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|| News Item: Posted 2004-10-15

Updated Photo Mechanic Speeds Up Editing
By Robert Deutsch, USA Today

Photo by

Photo Mechanic 4.2.1
OK, none of us read the **** manual, and since the venerable photo editing program Photo Mechanic really has no current one, it's easy to miss the substantial changes that have slipped into this software. It's all there in the "ReadMe", but if we don't read the manual, well …

So I'll jump in to shout that this program really rocks now. Camera Bits ( has noticeably speeded up many phases of the workflow.

Photo Mechanic, currently at version 4.2.1, made my editing much faster and easier at the US Open recently, editing and transmitting from courtside over a fast WiFi connection.

First and foremost, PM now includes a built-in FTP program. No longer do you have to juggle windows to close PM, drag files in an FTP client, then go back to PM after every edit. After a simple config of the FTP preferences, all I do is hit "u" (for upload) and enter, and my photo is on the way! A small window keeps an eye on transmissions, which are done in the background so you cam continue to work during transmissions, and you can have PM save a copy of the transmitted file in a specified folder, just like "save as jpg" before, with the same use of renaming with variables, etc.

The drawing of thumbnails and previews is much speedier than before on a PowerBook running OSX 10.3.5. Previews show up instantly, first as low res, then quickly at full resolution. (Previously the preview would appear as a blank until the hires was generated.). I can browse through the previews, seeing large hires images, and when I see one I like, I caption, crop, and hit "u", enter, and that's all. It's amazing how fast all this can happen… I was regularly sending files not only after games, but between points.

Also speeding up the workflow is the ability to use single keys for major commands. In the single picture selected mode, either in Contact Sheet or in Preview, instead of using CMD (Mac) or Control (Windows) plus a key, the single key now works. So "I" (rather than "CMD-I") gets you to the IPTC window, whether in the Contact Sheet or Preview mode… that is wonderful! And "[" or "]" alone rotates, "t" tags or untags, "U" FTP's, etc. This alone is worth an update. And also included are "Color Class" keys, to mark a photo with one of 8 colors to aid in classifying and organizing edits. They also can be done with single keys, "1", "2". Etc.

In the Mac, when you put a disk into a reader, PM can be set to open the ingest screen upon mounting of the disk, with the appropriate disk selected. This also speeds things up, as you can pop in a disk and hit "enter" and ingesting starts.

Also, the JPG compression has been modified to produce more linear results in saved files. Previously, the file size dropped fast as the quality setting was reduced. Now the file size will be reduced evenly as the setting drops.

If you do decide to browse the 'readme", you will see that there are many other things new and improved here, like a "find" command for text both in the contact sheet and in the IPTC info, and more are planned shortly. The next version will add improved "ingest" functionality (simultaneous + rename) and improved RAW+JPEG management. But Photo Mechanic has already added many user-friendly features that make my editing go much faster and easier than before.

(Bob Deutsch is a staff photographer with USA TODAY based somewhere in near Yonkers, NY. He will be part of the faculty at the upcoming Sports Shooter Workshop & Luau.)

Related Links:
Bob Deutsch's member page

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