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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> File Storage Workflow Question
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02/27/2006 10:18:27 AM · #1
Got a question on how to handle images in the raw conversion portion of a workflow.

I am pretty retentive about having a clean file system, and my current workflow is really putting that to the limit.

All my RAW Images go into an Inbox by camera/year/dvd index/date-shoot. For instance, I went to Hale Farm and Village this weekend and I got several images. The all go into \\Inbox\20D\2006\2006_0001\20D_20060225_HaleFarmAndVillage\20D_20060225_XXXX.CR2

Once all the files from the 'shoot' are there, I back them up to a DVD (2006_0001) that I have been using until it fills up and then a new dvd index folder will be started and the DVD archived.

Point One: I don't manipulate these files on the hard drive in ANY way. They are totally unadulterated.

After backup, I copy this new folder structure to a Working RAW (instead of Inbox) that mirrors the Inbox. Here I do the 'lightbox' work, deleting files that don't meet my criteria.

Point Two: They all get the WB adjustments as needed, and I will also play with the histogram white and blck points and a little bit of gamma / contrast index. I will also save the raw file changes, back into the raw files. (I can undo at a later date in Canon DPP)

To post process in PS, I just have DPP transfer to Photoshop. And I do PP there. Once finished, I will save the image to a TIFF in a \\Publish\Print folder three versions original layered TIFF in 8x12, flattened 8x12 and a flattened 8x10 (cropped).

Point Three: All post processed files get saved here, with no folder hierarchy other than, \\Publish\Print or \\Publish\Web.

Point Four: Published files still have the file name set from the first steps of the workflow, to maintain a backward convention to allow me to find the negative. At least in part of the end filename; it contains the complete negative filename.

I am warry about this workflow for several reasons, mostly it seems clunky. Also, there is duplication between Inbox and Working folders after I backup the negatives. The Publish folder seems a bit, underpowered too.

Is there anyone that has gone through this situation and come out with a good workflow technique that is safe and efficient?

Best regards,

CN
02/27/2006 02:46:26 PM · #2
Anyone????
02/27/2006 05:41:55 PM · #3
Check out Extensis Portfolio. It was one of the best photographic purchases I've ever made. See it here.
02/27/2006 06:10:33 PM · #4
I appreciate the response, but I was hoping for a little more to do with the details in my original post.

While I am sure that the portfolio software does a good job at what it does, I am trying to accomplish this in the Windows file system. I have no present use for this software.

-CN
02/27/2006 07:50:43 PM · #5
Originally posted by CarpeNoctem:



Point One: I don't manipulate these files on the hard drive in ANY way. They are totally unadulterated.

After backup, I copy this new folder structure to a Working RAW (instead of Inbox) that mirrors the Inbox. Here I do the 'lightbox' work, deleting files that don't meet my criteria.

Point Two: They all get the WB adjustments as needed, and I will also play with the histogram white and blck points and a little bit of gamma / contrast index. I will also save the raw file changes, back into the raw files. (I can undo at a later date in Canon DPP)

To post process in PS, I just have DPP transfer to Photoshop. And I do PP there. Once finished, I will save the image to a TIFF in a \\Publish\Print folder three versions original layered TIFF in 8x12, flattened 8x12 and a flattened 8x10 (cropped).

Point Three: All post processed files get saved here, with no folder hierarchy other than, \\Publish\Print or \\Publish\Web.

Point Four: Published files still have the file name set from the first steps of the workflow, to maintain a backward convention to allow me to find the negative. At least in part of the end filename; it contains the complete negative filename.

I am warry about this workflow for several reasons, mostly it seems clunky. Also, there is duplication between Inbox and Working folders after I backup the negatives. The Publish folder seems a bit, underpowered too.

Is there anyone that has gone through this situation and come out with a good workflow technique that is safe and efficient?

Best regards,

CN

If I follow you correctly, I'm counting 5 copies of each good image, plus one copy of each image that doesn't make the grade, all on your hard drive.

Once you've weeded out the chaff, I don't see the need to keep the full set of originals on your hard drive. You already have them on DVD. I might make a 2nd DVD, but at that point, you're just taking up space on your drive with files you do not plan to access.

You could also save only one tiff file for each. Just keep the layered PP'd file, then crop as/when needed.

Those two things would whittle it down to 2 versions of each file. Not sure if that's the kind of input you're looking for.
02/27/2006 08:16:43 PM · #6
Absolutely, there are multiple copies of essentially the same image on the hard drive. That is part of the problem. Getting rid of the digital negatives once they are burned is something I am going to do.

