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David Mail

David Mail

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Home page: http://www.pixamba.com

Posts by David Mail

v1.5 Beta released!

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Yesterday we have released v1.5 Beta for Mac OS X. Windows version has been released a few days ago and the feedback I receive is very complimentary meanwhile.

So far so good. It’s the time to get more things done.
While we are collecting the feedback and fixing issues in v1.5 it is a good time to fill in another hole, starting the new project: explanations and documentation for v1.5.
As a beginning, I am thinking of making a few online “how-to” lessons that will be used later as a base for the online guide for PSM.

I believe that we have created a very powerful microstock tool which can boost your revenues to another level while saving hours of your worktime working with multiple online stock photography agencies. However, all these is correct only if the photographer knows how to get the most out of our software.

I really want to show what you can do with PSM v1.5. In this blog the things will probably come in the “back” order, from the most complex stuff to the simplest things, just because I am very keen to show here the most interesting stuff first. We will put all the “how-to”-s in the right order on our web later on, taking the reader step-by-step from the simplest operations to the more complex stuff.

Alamy’ “Novel Use” licensing: go microstock?

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With the fantastic success of microstock agencies in the last few years Novel Use is a native attempt for a traditional stock photography agency like Alamy to follow up this microstock photography wave, and open an additional revenue stream from selling microstock. Just look around – virtually everyone sells microstock credits and subscriptions, why Alamy should not?

Particularly knowing that the competition is tight and a major microstock site made $70 mln revenues last year, followed by others tens-of-mlns-dollars microstocks, does not it make a perfect sense for Alamy trying to follow their success?

Well, I am not sure. At least not with NU idea.

Let me state: it is not about stock photography content. This is exactly my point: stock content does not matter. Content is similar. I can hear your strong “NO!”, but, – come on, forget for a sec all these technical “TIFF+scale-up+keywording” content preparation tricks for the “really high quality stock photos” and just look what the micros sell. Would you agree now? – from the buyers point of view they all sell the same photos and stock illustrations. I know that stock photography content people will never agree to this statement, but the stock imagery buyers just made their votes with their bucks, so it is better to hear the market. You can find content at microstock prices for at least 90% of needs for an industrial buyer. Buyers can choose buying content through Alamy or through a microstock. And surprise 🙂 – stock imaging buyers are already subscribed to 2-4 microstock agencies (InfoTrends marketing research).

So where is the Alamy’s difference on this saturated microstock market? Well, it’s not about the content, it’s about the community. It’s Alamy’s Pros vs microstock Amateurs. Can you sell your community to a buyer? Not sure. Can you sell quite similar content for non-micro prices? Sure you can not, Alamy already knows this answer and therefore NU came out.

However, NU does not takes in account the most important – psychological – factor: for many pros Alamy was an alternative to microstock. NU completely destroys this vision. The last shelter for a stock photographer who keeps screaming “I am not going to sell my images for a buck or two! Never ever!”, this last shelter fails with the NU introduction. Well, probably it should not be so dramatic, but the feeling of many stock photography professionals as they express themselves in Alamy blog and in other places on the Internet is quite similar to that.

That’s why Alamy community strongly disagree to license their images under NU. Their vision is an opposite to microstock amateurs who say “I can get 30 cents per download or nothing if my images will keep sitting on my hard disk. I prefer to be paid”.

In my understanding, NU, which attempts to sell existing “non-micro” content to “microstock-like” buyers is an unnecessarily hard try. Not because Alamy has to educate the market that Alamy sells microstock too, but mostly because Alamy has to educate its own community that Alamy went microstock. And such community education could be a long and not necessarily successful process.

A reasonable alternative to this community education process could be… getting another community, which is willing to contribute stock photos and sell them as microstock. Alamy should expand the contributors base making it easier for amateur photographers to sell stock photos. For the microstock market a stock photography agency needs a microstock community. If Alamy can do that instead of forcing their existing contributors to license stock photos under NU, Alamy definitely gets a good chance to penetrate into the microstock world. Alamy’ brand, the team and the vast agency’s market knowledge supported by the microstock selling community or a resale partner can make the difference.

Stock photography software update, soon

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So, what you can expect in the upcoming version?
Let me give you a brief preview.

As usual, we listen very carefully to our customers, knowing that what they ask for is what they need.
We are working on:

1. Altering file statuses & stock photos upload time, so you can mark any image on your HD as “already uploaded” to some microstock agency. This will help to avoid re-uploads, providing one source for the stock image archive data.

