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[DAM] Feature suggestions for Affinity Digital Asset Manager

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I was very excited to read that Serif is going to develop an Affinity Digital Asset Manager. As an Aperture user who cannot find any suitable replacement, I am hopeful that the quality and attention to detail which the Affinity products are known for will lead to an excellent option to migrate to.

 

Given that I presume the DAM is in early stage development, I thought it might be worth putting down some features that are important to me in the hopes that they will be considered for inclusion. In particular, Aperture (and my need for a DAM) is a key part of the process of selecting/rejecting my photos, not just organising them. This is an area where other DAMs I have tried are woefully inadequate. So in that spirit, here are features I'd like to see in an Affinity DAM, two of which are vital to my workflow (and the reason nothing out there is currently a suitable Aperture replacement):

  • 1) Support for RAW+JPEG pairs, so that the pairs can be operated on and tagged as if they are one file, but also with the option to switch between them (in Aperture, 'Use RAW as Original' or 'Use JPEG as Original'). I don't know why RAW+JPEG support is entirely absent or functions badly in everything I've tried.

 

  • 2) Aperture has an amazing compare feature making it possible to bring up two photos side by side, cycle through the one on the right and reject ones not wanted, and quickly set the photo on the right as the new 'Compare Item' on the left. As well as being able to set the star rating or rejection of the photo on the right, it is also possible to reject the 'Compare Item' on the left, set the photo on the right as the new 'Compare Item', and continue cycling through the next set of photos. All of this can be controlled from the keyboard, making it very fast to cycle through similar photos and get down to one or two picks. Whilst doing this, one can also zoom and use the loupe (again from the keyboard), and it's possible to scroll through the two zoomed photos in sync by holding down the shift key. Taken together, this results in an amazing way to quickly go through dozens of photos, make detailed comparisons, and narrow down to just a few. I honestly don't know what I'll do if I can't find something that allows such a quick and powerful selection workflow before Aperture stops working!

 

  • 3) AppleScript support so it's possible to tie other tools in (such as a custom Geotagging tool I've created).

 

  • 4) Support for hierarchical keywords.

 

  • 5) The Stacks feature of Aperture is extremely useful in grouping together multiple versions of a photo.

Of these (1) and (2) are absolutely integral to managing my photos. I could probably work around the lack of (3) and (4), though longer-term, this would keep me looking for something that offered these features. (5) is just a nice-to-have.

 

Hope this helps as the Affinity DAM team consider how the app will work. What do other people think, what's important to you?

 

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First off, I have seen the posts confirming that the affinity team will be working on a DAM which excites me very much! (can I pre-order?  ;)) anyways I'm assuming that the project is in the early stages if started at all, but I wanted to ask for these now so that they could be considered in the core of the design. My requests are founded on my reading of this article: http://www.cambridge...hoto-backup.htm

 

Things I would like to see specifically in the Affinity DAM (and which I think are a must for a truly PRO DAM):

  • Strong Compatibility with different file types and the ability to convert between them losslessly (is that a word?) as different formats eventually go extinct
  • Support for creating and tracking multiple copies of the library for redundancy purposes - Ideally I'd like to have multiple external hard drives with no special connection like raid and put copies on each
  • The ability to split a library across multiple storage pieces (ie split a 300 gb library accross 50 gb blu ray discs and then the merging of the library back to one volume)
  • Strong Checksum Support for error detection
  • Parity/Recovery Files to recover from an error (and in extreme cases this is where redundancy matters most)
  • Finally a way to access the files in case ( I hope it never happens ) Affinity goes away.

Thanks! 

 

This is the first post from a thread I started months ago, that noone responded to so im reposting it here. As I look back at it the other thing I would add as part of the data recovery is the built in ability to use backups to fix errors in the main copy and to use them as a form of error checking.

 

As someone who currently works on NAND flash the idea that no major software platforms are performing bit checks on my data scares the crap out of me. in NAND flash (which is used in all SSDs today) bits will be wrong on almost every single write, there is hardware error correction which makes up for it but I want another check in the software level because if there is an error with the write (one that ECC cant fix) you wont know until you try to read it later however if you catch it while the data is still in ram you can rewrite it.

