Tuesday, 8 April 2014

A little mr. grumpy today: dealing with minor loss.

So just before whizzing off to work this morning I went through and extracted the images from my home computer that I've worked on since Christmas: or would have done.

All my stuff from Lightroom/perfect effects is there still, and that's not a problem.

All my images that were processed in Photodirector have disappeared.

Welcome to the world of non-destructive changes.

One of the things I've had to learn about using professional photo-processing software is that it makes no actual changes to the original image data file. All the adjustments to each image are stored and remembered, so that when you come to view the image later, the software makes those changes to the way the data is displayed without actually altering the stored file. In order to save the modified image in a way that can be printed or uploaded to the internet it is necessary to create a new image with all those changes added to the original file.

Obvious and sensible, no? That way everything is reversible and the original picture is always available for reworking.

But what happens when your software forgets what changes were made? Even forgets which images were imported?

That's the exact situation I found this morning with Photodirector. There were no imported images, let alone any changes made to them. Hunting for the database file turned up a brand new one, as if I'd just installed the software fresh. All my edits and tweaks for about 100-150 images vanished.

I'm not tremendously upset because most of the images I'd developed there were later re-developed in Lightroom, but there were a few, particularly from the Old Brompton graveyard that I'd spent a lot of time & care on, and really don't want to have to attempt to re-do. It looks like IF I re-attempt them then I'll have to save finished images as soon as they are completed, since I can't trust it to remember what was done.

And then probably no more Photodirector for me.

Adobe Lightroom is a much better package for general image development, and when combined with Perfect Effects it's really quite a powerful combination for developing and shaping an image without making huge changes a la Photoshop. But there were some things that PD simply did better: the HDR tool was very powerful for controlling contrast and some of the other processing options gave a different way of seeing how changes might be made, plus it did have a 'smart replace' tool that's very noticeably absent in Lightroom.

And maybe I need to make sure I output finished images from Lightroom too, just to be safe, though recovery is easier on the Mac than it is with W8.

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