2. Speeding up the images browsing. Like many other application, ProStockMaster will now store the generated thumbnails in the DB, thus making the browsing of the folder fast & efficient.

3. The keywords generation user interface will change, allowing you to play with the list of existing and generated keywords for each new keyword you enter.

4. StockXpert issue is solved in this release.

I am thinking about adding “find a duplicate image” functionality (anyway PSM keeps the images DB and anyway the app knows a lot about each indexed image), but I am not sure that there is a demand for that. Drop me a message/comment if you think it is something required.

We do not plan adding any new stock photography agency this time. Instead, we had to remove Lucky Oliver microstock from the list.
We are checking what else we can do in the short term, not delaying the upcoming release for too long.

We plan releasing the new version of PSM microstock tool in the next few weeks, so stay tuned.

David

Release Notes for v1.5.0

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So far so good, and the Beta for v1.5 is almost finished.
Look at the release notes below.

C’est la vie, as usual software development leads everything – we are a technology-driven company, are not we?
– and we go forward with an exceptional but completely undocumented software. I am going to build a series of how-to’s for v1.5 very soon. Hopefully, the first one will be ready this week yet.

Release Notes for version 1.5.0
August 2008

This is a major software release which adds many new functions,  improves software stability, usability and performance and fixes many internal issues. Large parts of code were completely redesigned for flexibility, new functionality and speed. Context menus added in many graphic user interface areas (Right mouse button on Windows / Ctrl + click on Mac)

Application performance: preview and thumbnails display speed is significantly improved. Note, that  first-time image access will always be slower since the software builds the images thumbnails and register the data in the database. All further display requests for the same thumbnail will work fast because the thumbnail was already created.
Ability to alter upload date, time and upload status for any image and agency. Together with ability to edit number of downloads and earnings it gives you full flexibility and complete control on the image history and archive statuses.

  • “Select/Unselect All” check box added, allowing quickly select/unselect all stock photography agencies for each stock photo to be uploaded

Uploads reliability significantly improved.

  • PSM will now verify your login credentials for any microstock site both at the time of stock agency selection and during the uploading of stock images.
  • If the upload fails due to a network error, PSM will retry uploading the failed file a number of times and will gracefully inform you if it will be still unable to upload the file after a few retries. The application will continue trying to upload other selected stock photos in the upload queue to that microstock, if possible.

Total redesign of stock imagery keywording, adding new extremely powerful “Manage Keywords” dialog and multiple context menus the user interface

  • Built in “Translate” function helps adding IPTC keywords to the stock photos in your native language.
  • Ability to select your input language with on-the-fly translation to English. 23 input languages supported
  • “Back translation” for the selected keyword from English to your input language on a mouse click. These three functions above allow you describing the image in your native language with instant translation to English and help provided by “Generate” functionality described below.

“Keywords suggestions” functionality improvements so you can add keywords to microstock images even faster:

  • Generate with “on-the-fly” translation: now the keywords can be entered in any supported language. They will be translated on-the-fly and for their English translation more matching English keywords will be selected
  • Generate more keywords right from the generated keywords using context menus directly in keywords lists
  • Generate from a single keyword (this is the recommended practice)
  • Generate from a keyphrase or multiple comma-separated keywords. This method will bring you less but more relevant results.

Keywords sets & keywording – build keywords set per a category and more, in any language

  • Import keywords from a CSV file with optional “on-the-fly” translation
  • Export keywords to a CSV file . They will be saved in UTF-16. These Import/Export functions allow you to manage an external set of keywords templates in any language, exporting them with or without translation any time you want to apply them or use other images as keywords templates (using “Extract from image”)
  • Change keywords order, moving them “up” or “down” in the keywords list, thus putting most significant keywords in the beginning of the list
  • Extract keywords from an image (IPTC)
  • Applying selected keywords set to multiple selected images (this function together with “Extract” above replaces previous “Copy Metadata” functionality. That’s why the “Copy” button in the main IPTC panel was removed as unnecessary)
  • ISO-8859-1 (ISOLatin) IPTC support – ability to retrieve and write IPTC keywords in the majority of Western languages
  • Ability to translate all or some selected metadata for images in the selected folder, creating new images with translated metadata in the chosen destination. This function allows you to create an image set which is indexed

