The Case for Multiple Photoshop Elements Catalogs

My general advice to my students is to use only one Catalog. Do not be tempted to organize your photos into different Catalogs. The Organizer of Photoshop Elements provides a number of ways to help you. The obvious one is to use Categories as a way to separate your media. For example, you could define one high level Category to business photos and another one for your personal photos. And then use Sub-Categories, and Keyword Tags to refine your organization structure beneath each of your two Categories.

Another possibility is to use folders to keep your personal pictures separate from those devoted to your business. Given the significant improvements made to the Folder View in PSE 11/12, this approach has some real merit, especially if you are comfortable using folders and files to organize your other documents. Even Albums and Album Groups can be used.

Any of these methods or a combination of them can be used to organize your media, so that you can find a given item quickly, without the added complications arising from using multiple catalogs.

Well, I’m afraid I do not always practice what I preach, is illustrated in the figure below from clicking on File > Manage Catalogs in my installation of PSE 12.

Blog post 12-5-13-2

I rationalize my use of multiple Catalogs in a variety of ways. After all, I teach Photoshop classes and sometimes I need a Catalog devoted to that. At some point, I felt I needed a separate Catalog just for my video files, or one just for testing. I even have a Catalog that only contains MP3 files I have downloaded over the years – this one has proven quite useful, by the way.

But by and in the large, I have more Catalogs than I need and this has made my life more complicated than need be. Granted, one large Catalog does require long back-up times when using the PSE Backup command. And there are certain dangers of putting all of those photos into the same basket.

All that being said, I recently made yet another Catalog, and it has worked out quite well. Recently, my high school graduating class celebrated our 50th Reunion, and I volunteered to produce a DVD to commemorate the reunion weekend, as well as highlighting what life was like back in the early 60s for us. As part of this project, several of my fellow classmates submitted their pictures to be part of the DVD. Additionally there were photos from our high school years, as well as Super 8 movies. All and all, I had over five hundred files from which to choose for inclusion on our DVD. The project grew to include more than seven hundred items by the time the DVD was completed.

 Blog post 12-5-13-1

I have been active on this project for a couple of months. During that time, I have also been taking a ton of personal pictures that I import into my prime photo Catalog. Using a new Catalog for the photos, videos, and music files for my reunion project made keeping everything straight much easier. I used the Backup command quite often throughout the project, since I was constantly changing the content and versions of the photos and video clips quite often. Backing up my prime photo Catalog (about 40K items) takes between three and four hours, while backing up my project catalog takes a matter of minutes.

Now that the project is winding down, and the DVD is completed, another advantage of using a separate catalog is becoming apparent. I have already begun to delete a lot of the content that I did not use to make the DVD. I will retain the photo CDs that were contributed by fellow classmates. Also, the pictures/videos that I took that became part of the project were Exported from my prime Catalog, so they are still part of that. As part of my final wrap-up of this project, I will Move all of the media in the reunion catalog to a DVD or Blu-Ray disk, using the File > Copy/Move to Removable Drive command. I will retain the Catalog, but the disk space it takes will be quite small. If I ever want to resurrect the project, it will be quite simple to get the media back.

So, there is a time and place for using multiple Catalogs. Just don’t overdo it as one could argue I have.

An Aside: As of right now, my initial backup to Carbonite is 56% complete with about 7,550 files to go. See my prior post on this subject.


Photoshop Elements 11: The Organizer Revisited eBook

Collage for Cover

Some of you may know that I wrote and published an eBook, Photoshop Elements: The Organizer” about a year or so ago. It essentially covers the Organizer in all versions of Elements up through PSE 10. It is still available on Amazon.

Adobe drastically changed the look and feel of Elements when they released PSE 11 last year. During the summer,I began updating the eBook for PSE 11, and just completed it. As they have consistently done, Adobe released PSE 12 about a month ago. Fortunately for me, the user interface of the new version is virtually the same. My eBook is based on PSE 11, but I did include a bonus chapter at the end that overviews the significant changes in PSE 12’s Organizer.

Both books cover only the Organizer, because I feel it does not get nearly the coverage it should within the many other books that have been written on Photoshop Elements over the years.

If you would like to take a look at it on Amazon, Click Here.

Let me know in the comments section below what you think. Thanks.

Processing RAW Images – PVNET Class Preview

The subject 5-week class will be taught at PVNET adjacent to the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall beginning October 30th.

This YouTube video previews the class.

To register for the class, click on the following link.

