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Affinity, we need clarification: are you or aren’t you working on a DAM?

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I wonder if the people wanting Serif to create a DAM, unusual for a pixel editor, would pay for it ... and how much.

Personally I don't see the value of a DAM for AP. There are so many explorer alternatives available for free now ... Adobe Bridge, IrfanView, XN-View , etc., etc.


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10 minutes ago, AiDon said:

Personally I don't see the value of a DAM for AP. There are so many explorer alternatives available for free now ... Adobe Bridge, IrfanView, XN-View , etc., etc.

I feel the same way, but it seems that some people find the idea of a tightly integrated set of tools particularly attractive.


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16 hours ago, Alfred said:

I feel the same way, but it seems that some people find the idea of a tightly integrated set of tools particularly attractive. 

The mentioned products are only tools to browse and sort images, but are also called DAM, yes. It also to me would make zero sense that Serif spend development time on a tool which is limited to these tasks. Many DAMs however include a RAW development module which allows for editing large amounts of RAWs at a speed and flexibility that is unthinkable with the principle currently used in the Develop Persona - think factor 100 faster.

If one uses such a tool and wants to further edit developed images with a classic layer based program later, one needs colour management - the integration Adobe offers with Photoshop is quite attractive indeed.

I think we all would profit, if Serif told us, what sort of program they actually plan to release - most of the users at least, who voted in my little poll don't only want a browser.

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26 minutes ago, AiDon said:

Personally I don't see the value of a DAM for AP.

I can see the value of that, but I don't think it is anywhere near as important as some people seem to think it is.

There are indeed lots of alternatives available right now, not the least of which is XnViewMP. Granted, it does not have the world's most friendly UI & at least the Mac version has some quirks, but it does have extensive support for reading & writing IPTC & EXIF metadata (including templates & batch changes); supports previews for Affinity native, RAW, & most other graphic image file formats; & a very useful "Open with" feature that supports all available apps that can open files of any format that app supports.

Of course, it won't meet everyone's needs, but until such time as Serif releases its own DAM, it is probably good enough for a lot of Affinity users.


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9 minutes ago, hifred said:

Many DAMs however include a RAW development module which allows for editing large amounts of RAWs at a speed and flexibility that is unthinkable with the principle currently used in the Develop Persona - think factor 100 faster.

What makes you think an Affinity DAM would include a module that would do this any faster or more flexibly than Affinity Photo does now (or in the current betas)?

11 minutes ago, hifred said:

I think we all would profit, if Serif told us, what sort of program they actually plan to release.

It still comes down to that they do not yet know what sort of DAM app they will release or what features it will include. If you don't believe that, so be it, but whether you realize it or not your constant repetition of this disbelief is what amounts to an insult to their honesty & integrity that has zero chance of convincing them to say more than that.


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10 minutes ago, R C-R said:

What makes you think an Affinity DAM would include a module that would do this any faster or more flexibly than Affinity Photo does now (or in the current betas)?

I can not know. You have no evidence of the opposite either. We only know three letters, which can mean quite different things.

Please do refrain from further private judgment.

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11 minutes ago, hifred said:

I can not know. You have no evidence of the opposite either. We only know three letters, which can mean quite different things.

What we do know is what they have told us, that being that there is no ETA for their version of a DAM or any firm plans for what it will include. This is not in any sense a "private judgment." It is based strictly on what they have said, not just once but repeatedly.


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The big reason for a DAM is re-use.  It's nice to take pictures, and turn some of them into stellar pictures, but once you have over a few tens of thousands it gets hard to find them.  I probably spend 3-5 times as much time assigning keywords to images as I do editing them.  Mind you, my use is mostly web pages, so my editing sequence is 'crop, adjust exposure, resize,'

Even so, with all my keywording, I often still have trouble finding things -- due to insufficient keywording.  The two really big features for me are mechanisms for fast keywording, and mechanisms for doing complex searches.  So far Aperture is the least bad of all the ones I've used.

I'm not a pro.  A pro has an extra can of worms.  They have the whole 'version' thing.  It's not unreasonable for a stock photo to have several resolutions, black and white, images tuned for a particular printer, plus the whole what rights have I sold to who on  a particular image.  However even an amateur will often have

  • Raw file
  • Jpeg file (if shooting both)
  • Photoshop or affinity file
  • Tiff or jpeg output file.

It's nice if you can easily find the original to the one you used on insta-gram.  

***

What are the components of a good DAM?

  • Database for storing metadata  -- This should be straight forward.  There are several good ones out there that are opensource.  MySQL, PostGres, come to mind.
  • Browser -- this must be fairly easy as there are metric tons of them out there.  
  • UI -- This, I think, is the tough part.  It needs to be able to do a bunch of tasks -- edit metadata singly and in batch, search, store search results.  

