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[Poll] Do you need a DAM? And what should it be like?

Do you need a DAM-program by Serif? And what should it be like?  

174 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you need a DAM?

    • No thanks. I'm just fine with the OS native File Browser / I happily use a 3rd party program for browsing my assets and RAW editing.
      34
    • Yes. I would like to have an Asset Browser. It should provide reliable Preview of all Affinity filetypes and of other popular file types. I do not work with RAW files / the current RAW editing implementation works well for my needs.
      24
    • Yes. I would like to have an Asset Browser, but it needs to have a powerful RAW processor built in. I often work with numerous files which need common base-corrections as well as individual tweaking – therefore the Develop Persona and working on single files one at a time doesn't cut it for me. I would appreciate better interchange with 3rd party RAW editors, hence sidecar files were very helpful. Affinity still could embed the RAW file along with its settings for compositing with other artwork – but in a way that one can return to the DAM for further tweaking of the input RAW file. Note: This implementation should work equally well for those who voted for 2).
      116


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There's countless threads in this forum where people ask for a DAM. Serif confirms that there's some plans, but so far they didn't reveal what they are working on. Reading the requests brought up by users I see that they ask for very different things: Some want a straightforward viewer app, others even request complex database driven software with nifty filtering options to handle huge asset collections. The term DAM unfortunately isn't very clearly defined. Hence my question:

 Do you need a DAM-program by Serif? And what should it be like?

[Edit: Unfortunately I can not do anything about the terrible Poll formatting. Maybe staff can add an empty line between the questions?]

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For me a Media-Persona just for show and organize all relevant files would be enough. Like Bridge vs LR.

LR should be a separate App, the Media-Persona belongs to AP. For me Serif could improve the price moderat. Or we can buy "personas" which are not included in the standard apps. Eg i would extra buy a designer-persona with vector-brushes and so on. 

However as long as the DAM is not ready, i would like to have an Interim-Media-Solution like describes here 

 


OSX 10.13.5  / iMac Retina 27" / AMD Radeon R9 M380 / Metall: on!

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Thanks for your vote and opinion @Polygonius
Your comparison with Lighroom as a catalog based program where you first have to import your files into a database is maybe not ideal: That importing process may get perceived as a needless complication indeed.

There's other DAM however, which work pretty much like Bridge or XNView and let you quickly browse whatever files you have on disk. From here you could send the file directly to Affinity Photo / Designer / Publisher. But those who need RAW files could use that same tool also for editing large amounts of RAWs in ways which are utterly impossible with Affinity Photo, due to its software architecture.

Having a browsing Persona inside Photo/Designer/Publisher as suggested here is frankly what I considered a very poor solution. It meant having to have the respective editing app open to browse suitable assets! Even having clones of that browsing module sitting in all three Affintity apps would be very unelegant, programmatically.

_________________________________________________

Thanks to all who already voted! It was great if all the  +140 other people who already watched that Poll cast their vote as well. 
You all have an opinion on this, right? :o)

 

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Wow the third answer fits my opinion perfectly! 

@hifred The database/catalog feature fortunately is not the only solution. I really like Capture One's approach with using 'sessions'. 

I'm curious why the sofware architecture prohibits edditing large amounts of RAW files.  Could you please elaborate on that?

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2 hours ago, InnerPeace said:

@hifred The database/catalog feature fortunately is not the only solution. I really like Capture One's approach with using 'sessions'. 

Also editing RAWs with Photoshop / ACR in conjunction with Bridge is actually very elegant and slim...

2 hours ago, InnerPeace said:

I'm curious why the sofware architecture prohibits edditing large amounts of RAW files.  Could you please elaborate on that?

