In search of the Perfect DAM

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by v3rlon, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. v3rlon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Location:
    Earth (usually)
    #1
    I keep looking at tools to organize and edit photos, but nothing seems to be perfect.So maybe this is just a glorified rant, but it is my wish list.

    • By it and own it - no monthly fees and no login servers to crash. I need to be able to see my photos after the zombie apocalypse
    • Good integration with the cloud. I want to be able to browse my photos from my phone when I choose to. Say I load photos to iCloud/dropbox.
    • No monetizing my content. That is my job and none of your business. My photos are mine.
    • Fast. Apple Photos is quick, and its free. Need to be at least that good.
    • Brushes, masks, and gradients. This is my current gripe with Photos. Sometimes I only want to lift shadows in a local area.
    • Layers - because we all are like parfait and ogres. We love layers.
    • Good round tripping - because sometimes, you just have to bring out the big guns in editing.
    • Stars, Geo-tags, keywords, faces - all need to be well supported and easy to use.
    • Albums, smart albums, a convenient way to separate personal and professional work, hidden albums.
    • hotkey ANYTHING like "increase exposure by 1 unit" so I can map it to a control surface. Not just "activate the exposure slider"

    I think that covers most of what I am looking for. Is it really so much to ask.
     
  2. Alexander.Of.Oz, Mar 24, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018

    Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    I'm gonna suggest darktable. It's free, does more and more logically than Lightroom, is constantly being evolved by the global open-source volunteers working on it, and has new features before Lightroom copies them.

    It doesn't really have layers, but does sort of!

    It has had "blend if" abilities since early 2012, which are basically the same as using layers in how treatments are applied.
    https://www.darktable.org/2012/03/upcoming-features-conditional-blending/
    https://www.darktable.org/usermanual/en/blending_operators.html

    It also has masking abilities, which can alleviate the need for layers in regards to selective treatments.
    https://www.darktable.org/usermanual/en/drawn_mask.html
    https://www.darktable.org/usermanual/en/parametric_mask.html

    Give it a thorough look over, it's actually a more than capable program as a DAM and editor, and it's free and yours for as long as you want it! :cool:

    If you really want and need the use of layers too, take a look at this interesting thread on the Gimp discussion board.
    https://discuss.pixls.us/t/darktable-plugin-in-gimp/2465
     
  3. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #3
    Lightroom Classic will do that. What it can’t do—layers, sophisticated masking—Photoshop can do.

    You can synchronize smart previews to the cloud and then do some editing in Lightroom CC.

    Not the fastest thing around, but that depends on your machine. Supports geotagging and reverse geotagging, flat and hierarchical keywords, faces. Dunno about “hidden” albums, but with filters, smart collections, etc you can do most anything. You can increase exposure on groups of images by relative amounts. And if you use the Relative Adjustments plugin instead of Lr’s panel I think you might be able to assign a preset to that but I don’t use the plugin much.

    And lots more, like publishing, soft proofing, etc.

    Yes, there are fees. But you can see your photos after the apocalypse if you design your workflow to preserve your metadata and adjustments independent of any DAM you use (something you’d have to do with ANY of them).

    Or, if Photos ticks all the boxes, just buy an extension that allows spot adjustment and layers, like Luminar.
     
  4. v3rlon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
    Location:
    Earth (usually)
    #4
    Thanks for the replies.

    I tried Darktable, but missed where it was easy to view photos on other devices.

    I never had Lightroom classic, but I did try Lightroom CC. I thought Adobe wrote off LR Classic when they added de-haze to CC and skipped classic. Did they resume development?

    I own Luminar 2018, and I hope the coming DAM is something amazing. Photos + extensions and round trips seems to be -- better than anything else I have tried.
     
  5. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #5
    Wouldn't Dropbox achieve this for you? It's available for every device.
     
  6. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 3, 2009
    Location:
    Boston
    #6
    I don't believe there is a single product that checks off every item on your wishlist.

    Given how a number of photo editting apps have promised DAM capability in 2017 and we're still waiting for the most part, just shows that integrating DAM features is not an easy task.

    I hate to say it, but I do think lightroom has the most rounded feature set of all of the applications available. Though it fails misrably on the fact that's subscription based. I cannot in all good conscience recommend Lightroom 2016 (the perpetual license version), because Adobe already mentioned last year that no more updates will be coming for that version, its in effect at EOL. Like Aperture, you can still use it, but there may be a time down the road where your new camera or OS version will break the app.
     