Completely new Look and Feel and multiple Graphic User Interface changes

  • Right pane which shows images thumbnails can be resized now, thus switching between “filmstrip” view and “table” thumbnails view.
  • All the file chooser windows (open, Import, Export etc) have Preview window now, showing the thumbnail of selected file

Files and DB management

  • Basic file management functionality added: Copy, Move, Delete images in thumbnails context menus. Their new location / status will be registered in the application DB accordingly.
  • Now you can switch between different application’ databases. If one day you move your DB to another location PSM will ask you on startup where to find it’s database and will work with the DB located anywhere (if the software can properly access it). You can verify the location of your current DB anytime opening “Tools->Switch DB” menu. You can now perform periodic DB backups and restore the DB on a computer system failure, pointing PSM to the restored DB location..
  • “Connect” button is added in the initial installation dialog, allowing to connect to the existing ProStockMaster database if a previous PSM database already exists on your computer system.  Windows users: installation script already does it for you, so there is no need     to connect manually to your previous DB. Mac and Linux users can choose now the previous DB location during the installation of new version of PSM or select another DB later on, using “Switch DB” menu.
  • Database clean-up and maintenance function added – clean-up the DB from non-existing images and re-build the DB indexes for the faster DB access
  • Full-size image viewer: movement option added with “press-n-drag” mouse button (Photoshop-style)  for easier and faster image reviewing at full size

Logging

  • View log menu added
  • Logging level menu allows to switch between normal and detailed logging

Top-level application menus are changed and redesigned

  • “Upload->Folder” functionality redesign: now all the images are selected according to their upload statuses and images that were already uploaded to some sites will not be re-uploaded to these sites if their status remains “uploaded”
  • Upload confirmation dialog changed to provide visual information (thumbnails lists) for both “Upload->Folder” and “Upload->Selected Images” menus.

Simultaneous upload of multiple images to StockXpert – only 1 image uploaded: bug fixed

Release Notes for version 1.5.0

August 2008

This is a major software release which adds many new functions, improves software stability, usability and performance and fixes many internal issues. Large parts of code were completely redesigned for flexibility, new functionality and speed. Context menus added in many graphic user interface areas (Right mouse button on Windows / Ctrl + click on Mac)

  1. Application performance: preview and thumbnails display speed is significantly improved. Note, that first-time image access will always be slower since the software builds the images thumbnails and register the data in the database. All further display requests for the same thumbnail will work fast because the thumbnail was already created.

  1. Ability to alter upload date, time and upload status for any image and agency. Together with ability to edit number of downloads and earnings it gives you full flexibility and complete control on the image history and archive statuses.

  1. Select/Unselect All” check box added, allowing quickly select/unselect all agencies for each image

  1. Uploads reliability significantly improved.

    1. PSM will now verify your login credentials for any site both at the time of the agency selection and during the upload process.

    1. If the uploading fails because of a network error, which is a quite typical issue with multi-files uploads and not-so-stable networks, PSM will retry uploading the failed file a number of times and will gracefully inform you if it will be still unable to upload the file after a few retries. The application will continue trying to upload other files in the upload queue to that agency, if possible.

  1. Total redesign of the keywording functionality, adding new extremely powerful “Manage Keywords” dialog and multiple context menus

    1. Built in “Translate” function for any keyword, either entered from the keyword or exported from a file. 23 input languages supported

    1. Ability to select your input language with on-the-fly translation to English

    1. Back translation” for the selected keyword from English to your input language on a mouse click These three functions above allow you describing the image in your native language with instant translation to English and help provided by “Generate” functionality described below.

    1. Generate” functionality improvements:

      1. Generate with “on-the-fly” translation: now the keywords can be entered in any supported language. They will be translated on-the-fly and for their English translation more matching English keywords will be selected

      2. Generate more keywords right from the generated keywords using context menus directly in keywords lists

      3. Generate from a single keyword (this is the recommended practice)

      4. Generate from a keyphrase or multiple comma-separated keywords. This method will bring you much less but more relevant results.

