The only graphics software that I dislike more than Picasa … you didn’t know there was one, did you? … is Adobe Photoshop Elements Organizer. This one actually makes me angry because Adobe has the audacity to sell you an upgrade every year.
Adobe PSE Organizer is not a photo organizer. It’s a pre-school platform for selling you photo prints.
Way back about ten years ago before The Organizer was The Organizer it was Photoshop Album Starter Edition with an option to upgrade to something else. As I recall there wasn’t much to it, just a place for them to advertise. Its single organizational ability was to create tags and drop them on photos. And nothing’s changed! It’s the same old-same old version after version.
OK, they have, finally, all these years later, stopped stripping the maker notes out of digital pictures. Thank God for small miracles. The only other change is making the interface black because black looks more uppity. Supposedly.
The advertising has become more sophisticated, meaning there’s more of it. Order your prints, order photo books, order this, order that, upgrade to online storage, blah, blah.
As far as the alleged Organizer goes, (and I’m quite sure that name was chosen by some devious soul for the sole purpose of confusing us about its purpose) – first of all, there is absolutely no point in ‘cataloging’ your images. All that happens is that you become totally dependent on regularly returning to the Organizer.
Once your images are ‘cataloged’ (i.e. put in prison) you can’t rename or move images outside of the Organizer without breaking the links to them. In order to re-link the images, the Organizer has to search your drive again to find them. And what for really? So, you can click on the time-line when you’re not busy re-linking your images?
(I’ve never actually made it this far because the Organizer has invariably crashed before it’s found them.)
And what do you need a time-line for? If your photos are already in dated folders you’ve already got a time-line.
Ah, the pre-digital scanned images you’re thinking? You don’t want to go there. You can alter the dates on scanned images, one at a time, or a few at a time but if the program crashes, or if you want to view this information somewhere else, you won’t be able to because it’s proprietary to Adobe. Sure, it’s vaguely interesting to be able to see all the dates on your time-line but if you want this information to last, put it under “Caption” instead.
Oh, by the way, do not forget to go to ‘File/Write Keyword Tags and Properties Info to Photos’ each time before you leave the Organizer because if you don’t all your changes will go ‘poof’ in the wind. The Organizer will not give you a message to save your work or any indication that files have been changed. It’s all on you to remember.
So, to recap – what you’ve got here is the ability to create tags (keywords) and drop them onto your photos. If you’re tagging your ancestors, and I guess that would be the point, you’ll get such a long list of tags it will take forever to scroll through them and it just sucks the fun right out of it. Been there, done that.
You can add a caption in the Properties box or you can click through your pictures one at a time in a larger view and add captions. And that’s it. End of the road. Unless you want to make scrapbook things and order scrapbook things to be printed.
I’ve tried really hard with several different photos and can’t get the integrated map to show anything. And my photos are well tagged with GPS and full addresses from other software. Nada. Just a solid white sidebar. Same thing if I try to place a new photo on the map. There is no map.
IPTC fields other than keywords and caption; useful things like source, copyright, caption writer, headline, address, photographer, etc., are hidden in the back of beyond in the other half of Adobe PSE called the Editor and can only be accessed one photo at a time. No batch-mode for anything.
So, open one photo in the Editor, root around looking for ‘File Info’, scroll through 13 (count ’em, 13) tabs wondering which ones to use. Unless you have the time for this kind of approach … no-one who knows anything about metadata would use this for annotating their photos. You’d have to be a masochist.
Meanwhile, back at the Organizer, this is …. can you see it? …. the arrow that leads to the main menu; File, Edit, View and all that. I can’t actually see it when I’m sitting. I have to stand up and look really hard or flail around with my cursor hoping to hit it by accident.
After you’ve imported a few hundred or thousand photos and you’re looking for something, the only things you can search for are captions, dates or file-names. It doesn’t care at all about other information that may already be embedded in your photos from other software or may be someday.
Whatever photos you import or drag&drop into the Organizer become what is called a ‘catalog’ and you have to remember to back up it up regularly or you’ll be starting all over again should a problem arise. What that’s going to give you is a duplicate of all your photos cluttering up your hard-drive. Why do you need duplicates of your photos on the same hard-drive? You don’t. I have 80GB of photos. I don’t want a second set. And there’s not a chance in Hell I’m burning 80GB of photos to DVD every time I make a change.
I’m only looking at v.9, aggravated by bad memories of a couple of previous versions and egged on by Geoff Rasmussen’s recommendation of it in a Legacy webinar yesterday. Apparently, v.10 has added the option to search similar objects but it’s reputed to not work very well. The usual. More gimmicks.
Adobe PSE Editor is good and I’ve used it a lot. It’s restored more ancestor photos than I’d care to remember. I think the Editor alone is worth the purchase price and one version should be enough to last you a lifetime. Just don’t be deluded into thinking you’re getting a functional Organizer as part of the deal.
I would rather inspire you with good software than take the time to analyze junk and tell you why it’s junk. I just end up having a bad day and passing it on.
I’ve tried to like Adobe PSE Organizer and I just don’t. It seriously needs to grow up. If they would move ‘File Info’ out of the Editor into the Organizer where it belongs, take out the useless cataloging concept, add GPS functionality, batch-mode for renaming and annotating, build a decent search engine into it and do it with some class, one might be able to call it an organizer. But then they’d want $800 for it and still a way of enticing you to upgrade every year.