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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?  

331 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.
      52
    • 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.
      56
    • 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).
      223


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Sidecar files can simplify the process of transferring the images between systems if you use the same software and edit in multiple places (ex. desktop and laptop).  They are optional in C1 and in DxO PhotoLab.

Depending on the nature of how the photos are being used, the sessions feature of C1 is another possibility, but it is a different workflow than using catalogs, though there is no reason that some projects couldn't be done in one and some in the other.  Nice to have options...

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I have nothing to gain from saying this as I don't use ON1 anyway--but having just recently tried it, it's QUITE similar to lightroom in how it handles the metadata for edited raw and image files.  You can optionally enable sidecars, OR (like lightroom) there's a setting that I just went and confirmed, you can turn that off and ON1 will simply store all the settings in its own database.  Obviously the advantage there is speed (less files to manage, less reads and writes to disk, and so on) and performance, and a cleaner file system with the appearance of less clutter since all the *.on1 sidecar files are not created.  The disadvantage is if you don't create sidecars, as fde101 says, the whole database containing your edits is less portable and harder to move between systems.  Interestingly, On1 is now claiming to address that issue as well.  They have a new feature they call "On1 sync" that they say is coming first half of 2020, that will address the need to easily share your database among multiple different computers and even mobile devices.  They are ambitious for sure, they are adding features to compete head-to-head against Adobe and it's interesting to see.

All that said, for a DAM, I still think Lightroom is the one to beat.  Ultimately ON1's handling of RAW files was notably inferior to Adobe's, I literally could not get the same results in terms of image quality.  You can use Lightroom with Affinity Photo quite easily, so it's a great solution there as we can all use our favorite photo editor.  I said it earlier, but if I were a pro photographer, unless just totally on a limited budget, there's no way I'd use any DAM other than Lightroom Classic.  I'd suck it up and pay the $10/month, and heck, I'm doing that now even as a rank amateur.  

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Thanks to everyone for their comments and suggestions but from all the posts I've read everyone is approaching this from a photographer's perspective.

I am not a photographer though, I am a graphic designer. Whilst some of the digital assets I am managing are image files - RAW, JPEG, Photoshop and the like - these are not the only files that qualify as digital assets.

I currently use Bridge to view these files plus InDesign, Illustrator and PDF documents, which is does quite well showing document previews for quick and easy visual identification of each file.

Unfortunately Bridge only shows generic icons for Affinity Designer and Publisher files which makes it useless for my purposes. Even the Mac Finder does a better job, in that it is able to show previews of Designer and Publisher files, but the Finder has very few of the cataloging tools that a program like Bridge offers.

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That is a totally valid point--I'm not a photographer OR a designer.  But it's a fair point that Lightroom is 100% about photography.  Bridge is a great app though and I do use that for browsing all the digital assets I have including PDFs, and tagging with metadata.  Also use it to pull incoming images from my camera, cull those, and convert to DNG using the Adobe DNG converter under the hood.  And sometimes if just doing a quick edit, I actually launch the ACR raw editor on a file from there, if that file is not yet in Lightroom for some reason.

Bridge is a great app and I read some complaints a few years back they were letting it die.  I don't believe that's the case now, if it ever was.  They have recently made some updates to it  and it runs very smoothly and has a great feature set.  I use it almost daily even as a non-graphics-pro user of any type.  Considering it's free, even for non-Adobe subscribers, it's worth considering to use as your DAM with Affinity.  Although without an Adobe photography plan subscription it won't give you a couple things that I need, and that many would probably want.  The main one for me is that is doesn't give you the rich raw editing capabilities of Adobe Camera RAW.  But if Affinity handles your cameras RAW files types and you are ok working with their RAW editor, obviously it's not a problem. 

Honestly, if Affinity gets support added for CR3 + my specific camera and lens, I'm there.  I'll be running Affinity, editing CR3's in Affinity, and using Bridge as my DAM.  And will probably drop the Adobe subscription and Lightroom.  

 

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13 minutes ago, timlt said:

That is a totally valid point--I'm not a photographer OR a designer.  But it's a fair point that Lightroom is 100% about photography.  Bridge is a great app though and I do use that for browsing all the digital assets I have including PDFs, and tagging with metadata.  Also use it to pull incoming images from my camera, cull those, and convert to DNG using the Adobe DNG converter under the hood.  And sometimes if just doing a quick edit, I actually launch the ACR raw editor on a file from there, if that file is not yet in Lightroom for some reason.

