Introducing ImageIngester Version 3

ImageIngester Version 3 has a redesigned user interface that’s simpler, more powerful, more convenient, and less confusing the the one in Versions 1 and 2.
The overall design of Version 3 was suggested to me by Peter Krogh, author of The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers, whose ideas have greatly contributed to the evolution of ImageIngester from the start.
Peter’s ideas were based on his own usage of ImageIngester and his experiences conducting DAM seminars and talking to photographers.

Update:
You can now ingest up to 8 cards simultaneously.

Version 3 is a free update for Version 2 users.
(There’s no free version.)
Mac OS X and Windows betas are available now (on the usual Download page).
They seem to work OK, but use them with caution.

Version 3 is intended to address several problems with the older (Version 2) interface:

  • Nearly all settings in Version 2 were made on the multiply-tabbed Preferences panel.
    The panel itself was easy enough to use, but you had to show it to check settings prior to ingestion.
    The new interface displays all of the important settings on the main window,
    along with buttons that take you directly to choosing the source (called the “card” in Version 2),
    setting the destination (dealing with folders), and setting file-handling options (such as file-naming and extensions to be skipped).

  • Version 2 had a Preference set that stored all settings, and any changes were automatically saved.
    This caused simple setting changes that were intended to affect only one ingestion to accidentally apply to subsequent ingestions,
    even if ImageIngester was relaunched.
    Version 3 instead has what are called presets, which operate like those in Adobe apps and the Mac print dialog:
    Settings are saved only if you explicitly save them.

  • In addition to a Master preset, which stores almost all settings (analogous to Version 2’s Preference set),
    Version 3 also has presets for Destination settings, File-Handling settings, Metadata settings, and Keyword settings.
    So, if you have, say, two typical Destination settings, one for your office and one for the field, you can set them up just once,
    save them as two Destination presets, and then reapply them as needed for many Master presets.
    Unlike with Version 2, you don’t have to keep entering the same settings over and over.
    The Master preset stores the detailed settings, not the name of a Destination, File, Metadata, or Keyword preset, so when you choose a Master preset the names of the other presets are cleared from their drop-downs.
    This also means that changing a non-Master preset later won’t affect a Master preset unless you explicitly save it again.

  • The metadata feature in Version 2 had evolved to a workable design, but too much old stuff was left over.
    There was no need for the Metadata Template to appear on a main-window drop-down, since the template ImageIngester-IPTC was
    universal;
    setting it to anything else usually led to trouble.
    The IPTC preset panel had 6 tabs,
    but Peter Krogh suggested that the various fields really fell into just three categories:
    Photographer, Content, and Rights.
    So, Version 3 dispenses with the choice of an underlying metadata template and
    removes the Deprecated tab (which incorporated an old and awkward design).
    You can now easily set up templates for Photographers, Content, and Rights, and then combine them in various ways that you save
    as Metadata presets.

  • Quick Fields were a handy way to enter information that varied with each ingestion (e.g., subject and location), but they were confusing to set up.
    You first had to enter a label on the Preferences-Data panel, and then use exactly that same name in a metadata template or in file/folder naming.
    Version 3 no longer requires you to define Quick Fields in advance of using them (the Data panel is entirely gone).
    Any appearance of a Quick Field macro (e.g., {@qf.subject}) automatically causes a field by that name to appear on the main window.
    Any misspellings are immediately obvious.

  • The Version 2 ingestion table in the database was valuable, but it didn’t store all of the ingestion settings.
    In Version 3 these are stored in the database and also are written to the log.
    A new Details button on the Database panel shows you the settings used for any ingestion.
    It’s now possible, for example, to discover exactly what Camera Raw settings were used for an ingestion, or what backup folder was used.

  • Information to be written to the XMP metadata sidecar is now shown on the Examine panel,
    as IPTC macros.
    These are the macros actually used in the ImageIngester-IPTC template,
    so you can preview how the settings, macros, and metadata templates (Photographer, Content, and Rights) interact prior to ingesting.

Once the settings for an ingestion have been specified, Version 3 ingests exactly as Version 2 did, using exactly the same code.
So, there are no new ingestion features and also, hopefully, no new ingestion bugs.
Later, after the new user interface has matured and become widely used,
new ingestion features will be added to Version 3.
I’m chasing one rabbit at a time, as the saying goes.