***

I bought Affinity because I thought it was going to have a DAM.  I don't use it.  I can't remember the last time I opened it.  I've gone back to Aperture.

I've tried PhotoSupreme, Media Pro, ACDSee, Bynder (what a joke).  

I've come to the conclusion that the DAM is more critical to me than the ability to edit.

 

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I don't think that serif needs just a DAM.

I think it would be interesting for serif to develop a C1/LR like program. I see affinity photo as a PS competitor, but the develop module doesn't allow for easy non-destructive adjustment iterations. For example, one can infinitely edit images in LR and C1 before exporting to PS if at all. I find that it is not so easy to just go back in the development module to tweak, requiring a reset.

I have some 20k-30k photos in my photos library. For this reason I use LR, since I can manage all of them, edit them mostly non-destructively without going to Photoshop, print them, and geo-tag them all in the same program. Only very "special" images ever make it to PS, since doing so moves you away from RAW files and thus you loose some leeway in terms of editing or you end up with tiff files which are 3x the size of raw images.

I think a DAM that at least allows the develop module to be run (and those settings remembered), which can be integrated directly in affinity photo can also be useful/desired if the integration and the work flow are properly thought out. Then one can use the rest of affinity photo editing via layers to truly end up with some none destructive edits that won't cause a ballooning of space taken on our drives with multiple copies of images (tiff like files being very large). With virtual-images/snap-shots one can truly use their images very broadly.

Of course the whole eco-system would be much more powerful if the DAM was somehow also integrated/available between the other software of serif.

For example... You open affinity photo. If you have the DAM and affinity designer installed tabs for them would also appear.
1. Go to the DAM and select the image you want to develop
2. Developing the image can be completely non-destructive and dynamically adjustable. As in even when you have layer edits from affinity photos or designer, adjusting the image in the develop section would allow the user to see that bottom layer adjustment even with the overlay of the photos or designer (or both) layers shown.
3. The user can either enter photos or designer to do whatever edits they want.
4. By working with layers, when adjusting photos layers the UI would adjust accordingly and same with designer layers.

I think such a tightly integrated environment would give users not only a powerful tool, but would go a step beyond what photoshop offers. After all, photoshop edits are baked in when you want to go back to LR, while on the affinity side the develop module is what bakes into the image that is then "exported" for use in photos. One example of why one would want to be able to tweak the image in the develop module are for things like shadow and highlight adjustment, where it is ideal to manipulate the RAW, and not the image in the other photo module.

 

cheers

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On 2/21/2019 at 6:04 AM, Lawny13 said:

I don't think that serif needs just a DAM.

I think it would be interesting for serif to develop a C1/LR like program. I see affinity photo as a PS competitor, but the develop module doesn't allow for easy non-destructive adjustment iterations. For example, one can infinitely edit images in LR and C1 before exporting to PS if at all. I find that it is not so easy to just go back in the development module to tweak, requiring a reset.

I have some 20k-30k photos in my photos library. For this reason I use LR, since I can manage all of them, edit them mostly non-destructively without going to Photoshop, print them, and geo-tag them all in the same program. Only very "special" images ever make it to PS, since doing so moves you away from RAW files and thus you loose some leeway in terms of editing or you end up with tiff files which are 3x the size of raw images.

I think a DAM that at least allows the develop module to be run (and those settings remembered), which can be integrated directly in affinity photo can also be useful/desired if the integration and the work flow are properly thought out. Then one can use the rest of affinity photo editing via layers to truly end up with some none destructive edits that won't cause a ballooning of space taken on our drives with multiple copies of images (tiff like files being very large). With virtual-images/snap-shots one can truly use their images very broadly.

Of course the whole eco-system would be much more powerful if the DAM was somehow also integrated/available between the other software of serif.

For example... You open affinity photo. If you have the DAM and affinity designer installed tabs for them would also appear.
1. Go to the DAM and select the image you want to develop
2. Developing the image can be completely non-destructive and dynamically adjustable. As in even when you have layer edits from affinity photos or designer, adjusting the image in the develop section would allow the user to see that bottom layer adjustment even with the overlay of the photos or designer (or both) layers shown.
3. The user can either enter photos or designer to do whatever edits they want.
4. By working with layers, when adjusting photos layers the UI would adjust accordingly and same with designer layers.

I think such a tightly integrated environment would give users not only a powerful tool, but would go a step beyond what photoshop offers. After all, photoshop edits are baked in when you want to go back to LR, while on the affinity side the develop module is what bakes into the image that is then "exported" for use in photos. One example of why one would want to be able to tweak the image in the develop module are for things like shadow and highlight adjustment, where it is ideal to manipulate the RAW, and not the image in the other photo module.

