Daily Archives: May 3, 2006

Wherein Avaragado relearns just how dumb Adobe can be

I’ve got about 6000 photos squirrelled away — previously in Adobe Photoshop Album 1.0, now in Photoshop Elements 4.0 (well, the trial version anyhow).

My problem: I want to be able to do a simple thing. I want a subset of the gazillion tags I’ve added to those 6000 photos to appear automatically when I upload to Flickr. Please god, don’t make me re-tag.

The solution: well, there’s yer EXIF/IPTC/XMP nonsense, isn’t there. Flickr speaks some or all of those. So All I Need To Do™ is to ensure that the tags I want Flickring are all IPTC’d in the photos I upload.

Simple.

Elements has a “Write Tags to File” command. Which is a true description: any tags on the image at that time are written to the file in both IPTC and XMP formats. But Adobe in its infinite wisdom made the oh-so-brain-dead decision to leave existing tags in the file alone, “just in case”.

What does that mean? It means that if I add a tag, write the tags to the file, then remove the tag, and write the tags to the file again, then the tag I clearly don’t want in the file appears in the file. It is not possible to remove that tag from the file in Elements. See how ranty I am by the inclusion of both bold and italic!

OK, I think. I can work around this. Never use that menu option, clearly, as it clobbers the file for all eternity. Instead there’s an Export option that makes a copy of the file and writes the tags in the copy, not the original. Great, I’ll use that. Slightly more pain, but it’ll do.

Except… at certain not-very-well-understood-by-me times, Elements decides to write the tags to the file anyway. This seems to be when you do something outrageous like, you know, edit the image in Elements itself.

So woe betide you if you edit an image post-tagging, as you’re lumbered with those tags (or a superset) until the sun goes pop or, less likely, Adobe discovers a clue.

Where does this leave me? I downloaded a free tool called PixVue that adds some Windows shell extensions to allow you to add/edit/remove the whole EXIF/IPTC/XMP smorgasbord, on one file or many at once. I can at the very least now strip unwanted tags from the files that Elements has clobbered, assuming I can find them.

I suspect I’ll continue to use Elements, as most of the time it works pretty well. But, sigh, I’ll prop it up using PixVue. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

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