Bridge is a great app and I read some complaints a few years back they were letting it die.  I don't believe that's the case now, if it ever was.  They have recently made some updates to it  and it runs very smoothly and has a great feature set.  I use it almost daily even as a non-graphics-pro user of any type.  Considering it's free, even for non-Adobe subscribers, it's worth considering to use as your DAM with Affinity.  Although without an Adobe photography plan subscription it won't give you a couple things that I need, and that many would probably want.  The main one for me is that is doesn't give you the rich raw editing capabilities of Adobe Camera RAW.  But if Affinity handles your cameras RAW files types and you are ok working with their RAW editor, obviously it's not a problem. 

Honestly, if Affinity gets support added for CR3 + my specific camera and lens, I'm there.  I'll be running Affinity, editing CR3's in Affinity, and using Bridge as my DAM.  And will probably drop the Adobe subscription and Lightroom.  

 

Unfortunately it is Adobe Bridge, out of all the Creative Cloud apps, that gives me the most grief. It regularly crashes and has this unusual quirk that, when you click on a part of the Bridge window that is visible while you're in another app (my usual method for switching apps) it will bring Bridge to the foreground (i.e. make it the active app) but it won't respond to any mouse clicks.

You then have to make any other app active, then go back to Bridge before it will respond. After many hours on the phone with Adobe tech support (who were probably thinking I was a nutter) we finally narrowed it down to one particular scenario... it occurred when you saved an Illustrator document, closed that document and went to Bridge. If you saved the document but left it open, the problem did not occur. Go figure!

Anyway, you make a valid point that Bridge is free to use even if you don't have an active CC subscription (at least I hope you're right in this... I've always had a subscription). At least if I'm not paying for it the issue is more tolerable.

I did purchase ACDSee Photo Editor but it turns out that doesn't support CR3. )-: ...and it's a photo editor, not a DAM.

I wouldn't be so certain about them discontinuing it... I, like many thousands of others, invested a lot of time and effort learning and constructing websites in Muse, then Adobe decided they were going to ditch the app, leaving us all in the lurch.

I'm not saying they ARE going to ditch Bridge... just that they have done this sort of thing in the past.

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Interesting--sorry to hear about your woes.  Just to confirm:  are you using this in Mac or Windows?  Not sure that matters, but I use Windows and haven't experienced the behavior you describe up to this point.  But you are probably a more heavy duty user of it than I am, so maybe I'm not pushing the app up to its capacity and beyond.  

I'm definitely certain that you can use Bridge for free without an Adobe subscription--I was using it long before I recently got the subscription.  It just drops the ACR support.  But if one is content to use the Affinity RAW editor, and if you configure Affinity on your system to be the default editor for the jpg/png/tiff/psd other file types, then using it with Bridge works fine.  

You could be right about them dropping stuff--they've abruptly changed directions before.  Not quite as bad as Google about pulling the rug out from under people, but they do it at times.  It's hard to know what they'll do next.  For example, their public story is they'll continue supporting Lightroom Classic alongside the new lightweight cloud-only version that most don't like too much.  But they are pushing the cloud version REALLY hard, and everybody seems to think they will eventually can the classic version. 

I've been in a research mode lately to find something that would give full CR3 support and my specific camera, since Affinity doesn't.  Here's the short list:

* Adobe
* DXO
* Capture One
* On1 2020
* Skylum Luminar 4
* Free open source app:  Digikam 7.0 beta (uses open source libraw library, just recently added support for CR3, unfortunately the rendering in the software is awful)

Of these, I tried all, extensively, except for Capture 1 which I didn't try because I don't want to spend that much.  I get the best, most consistent results with CR3 by far with the Adobe apps, either ACR + PS, or just in Lightroom.  DXO was a close second, but their DAM functioanlity IMHO is weak and not-yet developed, they are not responsive on support requests, they are quite pricey for what you get, and they also didn't provide RAW support for the DNG's that come from my Samsung Galaxy phone, which is a pretty common phone.  If DXO would up their game a little bit, they'd be a serious competitor in my mind.  I like the DAM functionality in On1, a lot, they are the closest compettitor to Lightroom IMHO.  Unfortunately their RAW rendering is really really subpar.  

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7 minutes ago, timlt said:

Interesting--sorry to hear about your woes.  Just to confirm:  are you using this in Mac or Windows?  Not sure that matters, but I use Windows and haven't experienced the behavior you describe up to this point.  But you are probably a more heavy duty user of it than I am, so maybe I'm not pushing the app up to its capacity and beyond.  

