Question about assign Top Item in stacks

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Joined: 26 Dec 21 23:07

Question about assign Top Item in stacks

Post by marklevine »

Dear fellow users,

I've been struggling for months on how to resolve a niggling issue in my workflow. Perhaps someone can help. The problem has to do with assigning the top item of my stacks. I'd like this to happen automatically but I cannot figure out how to set up my preferences. Is it even possible, I wonder?

I shoot RAW+JPG and, when importing into PSU, I create a stack for each image (on the advice of Hert). The initial stack top is the JPG. This is perfect because it allows me to select multiple stacks to display in the Light Table for culling. Within the stack, the JPG has a stack marker called "JPG sidecar" and the RAW has a stack marker called "Raw". This is all working perfectly.

Two image stack: photo.JPG, photo.RAF

For discussion purposes, suppose the base filename of an image is "photo". When I want to edit an image, I click the "Raw" stack marker to bring "photo.RAF" to the top of the stack, then click the icon to edit in PhotoLab. Once editing is complete, I export one or more images depending on my wants. Typically I will create one new version called "photo-edited.jpg", along with another called "photo-instagram.jpg". This means that I typically have three- or four-image stacks.

Three image stack: photo-edited.jpg, photo.JPG, photo.RAF

Four image stack: photo-edited.jpg, photo-instagram.jpg, photo.jpg, photo.RAF

I've listed the items within the stack in the order that I want them to appear in the stack. That is, I want the JPG sidecar to be the top item in a two-image stack and I want the edited image to be the top of larger stacks. Also, I have a stack marker called "Edited" and another called "Instagram" which control access to the additional versions. I've also created a stack marker called "All JPGs" which is assigned to every single JPG in the stack. I would like to eliminate "All JPGs" eventually

There are three ways that I assign the Top Item of a stack:

1. When I import into the catalog, the top item ought to be "photo.JPG". This is working correctly.

2. When I verify the folder for missing files, the top item ought to be "photo-edited.jpg".

3. When I click the Raw stack marker and press Stack Detection, the top item ought to be "photo-edited.jpg".

I can get most of this working except for the Four image stack, which assigns the Instagram version to the top. This is bad because the instagram version is down-sized and not usable for culling and comparing.

The problems might be arising from how PhotoLab exports files. I have begun to suspect that the order of the Export Options might affect the image characteristics on disk. Currently the PhotoLab export option that controls the creation of "photo-edited.jpg" is the first option in the Options list of the Export dialog box. Perhaps it should be the last option but then it would scroll out of view.

In any case, I think that the order of masks in the Custom File Mask used in the "Stack top item detection method" setting ought to control this but I CANNOT get it to work properly. I think that PSU is using the same code to parse custom file masks when performing two very different methods: assigning Stack Markers and setting top items. When assigning markers, the algorithm should keep going to assign as many markers as apply. When assigning top items, the algorithm should stop as soon as a match is made (in the case of first hit wins) or should keep going (in the case of last hit wins). Neither seems to be the case, in my endless experimentation.

So... Can anyone help me? I would like to set up custom file masks for each Stack Marker, as well as a top item detection method that always works.

Also note annoyingly, there is a very common case where I have a dozen stacks selected. All the stacks have the Instagram image set as top item. To correct this, I must go one-by-one, selecting the edited marker and then clicking set to top in the stack's hamburger menu, because the action of setting top item doesn't work on multiple selections.

Wow, if you can get through this long post, kudos to you! I hope I've made the issue clear and I hope there is a solution. Later I will try to change the order of the export options in PhotoLab and post back here if a PSU workaround exposes itself.
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