Image organizer

Image organizer

An image organizer or image management application is application software focused on organizing digital images. [Cynthia Baron and Daniel Peck, "The Little Digital Camera Book", July 1, 2002 pp:93] [ Julie Adair King, "Shoot Like a Pro! Digital Photography" July 28, 2003 pp:21-23] Image organizers represent one kind of desktop organizer software applications.

Common image organizers features

* Multiple thumbnail previews are viewable on a single screen and printable on a single page. (Contact Sheet)
* Images can be organized into albums
* Albums can be organized into collections
* Images can be tagged. (See also, keyword, category, label, flag). Tags can be stored externally, or in industry-standard IPTC or XMP headers.
* Images can be resized and exported for external use, be e-mailed or printed.

Not so common, or differentiating features

* Pictures may be organized by one or more mechanism
** Images may be organized into folders, which may or may not correspond to file-system folders.
** Images may be organized into albums, which may be distinct from folders or file-system folders.
** Albums may be organized into collections, which may not be the same as a folder heirarchy.
** Images may be grouped or sorted by date, location, and special photographic metadata such as exposure or f-stops if that information is available. See EXIF for example.
** Images may sometimes appear in more than one album
** Albums may sometimes appear in more than one collection
** Images may sometimes be grouped or stacked within an album. Stacking may be by date, time, or used to link copies to originals.
** Titles and captions may added or modified, and sometimes used to categorize or group images
* Simple or sophisticated search engines may be used to find photos
** Searching by keywords, caption text, metadata, dates, location
** Searching may or may not allow logical operators and fields, such as "(Title contains birthday) and (keywords contain cake) not (date before 2007)"
* Metadata associated with photos may or may not be backed up separately, may or may not be able to be exported, and may or may not be able to be read by other software
* Images may be retouched (either destructively or non-destructively)
* Images may be sent to a companion or third-party editing software and then re-incorporated into the album automatically, after editing
* Stitching features may be used to knit together panoramic or tiled photos
* Groups of images may be sent to a slideshow view
* Slideshows may be exported as html or flash presentations for web deployment
* Albums may sometimes be synchronized with web-based counterparts, either third-party (such as Lightroom and Flickr), or application specific (such as Picasa and Picasa Web)

Two categories of image organizers

* Automatic image organizers. These are software packages that read data present in digital pictures and use this data to automatically create an organization structure. Each digital picture contains information about the date when the picture was taken. It is this piece of information that serves as the basis for automatic picture organization. The user usually has little or no control over the automatically created organization structure. Some tools create this structure on the hard drive (physical structure), while other tools create a virtual structure (it exists only within the tool).
* Manual image organizers. This kind of software provides a direct view of the folders present on a user's hard disk. Sometimes referred to as image viewers, they only allow the user to see the pictures but do not provide any automatic organization features. They give maximum flexibility to a user and show exactly what the user has created on his hard drive. While they provide maximum flexibility, manual organizers rely on the user to have his/her own method to organize their pictures. Currently there are two main methods for organizing pictures manually: tag and folder based methods. While not mutually exclusive, these methods are different in their methodology, outcome and purpose.

Presently, many commercial image organizers offer both automatic and manual image organization features. A comparison of image viewers reveals that many free software packages are available that offer most of the organization features available in commercial software.

Future of image organization

There are several imminent advances anticipated in the image organziation domain which may soon allow widespread automatic assignment of keywords or image clustering based on image content [ Lightroom and the future of organizing photos] :
* colour, shape and texture recognition [ Automated Image Retrieval Using Color and Texture (1995)] (For example, Picasa experimentally allows searching for photos with primary colour names)
* subject recognition [ Content-based object organization for efficient image retrieval in image databases (2006)]
* fully- or semi-automated facial, torso or body recognition [ Semi-Automatic Image Annotation Using Event and Torso Identification] [ Managing Digital Photo Collections] (For example, FXPAL in Palo Alto experimentally extracts faces from images and measures the distance between each face and a template.)
* geo-temporal sorting and event clustering [ Temporal event clustering for digital photo collections] . Many software will sort by time or place; experimental software has been used to predict special events such as birthdays based on geo-temporal clustering.In general, these methods either:
* automatically assign keywords based on content, or
* measure the distance between an unclassified image and some template image which is associated with a keyword, and then propose that the operator apply the same keyword(s) to the unclassified images

Common image organizers

See also

* Image viewers
* Digital asset management
* Comparison of image viewers
* Desktop organizer


Additional reading

* "Multimedia Information Retrieval and Management: Technological Fundamentals and Applications" by David Feng, W.C. Siu, Hong J. Zhang
* "Multimedia Networking: Technology, Management, and Applications" by Syed Mahbubur Rahman
* "Multimedia and Image Management" by Susan Lake, Karen Bean

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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