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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Gadget Bag: Keeping Track

Use the right software to get a handle on your ever-growing image library

Labels: GearMore GearGadget Bag

This Article Features Photo Zoom

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Microsoft Expression
Media 2
Microsoft’s Expression Media 2 has grown out of the company’s purchase of iView MediaPro, which had been a favorite of many professional nature photographers. It uses a simple-to-understand drag-and-drop interface, and you can organize many types of media files. More than 100 different image, music and movie file types are supported. When importing media files, Expression Media automatically detects source file info, including size, file type, resolution, color space, GPS data and other qualities. Keeping images sorted by GPS location is intuitive with Microsoft’s Virtual Earth, and if GPS information isn’t available, you can drag and drop image files onto locations. Image and media workflow also can be automated for performing repetitive tasks on multiple files. List Price: $199 (Full Version).

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ACDSee Pro Online Mode
ACDSee Pro Photo Manager 3 is the latest in the popular ACDSee lineup. The new interface was conceived with the help of feedback from photographers and longtime users, and it shows. Image management is intuitive and flexible. The Manage mode, View mode and Process mode work together with one-click switching, and an Online mode makes it easy to share images with friends, family or clientele. In the Manage mode, you can browse images on the camera, memory card or wherever they may be without needing to import them. Collections can be organized through EXIF, IPTC and custom metadata, and there are batch tools, import functions and savable Quick Searches for total control over image navigation. You also can add metadata, categories and ratings while browsing images by using the Properties pane. Pro Photo Manager 3 currently is available as a free beta program for users to test.

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DxO Optics Pro 5
DxO Optics Pro 5 uses a simple interface for keeping images organized by centering on a four-tab workflow that follows images on their logical progression from Select to Prepare to Process and finally to Review. The Select tab uses a filmstrip view for browsing images, and if you want to work quickly, the Process Now mode will optimize images for you. During the editing stage, Optics Pro color-codes images with green, red and orange to show the respective level of completion. This simple system gives you a powerful at-a-glance way of seeing where you are in your workflow process. The Review tab allows you to compare before-and-after versions. List Price: $169 (Standard); $299 (Elite).

If you have the complete Adobe CS4 Creative Suite, you already have Bridge CS4. Early versions of Bridge were not especially loved due to slow performance, but those early kinks have given way to the current version, which lets you perform all of the tasks that keep your images organized and labeled for interchange between the other programs in the Creative Suite family, including Photoshop. Bridge CS4 is fast and easy to use. Images can be viewed by List view, in stacks, a cycling carousel view and thumbnails, and grouped together as larger images, once selected. Bridge offers batch-processing and tools for image resizing and output to a number of places, like the web, prints and image devices. List Price: $699 (With Photoshop CS4); $999 (With Photoshop CS4 Extended).


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