Also, while reading your reply I came across this idea: Once it's burned to the DVD, I can RAW Convert THAT file to a TIFF, in another location and then PP that in PS.

I would still have duplicates (one RAW WB, and one PP TIFF). But I think that is more managable. I can't really idealize getting rid of the RAW files that I am converting quite yet.

I am a bit warry about using one file for the end crops. I am afraid of cropping and leaving it like that, with the lost data forever lost at that stage. (Yeah I could re-post-process the negative)

What I want to maintain is a data workflow that at any stage you can easily get to the immediate previous stage or earlier stage.

I.e. In a layered TIFF, I do each WF step in a new layer. I can hide the top layers revelling the previous steps. From there you can go back to a 'source' directory and get the RAW file that is WB / Levels adjusted. From there you can get back to the negative.

Hmmmm....

In thinking here, (and understanding what you are indicating) it seems that I can do everything in TWO directory / files. One is the RAW file that once backed up it can be manipulated without copying it. From the converter Convert and Save to a TIFF in the same or another directory.

Thanks for the info. it's helped.

-CN

Message edited by author 2006-02-27 22:05:09.
02/27/2006 11:11:44 PM · #7
I keep two or three copies of each file on my hard drive, depending on how much manipulation I have done. My directory structure looks like this:
Originals\Raw Files\2006\2006-02
Working Files\2006\2006-02
Final Images\{Various categories and sub-categories}

My workflow goes something like this. I move files from my camera's memory card to the appropriate location under Originals\Raw Files. I then rename the files with the date and serial number. For example, DSC_7085.NEF becomes 20060227 7085.NEF.

One of the great things about RAW files is that they can be manipulated without affecting the original file. An additional file with the same file name and an XMP extension is created in the same folder. It is the XMP file that gets overwritten if additional changes are made. The original NEF never changes. I open each RAW file and make any necessary adjustments using Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). I don't delete any of my RAW files, but many never go beyond this stage.

From this point, if the image is worth keeping, I either save the file in the Unsorted sub-directory of my Final Images folder or I open it in Photoshop CS2 for additional editing. If I work on the image in Photoshop, I save the PSD file in the appropriate sub-directory of my Working Files directory then I save a flattened version into my Final Images/Unsorted folder.

Final images stay in my Unsorted folder until I have modified the EXIF data with a title, my name, copyright info, and key words. Then they are moved to the appropriate folder based on subject matter.

As for backups, I periodically copy my NEFs and final images to DVD.

Message edited by author 2006-02-27 23:13:08.
02/28/2006 12:39:37 PM · #8
Most of your workflow will depend entirely on the software you choose. Currently I use Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw & Photoshop.

I have two 80GB external drives (P: & X:) I use for photo storage. I also have a nightly backup job that copies everything from P: to X:, the X: drive is my primary backup.

1) Copy RAW files from the card to an 'Inbox' folder on my editing workstation.
* I do not have a card reader on my primary editing machine, eventually the RAW files will skip the Inbox and go directly to:

2) I then file those RAW images in an event folder that looks something like: P:/Photos/YYYY/[MM-DD] EVENT

3) I 'Bridge' though the files and make ACR edits to those that have promise. This creates a XMP file next to the RAW photo.

4) I create a '_shots' folder inside the event folder and move any RAW files without a corresponding XMP file here. These are images I won't bother with right away.

5) I then move back to bridge and rate the top-level RAW files.

6) Any Photoshop edits get saved back to the same event folder with the same filename but as a PSD.

7) If I create any other formats, they are also tagged with a purpose, format, size and sometimes title. Purpose could be 'dpchallenge', 'flickr', 'portfolio' etc. Format is P or W for 300 and 72 ppi respectively. Size is the longest dimension in inches for P and pixels for W,.

When all this is done, I would have something like this for the most editied photos:

/2006/[02-25] Portfolio Shoot/_2254985.orf
/2006/[02-25] Portfolio Shoot/_2254985.xmp
/2006/[02-25] Portfolio Shoot/_2254985.psd
/2006/[02-25] Portfolio Shoot/_2254985 dpchallenge W640.jpg
/2006/[02-25] Portfolio Shoot/_2254985 flickr W1024.jpg
/2006/[02-25] Portfolio Shoot/_2254985 (Emily & Carrie) portfolio P11.psd

8) I then regularly burn off DVDs of the event folders

My primary goals of my workflow are:
1) Never change anything (all edits are saved as new files, use adjustement layers, save layered PSDs)
2) All files should contain the original RAW filename for easy association.
3) All files from the same RAW file should, for the most part, live in the same directory
4) Keep at least two copies of everything
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