Portfolio lets you customize the look of the user interface.
The default for this Mac OS catalog is a white background,
but the author used the program's controls to change
the color and caption typeface used.
· The program should
be able to display your file as a thumbnail. Not all image file formats
have the capability to display thumbnails, so not all imagebase software
will display every image file type. If a file format does not contain
thumbnails, programs such as ThumbsPlus and ixla Explor-er will automatically
create them for you.
· A good imagebase program should be able to add "keywords"
to your photographs, then be able to search for the images that have those
words associated with them. When assigning keywords, use those characteristics
that identify it beyond a description of "pretty shot of yellow
flowers." A photograph of a cluster of black-eyed Susans, could
have keywords that could include "Dickey-ville, Maryland"
(location where the image was made), "state flower" (it's
Maryland's state flower), "Preakness" (a wreath of black-eyed
Susans is presented to the winning horse in each year's race), or
other words that let you search for and find an image.
· Finally, a good imagebase includes a lengthy description field
that lets you make detailed notes about the image, including its format,
where it's located, or what kind of media it's stored.
There are so many different imagebase programs that fit into the first
two categories it would be difficult to mention all of them in a single
story. Instead, I've tried to introduce you to some representative
products in each category and show you the possibilities each of the products
offer to help you manage your collection of images. Since many companies
offer trial versions of their programs, I suggest you visit their web
sites and download any imagebase product that interests you.
Digital Albums. Using one of the most attractive interfaces in
this category, LMSOFT Album lets you assemble photographs, video clips,
and sound files into multimedia albums. A five-button tool bar provides
access to all of the program's functions and over 100 templates
are included to guide you through the creation of an album by clicking
and dragging into spaces provided. Text fields are included for titles
and sound files can be added to each page for the creation of slide shows.
The finished albums can be turned into stand-alone files which can be
distributed by e-mail or on removable media, such as a CD-R disc or Zip
G&A Imaging's PhotoRecall has a Library module that lets you
store and view images in your choice of album, bulletin board, or film
strip formats. Captions below each image show the photograph's title
and location on your hard disk, Photo CD disc, or removable media. PhotoRecall
allows you to capture images directly from digital cameras and other TWAIN
devices, such as a scanner. You can search collections for keywords associated
with a particular photograph. Once a group of images is stored in a collection,
you can print the album or run an on-screen slide show or e-mail images
directly from an album. PhotoRecall's Darkroom module includes a
tool set that the average digital imager will find useful for cleaning
up less-than-perfect photographs. Controls include Rotate, Resize, Crop,
Flip, Invert, and Vignette. Two especially cool commands are Map to Sphere
and Map to Cylinder, which wrap your image around the shape specified.
Presto! PhotoAlbum is designed for TWAIN-compliant digital cameras, scanners,
and other image capture devices. The program has a "real"
photo album-like interface that includes predefined album styles, rings,
and templates. You use drag and drop tools to create, manipulate, or view
your photos. You can also drag and drop frames, clip art, special effects,
and textures as well as use the program's built-in image-editing
function to rotate, resize, and color balance your images. Other tools
let you add captions and special text effects to the pictures. The Photo
Browser mode lets you view thumbnails of all of the photographs in an
album. You can export an album as an HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
file for your web site or create a stand-alone file that can be e-mailed
or shared with friends via removable media disk.
Catalogers. ArcSoft's PhotoBase is a cataloger
that lets users create collections of photographs, sound, video clips,
or document files for storage and retrieval. You can acquire images from
digital cameras, scanners, or any TWAIN-compliant device. Image files
can be stored and searched by name, description, date, or any other information
entered in the program's data fields. You can print selected images
or an entire thumbnail collection in large, medium, or small formats,
including descriptions and other information from the data fields. To
spruce up the output, you can add frames and backgrounds to the thumbnails.
The program lets you create slide shows, web presentations, and video
postcards. PhotoBase's image editor lets you crop, rotate, sharpen,
and make color adjustments to any image and a "hotlink" bar
lets you launch third party programs for image editing, page layout, word
processing, or Internet browsing.
Digital Arts and Science's Image AXS has an optional a dark gray
interface that makes thumbnails pop off the screen. The program can catalog,
retrieve, and display photographs, video clips, and audio files. The program
uses what it calls "smart" keywords for electronic cataloging
that consists of seven user-definable alpha-numeric fields, a 32,000 character
text field, and a dozen file information fields. Each catalog can contain
over 16,000 records and the display size of all the views can be adjusted
by the user. The original files can be stored anywhere on your local drive,
removable media, CD-ROMs, or on remote volumes. An upgraded version of
the program, ImageAXS Pro, is designed for professional photographers
who want to publish a portfolio of images on a CD-ROM or the WWW.
Extensis Portfolio includes 53 file translators; some of which allow it
to create thumbnails for Windows-based files that don't have this
information imbedded. Any catalog produced with the Mac OS or Windows
version of Portfolio can be read on the other platform. The program is
multi-user, something that is an extra cost option for some high-end catalogers
and multiple users can access and edit a shared catalog over at network
at the same time. An Administrator function controls which users can make
changes, can add or remove items, or can modify keywords and custom fields.
The program lets you specify additional information about each image,
such as publication date or catalog number. You can also export catalogs
to HTML code to create custom web pages from one of existing galleries
either as they appear on screen or using your own templates.
