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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The DAM Book Workflow Video Training CDs

by Joe Reifer

Peter Krogh is the author of The DAM Book: Digital Asset Management for Photographers. Recently I've had a chance to watch The DAM Book Workflow Videos, and picked up some great tips and techniques.

Librarian by day, photographer by night
I have a degree in Library and Information Science, and have worked as a Librarian for the last 10 years. I was once introduced with the tag line, "Librarian by day, photographer by night." I spent the first half of 2006 refining my rather meticulous workflow based on The DAM Book, which I found to be well grounded in sound information management principles. After a lot of testing and experimentation, a slightly modified version of the Adobe Bridge and iView workflow in the book works quite well for me.

Read the book, then watch the videos
If you're an experienced Adobe Bridge and iView user, The DAM Book Workflow videos might be helpful on their own. Regardless of your DAM skills, reading the book first will be helpful, and also serve as a handy reference tool when watching the videos. The videos come in a DVD box and consist of two CDs in QuickTime format. Both CDs go through an entire workflow starting with setting up your Bridge and iView preferences. Peter then walks you through his workflow—from downloading the images all the way to the preparing for client delivery, web upload, and printing.

The first workflow is for images shot under variable light, and the second workflow offers tips for studio images shot under controlled light. Each major workflow component is a separate video, which makes the videos load quickly and provides a nice pace for learning.

Both sets of workflow videos are a little over 2 hours long. There is some duplication between the topics covered on the two discs—I found it best to watch the entire first disc, and then skip around in the second one. Workflow one includes an excellent 20 minute long video devoted to Adobe Camera RAW, and a 15 minute video on DNG conversion. The first workflow concentrates on reviewing and rating images in Bridge, and the second workflow covers multiple ways to review and rate images in iView.

DAM Tips and Tricks
The pace of the videos is relaxed and the tone is casual. During the first viewing, I found myself pausing the videos quite often to take notes or tweak a setting here or there. Over the next few weeks I made some adjustments to smooth out my workflow. A few weeks later I picked up a few new techniques by watching the videos again. Here's a good example of a time-saving technique I now use all the time: before watching the videos I would use the Find command in iView to create groups of images according to their star ratings. I learned in the video that I could simply make the star ratings visible in iView's Catalog Fields panel, and now accomplish this task with one or two clicks.

Another great tip I picked up is how Peter sets up folders and program file aliases in the Finder Favorites panel on the Mac. This little adjustment has allowed me to stay more organized when moving files through the workflow, and I can open files in Bridge or iView much more quickly by just dragging and dropping. These nuanced workflow improvements offer everyday time savings that really add up.

If you are using or considering a Bridge to iView workflow, these videos offer an excellent system for managing your images, and time saving tips and shortcuts that make it well worth the $100 price tag. You can see sample videos on

If you're not using iView as your cataloging program, I still highly recommend reading The DAM Book. Before making any important decisions about cataloging software, visit the forums over at for a balanced, long term view of how iView stacks up against some of the new contenders in workflow software like Aperture and Lightroom.

Posted by: JOE REIFER


Blogger Jake said...

I have been using his techniques since i first bought his book (when it came out) - however, since lightroom came out - i have been using that instead to manage my images and am looking forward to any tips from him on this topic...does the video cover this?


10:54 AM  
Blogger Joe Reifer said...

Hi Umesh -

The videos do not cover Lightroom. I have been playing with Lightroom since it was called Shadowland. While Lightroom is an impressive RAW converter, the cataloging functionality is not as fully featured as iView in some key areas.

The ups and downs of using Lightroom for DAM are covered quite thoroughly over in the DAM Book Lightroom forums. There are some interesting ideas for integrating Lightroom into a workflow where iView is still used for Cataloging.

I plan to continue using the Bridge, Adobe Camera RAW, and iView until Lightroom's DAM capabilities are expanded. I'm hoping that Lightroom becomes a viable option for me soon, as I'm worried about the transition of iView over to Microsoft.