 

I'm using a Mac but I also have a HP Spectre360 which - ironically - outperforms my MacBook Pro. I'm just "at home" in the Mac environment so I tend to stay there. I am trying to make a conscious effort to use the HP more often but old habits die hard. )-:

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That HP is a fantastic laptop--I had a 2017 one which is now with my daughter, both loved it.  Even has a Thunderbolt port so will work with some very hi-speed storage peripherals that will be compatible with your Macbook.  I bet you will you will like that.  My eldest daughter just got the new 2020 model, and it actually ups the ante over the earlier ones.  They are on a roll with that series.  

Honestly don't know if there's some specific issue with the Mac version Bridge.  Probably I'd ping the adobe forums if you haven't already, sorry I can't help much.  

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16 hours ago, davidg2020 said:

Whilst some of the digital assets I am managing are image files - RAW, JPEG, Photoshop and the like - these are not the only files that qualify as digital assets.

I currently use Bridge to view these files plus InDesign, Illustrator and PDF documents, which is does quite well showing document previews for quick and easy visual identification of each file.

 

You might want to dig deeper into the Finder.  It is a very powerful database and gives you most of the tools that you are after. 

For file management organisation: I barely use Folders, because they are totally opposite to what computers do so well.  I use Smart Folders (searches), Tags and Comments (keywords).  With these three things you have an extremely powerful organisational/management tool. For example ... all of my RAW files just get dumped into Root folders.  No traditional Folder organisation whatsoever.  Of course, I never ever look at the files this way, because in practical terms,  although my files are in a single place, they are equally in multiple places simultaneously... as many as I want in fact, thanks to Smart Folders.

Tags:  You can make as many Tags as you want and you can give the standard ones keystrokes too so these can be used for rapid rating etc. (You can also rename them). They're also available in all standard Mac dialogs (Serif... who knows why... don't use standard Mac windows, so you can't add Tags via the filename in any Affinity window).

Comments:  You can batch manage Comments, which perform in exactly the same way as keywords in photo apps, except with the advantage that they do it throughout the entire system instead of just your app.

Smart Folders:  These are REALLY powerful.  They have built-in boolean functions (and/or) and can be used to dig down into some incredibly detailed criteria.  They can be visible in every Finder window, or you can put them where you want anywhere on your system.

If you combine these 3 things with:

Gallery view: which gives you thumbnail/large view and essential EXIF, Rotate and Markup etc.  You can zoom into any image preview, even beyond 100%, with 2-finger spread.

QuickLook: (Spacebar) which can zoom in and out of images with + - keys.   Will scroll PDFs as a single page... just like a webpage and which gives you direct access to Markup, Rotate and video Trim etc.  will play and Trim video files, without having to open any app.

SlideShow: Access via QuickLook or Contextual Menu (using Option-Key).  Full-screen images on dark background... single and multiple.  Navigate via keys.  Ideal for quick presentations.

(QuickLook/SlideShow.. cannot Tag/Comment individually via keyboard... it's applied to all because they are all 'selected')

Automator: which is the 'glue' for rapid automation, e.g. batch keywording via Comments, keyboard-command Tagging, Image conversion, Colour-space conversion, Resizing, Sharing, uploading etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.  You can add all off these things to the Services menu (2-finger-tap on file/folder/anything) and even give them their own keyboard commands.  What you can do with Automator is pretty much limitless, as it can include AppleScript, Terminal commands and SQL, but there is quite a learning curve when you go beyond the basics, although there is a very active online community too. As an example, I have an Automator Service, which will take a folder of images, resize them, convert to sRGB, remove accented characters from their names (I'm in France) and zip them *as individual files* which I can then upload to my ftp server.

You can of course, do all of the above in full-screen ... even Dark Mode now, which is better for images and the Finder gives you a wide range of Sort options + the Arrange menu.

I've really only touched on the aspects that the majority of users are probably not very familiar with, but there is obviously a lot more to commend this approach, not least the fact that if you are in the Mac environment, then ALL of this stuff is retained across Macs and via iCloud too.  It would require a changed mindset for most users, but in my experience, it takes about a month, maybe two, to get used to new ways of working, e.g. using certain Trackpad gestures instead of old habits, or ... I'm currently having another go at Spaces in Catalina, which I haven't tried for a long time ... and I have to say... they're not too bad.  (FWIW... I use all the gestures! :12_slight_smile::13_upside_down:).  A dedicated DAM like Aperture, will obviously be slicker, but conversely cannot handle any and every file type.