  7. Somepix macrumors member

    Somepix

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    Beauce, Québec
    #7
    An often overlooked feature of Apple Photos, is the ability to create several photo libraries .

    Hold the Option Key (Alt) while starting Photos.

    I think Photos, Affinity Photo and iCloud Drive make an efficient and affordable workflow for a passionate photographer
     
  8. v3rlon thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    While multiple libraries in Photos is an option, the trouble is that only one is the SYSTEM library. This is the only one in the cloud and available to other applications like keynote and FCPX, as I understand it.

    Since pro library is often needed in other apps, this complicates the workflow.

    I do agree that it is a better setup than it gets credit for. Maybe further improvement will come this year. I’m not holding my breath, but it would be nice.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 25, 2018 ---
    I do not understand the workflow you are suggesting.

    Run dark table with the library on Dropbox. Then what, just browse folders on my mobile device when I need access there? Or is there a mobile dark table now?
     
  9. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #9
    You got it, have the root folder of the library be on Dropbox, have your other devices be able to access Dropbox. I have a 1TB space with them for about $12 a month, so that I can upload all the images from my Mindful Photography groups there, for the participants to be able to download a couple of days after their sessions. That's quicker than them giving me a USB stick at the following weeks session.

    There is no iOS version that I am aware of.

    My suggestion would of course require a little bit of organisation to it, so that you could easily get to what you were looking for. It would be a nightmare if you just dumped everything in one folder, obviously!
     
  10. v3rlon thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2014
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    #10
    To me, the point of using a DAM is for it to handle that organization of my digital assets for me. If I have to go and organize everything manually anyway, what’s the point?

    I am not trying to give you a hard time or anything. This is literally the question I have asked myself and my monitor on multiple occasions. When you think of what even enthusiast photographers need to do, how can every DAM be so clueless?

    Pros have families and photos they want to share, too. But they also have portfolios they want to show clients that do not include a two year old wearing most of a birthday cake. If I run into a potential client, and all I have is my phone/tablet and a couple terabytes of cloud space, this should not be a difficult issue.

    I can quick tag photos ‘client’ or ‘portfolio’ but I would rather NOT have those show up on the family share.

    I think I understand your workflow, but I feel like a modern program should be better. This is exactly the kind of work we are supposed to be pawning off on computers so we have more time to enjoy life.
     
  11. Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2013
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #11
    I fully get your frustrations there. A way around it would be to have separate root folders, for family, clients, etc...

    Personally, I organise my folders thusly; Year - Month - Day - Activity and have family in a separate library to everything else.

    Have a read of:
    https://www.darktable.org/usermanual/en/lighttable_panels.html
    to see if darktable can do what you want and need in regards to organisation.
     
  12. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado, USA
    #12
    I agree that Photos+extensions+round trips is the best I've tried - not always ideal but works decently well. For me, DAM is a process and not always related to a specific application. For the simple reason no application does it all, (or if it does on paper, then the execution is dodgy) my own workflow uses numerous different ones. Photo Mechanic for ingest, rating, key wording, backups, culling and then for everything else I'm pretty well centered on Photos. Smart Albums works well for what I do, round-tripping into photoshop, affinity photo, Pixelmator pro works well so if you have a favorite, you can likely use it. And there are great extensions that let me do local edits too (for example Luminar, (regular) Pixelmator). Then into Qimage or Photoshop for printing.
     
  13. robgendreau macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    I don't think you've got it quite right about the Adobe plan, which is totally understandable, since their naming is maybe even worse than Apple's.

    What used to be called Lr CC is now a Photography Plan that in its most common configuration includes Lr Classic, and is the old folder-based Lr most are familiar with) and also Lr CC, which used to be Lr Mobile on mobile devices, and is now available on the desktop as well, which similar features. And yes, Classic still being developed (it never stopped except in the minds of online pundits). Some of it was for speed enchancements, but eg it just got some organizational features as well (easier to create collections from folders and images on its map, which is handy for synching among other things). Lr CC's designed for online storage, either kinda like Photos with a bunch of stuff stored in the cloud, or you can still synch smart previews from Classic, as one did with the old Lr and Lr Mobile. And you get Photoshop, a Portfolio site, etc. Lr CC has been advancing quite quickly, but still lacks a lot of the metadata capability of Classic, and of course isn't suited to folder-based local storage. But still quite nice with Classic along with synched smart previews.
     

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