 

cheers

I have to say +1 to all of this. I know (and work with) a number of professional, full-time photographers who rarely use Photoshop - they live and die in Lightroom. And Lightroom--right now, at least--is a bloated, slow mess for a lot of professionals. One specific issue is that LR does not handle hi-res monitors well for an awful lot of people. Many folks using a 5k iMac have found LR to be nearly unusable. This is well documented in the LR forums, and to a degree in Apple forums, as well. This is a market where Affinity/Serif could step in and build a lean, mean DAM and RAW-processing machine. And the time to do this is now.

The future for LR is going to be the inevitable push toward Lightroom CC, and away from LR Classic. When Lightroom CC works, it's pretty impressive. But there are a lot of glitches. I'd love to see Affinity enter this market and reimagine how the needs of professional photographers might be met.

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I use iView Media Pro v3, or I should say, I have been using. It has lasted me for about 15 years and was way ahead of it's time. This is important for a DAM because of the possible massive number of assets. One can jump around from photo editor to editor, but your DAM has to last. Thus I arrive at my problem. Yesterday I launched iView and saw the dreaded "iView needs to be updated." I never upgraded when it passed to Microsoft and became Express, and Phase One wanted a pile of dough for the product which seemed to have lost some of its robustness and was basically old code which had never been updated. It did its job very well for a long time without the need to upgrade. Now it is discontinued. There is no replacement and apparently no other product can open iView catalogs. My collection is dead. iView will open, but catalogs seem to have lost all data such as ratings. 

So it looks like I have to start over with 15 years of digital photography. I need something simple that can hand off to my Affinity software. Since I am on the Affinity bandwagon, I would like to toss in my vote. Please do something basic to get started and add features down the road. A fast sorter/cataloger that integrates with Photos, Designer and Publisher seems important necessity. A central hub that can handle the management of assets used by projects and files built in Affinity software.

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If an Affinity DAM is likely a possibility for the future, can somebody suggest an alternative that could be used in the meantime? It would be nice to find something that an Affinity product could read so catalogs could migrate. 

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15 minutes ago, Bob Grahame said:

If an Affinity DAM is likely a possibility for the future, can somebody suggest an alternative that could be used in the meantime? It would be nice to find something that an Affinity product could read so catalogs could migrate. 

As we have no idea what capabilities an Affinity DAM might have, it's difficult to predict what other compatible products might exist. 

But if you want to try, I'd suggest looking for one that's Open Source, or at least has a documented catalog format, or possibly some form of export tool that produces XML output.


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31 minutes ago, Bob Grahame said:

If an Affinity DAM is likely a possibility for the future, can somebody suggest an alternative that could be used in the meantime? It would be nice to find something that an Affinity product could read so catalogs could migrate. 

This question is impossible to answer as (a) we have no clue if the Serif team even plans to provide a feature to replicate the catalog structure (albums, collections) and (b) only the developers might know with which other DAMs such a feature would work with if any. Heck, we don't even know if and when there will be an Affinity DAM, yet alone what feature set it would include.

That said, your best bet is probably Lightroom. It's currently the most widely used DAM which makes it more likely that a new product – especially if released to compete with Lightroom – might support such a feature. Luminar, for instance, plans to support photo edits made with Lightroom in the future. Also, all current Affinity products are known to be able to work with files from Adobe's products they are competing with such as Photoshop and Illustrator.

P.S. as long as we are only talking about the DAM part (and not about the compatibility of the edits made to photos), compatibility actually isn't the big issue. Instead of albums and collections, which depend on the database's structure, you could simply organize your photos in folders instead. Any good DAM would be able to work with that folder structure and allow you to easily replicate your photo organization. The downside is, of course, that one photo can only live in one folder rather than in multiple albums/collections. 


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20 hours ago, Five Photos said:

P.S. as long as we are only talking about the DAM part (and not about the compatibility of the edits made to photos), compatibility actually isn't the big issue. Instead of albums and collections, which depend on the database's structure, you could simply organize your photos in folders instead. Any good DAM would be able to work with that folder structure and allow you to easily replicate your photo organization. The downside is, of course, that one photo can only live in one folder rather than in multiple albums/collections. 

Not so.  A folder structure only gives you one way to select.   "I remember a festive dinner with Aunt Edna.  I think it was Christmas, no Thanksgiving"  "No John it was easter"  

"What year?  "I think it was 4 years ago.  Might have been 5"  "Oh, at least 5,  Uncle Bill was still with us."

So if you have date organized folders you now have to check 3 different months in 3 different years.  Yuck.

 

In a decent DAM you can search for People:Aunt Edna & Event:Holiday Dinner

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34 minutes ago, sgbotsford said:

In a decent DAM you can search for People:Aunt Edna & Event:Holiday Dinner

In a decent DAM you could do that AND have your (my) folder structure.