I should add that if you move files onto Windows disks, they will loose their Comments (keywords) as the Windows file format doesn't support them.


Grumpy, but faithful (watch out all you cats)

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I’ve given this subject some thought, and I’m in the DAM-only (option 2) camp.  These are my basic requirements for a DAM:

It should support hierarchical user-defined keyword tags.

I do NOT require that the software automatically recognizes people. I would rather define my own people tags In my own hierarchy - it can be family based or place/experience based (I.e. “friends from college”, etc.)  I find it easier to just define my own people tags and tag people myself, instead of filling in just the ones that the program doesn’t recognize or gets wrong.  It would be cool if a person could be a member of multiple groups, but that’s not a deal breaker.

I also do NOT require that location tags be tied to a map.  Right now I am using Adobe’s Photoshop Elements Organizer that comes with Photoshop Elements.  Right now I am using Adobe’s Photoshop Elements Organizer that comes with Photoshop Elements. At one point, Adobe switched from Google maps that created a Country/state/town/location tag system to a different mapping system. The new system started over and created its own Country/state/town/location tag system.  Thereafter, there were two separate tags for locations such as USA/New York/New York/Madison Square Garden.  I would just as soon create my own Country/state/town/location tag hierarchy. 

Keyword tags should be stored with the photo in EXIF data.

The use of a database should not be required. However, if there’s just no getting around it for whatever reason (speed of searches, etc.), then perhaps the DAM could recreate it knowing only the root directory where all photos are stored.  Of course, this might take awhile.

The user should be able to define his own file structure independent of the tag hierarchy .  That file structure should be visible to Windows Explorer or the MacOS file viewer.  One should be able to move files from within the DAM, and should be able to create, rename, and delete folders. 

Complex search functions using tags, dates, and other EXIF data should be supported.  One should be able to save complex searches.

The ability to identify byte for byte identical photos would be nice.

It should be fast to display thumbnails arranged by date, file hierarchy, or tag hierarchy, and one should be able to open Affinity or other image editing programs directly from the DAM.

I’ve read through all 8 pages of comments on this topic, and one thing I haven’t seen addressed much is the question of what you would be willing to pay for your preferred alternative.  It certainly could be that Adobe was forced to go to the subscription model because it just couldn’t charge enough for perpetual licenses to cover the cost of ongoing development and support. So if you want Affinity to make a Lightroom clone, are you willing to pay what it would cost? Plus, many of the other products mentioned here are free. They’re developed by a core team of highly talented highly motivated and highly committed people - but at some point, it seems to me that everybody has to make money somehow.  In any event, if one of the free products meets your needs, how much are you willing to pay Affinity to provide the same product?

As for myself, I already feel for the difficult situation Affinity is already in, trying to maintain and develop three major software platforms on three ever-changing operation systems (iOS, MacOS, and Windows) to support ever-changing raw formats on who knows how many cameras. I can’t imagine they’re going to add a fourth product on the spur of the moment, especially if the market leader is subscription based for $$$, and if it has competitors that offer similar functionality for $0. The second option seems like the only practical possibility in the near them - that is, the next couple of years.

Allow me one other observation. There are some on these forums who seem upset that Affinity is not yet developed to the point that you feel you can ditch your CC subscription.  You’re talking about a piece of software with a one time price of $50, vs hundreds of dollars a year. I think the fact that you’re upset at Serif is absurd.

Thanks for the opportunity to consider this... 

Edited by SteveB523
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I don't think I voted, mainly because I am about half way between options 2 and 3.

For my purposes there would be little sense in a DAM application that didn't have a built-in RAW processor, but the notion of using sidecar files to interchange data between RAW processors doesn't strike me as particularly useful.  I already use different RAW processors for different images/projects and they are mutually incompatible with each other.  Even if they could read the same sidecar files, the only thing that might be meaningful to exchange between them would be ratings and keywords, and I don't really use keywords much.  Once I start a project in one of the RAW processors to assign ratings to images, I generally keep that project in that RAW processor, so while exchanging the ratings would be a minor plus...  only a minor one.