    1. Import keywords from a CSV file with optional “on-the-fly” translation

    1. Export keywords to a CSV file . They will be saved in UTF-16. These Import/Export functions allow you to manage an external set of keywords templates in any language, exporting them with or without translation any time you want to apply them or use other images as keywords templates (using “Extract from image”)

    1. Change keywords order, moving them “up” or “down” in the keywords list, thus putting most significant keywords in the beginning of the list

    1. Extract keywords from an image (IPTC)

    1. Applying selected keywords set to multiple selected images (this function together with “Extract” above replaces previous “Copy Metadata” functionality. That’s why the “Copy” button in the main IPTC panel was removed as unnecessary)

    1. ISO-8859-1 (ISOLatin) IPTC support – ability to retrieve and write IPTC keywords in the majority of Western languages

    1. Ability to translate all or some selected metadata for images in the selected folder, creating new images with translated metadata in the chosen destination. This function allows you to create an image set which is indexed

  1. Completely new Look and Feel and multiple Graphic User Interface changes

  1. Right pane which shows images thumbnails can be resized now, thus switching between “filmstrip” view and “table” thumbnails view.

  1. All the file chooser windows (open, Import, Export etc) have Preview window now, showing the thumbnail of selected file

  1. Basic file management functionality added: Copy, Move, Delete images in thumbnails context menus. Their new location / status will be registered in the application DB accordingly.

  1. Now you can switch between different application’ databases. If one day you move your DB to another location PSM will ask you on startup where to find it’s database and will work with the DB located anywhere (if the software can properly access it). You can verify the location of your current DB anytime opening “Tools->Switch DB” menu. You can now perform periodic DB backups and restore the DB on a computer system failure, pointing PSM to the restored DB location..

  1. Connect” button is added in the initial installation dialog, allowing to connect to the existing ProStockMaster database if a previous PSM database already exists on your computer system.

Windows users: installation script already does it for you, so there is no need to connect manually to your previous DB.

Mac and Linux users can choose now the previous DB location during the installation of new version of PSM or select another DB later on, using “Switch DB” menu.

  1. Database clean-up and maintenance function added – clean-up the DB from non-existing images and re-build the DB indexes for the faster DB access

  1. Full-size image viewer: movement option added with “press-n-drag” mouse button (Photoshop-style) for easier and faster image reviewing at full size

  1. Logging

    1. View log menu added

    1. Logging level menu allows to switch between normal and detailed logging

  1. Top-level application menus are changed and redesigned

  1. Upload->Folder” functionality redesign: now all the images are selected according to their upload statuses and images that were already uploaded to some sites will not be re-uploaded to these sites if their status remains “uploaded”

  1. Upload confirmation dialog changed to provide visual information (thumbnails lists) for both “Upload->Folder” and “Upload->Selected Images” menus.

  1. Simultaneous upload of multiple images to StockXpert – only 1 image uploaded: bug fixed

Keyphrases handling by various stock photo agencies

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So here is the trick that Terry pointed me out a few months ago and Jorgen confirmed the same issue for some more agencies:
IPTC keyphrases interpreting differs between various stock agencies.

It means that if you index your image with a keyphrase like blue water, it will be retrieved OK from IPTC data on e.g. iStockphoto, but will become two keywords blue and water on e.g. Shutterstock. If you will try another trick by doble-qouting your keyphrase (note that PSM is a rare applications which allows you doing that without any problem) and your original keyphrase becomes to be “blue water”, Shutterstock will show it correctly as a blue water keyphrase, but iStockphoto will not show it at all (BTW, why is that iStockphoto.com?)

Good bye, Lucky Oliver!

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I hate to see that Lucky Oliver microstock site did not make it. It was a really nice stock photography agency and I wish a lot of good luck to Bryan and the LO team. Thank you guys and see you in your next venture.

StockXpert microstock uploads issue

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v1.4.1 has a flaw with StockXpert uploads – only one first stock photo in the batch is uploaded. All the rest are reported to be uploaded, but never appear on StockXpert web site.
I am going to investigate this problem and once resolved I’ll issue a software update.

Stock photography software adds Alamy and StockXpert

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New v1.4.0 is here!
It brings you two new agencies:
1. Alamy, the first traditional royalty free and rights managed stock photography agency which we decided to include. Meanwhile we have implemented the uploads only, however we plan to extend Alamy support in further releases.

2. The long-awaited (and millions times requested) Stockxpert! Many thanks to Steve Kapsinow from Stockxpert for his valued help.

Upload issues with Dreamstime and 123rf reported in my previous post are also fixed in this version.

Our list of supported stock photos sites reaches for the first time a two-digits number: there are 10 supported microstock agencies on the list now. It’s a nice milestone.

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