When Version 3 starts, it converts Version 2 Preference sets to Version 3 Master presets, so in most cases you can use the new version the same way you used the old one.
Any changes made in Version 3, however, aren’t copied back to Preference sets.

Since Version 3 is such a big departure from earlier versions, some confusing and little-used features have been removed or changed:

  • The Destination folder drop-down on the main window has been removed.
    Now the folder structure is controlled only by the root folder (primary, pre-conversion backup, or post-conversion backup) and the folder naming.
    Having a third folder between the root and the folder naming was confusing and of very little value.
    If you still want to specify a folder at ingestion time, you can use a Quick Field.

  • As I mentioned, the choice of an underlying metadata template has been removed, and the entire metadata user interface has been redesigned, although the fields are the same.
    (A little problem that this introduced is that there’s no way to prevent generation of XMP sidecars. This will be fixed.)

  • The starting number on the main window is no longer stored in the Master preset (or any other preset), but it is remembered when ImageIngester is relaunched.
    Features will be added later to reset it to 1 when ImageIngester is launched or when a new ingestion begins.

  • Temporarily, some global settings (log and update check) are always on.
    A new preferences panel with these will reappear as work on Version 3 progresses.

21 thoughts on “Introducing ImageIngester Version 3

  1. Ed de Jong

    Hi Marc
    Looking at the specs above Version 3 appears to have loads of nice features – thnx for your efforts and for making it a free upgrade!

    Just a question before I install Version 3: can Version 2 and Version 3 co-exist on the same machine or should I install the V3 beta on a different machine?

    Regards,
    Ed

    Photographer
    Rotterdam
    Netherlands

  2. Dave Kosiur

    Marc –

    I like the new look of version 3. One niggling UI comment: if the Master Preset pop-up is activating the default set, I think the name “Default” should appear in the pop-up bar.

    Also, I’m not a very sophisticated user of II, but in version 2, I’m able to select metadata templates that I created in Bridge. That doesn’t appear to be the case in version 3. Has that functionality been removed? Superseded?

    Thanks,
    Dave

  3. marc Post author

    Dave: The “Default” indicator is a good idea… unless I see a problem, I’ll make this change. The option to choose an underlying metadata template has indeed been removed. Do you need this just for compatibility reasons? I wanted to steer new users to the new scheme (which also appeared in Version 2), as too many users encountered problems when rolling their own XMP template. A support nightmare, too. (Typical question: Why are all my images rated 5 stars?) What I will probably do is provide a way, but bury it somewhere so novices won’t stumble across it. Does that work?

  4. Dave Kosiur

    As for the metadata template question, it’s just for compatibility reasons — something I’d gotten used to. Using the “new scheme” is something I probably ought to try, as I know I’ve only scratched the surface of what II can do. So providing a way to use those templates, but burying it, would work.

    Dave

  5. Dave Kosiur

    Marc –

    Now that I’ve worked with version 3 and the metadata templates, as you’ve set it up, I doubt I’d ever go back to using the templates I have from Bridge for future jobs. I guess the only reason you’d want to support the “old way” of doing things would be for those photographers who are still using “legacy” templates from Bridge. So don’t add the old scheme support just for me…

    Dave

  6. Synthaetica

    Marc: I’m stoked! Sorry I missed out on your beta for it. It looks like IIP3 will help speed things up for my over-extended fall schedule. Most excellent! Thanks so much for your continued work! Like Dave, I’ve finally quit using my Bridge XMP templates. What a great thing! You totally rock, Marc. Thanks again! …Dawnne

  7. Dave Sidaway

    I’m just looking at this for the first time but with no demo version, I didn’t look too far so perhaps you can tell me what differences there are between ImageIngester and Photo Mechanic?

  8. Dave Kosiur

    I’ve been working with IIPro3 for a while now, but haven’t figured out one feature. In the previous version, when I clicked the “Choose” button to import images from a card, I’d get a preview/selection window where I could select specific images from the card. Now, in IIPro3, when I click “Choose”, I do not get a preview/selection window, the program just imports all of the images on the card. Is this feature still supported? If so, how do I enable it?

    Thanks,
    Dave

  9. marc Post author

    Dave–

    Where do you see the Choose button?

    The new button is named Thumbs. Is that button not working? What version of Version 3 are you using?