I would be more interested in sidecar files for the purpose of being able to transfer images among multiple computers running the same software and keep any ratings and actual adjustments intact.  Being able to support tethered shooting in some form would be a nice plus if possible; while I don't do that often, it does come up once in a blue moon and I'd like to be ready for it when it is called for.  Given that support for the cameras I use is somewhat missing in many of the applications I am using but is supported by the manufacturer's software, the ability to monitor a folder for incoming images (and for example work directly out of that folder rather than requiring the extra step of cataloging) would be particularly optimal for this, as I could then have the camera software put the images in that directory and the DAM software pick them up from there.  By sharing the directory across the network a second person running the DAM software on a separate computer could then review the images with whoever I am taking pictures of and add ratings to indicate which one(s) they are interested in.

The other major feature I would want and which seems to be lacking in most current photo-related software is the ability to browse video files that are stored with the images, particularly those coming off the same camera - I'm not expecting the software to let me edit those files, I mostly want them to show up when I am browsing the camera media so I can copy them off the memory card and get everything to the computer in one place rather than needing to go back separately to dig the videos out if they were captured along with the stills.

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I agree with the previous, esp the bit about sidecar files not being truly compatible across applications.  If you create sidecar files in any app other than Adobe, quick, can you name one other app that can read your app's proprietary sidecar files?  

The only reasons I can see to create sidecar files are (1) To have a portable backup system to the edits/metadata in your app's database, and (2) Makes it easier to have your RAW edits be accessible on different computer systems.  As long as you're able to backup your app's DB somehow, and if you have a way to use it across systems without sidecars, than there's no need to use sidecars.  I in fact stopped using them with Adobe apps because (1) I can backup the catalog, and (2) I can use it across systems by keeping the catalog and preview files on a flashdrive that I simply move to another computer.  Hence, no need for sidecars at all.  

On your last para:  Adobe Bridge does that right?  

 

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16 hours ago, timlt said:

Adobe Bridge does that right?  

It might, I never really used Bridge enough to have tried it with that.  DxO PhotoLab does not, and Capture One does not.  On1 Photo RAW did not until the most recent 2020 version, which added this, possibly because of the fact that they are preparing to introduce a separate video editor also, evidently sometime this year.  Double-clicking a video in Photo RAW opens it in QuickTime Player (or presumably some other similar program if on a non-Mac system) rather than trying to open it internally as with a photo, but for my purposes that is perfectly fine.

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The problem I see in most of these posts is the requests are for another limited photo manager/processor a PAM or PAMP. Lightroom is far from the bar a real DAM solution should reach for. A full featured DAM does not hinder its use for photos only. I agree LR is probably the standard for photo manager/raw processors, but it too falls short even in that limited scope. LR does HDR but saves as a DNG, another attempt to lock you in. The standard is openEXR or older and more limited .HDR, some of us care more about that "super raw" than the tone mapped/fused byproduct (which by the way is no longer HDR). A real DAM needs to follow standards, the metadata needs to be written to the correct sections of XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform), yes that means sidecars for files that don't allow embedding the data, like raw files. When standards are followed, any other program that also follows standards can read it and use its functions to sort and search on it. All proprietary metadata should be easily extracted for remapping to the next DAM. Nothing should be locked into that particular DAM. At the very least it should handle graphics files, but that's just a GAM :) 

Steve said: The use of a database should not be required. However, if there’s just no getting around it for whatever reason (speed of searches, etc.), then perhaps the DAM could recreate it knowing only the root directory where all photos are stored.  Of course, this might take awhile. 

Yes, speed of searches is why you need a database. Following XMP standards would take care of the second part if the XMP was written to standards in the first place at least for EXIF, IPTC, and hierarchical keywords. I agree that it should be a referenced database that leaves all files where you want them in your file system. 

Steve also brought up mapping and location tags. Again I have to bring up IMatch. I create location boundary on the map, then fill in all the location data for the IPTC section of XMP. I also can specify keywords to be written. I have my own location hierarchy in keywords, and some locations may also have keywords written unrelated to the location branch but always wanted for that location. I can use the GPS data if present or drop the photos on the map and even add direction of view. From there all the metadata is written and I'm in full control of all of it. I never use reverse lookup. It is too often wrong and/or not granular enough for my desire.

Don't confuse XMP or other sidecars with transferring your raw conversion. Yes, some processors store the recipe for conversion in the XMP, that can serve transferring the raw in its parametric edited state to the same processor in another location. Yes some raw processors will attempt to translate that recipe to its own "kitchen" People need to understand the fact that each raw processor has its own selection of tools, and even if the tools have the same names they work differently. If they all worked the same, only the subjective attractiveness of the UI/UX would differentiate them. That is not the case, and it is a blessing and a curse. If you want a permanent copy of how that photo looks as edited in the raw processor of the moment, export it to jpg. or better 16 bit tiff. The non-destructive parametric editing we love about raw processors is the reason only that processor can read, write, and properly "cook" the recipe. If you want to use a different processor, start over. Look at it as an opportunity to do better. This is also argument one for separation of DAM and processing. 