Introduction to Photoshop Elements 11 Class Starts Soon

South Bay Adult School

Getting Started With Adobe Photoshop Elements 11

Are you totally new to Photoshop Elements and would like to quickly learn how to begin using the program effectively? Are you currently using an older version and are a bit mystified be its new look and feel? If so, this short class is for you. It will teach you what you need to know to get started with both the photo Organizer and the photo Editor module. This class provides an excellent foundation for you to further explore this feature rich program on your own or by taking more focused and advanced classes if desired.

Mondays 5:00-7:00 pm, beginning October 21, 2013 (5 Meetings)

New Digital Photography Class Coming to PV NET

Beginning on October 30th, I will be teaching a course on how to take and process Camera RAW photos. The course is targeted for those of you who do your photo editing using a laptop computer running Photoshop Elements 11 or other recent version. However, for those who use a desktop PC for your photo editing, you are welcome to use the PV NET computers running Photoshop Elements 8. Click on the link below to learn more about the class. I hope you can join us.

Working with Camera RAW Images on Your Laptop

South Adult School’s Fall Catalog Now Online

The South Bay Adult School’s fall catalog is now online, and online registration is open. After the page opens, use your mouse scroll wheel to thumb through the pages. My classes are on Page 14.

Should You Upgrade to Photoshop Elements 11?

PSE 11 Welcome Screen

Since Photoshop Elements 11 (PSE 11) has been released I have posted videos overviewing the new look of the Organizer and the Editor. I also posted a video that described its new features.

If you are currently using an older version of Elements, should you update to the new version? If you have never invested in Photoshop Elements is this the time to take the plunge?

What follows is basically what I’ve been telling my students when asked. My thoughts have not changed much since learning that I will be teaching PSE 11 at the South Bay Adult School beginning in January. Upgrading to PSE 11 may not be for everyone.

Also, if you decide to sit this upgrade out or upgrade to PSE 10 to stay with the classic look, you may find my ebook, Photoshop Elements: The Organizer to be a very useful reference. It’s available on Amazon for the iPad or Kindle Fire.

You are Brand New to Photoshop Elements

If this is you, and you want to begin using Elements, buying PSE 11 is definitely the way to go. There is no doubt that this is the future direction of the program. Since Adobe put a lot of effort into the layout and workflows to make the program easier to use, you most likely will find coming up to speed easier than if you had purchased PSE 10 a year ago.

You Bought PSE 10 and are Actively Using it

Historically Adobe releases a new upgrade to Elements every fall. This has been their practice for the past many years. Unless you are like me, and strive to have the latest version of the prime programs you use frequently, my usual advice is to think about upgrading every couple of years. Generally, the added features and correction of existing bugs warrant spending another $80 or so.

Converting your Catalog to a new version is basically automatic. You should have no problems, as long as your Catalog on the older version is in good shape with no photo disconnect issues etc.

So if you are using PSE 10, you could skip this release and wait for PSE 12, but this time things are different. In previous years, to help people decide whether or not to upgrade to the very next version, my advice was to suggest that they review the new features to see if one or more of them was something they would really benefit from.

Generally speaking, the older the version you are using, the more you will benefit from upgrading. For example, let’s assume that you are actively using PSE 6, and are comfortable with the program and what it does for you and have no desire or time to learn a new program. If that is you, I would upgrade now to PSE 10, before you can no longer find it in stores or from reparable dealers on the internet. In fact I would do this regardless of what version I was currently using, including PSE 9, if I did not want to go the new look and feel in PSE 11.

You have Elements But Have Never Really Used It

If this is your case, you probably never became comfortable with it or spent the time to learn it. Maybe its user interface looked too complicated or your first efforts to use it were frustrating. You do not have much or invested in the program. In my opinion, if you still have a need to protect and keep track of all of those photos from your digital camera, upgrading to PSE 11 is a good move, regardless of what previous version of PSE you own. Again the new look and feel may be just what you need.

You Are a Heavy User of Elements With a Large Catalog of Photos

This is certainly my situation. I have over 35K images and videos in my Catalog that I have imported over the past ten years or so. During that entire time, the look and the feel of the program was pretty much the same. Being a volunteer beta tester for Adobe, I had the opportunity to work with PSE 11 for the past many months as it evolved into what was finally released in October.

Frankly coming up to speed was difficult for me. Old habits and workflows die hard. I converted my existing Catalog to PSE 11 a few months ago. I have had to do a lot of relearning, but the effort has been worth it. I still do not know how to take full advantage of every feature now included in the Organizer, but as I use it, I like it more and more.

What really helped me come up to speed with the PSE 11’s Organizer was Adobe provided the appropriate capabilities that allow me to ease in to the new way of doing things.

I took the plunge. This path may not b for you. That is a question only you can answer.

Final Thoughts for Now

Almost everything above focuses on the Organizer. But remember, PSE also consists of the Photo Editor mode as well.

