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Photo Mechanic 2.0r14 for Mac posted  
Tuesday, June 5, 2001 | by
In what should be a boon for news organizations with strict photo naming conventions, or any photographer looking to accelerate the image captioning process, Photo Mechanic 2.0r14 Lite and Pro for Mac add the ability to use variable substitution for both file renaming and IPTC captioning. That's the most noticeable change in a software revision filled with under-the-hood changes to fix bugs, markedly improve the handling of large files, add support for the Nikon D1X's JPEGs and TIFFs, and provide near-seamless integration with the JobMinder photo assignment tracking system (Pro version only).

Speeding up captioning with variables

The latest release of Photo Mechanic supports a whopping 52 variables ranging from the current date to shutter speed. By placing a variable phrase inside curly braces - { } - Photo Mechanic knows to swap in the actual value during a renaming or captioning operation. This enable IPTC tricks that previously required altogether too much manual labour, such as making the IPTC Object Name field match the file name. In the simple example below, Photo Mechanic's IPTC Stationery Pad has been set to place the file name of the photo being captioned, minus its extension (.JPG, .TIF, etc.), into Object Name. The variable {filenamebase} does that. For good measure, the file date in the caption field will be extracted from the picture itself, courtesy of the {datesort} variable:


Variables in the Object Name and Caption field will be swapped with their
corresponding values when the selected photos are batch captioned

The resulting IPTC information entered into one of the selected quarterback sack photos:


The Object Name and Caption fields after variable substitution has taken place

File renaming can also make use of variables:


File names will morph into 20010604_rg_stamps_001.TIF,
20010604_rg_stamps_002.TIF, etc. after variable substitution

Variables include an extensive list of shooting data too. Here, a variable statement has been placed into the Special Instructions field:


Special Instructions field set to extract ISO,
shutter speed and aperture

And the resulting text after variable substitution:


Special Instructions field after substitution

See the document Variables.pdf in the Photo Mechanic folder after installation for more information on the use of variables, including a complete definition of supported variable strings.

Nikon D1X support, other fixes

Other changes in 2.0r14 include:

  • Fixes and tweaks to support JPEG and TIFFs from the Nikon D1X. Unlike 2.0r13, D1X thumbnails draw properly and key EXIF shooting data is displayed in the preview window, making 2.0r14 a must-have update for users of Nikon's latest digital SLR.

  • Improved memory handling to better support hi-resolution files, including those from the D1X.

  • Integration with the JobMinder photo assignment database (Photo Mechanic Pro only). By enabling an option in preferences, Photo Mechanic can display and edit the information in JobMinder's custom IPTC field 2:199, as well as swap IPTC information with a JobMinder database. The Photo Mechanic Read Me document provides additional information on the use of Photo Mechanic in a JobMinder workflow.

And finally, the Photo Mechanic 2.0r14 Read Me notes the following additional changes (Kodak DCS changes in Pro version only):

...added support for JobMinder assignment tracking system; added Load and Save in the IPTC Info dialog; double-clicking on a Photo Mechanic-saved .IPT file loads the IPTC Stationery pad with the fields in the file; copy operation uses temporary filename during copy to prevent shared access from seeing partial files; added dialog to verify editing more than 5 photos at once in Photoshop (in case of accidental double-click); added QuickTime spooling for large JPEG and TIFF files to reduce memory requirements; the frame number is now derived from the original filename if the frame is not already present in image header, and it is saved with the image even when name is changed; in the renaming options dialog, fixed bug with remembering object name prefix, and added "include filename extension" checkbox on some options (e.g. to make sure object name includes ".JPG"); fixed problems with flip-flopping or non-updating IPTC fields when editing JPEGs saved by other applications/plug-ins that incorrectly write two caption resources; when updating Photoshop-saved JPEGs, the other Photoshop "image resources" are now preserved; removed the '#' from duplicate filenames during renaming; fixed problems with drawing JPEGs from some cameras with large thumbnails (e.g. uncompressed); fixed problem captioning Kodak DCS files already captioned and then copied ("miscellaneous file error 819" again).

Photo Mechanic 2.0r14 Lite or Pro are free updates for registered users of any earlier v2.0 release.

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