Hierarchical keywords of course. Those that don't need them, don't use them, but without them a DAM it isn't. It should support import and export of controlled vocabularies. These can be created in app,  found for free online, or paid curated lists. Those need to be easily editable. There should be controls for grouping keywords (keywords that are only used for organizing the list such as Who, What, Where, Why, etc.) LR has this. There should also be controls for the mapping between flat keywords and hierarchical keywords, LR doesn't. It should be quick and painless to fix the files where this mapping fails because it will. One cool feature in IMatch that I've come to depend on is color coding keywords. I color code each first level branch of keywords. All keywords under it then have that color. I can see at a glance of the thumbnail if I'm missing branches of keywords. Drilling down hierarchies can be time consuming, so you should be able to start typing and have matching keywords show in a list to speed up the assignment of keywords. Synonym support can help the organization and speed of assignment. Animals are a great example. You probably want the taxonomy, then you often have multiple common names (Puma, Panther, Catamount, Mountain Lion...) Sure you could build all of that into the hierarchy, but then you'd need to remember which did you use for the leaf. Better to use synonyms so that entering one common name applies all and the hierarchy of classification. The lack of synonyms in C1 is what drove me to separate DAM from processing when I dumped LR.

Version and buddy file (sidecars like xmp, processor files, even supporting documents) control is vital. This way you can control how metadata is copied to child files and moving the parent also moves the children and and buddy files.  

Labels are so useful, most programs cripple them. Lightroom gives you sets of labels, you can only see, search, and filter one set at a time. You can change the label text, but not the color. There are only 5 colors plus the white custom label. Capture One has seven colors, cool two more, but you can't change the text or color and there are no sets. IMatch labels allow editing of the color and text. If there is a limit to the number, I haven't found it yet and I have 19. I have labels that match C1, others that I use for stages of workflow outside of C1 or non photo files, and others that match my main set from LR. I can see all of these labels in the IMatch viewer and thumbnail windows. I can quickly click on one in the collections list and instantly filter my view and I can use them in complex filters that combine other metadata. The point is in a real DAM I can make it work with the limitations of LR, C1, On1.... both to read the labels they can write or write labels to XMP that they'll read and filter on.

I think Affinity can come up with a number of ways to make the raw conversion more like dedicated converters. Maybe something like a raw adjustment base layer that brings up the develop persona when selected with the settings always adjustable. They could facilitate copying raw settings in a number of ways without creating a PAM/PAMP/GAM or best of all DAM. If they do create a manager I hope it isn't as limited as the majority of requests on here are asking for. At the very least it would have to support all files types the current suite can edit. It must follow XMP standards so that if it didn't write metadata with the control and flexibility of IMatch it could sort and filter what I create in IMatch without mucking it up. I still stand by my post back on page 3, I'd rather they concentrate their resources on Photo, Designer, and Publisher. All amazing version 1 products. I look forward to paying for version 2.

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On 1/31/2020 at 1:24 PM, timlt said:

I have nothing to gain from saying this as I don't use ON1 anyway--but having just recently tried it, it's QUITE similar to lightroom in how it handles the metadata for edited raw and image files.  You can optionally enable sidecars, OR (like lightroom) there's a setting that I just went and confirmed, you can turn that off and ON1 will simply store all the settings in its own database.  Obviously the advantage there is speed (less files to manage, less reads and writes to disk, and so on) and performance, and a cleaner file system with the appearance of less clutter since all the *.on1 sidecar files are not created.  The disadvantage is if you don't create sidecars, as fde101 says, the whole database containing your edits is less portable and harder to move between systems.  Interestingly, On1 is now claiming to address that issue as well.  They have a new feature they call "On1 sync" that they say is coming first half of 2020, that will address the need to easily share your database among multiple different computers and even mobile devices.  They are ambitious for sure, they are adding features to compete head-to-head against Adobe and it's interesting to see.

