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Custom XMP Templates - Alamy Submissions

PatrickC

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I have a vague memory of reading somewhere ages ago that it is possible to make LR see fields in a customised XMP template, but I can't find it again. I think this was way back during the beta stage.

This arises because of Alamy. They have introduced a 3-tier keywording system, with Essential Keywords, Main Keywords and Comprehensive Keywords. LR has no in-built way of dealing with these, but if I can make it see two new XMP fields - Essential Keywords and Main Keywords - I could at least include the preparation of these in my normal workflow.

It's going to get worse; Alamy will sometime soon rate keywords based on the order they occur in your keyword list; LR automatically sorts keywords into alphabetical order.

It's really going to be a pain if I have to use Alamy's dreadfully slow on-line keywording tools. What do other Alamy contributors do?

Patrick Cunningham
 
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That's an interesting question Patrick. I'm sure John Beardy has made comments along similar lines. You could try the DAM Forum for more information, if no one here can help.
 
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Patrick

I think this is quite an important point, because photographers will expect to enter metadata in Lightroom and expect it to flow through to other systems such as Alamy.

I'm pretty sure it is possible to take data in custom fields, which one can add to Lightroom via the SDK, and output it to specific XMP namespaces in files exported from Lightroom. I stress "exported" because I think Jeffrey Friedl's geotagging export plug-in may do this (does he not have an Alamy plug-in?), and secondly because the SDK doesn't yet allow one to write custom metadata directly into an existing file's XMP. I'll have a dig around and see what might be achieved.

In the meantime, do post any other details of these requirements here. How are you handling this at the moment?

John

PS For the next 24-48 hours, my email address is bouncing and my web site is a black hole. I didn't change host, just changed my hosting package, and people don't always do what they are told even when it's in simple English, mostly in capitals, prefixed with the word "Important", and entered in a box called Special Instructions....
 

PatrickC

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Images with attached text metadata are becoming more valuable as time passes. With the implementation of XMP, Adobe opened up a virtually limitless opportunity to expand on the framework set up by IPTC.

Yet software developers and the many stakeholders in imaging have been slow to realise the possibilities. Even Photoshop has been irritatingly imperfect in its implementation. Lightroom does a little better, but remains proscriptive in its approach.

I have to admit that my experiences with Lightroom's keyword functionality have not been happy. Having spent weeks reorganising the keywording on our entire archive to fit in with Lightroom, I find Lightroom's system slow and inflexible, while at the same time it is less than robust. I very much hope that Adobe realise that it is something that needs a huge amount of work.

This is to say that I am very much of the opinion that we are in a rapidly developing environment, but not rapid enough for me!

Alamy, I believe, are in one way ahead of the game. But I have a sinking suspicion that they have become almost obsessed with their metadata requirements - in all, they ask for 14 fields to be completed, of which nine have no corresponding fields in Lightroom: How many people in the picture, does it have a model release, does it need a property release, does it have a property release, photo or illustration, cutout, digitally altered, essential keywords, main keywords.

Most of these will be fairly straightforward to complete, using Alamy's soon-to-be-released bulk editing tools. But the two additional keyword fields are a problem.

To be frank, I have been holding off from submitting additional material until additional tools become available to speed the process, including a Lightroom upload plugin (there isn't one on Jeffrey Friedl's site as far as I can see). I'm still trying to work out a usable workflow.

Two additional custom fields into which I could copy the 'Essential' and 'Main' keywords as I do the keywording would take away some of the pain. However, in the longer term, Lightroom really needs a high degree of flexibility, in the form of an option to import a custom XMP template, in order to keep up with rapid development and diversification of metadata requirements.

I've gone on long enough!

Best regards

Patrick Cunningham
 

Brad Snyder

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Patrick, thanks for the perspective. Personally, I tend to agree with you, that while Lr is evolving, a lot of the effort has been (perhaps rightfully) focused on image processing, with DAM/workflow coming in second. (Maybe not all the way in the backseat, but definitely not driving. :) )

If you haven't already, be sure to make your feelings known at Adobe via the Feature request on the toobar above.
 