The whole prodedure of editing RAW inside Affinity Photo is totally geared towards editing one file at a time. All operations are performed on an embedded file, which as soon as you press the "Develop" button loses its RAW characteristics. There no way to sync editing operations on  20 or 30 RAW files at once with Affinity Photo – a daily demand for many photographers. What works instantly elsewhere would take forever and very likely make your system unresponsive. Even if your machine could handle this load –  as there's no sidecars and no database there no way to transfer settings from one image to the next. 

So what could Serif do within the current system?
They could make the RAW workspace non-destructive. As the RAW gets embedded inside the .afphoto one still couldn't exchange RAW file with settings with anyone else.
They could give us batch processing inside the Develop workspace. That still would be prohibitively slow in comparison to programs which write settings into sidecar or database. Affinity first has to open up the RAW and turn it into a.afphoto, a process which even in 1.7 takes many seconds for just a single image. Synchronizing basic corrections therefore would take minutes of batch processing, while one may update common settings for whole folder of RAWs updates within a second elsewhere.

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20 hours ago, hifred said:

There's other DAM however, which work pretty much like Bridge or XNView and let you quickly browse whatever files you have on disk. From here you could send the file directly to Affinity Photo / Designer / Publisher.

 

But exact this is the suboptimal behavior: I have to use a second app and switch always from AP to this app and back. An INTEGRATED Persona or whatever, maybe ASSET-System... would be much more faster and more directly. 

As said i would say the whole question could need 2 "solutions". One solution for just search, organzise, fast access...as direct as possible from inside AP... and a bigger separate app, for eg. LR-like functionality.

What it does not should do: Using ONLY its own library like apple-photo or pixave... and not the general file-structure without need of lot GBs of thousends and thousends of redundant, duplicated files and  images... 


OSX 10.13.5  / iMac Retina 27" / AMD Radeon R9 M380 / Metall: on!

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28 minutes ago, Polygonius said:

But exact this is the suboptimal behavior: I have to use a second app and switch always from AP to this app and back. An INTEGRATED Persona or whatever, maybe ASSET-System... would be much more faster and more directly.  

I see your point more clearly now, thank you. Personally I would not want this at all. I use several graphics programs (not all by Serif) and want a common Browser, which works without having a Photo, Vector or DTP program open. Changing between apps with Alt+Tab is what I likely do a few hundred times daily anway - I don't see a comfort issue here + the image browser is likely up on one of my other monitors anyway :o)

I would not mind having a Persona as you suggest (if one could turn it off), but it's probably difficult to convince the programmers to even provide several browsing utilities.

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OPTION #3

Affinity team, I would recommend taking the best of these 2 DAM softwares and produce an all-in-one DAM + RAW converter (integrated with Affinity Photo):

ACDSee Ultimate for its All-In-One aspect and managing images without importing them

Adobe Lightroom as a standard in the market

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A good DAM would finally let me see/preview any of my files on as many devices as possible. That includes not only 2D image files but also pre-rendered or realtime rendered 3D assests. And ideally not stop there but also support (via plugins) office documents, HTML files, of course PDFs and all text based files. Digital content creation is more than 2D image files, even if they make out a big part :)

The DAM should play nice with cloud storage providers, work on at least Win, Mac, Android and iOS, and be nothing less than a better, visual file explorer for each OS. It should support plugins which can take care of rendering previews for more exotic files. It should have a nice and fast cache (independently synced catalog?) for thumbs and previews and play nice with any apps needed for actually editing the assets. I wouldn't mind if it had it's own set of basic (RAW) editing tools for images. It must let me see the original folder structure, but also support tags and standard metadata and let me build smart folders (based on tags or other properties). It needs a lightning fast search.

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Personally, I’m just went back to using Aperture, because I love it’s features and I was very dissatisfied with Lightroom. Of course, it’s a dead product. But I’d love to see Affinity tackle this, because I’ve been very impressed with Affinity Designer so far. 

The things I love from Aperture are the ability to select multiple images and easily compare them quickly to sort through multiple shots. Also, the loop tool is great for inspecting photos for detail. 

