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Old Mar 31, 2016, 11:42 PM   #1
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Default Stand alone digital asset manager (DAM)?

Still using apple aperture I've been slowly searching for alternatives. Since 2008 I have built a catalogue of 24,000+ photo's.
Moving this many files takes careful planning and during this planning is where I learned about stand alone digital asset Managment (DAM) and that drew my curiosity.
Choosing a stand alone DAM in theory could prevent one from being left with a large catalogue of images and a software application that goes away or you decide to move on to a different processing software without having to transfer all your files again.
Has anyone set up their workflow to include a stand alone DAM? If so do you have any helpful suggestions?

Thanks.
Mike
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Old Apr 5, 2016, 2:27 PM   #2
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No... but...

For the reasons you described, I never allow software to determine my directory structure.
Long ago I designed a storage structure that worked for me, my workflow, and the type of images I shoot. I've been using: Category / [Subcategory] / Date / Note to describe albums. Made up examples follow:

ImageRoot\People\Events\2015-12-31 - NYE in NYC
ImageRoot\People\Shoots\2010-07-20 - KJ Bartender
ImageRoot\Places\Calgary\2009-10-00 - Visit to Calgary

From this structure, I know that I was in NYC for some event on NYE 2015/6, That I did a photo shoot of a bartender named KJ in July 2010, and went to Calgary in October 2009.
I use "0" to represent an insignificant digit. In the above example, the 2009 Calgary folder would have files dated throughout October.
If the Calgary trip had netted multiple "folders" of photos, I may have divided them up.

etc...

This is my "dump" directory, where the RAW files get stored. Within many of those directories will be /small, that contains 1-2MP JPG/PNG versions of the raw files, mass converted.

I also have a similar hierarchical series of folders for Edits, grouped in a similar way, with a predictable naming convention. This allows me to have versions of edits.
Lastly, I have a flat directory structure that contains the final versions of shots, in both ready-for-print and ready-for-web formats/resolutions.

The downside of this system is the overhead when emptying a memory card as there are directories to create, files to sort, etc.
The upside of this system is the mobility of the structure, the ease of backing it up, the ease of finding files regardless of current shoot/edit/print workflow.

I've considered moving to a "tag" system, so as to group files by subject rather than date/location, but with tens of thousands of files, with subtly different subject matter, even within the same date/location, I quickly determined that the overhead of tagging all "inbound" files would be such a huge undertaking that I'd likely never do it. The approach that I've been following since ~2002 works perfectly for my requirements.

Note: All this assumes that you're using offline storage. My next plan is to move all of my static data to NAS devices (preferably a mirrored pair of NAS devices) so I can further reduce the risk of data loss due to hardware failure (I trust a quality NAS more than I trust a full computer not to destroy the data on a disk). Privacy and accessibility concerns keep me off the public cloud; but there's no reason not to implement my existing system onto a private cloud instead of directly on my local machine...

Last edited by conor; Apr 5, 2016 at 2:32 PM.
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Old Apr 10, 2016, 9:23 AM   #3
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What kind of data burden does 24,000+ images represent? I use a pair of 2T drives mirrored for internal storage then write to an external drive for added safety and portability if needed.

What I am doing is safer than no back-up at all but not guaranteed in any way.
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Old Apr 21, 2016, 10:00 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies guys.
I have organized my photo's chronologically since I started using Aperture. I seldom have trouble finding any particular image with this system.
I would like to continue organizing chronologically since I'm used to that order. Keywords are also another feature that Aperture is/was good at. I could type in a search window a name, camera, lens or place and Aperture would give me a chronological order of the particular word I was searching. Year, month, event/keyword. I opted to stop using faces or places but at one time they were useful for me. They seemed to slow down the process too much so I quit using those options.
Migrating from Aperture is proving to be quite difficult considering all the options. It's overwhelming at times.
Aperture is still working and I still enjoy it's simplicity. I know that it has an inferior raw processor but it's organizing features keep me from rushing into something quickly.
A stand alone DAM that can import Aperture images, RAW and Jpegs and keep all the metadata intact would be great. Being able to process an image in a separate processor without having to export the file would also be great. I don't know if a DAM with those features exist but thats what I looking for.
In case your wondering, I think I have anarchist tendencies, Lightroom is NOT an option.
I want something left handed (non-political), like I am.
There's gotta be something better then the status-quo.