11:30 AM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Peter Krogh deserves to have a statue erected in his likeness in some California public park for bringing digital imaging's dirty little secret to daylight. His DAM book is a seminal work and his willingness to facilitate and undertake ongoing dialog with the general public on his site is wonderful.

He is, however, in real jeopardy of becoming a marginalized "Peter Who?" ex-pundit. His steadfast and rather exclusive devotion to iView Media Pro is diminishing his credibility and appeal. Having used iView MP for nearly 2 years I understand this devotion. Nothing comes close to its cataloging capabilities.

Unfortunately, iView MP is rapidly fading into history and headed for membership in the same "I yoosta own this place" club to which WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 are emeritus members. It's the world's best fish scaling knife in a world increasingly dominated by multi-tools.

The Lightroom / Aperture integrated model will win the market and in so doing will subsume the 1-trick ponies. Further darkening iView MP's future is its recent acquisition by Microsoft.

In my opinion, having read through many of Krogh's remarks on his forum, he needs to get with the program. Stop with the, "I don't have time to elaborate but Lightroom's DAM sucks" baloney and herald the newcomers. Whether or not they are yet as capable as iView MP is not the point. (No, they're not, but Lightroom's DAM is good enough for my needs and much, much simpler to manage.)

My thoughts in case Peter is reading.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Mike Johnston said...

"iView MP is rapidly fading into history and headed for membership in the same "I yoosta own this place" club to which WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 are emeritus members"

Don't forget my old friend WordStar/WriteNow of sainted memory...

Down With Word,


5:51 PM  
Blogger Joe Reifer said...

Hi Ken -

My hope is that the improvements in Lightroom's DAM capabilities will happen before iView loses relevance. I'm going to stick with iView through the end of 2007, and then assess the state of my DAM options.

Aperture is not a viable choice because it's a closed system. Ironically, one of the great things about iView is it provides an exit strategy -- you can take all of your cataloging work with you when migrating to another program. Right now there just isn't quite anywhere better to go.

I would also like to see Peter more formally address the DAM deficiencies in Lightroom in a single post. I will meditate on this question a bit as well. Keep an eye on my blog for updates.

And Mike, I remember using WordStar back in the day, too.



10:21 AM  
Blogger Ken Tanaka said...

Don't forget my old friend WordStar/WriteNow of sainted memory..."

Oh Mike! I did nearly forget Wordstar, the first "word processor" I ever used. I think it was on the good ol' CP-M operating system, wasn't it? I think I recall using Wordsar on either an Osborne "luggable" computer or a Radio Shack TRS-80, eh? I was using 8" "floppy" discs...which really were floppy!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Dave New said...

Heh. Back in the 'stone age' (when we used 8-bit processors and CP/M), my editor(s) of choice was 'ed' (the string text editor that came with CP/M)and/or 'WordMaster' (predecessor to 'WordStar' by the same company).

But, I digress 8-).

I'd say the first one that comes up with an equivalent 'Peter Krogh Workflow(tm)' for Lightroom (will probably require scripts/macros/extensions) will win the brass ring.

Maybe it will be Peter himself, if he still has the passion in him to make it happen...

11:15 AM  
Blogger Joe Reifer said...

Peter is teaching a week long workshop at Santa Fe next week -- I don't think his passion for DAM issues is in question. A best case scenario would be for him to work with Adobe to improve Lightroom's DAM capabilities.



3:07 PM  
Blogger Shayne Bowman said...

fyi... Peter is an alpha tester for Adobe on Lightroom and other products. they definitely have had his input on the development of Lightroom.
(see this page)

the reason Peter has stood steadfast with iView MediaPro is that it's the only product that offers an effective DAM solution in his workflow. I'm sure that Lightroom will develop to fit that bill at some point. However, in it's current incarnation, it doesn't completely fulfill his requirements. as soon as Lightroom fits the bill, I'm sure he will make it well known that he considers it a viable alternative in The DAM Book workflow. to quote a recent post on his forums, "Lightroom's management capabilities are significantly inferior to iView. While I expect it to eventually get there, in v1, it will be lacking IMO."
(see post)

7:55 AM  

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