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On 12/1/2018 at 2:23 AM, Rocketdrive said:

A good DAM would finally let me see/preview any of my files on as many devices as possible. That includes not only 2D image files but also pre-rendered or realtime rendered 3D assests. And ideally not stop there but also support (via plugins) office documents, HTML files, of course PDFs and all text based files. Digital content creation is more than 2D image files, even if they make out a big part :)

The DAM should play nice with cloud storage providers, work on at least Win, Mac, Android and iOS, and be nothing less than a better, visual file explorer for each OS. It should support plugins which can take care of rendering previews for more exotic files. It should have a nice and fast cache (independently synced catalog?) for thumbs and previews and play nice with any apps needed for actually editing the assets. I wouldn't mind if it had it's own set of basic (RAW) editing tools for images. It must let me see the original folder structure, but also support tags and standard metadata and let me build smart folders (based on tags or other properties). It needs a lightning fast search.

Geez, I was about to post, but I think you hit a lot of the things I'd want.  

I'll just say I voted for option 3, and after recently buying Affinity Photo and loving it, this item of having an integrated DAM is high on my list of missing features.  Other moderately priced competitors such as Paintshop Pro 2019 have some form of this functionality, so it's a compete issue as well.   

What I've tried are 3rd party file managers that have a lot of built in scripting and file management capability along wiht some photo management features (Multi-Commander being one of the best I tried), Xnview and a few other photo organizers (Xnview was the best freeware I found), and for adding non-destructive RAW capabilities, I tried both DarkTable and RawTherapee.  Of the two, RawTherapee came closest to having everything I wanted.  It has non-destructive, very extensive editing of RAW files, plus batch processing, plus ratings, EXIF/IPTC metadata, all that.  The integration with Affinity is limited though (you can set Affinity as your external editor).  And in large folders containing many photos, performance is slow because it does not create a DB, it works directly with the file system.

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I thhink a RAW developer would need a lot of work to reach the level of Capture One with processing. For instance the way the two contrast works is very different. I find C1 to have the nicer control rather than the literal contrast of Affinity RAW developer

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I’m somewhere between #2 and #3. I voted for #3 because it overall comes closer to what I want. Sort of. However, it’s probably overkill and perhaps not realistic to expect Serif to go in this direction for their own DAM. A DAM that tries to be all things is simply asking for a lot of trouble and a long wait while bugs are gradually ironed out. Instead, if Serif focuses on some core DAM features, I think a greater number of us would be happy. 

 

For batch RAW development and conversion, I already use one of the best around — Capture One Pro —  a great complement for Affinity Photo which cares for any retouching and pixel-level processing. So I’m very happy on that count and don’t necessarily need the Serif DAM to move in that direction. It’s probably with good reason it’s taken Adobe so long to get Bridge to the point that it is now. It’s a mighty big ask to expect Serif to simply duplicate Bridge; however, perhaps there’s a way to provide tools and services we aren’t even aware we might need in a Serif DAM.

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I agree that creating a DAM with advanced RAW editing capabilities is likely a lot of work – but I personally consider such at least as vital in a 2D graphics suite of programs as a Page Layout app. Nobody questions the necessity of Publisher though.

RAW shooting has long become the standard  camera output, even in amateur photography (heck, even my Phone shoots RAW) and it has become very common to work on large amounts of images at a time. Further people have gotten used to multi-tool eding (raise black point, sharpen and remove colour cast in one brush stroke). A classic photoshopesque workspace has no suitable answer to any of these demands, but it's great for post-processing: For combining various shots, for special effects, for adding text etc. A lot of us need both – that's why one needs an integrated solution.

9 hours ago, Ulysses said:

It’s a mighty big ask to expect Serif to simply duplicate Bridge

You mean Lightroom, right? Bridge is Adobe's Image Browser, without RAW editing capabilties.