 

Edit: link to original thread in the off chance anyone cares: https://forum.affinity.serif.com/index.php?/topic/14942-dam-features/

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As someone who currently works on NAND flash the idea that no major software platforms are performing bit checks on my data scares the crap out of me. in NAND flash (which is used in all SSDs today) bits will be wrong on almost every single write, there is hardware error correction which makes up for it but I want another check in the software level because if there is an error with the write (one that ECC cant fix) you wont know until you try to read it later however if you catch it while the data is still in ram you can rewrite it.

 

Well, HDDs aren't perfect either and bitrot can occur anywhere.

 

I wholeheartedly agree and I find it outright INSULTING that Apple "forgot" (it seems) how important that is when they announced and further explained their new filesystem AFS.

 

I'm extremely worried about the longevity of my data.

 

 

Speaking of my data, Aperture on macOS Sierra returns errors like crazy.

I need Affinity's take on DAMs YESTERDAY.

 

It breaks my heart to see myself working on what seems an utterly shaky software combination.

I have backups, but I'm getting extremely nervous over here.

 

SOME kind of update on the development would be greatly appreciated. Even a "we hear you guys, we're working on it." is better than this dreaded silence I've become too used to from Apple who treat pro-sumers and professionals like casual consumers who don't even actively look up specs and product launches.

 

I'm sorry, but 3 years of not acknowledging the Mac Pros existence after introducing it in an overly smug manner doesn't fly well with this audience, then again, by now everyone and their dog can see how Apple tries to push away the demanding pro sector in favor of consumers who buy things purely for prettiness and leave more margins to be harvested.

 

What a ridiculous situation. I would have NEVER dreamt of feeling so abandoned with media creation on a MAC of all platforms.

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Apertures STACKS & PICKS and i'm in!

 

But after seeing a thread on DAM Lightroom Killer are we assuming  that this DAM will be like Lightroom/Aperture/C1 or will it simply be a DAM like the old Extensis Portfolio?

 

Confirmation of this would be good, especially when requesting features?

 

Any way on the assumption of DAM only (aka portfolio) PDF support would be good as Aperture couldn't take those. but FAST import! We have had a very large clipart collection at work and it took days for Portfolio to import things before slowing to an unusable pace and ultimately not cataloging everything.

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From a wedding photographer's point of view:

 

Haven't had the time to scroll through all posts here but for me, being a professional wedding photographer and having to go through thousands of images every week of the year:

 

  • Some integrated intelligent batch file renaming option, wether at import or export.  
     
  • Culling: a fast way to go through several thousands of images and select which to keep and which to reject. Even LR is too slow at this (image load time, sharply) and i have to revert to Photo Mechanic to be able to do this quickly.
     
  • Import presets and the ability to create custom (import) presets.
     
  • The ability to apply lens corrections and to apply them automatically.
     
  • 100% support for Fujifilms DNG's which LR still doesn't seem to master despite the booooming success of Fuji's X series APS-C camera's.
     
  • The ability to do batch editing or sync edits across a chosen range of images and the ability to choose exactly which edits are to be synced across that range of images.
     
  • Export presets and the ability to create custom (export) presets. The ability, among those presets, to export to Compressed small size DNGs.
     
  • The ability to save the edits only (XML) for a large amount of images.  On LR these are the .xmp files which can be saved separately from the image files, which makes it very easy to send your edits only along with Compressed DNG's to a colleague or other party who could then finalize your edits.
     
  • A way to adapt the UI to the type of job you are doing and the ability to save different UI presets. Call them Persona if you want.  I'm just not interested in having waaay too many options available that will only clutter my screen and slowdown my workflow.  As someone else already mentioned:  Take everything compositing to Affinity Photo.  Leave Affinity DAM without.  And ensure a seamless back and forth interoperability between both.
     
  • The ability to chose to further edit an image in a  compositing tool such as Affinity Photo only when needed though. I only very rarely use Photoshop as most of the edits i need are available inside LR. "Edit in...." would then offer the user the choice in which software he wishes to further edit the image.  Edits inside the other software (such as PS or Affinity Photo) would then be saved / synced to the DAM when returning to the DAM. Some thorough and well thought interoperability or portability of files between the several Serif / Affinity software packages would be awesome.
     
  • Clever backup and recovery options...

 

The lack of support of any of the above features would have an enormous (negative) impact on my workflow (and i'm sure it's the same for most wedding photographers...) and would make a DAM pretty useless for any serious wedding photographer.

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