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Thanks for reminding me about PLUS, Geoff. I don't see Alamy listed among the sponsors of PLUS, but other agencies are there and I would expect Alamy to be on board. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if Alamy insisted on extra fields.

That PLUS panel is part of an export plug-in, so as I described earlier it can add metadata when files are exported. In many cases that will be enough, but right now it's a big weakness of the SDK that it can't save those custom fields into existing images. So if you make a change, you'll have to export the file again, or find another way to edit the metadata (eg through a File Info panel in Bridge).

John
 

PatrickC

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Brad: Thanks for reminding me. It's easy to assume that Adobe has someone monitoring this forum, but it's also bad to assume that your suggestions will get through! I've sent it to the Adobe Features Request now.

Kiwigeoff: I've been keeping an eye on PLUS for years. While it is a great initiative, it seems to regularly get bogged down; the price of being an unpaid voluntary initiative, I guess! An important part of the jigsaw nonetheless, especially as it comes from 'our' side of the issue; there are lots of players with a strong interest in separating picture files from their legitimate owners/creators.

John: Thanks for the additional info about the PLUS panel. If it is part of an export plugin it won't help with the keywords, unfortunately. I need something persistent...

Patrick
 
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Patrick

Your "persistent" makes me think I'd better explain more. That PLUS panel is not just an export plugin which would force you to re-enter the metadata each time you export a file. It uses both the export capability of the SDK, and its custom metadata functions.

AFAIK The panel sits in the existing Metadata panel and lets you add metadata which persists just like any IPTC metadata. When you do an export via the PLUS export plugin, that metadata gets written to the exported files.

It is not persistent in the sense of writing that metadata back to the originals/sidecars via the standard Ctrl/Cmd S mechanism. That's because the SDK's custom metadata capability is young and limited. My concern is that one would generate a batch of 16 bit TIFs and then decide some PLUS metadata needed changing. It would be nice to import them into LR, change the details, then do a Ctrl/Cmd S. Instead one would need to regenerate the TIFs.

Hope that's clearer.

John
 
T

tmphoto

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Hi,

Bringing an old thread to life, but I wondered if anyone had a link to the PLUS system that's being discussed here - trying to simplify my Alamy workflow!
 
T

tmphoto

Guest
Thanks Geoff,

I've now got the info from Tim - looking forward to trying this out tonight.


Tim.
 

PatrickC

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Reviving an old thread because it carries on.

Today, I discovered this:
http://www.lightroom-plugins.com/AlamyIndex.php

Although it doesn't make use of the Lightroom Publish Service (I think because it seems to have been developed for LR2) it does seem to fulfil my needs in managing my Alamy submissions - including reconciling already submitted images, as well as providing a means within Lightroom to provide Alamy's three sets of keywords!

Does anyone have any experience of using the plugin? I can't find anything about it on the Alamy site and there are just a couple of references in the Alamy forums; I would have thought something like this would have a very broad appeal!

Patrick Cunningham
 
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I haven't tried it Patrick, but I know of the guy and I've used his Duplicate Finder plug-in which works well.
 

PatrickC

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Okay I took the plunge and the plugin seems to work fine. I don't understand why it isn't possible to make this into a Publish service but it doesn't really matter.

I like the way it handles the three-tier keyword system Alamy uses; it creates two Alamy-specific keyword fields for the Essential and Main keywords, which are simple text fields - so you can't use the Lightroom keywording hierarchical system to populate them. But it cleverly scans your normal Lightroom 'will export' keywords and removes any that are in the Essential or Main fields as it uploads.

The reconciliation of existing images (already uploaded to Alamy before installing the plugin) with Lightroom images worked flawlessly for me; I now know immediately what the Alamy status is for any image, including the sales, within Lightroom.

Because it's not a Publish service you do have to occasionally get it to check for changes, but this is a small price to pay.

Conclusion: thoroughly reccomended for any Alamy contributor.

Patrick Cunningham
 
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