Archive for October, 2008

Import and Export options for Metadata

You may have noticed that the metadata File Info dialog in CS4 applications has changed from CS3.  This is a pretty significant update since the dialog is now Flex based.  We switched to Flex because it offered the UI flexibility and connectivity of flash and support of developers tools such as Flex Builder.  I will go into details of the customizing the UI in a future post.

We also updated the templating capabilities in the dialog to an import and export workflow with guidance.  Below is a screen shot of how to access the template features:

Tip: Create templates from blank files

It is best practice to start with a new blank file and add metadata values to create a template.  This ensure that you are not saving any hidden metadata that may be lurking in the file.  Another option is to use Bridge to create and edit metadata templates.

Exporting a template will save all the XMP data into location that you can choose.  The default is the templates folder where the dialog looks to automatically build its list of templates.

When you select a metadata template or choose Import, it will prompt you to choose from 3 options shown below:

Option 1
This will clear ALL (and I mean ALL) metadata from the file – including any Camera Raw settings – and then replace that information with what is in the template.  If your template has Camera Raw setting in it, it will be applied to the image.  If you don’t want to replace the Camera Raw settings, then you should use the Replace functionality in Bridge – Bridge maintains the CR settings -OR- create a blank template (with no CR settings) and use Option 2.

Tip: This option is very powerful – use it if you want to be sure that all the previous metadata in the file needs to be deleted and replaced – including the Camera Raw settings.

Option 2
This will replace the properties that are in the template. For example, the destination file only has 10 properties, and the template has 2 properites, those 2 properties in the destination file will be updated and the remaining 8 left intact. Identical to option 1 but the destination metadata information is not cleared.  If your template has CR settings, it will be added to the destination file. Again, it is best practice to create templates from a blank file.

Tip: This option will update the metadata in the file – but be sure you know what is in the template.  With a clean template this is good option to stamp metadata on to multiple files.

Option 3
This will append properties from the template but only for those property types that support multiple values.  The most common of these are keywords, and author.  For all other properties, if the destination file already has a value in it, then it will NOT be replaced.  If the property is empty, then the new value will be added.  If the property can hold multiple values, then the old values will remain and the new template values will be appended.

Tip: This option is really best used if you need to update the keywords with a new entry or add copyright status to files where it is not set. Just be sure to use a template that only has those values in it.

Inherent Metadata
Metadata such as Exif and file properties such as size and dimensions will remain in the file and cannot be modified by the template actions.  This is considered inherent metadata and that information is left intact.

Bridge’s Append and Replace
The Append option in Bridge works in the same way as option 2 and the Replace option works the same as option 3, with the exception for both actions that Camera Raw information will not be part of the templating function. 

In general, if you are a photographer Bridge has a great set of features for creating templates and appending and replace metadata information with messing with your Camera Raw settings.  If you need something a more powerful then the File Info dialog can provide you with some options.

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New XMP SDKs released

I am proud to announce that we have released 2 new SDKs related to XMP in the XMP Developer Center.

The first is the XMP Toolkit 4.4 which is available under a BSD license and includes support for new file formats: ASF (WMA, WMV), FLV; MPEG4; SWF; and folder-based video formats AVCHD, P2, SonyHDV, and XDCAM.

The second SDK is the FileInfo SDK that documents how to customize the metadata UI across the CS4 applications. Since the CS4 metadata UI is based on Flex, it provides the ability to connect to web services and use custom Flash based UIs.

We have also provided a 3 part specification that clearly outlines the XMP data model and serialization methods, standard schemas that are support in Adobe products, and importantly how XMP packets are stored in various file formats.

Metadata Working Group

Metadata Working Group

Adobe, Apple, Canon, Microsoft, Nokia, and Sony announced the formation of the Metadata Working Group (MWG) at Photokina recently.  The MWG is focused on improving the customer experience with digital media as it move across various devices, operating systems, and online services.

The problem is simple to describe – make sure that when I tag my photos I can view those tags wherever I want.  So that when I capture a photo on my phone, add a keyword, then upload it to a sharing site – the online service will display my tags.  Similarly when I download the photo and view it on my computer or in my applications, it will also display the information I added.

The challenge is in coordinating and agreeing between different companies on how this is going to happening.  The MWG specification is a first step towards handling this for primarily consumer digital images.  Recently the effort was endorsed by the IPTC and PLUS organizations.

The specification is pretty technical since it is written for developers so that they can implement the same policies the MWG companies will adopt.  The great news is that XMP plays a strong role in the specification, in addition to other standards such as Exif and IPTC.

Participating in the working group discussions was actually a lot of fun.  It got very technical and philosophical at times but it was a great feeling knowing that we were all working towards a common goal to improve the lives of our customers.

After all, photos are the gateway to so many of our experiences, and metadata helps us re-tell our story.  Preserving that information will be valuable for future generations, just like the notes written on the back of a physical photograph.

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