All that said, for a DAM, I still think Lightroom is the one to beat.  Ultimately ON1's handling of RAW files was notably inferior to Adobe's, I literally could not get the same results in terms of image quality.  You can use Lightroom with Affinity Photo quite easily, so it's a great solution there as we can all use our favorite photo editor.  I said it earlier, but if I were a pro photographer, unless just totally on a limited budget, there's no way I'd use any DAM other than Lightroom Classic.  I'd suck it up and pay the $10/month, and heck, I'm doing that now even as a rank amateur.  

That is an interesting take on C1P vs LR image quality.

My experience is just the opposite, I believe the raw engine in C1P is far superior to LRs.  I switched from LR to C1P a couple of years ago and think my images edited in C1P are of much higher quality that those edited in LR...


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3 hours ago, KC Honie said:

That is an interesting take on C1P vs LR image quality.

My experience is just the opposite, I believe the raw engine in C1P is far superior to LRs.  I switched from LR to C1P a couple of years ago and think my images edited in C1P are of much higher quality that those edited in LR...

FYI, I was talking about On1 vs Lightroom.   I don't have any take on C1p, I've never owned or even tried it.  

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I've never used LR but I definitely consider Capture One Pro and DxO PhotoLab to be among the best in terms of image quality when it comes to RAW development.  I don't see On1 Photo RAW or Affinity Photo as being in that same category (at least not yet...)

 

On 2/3/2020 at 2:24 PM, Bri W said:

A real DAM needs to follow standards, the metadata needs to be written to the correct sections of XMP

The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from 😎

Capture One supports XMP but makes it optional.  Those who want the sidecars can have them, and the C1 catalog is automatically synced with the XMP files.  Those who don't want the sidecars can turn them off.  I see no reason why Serif could not take a similar approach.

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IMHO, Serif is working/planning a future separate DAM app.  The question is how many would purchase Affinity Photo DAM for US $50.00?  Time will tell if/when the app will be available as free beta for testing,  As a non-professional, iMac/iPad Pro/iCloud/Apple Photos, is adequate for me.  AP 1.7.3 and Catalina caused significant problems; however, I hope 1.8 will fix.  Totally understand this is not option for professional users.


Cecil 

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Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection 

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11 minutes ago, Cecil said:

IMHO, Serif is working/planning a future separate DAM app.  The question is how many would purchase Affinity Photo DAM for US $50.00?  

With Affinity's strong track record on the individual editor apps and publisher, if they produce an integrated DAM with solid metadata support, syncing files in a cloud-based world and not tied to one PC like the badly outdated Lightroom Classic (with its SQLite database that wants to live on a single computer), I would buy it tomorrow--sight unseen.  Seriously.  

They produce a nicely integrated DAM, then they'd have a killer end-to-end integrated graphics development system that would be hard to beat.  

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1 hour ago, timlt said:

With Affinity's strong track record on the individual editor apps and publisher, if they produce an integrated DAM with solid metadata support, syncing files in a cloud-based world and not tied to one PC like the badly outdated Lightroom Classic (with its SQLite database that wants to live on a single computer), I would buy it tomorrow--sight unseen.  Seriously.  

They produce a nicely integrated DAM, then they'd have a killer end-to-end integrated graphics development system that would be hard to beat.  

I would think that “may” happen when AP 2.0 is released.


Cecil 

iMac Retina 5K, 27”, 2019. 3.6 GHz Intel Core 9, 40 GB Memory DDR4, Radeon Pro 580X 8 GB, macOS 10.5.4 iPad Pro iPadOS

 

Continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection 

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2 hours ago, timlt said:

an integrated DAM

Integrated with what? Other Affinity products I presume? What about working with other RAW converters? This is tricky stuff if they really want to make a DAM that does not have its own built in RAW conversion then they have to figure out how to integrate with other company's converters. I'm not sure which is more work 🙂

 

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with solid metadata support,

Yep, needed

 

Quote

syncing files in a cloud-based world and

Interestingly working with a cloud-based world is very low on my priority list. I'll use cloud storage for sharing but I have no interest in having that me my actual storage location.

 

Quote

not tied to one PC

Woah, what does that look like? Are you saying you want the DAM database to be on an Affinity cloud server? I don't like the sound of that at all.

I want a way to ingest files from cards or other locations that allows powerful renaming and metadata creation features that has organizational features like stacking (grouping), moving, custom collections, query based collections that can be nested sorting drag and drop ordering... And it has to be fast.

Edited by Ian_L
use not sue

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26 minutes ago, Ian_L said:

Woah, what does that look like? Are you saying you want the DAM database to be on an Affinity cloud server? I don't like the sound of that at all.