I personally would consider Affinity for daily editing if the already existing Develop persona was moved over to a relatively simple browsing application, if one would write settings to sidecars and could open the file with its settings in Affinity Photo (as an encapsulated file – image layer which one could send back over to the DAM for further tweaking).

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44 minutes ago, hifred said:

I agree that creating a DAM with advanced RAW editing capabilities is likely a lot of work – but I personally consider such at least as vital in a 2D graphics suite of programs as a Page Layout app. Nobody questions the necessity of Publisher though.

RAW shooting has long become the standard  camera output, even in amateur photography (heck, even my Phone shoots RAW) and it has become very common to work on large amounts of images at a time. Further people have gotten used to multi-tool eding (raise black point, sharpen and remove colour cast in one brush stroke). A classic photoshopesque workspace has no suitable answer to any of these demands, but it's great for post-processing: For combining various shots, for special effects, for adding text etc. A lot of us need both – that's why one needs an integrated solution.

You mean Lightroom, right? Bridge is Adobe's Image Browser, without RAW editing capabilties.

I personally would consider Affinity for daily editing if the already existing Develop persona was moved over to a relatively simple browsing application, if one would write settings to sidecars and could open the file with its settings in Affinity Photo (as an encapsulated file – image layer which one could send back over to the DAM for further tweaking).

You're right... when I originally said "It's a might big ask to expect Serif to simply duplicate Bridge", what I actually meant was Lightroom. What I would actually prefer is a more Bridge-like sort of DAM rather than Lightroom. Or something with more of the more advanced tasks of Photo Mechanic, which has no true competition in its space.

As a pro photographer, I work with a lot of RAW images on a daily basis and definitely have need for a way to go through batches of images — batches of images adjustments, batches of keywording tasks, batches of labeling and tagging, batch output, etc. But as I mentioned earlier, I already have Capture One Pro to care for a lot of the heavy lifting in those areas. And it already integrates very well with what I need to do via Affinity Photo on the photo processing side of things. If Serif can find a way to add value and unique features that existing tools such as Capture One Pro and Lightroom don't already offer, I'm sure it will be truly appealing to those of us already taking advantage of their ecosystem. But they'll need to offer more simply a lower price.

I'm in definite agreement with the desire for having sidecar files so I can maintain any adjustments or other metadata changes. 

 

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1 hour ago, Ulysses said:

As a pro photographer, I work with a lot of RAW images on a daily basis and definitely have need for a way to go through batches of images — batches of images adjustments, batches of keywording tasks, batches of labeling and tagging, batch output, etc. But as I mentioned earlier, I already have Capture One Pro to care for a lot of the heavy lifting in those areas.

Thanks for your input! Of your processed RAW files – how many of them do you usually bring to Affinity Photo?

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52 minutes ago, hifred said:

Thanks for your input! Of your processed RAW files – how many of them do you bring to Affinity?

Every single file selected by our clients goes through Affinity Photo for some level of retouching — some heavier and some much much lighter. 

I was recently talking with a friend who is a much heavier DAM user than I am. He shoots large batches of architectural and stock photos, so he needs a way to manage keywords, tags, labels, etc. He's currently embedded in the Adobe system largely because of his dependence upon Lightroom for these tasks. But he would like to simplify things and would more seriously consider Serif if there was a decent DAM. Affinity Photo alone was enough for me to run from Adobe, but not for him.

I still use Bridge CC 2019 because it's FREE. Sadly (very very sadly), it still won't allow me to browse and see thumbnail previews of my AFPHOTO files. :(

Since I've largely switched from Photoshop and the PSD format, I'm usually much more likely to save works in progress or work that I need to return to in the AFPHOTO format. While they're at it, I hope they can remove some of the file bloat from that format. It would be helpful if it was "tighter" than the typical PSD.