I have had that conversation many times... Yuck is right.


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@sgbotsford yes, that's exactly what I said:

21 hours ago, Five Photos said:

The downside is, of course, that one photo can only live in one folder rather than in multiple albums/collections. 

I'm also saying that – if you want to switch between DAM apps – the only true future-proof option is to use a DAM that relies on a folder structure on a hard disk rather than on albums and collections because such a structure is defined and stored in the database of that app.


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The main reason for a DAM really is to have some trust that integration with the SW you love and have invested time to master (e.g. affinity photo) is given. You want to work within the look and feel of the SW you use for most stuff. IMHO a DAM can start out very basic and add features as requested. But it would keep you within the affinity universe, speeding up your workflows and reduce learning time for people working with/for you. 

Why buy affinity if your DAM from another vendor already does much of the job? Many photographers don't really use Photoshop all that much and do most of their work with Lightroom. So why buy Affinity and invest learning time when you already spent much on LR or C1 etc? Yes, freaks and experts posting here may know the strengths of each product and master them all, but those will not be the lot paying for licences who makes investment worth while.

So my pledge to Serif: Please give us a simple, robust DAM to start with, that integrates well with Affinities products. Take aperture of even mac's photo app functionality as a start, but keep it open so we can migrate in- and out easily. Get our workflows into your world starting from managing the photos, and keep us within. I am so sure this will pay out for all of us. 

 

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@fredreg
At first I didn't like the proposal, but after a second reading, I realized that it indeed makes sense!
If I understood correctly, you are proposing that newbies with small collections start with a basic Affinity DAM and grow with it, while the people already using any existing DAM, just continue using it until Affinity DAM achieves desired maturity level and at this point they migrate. Well, I would cope with such scenario, assuming that Affinity could ensure some kind of import from another DAM. 

(I'm now still using Adobe Elements Organizer on Windows with 80K images in its albums. I still don't have any Affinity product. I'm lacking a clear decision for Affinity just because I can't sort out the question of the DAM. If I go for LR, I'm getting also PS and then I don't have a reason to buy Affinity. If I stay with Organizer, I must purchase also the bundled Elements, which I don't like. I haven't found any third DAM which would serve my requirements.)

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1 hour ago, Miljac said:

(I'm now still using Adobe Elements Organizer on Windows with 80K images in its albums. I still don't have any Affinity product. I'm lacking a clear decision for Affinity just because I can't sort out the question of the DAM. If I go for LR, I'm getting also PS and then I don't have a reason to buy Affinity. If I stay with Organizer, I must purchase also the bundled Elements, which I don't like. I haven't found any third DAM which would serve my requirements.)

Why don't you look at Adobe Bridge that is free ... and there are quite a few free others out there such as Irfanview, XNview etc., etc. Personally my preference is Adobe Bridge and Irfanview.


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 - Sys : Intel® Core™ i7-7700HQ CPU @ 2.80GHz (8 CPUs), 16GB RAM
 - GPU 1: Intel HD Graphics 630, GPU 2: NVIDIA GTX1050, 4GB

 

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On 3/8/2019 at 11:59 AM, AiDon said:

Why don't you look at Adobe Bridge that is free ... and there are quite a few free others out there such as Irfanview, XNview etc., etc. Personally my preference is Adobe Bridge and Irfanview.

Thank you for your suggestion, AiDon.

I did a quick check of Irfanview. I really like its fast responsiveness. But, here is what I don't like:
- Irfanview does not support neither NEF nor NRW files (Nikon's RAW), at least not without plugins. I don't know if there are any suitable plugins to correct this.
- I got too saturated colors on my wide gamut monitor. I suspect that Irfanview did not negotiate the correct color space with my monitor.
I still haven't tried how it would behave if I switch the monitor to a standard sRGB.
- I haven't found any feature similar to cataloging the images. I have 80K images downloaded in windows folders, one folder per date of creation. I have organized my photos relying on catalogs, albums, tagging, version sets, etc. I don't think that Irfanview can support all of this. IMO, these are the most important features of DAM's. 

I am also checking Adobe Bridge. So far I have succeeded to browse all my photos in a single window, independently of the folders, which proves that Bridge uses a kind of indexing table for handling the images. It looks promising for now and I am continuing to investigate. I hope that there is a way to migrate from Organizer's structure to Bridge without too much pain.


 

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2 minutes ago, Miljac said:

Irfanview does not support neither NEF nor NRW files (Nikon's RAW), at least not without plugins. I don't know if there are any suitable plugins to correct this.

Download the Nikon NEF codec and NRW codec for Windows from the Nikon software download website, install those and afterwards IrfanView is still a fast responder for those RAW formats. - Beside that there are a bunch of photo managers etc. just a short list of some common is shown for example here. However the Net is full of those.


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