No.  The OPTION to use one's OWN cloud storage provider, alongside local storage.  Specifically NOT an Affinity managed cloud solution, the lack of flexibility of that approach, and the rigid pricing structure, is already evident with Adobe's current Lightroom "cloudy" subscription, it's turning a lot of people off and away from Adobe.  

Any DAM solution should be a modern "cloud friendly" solution, meaning you can select your cloud storage provide (dropbox/onedrive/gdrive/other) and use that if desired, with good performance and no 'file corruption' due to the syncing process.  But that should be alongside local storage, since some users will want to be entirely local (for example, hosting their entire collection on a local NAS server), while other like me, will use a hybrid solution that includes cloud storage AND a local external drive or NAS.  By doing this, they are simply making the solution useful for a wider range of users, and there is less lock-in which is a big turn-off, as Adobe is finding. 

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3 hours ago, fde101 said:

The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from 😎

Capture One supports XMP but makes it optional.  Those who want the sidecars can have them, and the C1 catalog is automatically synced with the XMP files.  Those who don't want the sidecars can turn them off.  I see no reason why Serif could not take a similar approach.

I'm talking about The Metadata Working Group standards set by Adobe, Canon, Apple, Microsoft, and Sony. Ratings are part of that standard and it specifies -1 for rejects and 0-5, if no rating is present 0 is supposed to be assumed. IPTC provides for extended data, which also have standard places in XMP or the legacy IIM. Some DAMs will read IIM and sync it to XMP. XMP is an ISO standard, there are name spaces provided. Yes the X is for extensible, but it is stupid when programs like ACDsee ignore the name spaces already there and create their own. If users decide to switch, they have to use EXIFtool or other tools inside the new DAM (which often rely on EXIFtool) to change those tag names.

Hierarchical keywords are the sticky point. There is a MWG standard but it seems no one really likes it from what I could find. EXIFtool supports it. The closest we have to a standard in use is writing them to XMP:XMP-LR:HierarchicalSubject. Since Lightroom is the 800 pound gorilla, whether we like it or not, that is an unofficial standard. It's what Imatch and Daminion use and I'm sure others. EXIFtool also supports it. ACDsee use their own proprietary name space  again and you have to tell it to sync to flat and then it only syncs the leaf. You should have control over how hierarchical keywords are written to flat keywords, since outside your DAM, it is the flat keywords that will most likely be used. Again there are standard named spaces in XMP for flat keywords.

I actually like how Capture One supports XMP more than how LR does despite C1's weaknesses in keywording. LR is just write it or don't. I have C1 set to load XMP. Since I write all metadata in IMatch I don't want C1 writing over it with it's more limited features for metadata. I do want to be able to filter with the ratings, labels, and keywords that are in the XMP sidecars. Since C1 doesn't use XMP to store develop settings like LR, I don't lose anything by leaving it on load only. There are pros and cons for storing the develop settings in XMP, the main pro would be less sidecars to worry about. A strong DAM can make sure sidecars stay with the master file as long as you move them in the DAM. The con is as I mentioned, when both metadata and develop settings are stored in the XMP, you risk overwriting the metadata with a weaker tool.

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3 minutes ago, timlt said:

No.  The OPTION to use one's OWN cloud storage provider, alongside local storage.  Specifically NOT an Affinity managed cloud solution, the lack of flexibility of that approach, and the rigid pricing structure, is already evident with Adobe's current Lightroom "cloudy" subscription, it's turning a lot of people off and away from Adobe.  

Any DAM solution should be a modern "cloud friendly" solution, meaning you can select your cloud storage provide (dropbox/onedrive/gdrive/other) and use that if desired, with good performance and no 'file corruption' due to the syncing process.  But that should be alongside local storage, since some users will want to be entirely local (for example, hosting their entire collection on a local NAS server), while other like me, will use a hybrid solution that includes cloud storage AND a local external drive or NAS.  By doing this, they are simply making the solution useful for a wider range of users, and there is less lock-in which is a big turn-off, as Adobe is finding. 

IMatch and PhotoSupreme handle this by having a server addon (the former) or version (the latter). This way you access your database from anywhere without having to pay for storing a huge set of files online. I have yet to really look into that for myself. The part where I save on cloud storage is appealing.

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On 2/5/2020 at 2:35 PM, timlt said:

No.  The OPTION to use one's OWN cloud storage provider, alongside local storage.

Ah got it. Thanks for the clarification - what you describe sounds good.

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