categorize large numbers of photos, so there are a lot of hotkeys and tricks to learn. You can categorize photos just by pointing and clicking, but if you take a lot of pictures it's well worth it.
  • "Token"-based tagging is a big help, too. While viewing images you can quickly associate single-letter "tokens" with each one, then mass apply real tags to the images. I use this for tagging images with people.
  • It has a cool "date bar" that shows you a histogram of images over time, and allows you to quickly narrow your image searching and viewing by clicking and dragging over the date ranges.
  • You can search for images either with sophisticated query strings, or by "drilling down" through the categories. For example, if I want to see a picture of my daughter on our 2005 trip to Florida, I just click "Location", click "Florida" (perhaps typing "f" in the search field to narrow the list so I don't have to scroll to find it), click "Persons", click my daughter's name (again perhaps first narrowing the list), then drag across the 2005-ish region of the date bar. At each stage KPA shows me the number of photos that match my restrictions so far. When it's small enough, I click "View Images" and I see thumbnails of the selected set. Very fast and intuitive. There's also a query language if you prefer.
  • KPA supports the KDE Image Plugins, so you get all of those features, and new ones are added from time to time. There are export plugins that integrate with various web galleries, image manipulation plugins, a slide show creator and lots more.
  • Large databases work well. There are KPA users with well over 100,000 images, though you may need a little more RAM if you have that many photos. The SQL backend should make databases of arbitrary size perform well.
  • KPA also supports tagging, viewing and management of video clips.

If you're going to try KPA, I highly recommend getting an SVN version, or waiting a few weeks for the next release. It's a very significant upgrade over the last release and it's been in feature freeze for a while so it's very solid.

One of the things the question asked about was embedding the tags in the images, and if there was a standard way to do that. There is, it's called IPTC, and KPA supports loading tags from IPTC data. It doesn't support writing tags to IPTC, for two reasons:

  • First, KPA's tag metadata is much richer than what could be accomodated in IPTC, so anything put in IPTC fields would necessarily be a subset.
  • Second, a core part of KPA's philosophy is that the indexed images should not be modified in any way, to avoid any chance of data corruption (note that there are KIPI plugins that violate that philosophy).

Note also that there are some tools out there that only store the metadata in IPTC -- don't use those if you have a lot of images. Retrieving metadata from the images themselves is inherently sloooowww.

There is discussion of adding IPTC tagging as an optional feature, but there's a lot of user opposition, particularly from the more serious photographers with the larger databases who like the fact that KPA *never* modifies their image files. IMO, IPTC tagging will be added, but it will be optional, default to turned off and it definitely won't happen until after the upcoming release.

Re:KPhotoAlbum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16939112)

here's what I want to do.
In exchange for getting to check their email and browse the web, my friends kids and their friends must go through a large collection of stock photos/illustrations/scans/drawing etc and categorize/tag them. This will be done while they are in ubuntu because I don't trust kids+windows+internet.

When it's time for me to work and do some graphic/web design I need to be able to search the stock images directory for what I need. I doubt acdsee can import the data from Kphotoalbum and I'm pretty sure acdsee wont export its data for anything else to use easily. The only solution it seems is IPTC for my needs.

Also I'm quite confident that there is a large number of designers with many thousands of 'images' not just 'photos' from a digital camera. So many of these photo management tools don't quite suit our needs. Acdsee Used to fit my needs but that was a long time ago.

photolibrary (5, Informative)

ed_g2s (598342) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935400)

I ran into this problem a few years ago, and so started work on my own project which I now use to keep my collection of 8500+ photos organised. Categories (tags/labels/...) are arranged in a tree, and are assigned to photos.
So have a look at http://photolibrary.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net] (or http://sourceforge.net/projects/photolibrary [sourceforge.net] )

Re:photolibrary (1)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 7 years ago | (#16936232)

Somebody mod the parent up -- this is a pretty good start. I'll have to download it and futz around a bit on my own, but it's certainly an improvement over most of the photo library apps I've seen....

iMatch from photools.com (1)

frooddude (148993) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935780)

It's realtively inexpensive at $60, and the latest version was perhaps a little slow to market.... BUT!

http://photools.com/ [photools.com]

IMatch is exactly what you're looking for. It can import/export IPTC data, EXIF data, and there's a scripting language that you could use to import/export your own database. Lots of tagging options (I have my family tree, literally as a tree of tags, locations, events, ...) and you can then tag all your photos with as many tags as you want.

I'm making this brief since I'm busy, but you can try out the free trial. That's what I did before buying it and the trial is what convinced me to go this route rather than the pile of other options I had tried that were either overpriced for my needs, or didn't meet my needs at all.