Thanks again for your replies.

Mike
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Old Apr 22, 2016, 12:10 PM   #5
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I forgot to ask one basic question. PC or Mac?

I have no clue how a Mac user might do this but for PC I am not seeing a problem. For PC it sounds like you are talking about Network Attached Storage (NAS) acting as a back up of your data files.

Here I write everything for a 2t drive I have dedicated only for images. I then clone the data on the drive to a second physical drive, or drives, external to the machine.

Should I ever need the data on the drive or wish to make updates I can open the Sony Play Memories software and point it at the external drive and tell it to see the images. EasyShare will do the same thing through its import images feature.

The software that created the original data file will recognize the copy once it is told where to look for the copy.

I took a look and see Aperture is for the Mac platform. Here is something from the macworld site that might apply to your situation.

http://www.macworld.com/article/2461...le-backup.html

You would not care if the drive were bootable but the cloning procedures will be the same.

Writing 24,000 files is going to take a while. To do a full clone of around 1t of data with writes and verify functions turned on takes around 14 hours on my pc
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Old Apr 22, 2016, 4:36 PM   #6
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Personally, I'd look at Corel AfterShot Pro. But, I admit to being biased, since I've been using it for years (since it was Bibble Pro, before Corel bought the product and continued working on improving it).

It's very fast and multi-platform, available for Windows, OS X and Liinux.

You can download a trial copy to see if you like it or not that will work for 30 days. Note that there is also a 15% off coupon code available right now, so you can get more off the current sale price.

Details here:

http://www.corel.com/us/special-offers/?currency=en-US&x-source=edmsale&utm_medium=eDM&utm_source=1612953&u tm_campaign=16-04-18|Sale|xPrds|EarthDay|US|Rem'

Corel doesn't call it the "World's Fastest Raw Converter and Photo Manager" for nothing, as is very fast, especially with multi-core CPUs, where performance almost doubles each time you double CPU cores. It's also written in a way that lets it do things like process images in the background at the same time you're viewing/editing/rating photos without the usual performance hits you see with most products, thanks to very efficient use of multiple threads.

In some ways it's similar to Lightroom, only it's much faster, and it can work with both raw and jpeg files, even if you do not import them into a catalog first (like you'd need to to with Lightroom). But, importing them into a library/catalog gives you more features and benefits as far as it's image management features are concerned..

As mentioned, you can get a trial that works for 30 days without buying it. Then if you decide you want to purchase it, just enter in the license key info you'll get via e-mail and it will become a registered product.

Also note that with AfterShot Pro, the same license key works with multiple operating systems. So, you can buy it once, then install it in windows, OS X and linux on the same computer if you're setup in a multi boot config, without the need to buy separate licenses for each OS you're using it with.

Here's an old webinar that can give you a better idea of it's capabilities. It's showing AfterShot Pro 1.x; but most of what you see also applies to the newer 2.x versions.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i633ZBya9Fc

That's a long webinar (about an hour long). But, I'd suggest watching it so you get a better idea of what the product is capable of, versus trying to learn all of its features by yourself later (so that you will know what to look for, since it has a *lot* of features that can come in handy at streamlining your workflow).

It looks like the current 30% off sale price for AfterShot Pro is $54.99. So, by using a coupon code for another 15% off, you could get a copy for around $47 (download version), while the current sale price and discount code are still valid. But if you miss the current 30% off sale + 15% off coupon code, then just be patient and they'll probably have a similar sale in the not so distant future The current sale is pretty good though (sale price and coupon code for even more off)

Direct link to the AfterShot Pro product page:

http://www.aftershotpro.com/en/produ...ptrack=ussoasp
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Old Apr 26, 2016, 9:38 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Old Boat Guy;1405679]I forgot to ask one basic question. PC or Mac?

Thanks for the reply.
It's mac. As for back-up I'm good on that. I've got 3 separate portable HDs with my time machine back-ups (that includes Aperture). I keep one offsite.
For Aperture it has a feature called vault. Vault acts like a library for backing up your images and videos that are stored in aperture. For that I have 2-1TB portable HDs and one is kept offsite.

