The image grind
June 28, 2010 8:34 PM   Subscribe

13,000 pics. Gotta sort and tag for content. I'm thinking iPhoto ain't up to it. Suggestions?

I would prefer to use a Mac OS X application but have VMWare/Win7, which is downright snappy after the most recent update.

My ideal workflow would be to review about 1,000 images an hour, tagging individual images with notes to create post-review groups to look at more carefully. I would say that ideally I should be looking at a spacebar-tap-to-advance screen view of like 4 to 6 images, so that I can look at up to six images every quarter of a second.

I do realize this is a specialized request. Humor me.
posted by mwhybark to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
iView Media Pro would work and runs on the Mac. I can sort through a large number of images in short order by using number keys to tag the images into groups by colour (it changes the text colour of the description, if that helps describe it), then filter/search for colour and add the appropriate tags and sorting into folders from there.

I'd be pretty sure, even as a relatively basic user, that I'd be able to hit the sort of numbers you are talking about within the prescribed period of time.
posted by Brockles at 8:43 PM on June 28, 2010

Oh yeah, i used to use iView back before iPhoto. I'll check it out. More suggestions very welcome!
posted by mwhybark at 8:53 PM on June 28, 2010

Hm, acquired by MSFT! Dead links! So, hm, maybe I'll hold off on that.
posted by mwhybark at 8:55 PM on June 28, 2010

Adobe Bridge.
posted by suedehead at 9:00 PM on June 28, 2010

hah, 1.31 still installed and runs. importing now, should take about an hour if it doesn't choke.
posted by mwhybark at 9:04 PM on June 28, 2010

I have Bridge, but have found it unstable and persnickety.
posted by mwhybark at 9:12 PM on June 28, 2010

Trying it too, though, since it's there. Bridge might reasonably be expected to be the thing I want, but, once burned...
posted by mwhybark at 9:17 PM on June 28, 2010

iView is now called Expression Media. Microsoft didn't change it much after the acquisition.
posted by ripley_ at 9:22 PM on June 28, 2010

I use Picasa on a library of 20,000+ photos and the latest version did some tweaks to the keyboard navigation for keywords. It slows me down but I am not quite sure if that is just because I was used to the old way of doing thing.

Also, perhaps I tag on way too much stuff or you have a lot of shots of the same things, but I think your idea of how fast you can tag images is way off the charts.
posted by mmascolino at 9:44 PM on June 28, 2010

Yeah, I can't imagine being able to tag that many images that quickly. Seems incredibly fast. I use Aperture and can bulk tag images fairly easily. It's looking through and organising them in the first place that takes time. I'd be interested in tools that extend tagging and keywording into an Aperture workflow. I'll take a look and see if I can find something.
posted by michswiss at 10:17 PM on June 28, 2010

Picasa's new face recognition stuff is pretty slick. If you have lots of people photos, it could save you a lot of manual work.
posted by flabdablet at 11:23 PM on June 28, 2010

A thousand an hour is a pretty ambitious goal unless you're sorting through huge contact sets of similar photos.

I'd give Picassa a try. Tags nicely and works with gigantic libraries without trouble. You can also select images by color if that would help you tag faster.

(Yeah, don't use Bridge. It will barf at the drop of a hat and eat memory and CPU for breakfast.)
posted by Ookseer at 12:17 AM on June 29, 2010

Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom is a FANTASTIC photo workflow tool, including dual-display support, ultra-fast browsing of photos (once you've had it render previews, which you should do ahead of time), and bulk tagging, meta-data, and other things. Oh, and non-destructive photo-finishing tools that are absolutely amazing.

It's expensive but... um... you should be able to accomplish an awful lot during the free trial.
posted by disillusioned at 1:20 AM on June 29, 2010

Apple's Aperture is also pretty good for quickly going through photos. My wife switched from iPhoto to Aperture and a batch of sorting that used to take her ~10 hours now takes closer to 30 minutes.
posted by joeycoleman at 2:12 AM on June 29, 2010

Re: iView I have been a long time fan but Microsoft broke it when they bought it. They did not change it much, but they broke features I use. I continue to use version 1.0 for quick sorting tasks, and the ability to quickly make PDFs or QT movies of my quickly sorted pile of pics.

Meanwhile, I take upwards of 10K exposures a year and switched to Lightroom for my primary photo collection a few years ago. I'm still working on tagging a back-catalog of many years but the program is not buckling under the strain of my library. I like that I can do a lot of my non-collage post-production directly in LR, but I suspect that is true of other catalogs now.

With lightroom you can one-key flag or rate pictures as you go looking at a grid of any size of preview. You could then filter by flag and/or rating. There might be other features I don't know of that would help you as well.
posted by KS at 5:59 AM on June 29, 2010

GraphicConverter can quickly screen and file images. I haven't tried to tag using it, but it'd be worth looking into.

Unless you are just looking through the haystack for a few needles, I'd also think that your expected rate is rather ambitious.
posted by advicepig at 6:54 AM on June 29, 2010

The industry standard for photojournalists on deadline is Camera Bits Photo Mechanic. It is fast as hell and you can burn through tons of images in a few minutes and tag as you go. By tag I literally mean you press the 'T' key and the photo is tagged with a check mark. You can also color code each photo using the number keys for a tighter edit. You can download a full version for a 30 day demo. It's kind of an obscure software as it is really made by and for photojournalists but it may be just what you need.

I can attest that it is faster than Picassa and Aperture and Lightroom, and forget about bridge. The one catch though is that you cannot adjust the image in the program.
posted by WickedPissah at 7:22 AM on June 29, 2010 [1 favorite]

Update: Bridge did it. I was able to get through the first pass in four hours.

Left screen: synchronized Preview, full screen, which updated to show selection on

Right screen: Content view, kind of a lightbox type deal (not *not* the "View" menu choice Lightbox)

The Content view was set to show eight large (like 500x500, maybe?) thumbs. Paging down until I saw an image I needed to flag, click, option-del to tag as "Reject."

At the end of the run, use filters to show all "Reject" and retag or unreject as appropriate.

I ended up with about 800 shots to work on. I may need to re-review for corrupted files, there were several in the set but that wasn't my brief so I didn't tag 'em.
posted by mwhybark at 7:36 PM on June 29, 2010

Correction, twelve thumbs per rough review screen. The left screen preview was set up to allow me to simply click and glance left to verify my issue.

I have regularly been working with image batches of 5000-25000 for a few years, so I was pretty sure I could get the first pass done easily enough with the right tooslet.
posted by mwhybark at 7:43 PM on June 29, 2010

posted by mwhybark at 7:44 PM on June 29, 2010

WickedPissah, joeycoleman, disillusioned, your answers are noted for further exploration. WP, your suggestion in particular describes the kind of work-flow-in-volume usability orientation I'm all about. If I can play it like a piano it's the app I want.
posted by mwhybark at 7:46 PM on June 29, 2010

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