IPTC keywords in Picasa (1)

rakerman (409507) | more than 7 years ago | (#16935824)

You can attach onewordonly IPTC keywords to photos in Picasa, just use CTRL-K.
The IPTC keywords are standard metadata attached to the photo, other software can read them - Flickr will read IPTC keywords in uploaded photos and turn them into tags.

digikam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16936328)

I've had good luck with http://www.digikam.org/ [digikam.org]

iViewMedia Pro (1)

PhineusJWhoopee (926130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16936692)

iViewMedia Pro is the ticket. Extremely scalable, extremely versatile. Used by publishers to organize thousands of photos. Mac/PC.

http://www.iview-multimedia.com/ [iview-multimedia.com]

ed

Re:iViewMedia Pro (1)

DeanPentcheff (103656) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938678)

Seconded. And it will accept videos, PDFs, and various other picture-like objects.

The interface is not iPhoto-simple, but is very flexible and rewards a bit of investment and experimentation. You can use IPTC tags, plus add your own custom tags. Metadata is exportable as XML. It can (optionally) be embedded within image files (for image formats that permit embedded metainformation).

One real strength that may be useful is that you can use all the cataloging (including thumbnails) even if you don't have access to the images themselves. So you can use iView to index all your images on external hard drives (for example), and use the catalog when the hard drives aren't connected.

XnView (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16936896)

I use XnView [xnview.com] . It's available for many platforms. It's free. It's small and fast. It supports many many file formats. It also seems like it would fit your needs with portable database for image descriptions.

It creates descript.ion files for every directory you browse through, a format used in the days of 4DOS I believe. They're simple text files placed in the same location as your files. When you burn a folder to CD, the meta data is also burned along thanks to the descript.ion file. And since they're text files, you could easily make a small script to convert them to XML for any other use.

I've been using it for some years now because of the descript.ion files alone but there are many other worthwhile features such as a scriptable web gallery creator and the choice of a few methods for resampling images.

Re:XnView (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16937464)

I forgot to add that what really improves any picture management software you'll be using is... management skills of your own. I create a folder for each person I get pictures from. Then the pictures are put into folders for different camera models. Finally, they end up in a folder named by date followed by a short description. The location of a file would look like this:

"/pictures/Me/Digital/Some Canon/2006-12-25 Home alone/img_1234.jpg"

Good file keeping limits my use of the search function, which often takes more time than reading the directory tree when you have over a million pictures.

ThumbsPlus is pretty powerful (1)

hockeyrink (264208) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937140)

I've got a 80G image library that I manage for my company. Thumbsplus has proven to be a pretty good solution, although I admit to not using the query function very much.

As TP asks how you want your database created (proprietory or MSAccess compatible), you can run your own querys outside of TP if you wish. Lots of metadata tagging features too.

It's not that expensive ($49 for Std 1 user license; $89 for Pro, which has more database functionality), and higher licenses allow for multiple concurrent users.

http://www.cerious.com/ [cerious.com] (no, I don't work for them. Just a happy user)

Re:ThumbsPlus is pretty powerful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16942676)

I'll second the T+ suggestion. Been using it for years, and am yet to find something else nearly as good.

Gallery2 (1)

rdnk (734073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937210)

Personally, I gave up using X photo organization software, because there was always a better one around the corner and making the switch was a pain in the **s. Now I'm uploading all my photos to Gallery2 [menalto.com] php/sql -web application. It has more features then I need, is developed actively and it is a handy way to share photos to people or use it as a backend for website image storage. You can also limit the access to photos with powerful account based permission system.

Exifer for Windows (1)

Tarquin Sidebottom (239733) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937548)

It's not been updated for a while (four years and counting), but I've yet to find something that surpasses Exifer for Windows in both being powerful and usable.

http://www.friedemann-schmidt.com/software/exifer/ [friedemann-schmidt.com]

Symlinks could be helpful (1)

_iris (92554) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937754)

In a time long ago, before iTunes/Amarok, I used symlinks to categorize my MP3 files. I had a shell script that retrieved the ID3 fields and used the field values to create symlinks. There was a directory for each value of each ID3 field and any files containing those ID3 values had a symlink from that directory to the real file. So 'Rolling Stones - Paint It Black.mp3' would have a symlink from each of /mp3/genres/rock, /mp3/years/1969, and /mp3/artists/rollingstones.

Something similar could work for your photos, but you'd have a bit more manual work.

I just wrote my own AJAX Online Photo Storage (1)

MattPF (898138) | more than 7 years ago | (#16937780)

I just wrote my own AJAX Online Photo Storage.. It stores everything in a mysql database, from the tags to the binary data. Images are stored in 3 versions: thumbnail, webnail (definable size such as 800x600), and the original. With a host like dreamhost that provides me 200 GB I've moved my entire collection online in this system. You can import entire folders of photos with a set of tags/album, or upload multiple files at once.

I've setup a demo with some of my pics for you guys to check out:
http://imagedemo.farleyfamily.net/ [farleyfamily.net]

Feel free to edit/add/delete photos.. Notice that in the gallery view you can click-in and edit tags/descs/albums on-the-fly (very slick).