It too has undergone a major redesign and sports a new and presumably easier to use interface. However, I personally did not have much trouble adapting to the Editor in PSE 11. I had to look for buttons in different places and things of that nature, but the commands themselves and their dialogs pretty much stayed the same. I was able to concentrate on using its new features.

So, I have told you what I think. Leave a comment, and let me know your thoughts regarding upgrading to PSE 11. Are you planning to do so? What version are you using now? Is it easier to use? How easy has it been to adapt to the new look?

Also, if you found my comments helpful, let me know that too.

Photoshop Elements eBook Available from Amazon

Those you who have followed my blog for awhile, know that I self-published an eBook called Photoshop Elements: The Organizer, which was available on my website as a PDF file. I sold a number of copies in this format. It is now available from Amazon for the Kindle Fire or iPad. I believe it is also available for the standard Kindle, but two-hundred or so color figures would be displayed in black and white. In its original format, it was about 170 pages. I have no idea how that translates to screens on a mobile device.

You can download a sample chapter and preview the book by Clicking HERE. Even if you do not have a Kindle/iPad, I would appreciate if you go to the Amazon page and click on the LIKE button. Because of the publishing requirements with Amazon, the PDF version is no longer available on my website.

Be Careful Moving Files in Elements

My Photoshop Elements Catalog has gone through multiple back-up/Restore, conversion, and rename changes over the past twelve years. Additionally, its physical location and that of the photos themselves have also changed.

My hard drives that contain the photos and videos are not that well organized. That does not really matter to PSE, it has no problem quickly sorting through the rubble to find me the picture I want.

But I do want to get my drives somewhat organized. It’s one of my goals for the new year. The primary tool I use is the Move command in the Organizer. I also make use of the Folder Location view to do this task. I do not use the drag and drop method in this view for a couple of reasons. First, I am not good at the technique, often dropping the files into the wrong folder. Secondly, I have heard there is/was a bug in some versions of PSE that under certain conditions, duplicate files can be deleted without warning if they are in the destination folder when you you use the drag and drop method.

So I have relied on the Move command, and almost and stay away from the situation where I move an image from one folder to another that has an image with the same file name.

Recent Problem

As part of my efforts to clean up my disk drives I did move several videos from one folder to anther. Apparently, there was a copy of those files  Or files with the same name) already in the destination folder. No files were deleted, but it appears a “-1” was added to the file name of the file that was originally in the folder. But the shot date of the file (the date you see in the Organizer) was changed, by a few days, (not to the move date) however. Because it was a surprise, I did not document the details. I tried to duplicate what I had done in a test Catalog, but I could not.

So as I write this, my understanding of the problem is incomplete at best. That be as it may, I wanted to fill you in on my experience and what I do know. I plan to look into this more fully and I’m sure there are a lot of forum threads where similar problems have been discussed.

I will continue to use the Move command. It has served me well for many years. But I will make darn sure the destination folder does not contain files with the same name.

By the way, I have purposely used “same file name” and not duplicate here. One reason I did is that my 7D camera filenames are over 8000 now. At 10,000 it will restart the counter.

I always welcome your comments to  these posts. But this time I really hope one of you reading this can help share your knowledge on this problem. Or if you have seen something similar happening to you, please share your experiences.

If you like this post and want to see others, please click on the Like and/or give it a high number of stars.

Thanks for dropping by.

Check Out My New Photoshop Elements: The Organizer eBook

As many of you know, I have been using Photoshop Elements from its beginning, which must be over ten years now. I began using its Organizer when it was first introduced in PSE 3. To manage my images before that, I used  Adobe’s Photoshop Album, which became the Organizer with PSE 3’s introduction.

Over the years my photo and video collection has grown to over 33,000 items. PSE’s Organizer is not perfect (no software program is), but it has served me well for a long time. Although there have been many excellent Photoshop Elements books over the past ten years, almost all of them devote most of their coverage to its editing capabilities. Michael Slater wrote what I feel to be the definitive book covering the Organizer (Organize Your Photos With Adobe Photoshop Elements 3), but it was written when PSE 3 was first introduced.

I decided last summer to write an eBook strictly devoted to the Organizer. I have been using and teaching it for the past ten years. Don’t get me wrong, my intent was not to replace Slater’s book. I do not cover every detail and feature within the program. Instead, I have tried to focus on those things that I have used over and over throughout the years, and which I feel are the most important.

That being said, my eBook ended up taking longer to complete and grew in size more than I had envisioned. It ended up containing eight chapters, consisting of over 160 pages and 200 illustrations. Please click on the following link to find out more about my eBook and how you can purchase it.

Photoshop Elements: The Organizer