Using drag and drop, Imspace System's Kudo Image Browser converts
digital images into thumbnail catalogs. It automatically adds additional
information about each image file, such as name, location, path, size,
and type. The program allows you to add descriptions and keywords to the
thumbnail record. Kudo supports most Macintosh and Windows image file
formats and offers "Place Modules" that let you drag and place
images from a catalog directly into Quark XPress, Adobe Photoshop, PageMaker,
Premier, or Illustrator, MetaCreation's Painter, and Macro-media
Freehand. The package includes scripts that automate tasks, such as, the
printing of slide labels. In addition, Imspace offers Kudo Internet Multimedia
Suite for Windows 95/NT4 only. This package is a set of three programs
that will help photographers with web sites organize, find, view, print,
use, convert, and share collections of photographs.
NewSoft's Presto! Image Explorer displays thumbnails of image files
by name, file type, date, and size. Photographs can be located on your
hard drive or imported from TWAIN-compliant scanners and digital cameras.
You can use Image Explorer to arrange your collection in different folders,
add properties, and manage image files--including renaming, deleting,
and sorting. The program lets you customize the thumbnail size, view options,
and number of folders. Image Explorer lets you view an image before actually
opening it, or you can double click to launch your preferred image editor.
A Presto! Image Explorer window can be docked at the top, bottom, left,
or right of your screen while you use another program.
One cataloger that was designed by photographers especially for photographers
is PhotoExplorer by PhotoSoft. Since David Brooks did an in-depth review
of the product in Shutterbug's January issue, I recommend you read
his comments for more information or visit their web site at www.photosoft.com.
Information about new and updated imagebase programs is also regularly
found in my "digital innovations" column.
Between Albums And
Lying in the twilight zone between catalogers and digital albums are a
class of programs that accomplish many imagebase functions and offer capabilities
that many photographers will find useful.
Andromeda Software's PhotoTiler is a plug-in that's designed
to work with Mac OS and Windows 95/NT versions of Adobe's PageMaker
page layout software. It can create a contact sheet from your image collection
for organizing and editing. The plug-in lets you control margins, rows,
columns, distance between images, and even provides cropping control.
While lacking a serious search function, PhotoTiler can be used for web
pages, photo albums, catalogs, digital contact sheets, or as a lightbox
for image layout, inspection, and viewing.
Cerious Software's ThumbsPlus is a graphic file viewer, locator,
and organizer that simplifies the task of finding photographs, fonts,
and animations. You can use ThumbsPlus to browse, view, edit, crop, or
copy images to the Clipboard. One of its most useful features is the ability
to generate thumbnails from files that don't have that capability
built-in. ThumbsPlus can also create a slide show from selected photographs,
install files as Wallpaper, and print individual files or thumbnails as
a catalog. As I was completing this story, ThumbsPlus 4.0 was in final
beta testing. The new version offers enhancements as well as a Mac OS
version for the first time. Version 4.0 has a new tool bar and the ability
to find similar and duplicate images along with sort options such as similarity,
orientation, or image size. It lets you have multiple customizable thumbnail
views (small, large, custom, list, and report) and the ability to work
with user-definable fields for categorizing and searching. Thumbs Plus
4.0 offers digital watermarking using Digimarc technology found on more
expensive programs, such as Photoshop.
The ixla Explorer is a browser, viewer, organizer, cataloger, and file
format conversion utility. Like ThumbsPlus, ixla Explorer will create
thumbnails of images stored in your computer. To view thumbnails in either
large, medium, or small sizes, all you have to do is click on a folder.
When you find the image you're looking for, double click to view
it full size. You can drag and drop your images into a catalog and add
information to each image--including title, keywords, and description.
A keyword search lets you find photos by name, title, date, and more.
You can view, find, print, import, sort, cut, copy, paste, zoom, convert,
and catalog your images. ixla Explorer supports TWAIN scanners, flash
memory cards, PC Cards, and Zip disks as well as popular image file formats.
The program supports digital cameras by simply dragging and dropping photos
directly from your camera into the program.
Andromeda Software, Inc.
699 Hampshire Rd.,
Thousand Oaks, CA 91361
fax: (805) 379-5253
46601 Fremont Blvd.
Fremont, CA 94538
fax: (510) 440-1270
Canto Software, Inc.
330 Townsend, Ste. 217
San Francisco, CA 94107
fax: (415) 905-0315
Cerious Software Inc.
1515 Mockingbird Lane, Ste. 910
Charlotte, NC 28209
fax: (704) 529-0497
Digital Arts & Science
1301 Marina Village Pkwy
Alameda, CA 94501
fax: (510) 814-6100
DogByte Development, Inc.
612 Moulton St., Ste. 7
Los Angeles, CA 90031
(800) 9-DOGBYTE (800-9-364-2983)
fax: (323) 276-5275
343 State St.
Rochester, NY 14650
444 Castro St.,
Mountain View, CA 94041
fax: (650) 964-4142
1800 SW First Ave., Ste. 500 Portland, OR 97201
fax: (503) 274-0530
G&A Imaging Ltd.
975 St. Joseph Blvd. #227
Canada J8Z 1W8
fax: (819) 772-7640
Imspace Systems Corp.
2665 Ariane Dr., Ste. 207
San Diego, CA 92117
fax: (619) 272-4292
IXLA USA Inc
17 Jansen St.
Danbury, CT 06810
fax: (203) 730-8802
5253 Parc Ave.
Canada H2V 4P2
fax: (514) 948-0511
NewSoft America Inc.
47470 Seabridge Dr.
Fremont, CA 94538
fax: (510) 445-8601
PO Box 209
Marlboro, NJ 07746
fax: (732) 617-9294
7685 Washington Ave. S
Minneapolis, MN 55439
fax: (612) 942-7852