If you're interested in the source: matt@farleyfamily.net

Kphotoalbum (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16938518)

Kphotoalbum does everything you ask for and more:

  • Deals with pictures and movies
  • Allows arbitrary number of tag-categories (default: persons, locations, keywords) So that you can tag person:Eivind person:Anne Location:Norway
  • Allows hierarchical tags. A group of tags can be members of another tag. (for example, you could define family to mean 'anne or eivind or silvia or magnus' or North-America to mean 'Canada or USA'. This is a real life-saver.
  • Dead simple for simple use. Finding all pictures of the person Anne in the Location USA is as easy as 4 clicks: "person anne location usa" (or "location usa person anne")
  • Full support for Exif-information.
  • Supports the KDE KIPI standard for image-handling-plugins, which means there are and can be written plugins for everything from autorotating jpegs with rotation-info to ordering prints.
  • Very quick to use for tagging large collections, because you can tag multiple images at once. Drag a square around the 40 images you took on the picnic, rigth-click and select tag, add the tag(s) that apply to all images.
  • Complex searches easy for nerds. Understands C-like complex searches: "anne & !eivind & (Norway | Germany)" finds pictures that contain anne, but *not* eivind taken in Norway or Germany.
  • Recognizes the pictures even if you reorganize them on disc due to checksums.
  • Your data is stored in a easy-to-parse xml-file (optional sql-backend coming) thus they're easy to extract if you should ever regret your choice (which I personally find unlikely)

just use properly named directories (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16939208)

I don't want to use a piece of software to do this, so I just create directories. The first part of the directory's name is the date: 20061121 The second part of the directory's name is the person who took the picture (some of the pictures that I have were taken by someone else): john The third part of the directory's name is a keyword of the event: grandma-birthday. And an example of a full name is: 20061121.john.grandma-birthday; I use dots for seperators, but that is just a matter of preferance. I also place a simple text file inside the directory for comments. I keep adding those directorys in another big directory called "pictures". When the "pictures" directory gets around 4.5GB, I write it in a DVD and put a label on it. Simple, efficient, and cross-platform :-P

Re:just use properly named directories (1)

Walter Carver (973233) | more than 7 years ago | (#16939320)

(sorry, I posted as HTML, please ignore the parent)

I don't want to use a piece of software to do this, so I just create directories.

The first part of the directory's name is the date: 20061121

The second part of the directory's name is the person who took the picture (some of the pictures that I have were taken by someone else): john

The third part of the directory's name is a keyword of the event: grandma-birthday.

And an example of a full name is: 20061121.john.grandma-birthday

I use dots for seperators, but that is just a matter of preferance. I also place a simple text file inside the directory for comments.

I keep adding those directorys in another big directory called "pictures". When the "pictures" directory gets around 4.5GB, I write it in a DVD and put a label on it.

Simple, efficient, and cross-platform :-P

How about the aptly-named "Photo Organizer"? (1)

Pizza (87623) | more than 7 years ago | (#16940490)

It all depends on what you really want, and need.

In my case -- I needed remote network access, but I also wanted to be in full control of my data. I primarily wanted a full-on repository to hold *everything*, with configurable views for different people (and/or the general public). I didn't want to have to manually generate web galleries and manage all of that independently.

After some casting about, I ended up settling on Photo Organizer. [shaftnet.org] It's fully database-driven (PostgreSQL) and thus scales quite well -- It was designed to be, first and foremost, a photographer's primary image repository. It has the usual assortment of tagging, folders, albums (aka views), is fully multi-user with permissions, etc etc.. it's also web-driven (PHP), so you don't have to be sitting at a single PC to do any work.

So I started using it, and to make a long story short I contributed so much to it that I ended up taking over maintainership, which makes this a bit of a self-plug.

It also supports a full export of all stored metadata, so you have direct control over all of your valuable metadata.

It's not perfect, naturally, and its non-native nature means that fancy UIs just aren't possible, but it's designed to be an image repository, not an image editor...

My conclusion too (1)

dargaud (518470) | more than 7 years ago | (#16941162)

I've been following this subject for years and also wrote my thoughts on the subject [gdargaud.net] . My conclusion is the same: the meta keywords MUST be kept inside the EXIF fields of the images, alternatively in the path/filename info.
The hitch ? No program can handle them properly: the programs that can put the keywords in the EXIF are bugged, crash often (taking the entire Windows Explorer with them, requiring a reboot in XP), have shitty UIR, overwrite other EXIF fields, drop color profiles or recompress the JPEG data (absolute no-no); the programs that should read the fields to extract the content for quick search are just too slow or re-import it into complex systems. I want to keep the two things SEPARATE, and for good reasons.

Aperture (1)

grgcombs (524535) | more than 7 years ago | (#16944514)

Buy it, steal it, or borrow it ... but love it. It's right up your alley with the tagging business.
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