My main concern is the way any different (new for me) software handles my current library. I doubt that I'll find anything as good as aperture for organization and management of my image and video files. I have no doubt that the newer software can process the raw files better then aperture but that is not the only important issue in selecting a new editor.

DAM/raw processing together are what I'm looking for.
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Old Apr 26, 2016, 9:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
Personally, I'd look at Corel AfterShot Pro. But, I admit to being biased, since I've been using it for years (since it was Bibble Pro, before Corel bought the product and continued working on improving it).

It's very fast and multi-platform, available for Windows, OS X and Liinux.

You can download a trial copy to see if you like it or not that will work for 30 days. Note that there is also a 15% off coupon code available right now, so you can get more off the current sale price.

Details here:

http://www.corel.com/us/special-offers/?currency=en-US&x-source=edmsale&utm_medium=eDM&utm_source=1612953&u tm_campaign=16-04-18|Sale|xPrds|EarthDay|US|Rem'

Corel doesn't call it the "World's Fastest Raw Converter and Photo Manager" for nothing, as is very fast, especially with multi-core CPUs, where performance almost doubles each time you double CPU cores. It's also written in a way that lets it do things like process images in the background at the same time you're viewing/editing/rating photos without the usual performance hits you see with most products, thanks to very efficient use of multiple threads.

In some ways it's similar to Lightroom, only it's much faster, and it can work with both raw and jpeg files, even if you do not import them into a catalog first (like you'd need to to with Lightroom). But, importing them into a library/catalog gives you more features and benefits as far as it's image management features are concerned..
Thanks for your biased opinion Jim.

My mac only has 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 6 gb of ram so it's no speed demon. But speed is only one element in the big picture of moving all my photo's to a new destination.

AfterShot Pro is one of two that I have narrowed it down to for now. The other being Capture One Pro. Both can process images better then Aperture but neither has the DAM features that are as good or have as good (simple) of a user interface.

Mylio
http://www.digitaltrends.com/photogr...-for-your-woe/
is another one I'm going to look at. But it too like Lightroom has a subscription fee. I don't like that.

This is really proving to be a challenge. After acquiring so many photo's of weddings, births, birthdays, anniversaries and a lot of stuff my kids don't back up. Being safe, secure and organized are whats the most important to me before making my selection.

I remember moving to aperture and the fear I had of loosing irreplaceable photo's. I don't want that feeling again.
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Old Aug 27, 2016, 5:24 PM   #9
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In a Digital Asset Management system the folder structure becomes mostly irrelevant.
I've tried a few DAMs and have settled on the standalone version of Daminion -- www.daminion.net. It's for Windows, is free for catalogs up to 15000 files and is inexpensive after that. They have a nifty server version if you want to share the catalog and offer great personal support should you need it.
To use a DAM, just specify a folder (my files are on a QNAP NAS - local storage is considerably faster when accessing thousands of files but once the catalog is created, the NAS is very usable) and the DAM creates thumbnails and reads all file info, EXIF camera info and IPTC tags into its database.
After that you can easily add IPTC tags (people, dates, places, keywords, etc etc) in bulk by selecting a bunch of thumbnails and clicking on a tag to add it. Your changes are immediately written to the Daminion database and then, one by one, saved in the original image file. Tags can be nested and customized to your heart's content. If file formats don't support tags (e.g. most video formats), tags you add are placed in xml 'sidecar' files.
Tags are stored in an open format that can be read by any DAM. Once you do the work it's done forever.
You can then filter items by selecting tag radio buttons (union and intersection are supported). Right-clicking allows you to do a pile of things to the selected files such as opening them in PhotoShop or exporting them in another format and/or to another folder. You can add star ratings and color labels or drag thumbnails to a tray to help get organized.
DAMs greatly enhance the usability of image collections and greatly increase the possibility of finding whatever you're looking for. The fact is that unidentified photos quickly become useless -- it can be pretty hard to figure out the who, what, where and when of five year old photos.
And, of course, everything has to be backed up using usual backup methods.
Bottom line: if you're not using a DAM to manage your photos you're doing it wrong.
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