    –Marc

  10. Dave Kosiur

    My mistake, I’m still getting used to the UI. I totally overlooked the Thumbs button. Was used to the old version (2.x). Not a problem … now. ;-)

  11. hans meyer

    Hi – I love II 2 and am going totry 3. Question/request: that, like Bridge, II automatically detects a new card/camera and starts the “process.”

    cheers,
    h.

  12. Marcelo Portella

    Dear Mark, I’ve been using your product since version 2 and your new version is pretty good and “more intuitive”, you did a great job!!

    I’ve just 2 little problems with a RAW file and JPG files (I try to solve in both versions, but the results are the same error).

    RAW – When I’m INGEST the RAW files using my Metadata Template everything works fine, except the “Catalog Field” the items than I want to use are checked, but doesn’t work – I’m using the File Info (Bridge) and nothing appears in the “Expression Media/Catalog Sets”..all the other metadata as IPTC, Keywords works fine.

    JPEG – When I’m INGEST the JPEG with the same templates & sets that I use to RAW, the METADATA doesn’t apply in the file and the OPTION – JPEG PROCESSING / MERGE XMP is checked.
    PS: The renaming, backup, folder name etc working fine.

    Just FYI a) I unchecked this option and the XMP was created and all metadata stay inside of the file.
    b) If I use the Script “Import Files in Bridge” with the same files, everything works fine, even JPG & RAW.
    c) After the INGESTION if I try to include the Metadata using Bridge, the Bridge can’t write metadata in the file, for some reason IIPro try to write the metadata in the JPG, but the fields are empty.

    So, if you need more information, please ask me.
    PS: Sorry, my english is not so good.
    MacBook Pro – mac os 10.5.4
    Best regards from Brasil!!

  13. John Langsenkamp

    Marc,

    Really like the new tool. Didn’t use the earlier version or purchased. I did purchase this version and will be placed in my workflow when it goes out of beta. When will the final version be launched. Keep up the good work.

    John

  14. marc Post author

    Nice to hear that, John.

    Probably in another week or so I’ll raise the maturity level to “low”, which means, in effect, “go ahead and use it, but check the results very carefully before you erase any cards.” Then it will go to “medium” and, eventually, “high”.

    I called this one a beta and put the warning on the bottom of the window because the main ingestion engine was totally rebuilt, something that hasn’t happened in two years.
    But, once it matures, it will be worth it.
    More reliable, faster, and easier to enhance.
    The new {@SourcePath} macro, nearly impossible to do with the Version 2 engine, is a good example.

    –Marc

  15. Doug Johnson

    Marc, as I said in a previous note, ImageIngester is maturing well. My only quibble, and it is a petty one indeed, is with two UI issues.

    First, as I try to replicate the metadata in my pre-v3 template, I’m not clearly seeing my results. For example, I create my own Photographer data and save it with a unique name. Then I do the same for the Rights fields saving them with a unique name. Then I tried to create a Preset that calls my Photographer and Rights data. So far, so good. However, when I “save” the Master Preset that is current, it saves but the Preset field goes blank. Although the Photographer and Rights fields still show my named sets. It seems to me that it would be preferable to continue to show the name of the Preset in use rather than displaying nothing.

    Second issue: when I try to save the Master Preset, sometimes I get a warning to the effect “There are unsaved metadata. OK to lose?” which provokes anxiety but is not a helpful message because I have already saved the three presets I’ve described above. It it telling me I will lose the blank metadata fields that were the default? Although I saw this message multiple times tonight, I cannot recreate it just now. Do I need to do a SaveAs to a new name rather than reusing the old one, the convention I’m used to?

    I’d love to have you say, “This is covered in the Manual. If you would take time to read it, all would be answered.” I might disagree with the the way you programmed it but I would understand it.

    Thanks again for building such a great tool,
    dj

    I like the asterisk showing a “dirty” condition to prompt me to consider doing a save.

  16. Adrian

    Marc, great new ingester. One addition would help… that is the ability for the presets to remember more than 1 file number. When the preset is changed the file number could be unique to that preset. This would help when using unique number progressions for different jobs. Thanks for building this tool.

  17. Cassandra Chambliss

    Marc, I’ve been looking forward to integrating II into my workflow (I’m a DAM Book/ExpressionMedia user). When will version 3 be out of the beta stage? Seems like it would be better to start off with that once it’s out. Any thoughts? –Cassie

  18. marc Post author

    Cassie–

    It’s stable enough… I just haven’t changed the maturity indicator. You can go ahead and use it.

    –Marc

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