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A year or two ago I would have voted yes but I've just gone for no. Leave Affinity to do what it does best, compete against Photoshop. Trying to use a screwdriver as a hammer isn't a good idea and if you set off down the DAM path you're up against Lightroom/On1 PhotoRAW/Capture One and a few others and they are different beasts altogether, though it is surprising how many people cannot see the differences. 

Of course if Serif decided to build a separate product to go up against LR, one where you could make a "round trip" to Affinity when / if required, one that includes a DAM, import facilities (e.g. file renaming), metadata handling, searching, slideshow, geotagging and all that, then count me in. But that's a different product altogether. It would need a better RAW engine too. My efforts editing Nikon RAW from scratch with Affinity never look as good as the same photo edited in LR. Before anyone screams, that may have something to do with my skill, or lack thereof. 

The current "round trip" experience would be a lot better, whatever RAW editor you use, if they used Save/Save As in the same way as 99% of other Windows programs and ditched Export.

JH

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1 hour ago, Ulysses said:

Every single file selected by our clients goes through Affinity Photo for some level of retouching — some heavier and some much much lighter. 

Interesting. I personally very much like that one can embed edited RAWs in Photoshop files. That way you can always return to the RAW workspace to fix stuff with a couple of strokes which in a layer based app would take a stack of several layers. You do that on the downmost file – anything you did on the file with layers accomodates the new development status. How do you with Capture One and Affinity Photo deal with this topic? Have you created a template with your Raw size and place a tif? How do you then update the externally referenced file – or do you simply live with the status you picked up with Affinity Photo?

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I voted "no" as I currently use XnView MP to view and organise my files. It has built in support / thumbnail support for almost any file you can think of (including Affinity files) and I have been using it for years. ALSO, it's FREE and OPEN SOURCE. The only way I'd use another tool / DAM / Asset Manager / Media Organiser is if it's, at the veryleast, free. I would not pay an extra $1 for something that I already have.

Yes, there may be ways of integrating such an app into an Affiniy main application but XnView works just fine for me.

If you've never heard of XnView MP, you can find it here: https://www.xnview.com/

PS: IMHO

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5 hours ago, hifred said:

Interesting. I personally very much like that one can embed edited RAWs in Photoshop files. That way you can always return to the RAW workspace to fix stuff with a couple of strokes which in a layer based app would take a stack of several layers. You do that on the downmost file – anything you did on the file with layers accomodates the new development status. How do you with Capture One and Affinity Photo deal with this topic? Have you created a template with your Raw size and place a tif? How do you then update the externally referenced file – or do you simply live with the status you picked up with Affinity Photo?

I want to keep things SUPER simple, and I also want to avoid bloated files where possible. Once I've adjusted the RAW file to the point that I want it, I leave it there and usually don't need to tweek it again. This TIFF exports from Capture One Pro and is picked up by Affinity Photo looking exactly as I wanted it to look as a starting point for further post-processing. Once I'm done with the TIFF, and having then saved the post-processed JPEG, I'm done with the TIFF file and am free to delete it. :) 

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3 hours ago, CreativApartheid said:

I currently use XnView MP to view and organise my files. It has built in support / thumbnail support for almost any file you can think of (including Affinity files)

+1

Not .afpub as yet though ...


https://www.peterdinnan.com/     photography with strong elements of mood, abstraction, pareidolia, gestalt and the morphics

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The DAM I need should look like LightRoom.
The ranking of RAW files must be at the same level as the proprietary files. the DAM must be able to handle RAW and Affinity files the same way.
The files must be able to be sorted quickly (stars or colors), to be classified in physical folders whose tree meets a set of criteria.
Virtual classifications must also be possible (LR dynamic collections) by keywords, dates, badges ...
I imagine this tool as a new persona able to manage the import of RAW files automatically in libraries (for example when inserting an SD card, like LightRoom).
We must be able to simply move photos without breaking their referencing / ranking in libraries.
In short, LightRoom is a reference in the field, if first version takes the big ideas of the DAM LightRoom, it would be great!

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