Custom input fields: what for? pros and cons?

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vlad
Posts: 895
Joined: 01 Sep 08 15:20

Custom input fields: what for? pros and cons?

Post by vlad » 15 Dec 14 11:04

I find IDimager's video tutorial on custom input fields quite good. It suggests some interesting uses of custom fields, which I haven't considered until now. In particular, it gives the example of defining an Emotions field to describe subjective feelings and states, such as sadness, thinking, wondering. Another example is an Extra Info field to record image content traits (which are not captured by labels and by other metadata, I presume), with blue, water, reflection, yacht mentioned as possible terms. (Any reason to not define them as labels instead?)

I'm suggesting several questions for info gathering and brainstorming:

1) What do you think about the suggested uses?
2) Have you considered or used custom fields as alternatives to labels and keywords? Does a custom field offer any advantage over a label? What about the drawbacks?
3) Is there any reason to map a label to a custom field? If yes, is there any reason to still write the label as a keyword too?
4) I guess there's no way to disable the writing of a custom field to the image metadata (in the physical image or sidecar file). Would the concept of private custom fields, similar to private labels, make sense?
5) Any other notable aspect or mention?

Personally, I am mainly interested in non-professional uses, relevant for an amateur photographer. (I can already imagine how those custom fields can be handy for scientific images, for example.) However, please share whatever thoughts or experience you might have, for the benefit of all users (professionals or not).

Mike Buckley
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Joined: 10 Jul 08 14:18

Re: Custom input fields: what for? pros and cons?

Post by Mike Buckley » 15 Dec 14 13:37

I wouldn't use the examples of the Emotion and Extra Info custom fields explained in the tutorials because I use those descriptive terms as catalog labels. David Riecks is widely considered a leading expert on the use of metadata and his Controlled Vocabulary, which can be automatically imported into Supreme, includes terms that both describe the content (example: more than 50 child labels of "emotion") and about 50 terms that describe non-content (extra info) aspects of the image.

Mke
Posts: 509
Joined: 15 Jun 14 15:39

Re: Custom input fields: what for? pros and cons?

Post by Mke » 15 Dec 14 14:57

Like Mike, I would (and do) use catalog labels for all the kinds of examples given.
Custom labels are best suited to record information that doesn't have any other natural home - maybe details about to whom and for how long you'd licensed the use of an image / licensing conditions / sale price, for example.
Another use might be to get around the current restriction that catalog labels are applied to all versions of a version set. For example, I sometimes have monochrome and color versions of an image in a version set. If I apply a 'monochrome' catalog label then all versions of the images - including the color version - will be labelled 'monochrome'. Personally I'm prepared to live with that annoyance, but I could use a custom field to tag just the monochrome images.
There was also recently someone on this forum who used version sets to collate together various files used in the development of a final composite image; they might find a similar use for custom fields to note details of the individual component images.

David Grundy
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Location: Hong Kong

Re: Custom input fields: what for? pros and cons?

Post by David Grundy » 18 Dec 14 17:18

@Mke: I also consider it useful to use custom input fields as a way to keep info which is specific to versions. At one stage I was experimenting with the idea of using this as a replacement for the placeholder system. Something I was wondering about, but never experimented with: if I send a specific version to my editor of choice (which happens not to be Photo Supreme), and that version has a custom input field (say, "Monochrome") with a specific defined value (say, "Yes") ... and I then save the edited file and bring it in to Photo Supreme as a new version, will the custom input field still be set with the value "Yes" in the new version? Or will the info in the custom field be lost?

I guess it will depend whether my editor preserves the custom fields (which it won't know how to interpret). I suppose for each external editor, this is an empirical question which could be resolved only by trying.

(I use Photoshop CS5. I haven't actually tested this.)
Either way, some care is needed to be sure that version-specific info is maintained/updated correctly when new versions are created from old versions.

Mke
Posts: 509
Joined: 15 Jun 14 15:39

Re: Custom input fields: what for? pros and cons?

Post by Mke » 18 Dec 14 17:48

David Grundy wrote:@Mke: I also consider it useful to use custom input fields as a way to keep info which is specific to versions. At one stage I was experimenting with the idea of using this as a replacement for the placeholder system. Something I was wondering about, but never experimented with: if I send a specific version to my editor of choice (which happens not to be Photo Supreme), and that version has a custom input field (say, "Monochrome") with a specific defined value (say, "Yes") ... and I then save the edited file and bring it in to Photo Supreme as a new version, will the custom input field still be set with the value "Yes" in the new version? Or will the info in the custom field be lost?

I guess it will depend whether my editor preserves the custom fields (which it won't know how to interpret). I suppose for each external editor, this is an empirical question which could be resolved only by trying.

(I use Photoshop CS5. I haven't actually tested this.)
Either way, some care is needed to be sure that version-specific info is maintained/updated correctly when new versions are created from old versions.
The custom field is in the XMP, so in theory any external editor that respects XMP should preserve custom fields. But, as you suggest, I'd also run a test to verify that's the case with your particular editor.

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