Q to the A.. digi organization. :)

Sorry this is coming a little later in the day than I’d like - Rowen was home from preschool again today, and it looks like she’s got an ear infection. My clue? She’s rubbing her left ear and saying, “My cheek hurts, mama.” It’s heartbreaking. :( So it’s off to Urgent Care in the morning (hoping she sleeps tonight).

Let’s get on with the Questions! :D

Q From Jenn: I LUV the hutch! Any idea where you got this?

 A: We got it at Hom Furniture in Lakeville, MN. It’s from a company called EQ3.

 Q from Jen: When I download a kit, then unzip it, and put it away where it goes, tag it etc. do I need to be keeping that original zip file somewhere or can I delete it?

A: There are differing opinions on this one - I think it’s more an organizational style issue than a right/wrong issue. You can use the zip file for backup (i.e. move it to your EHD or burn it onto CD or DVD). Since it’s a copy of everything you’ve already unzipped, you are safe to delete it as long as you’ve got your unzipped files backed up in some way.

Q from Brigid: I have a couple of questions: 1) How does ACDSee compare features-wise to the Elements organizer, or even Adobe Bridge (pros and cons of each, as I have Elements and Bridge, and I’m not sure if it’s worth it to buy ACDSee); and 2) If you move from Elements organizer to ACDSee, will it automatically import the tags you have already set up in Elements?

A: Elements Organizer and Bridge both have many of the same features. I chose ACDSee because I scrap with both PSE and PSCS2. If you decide to use Elements Organizer, you’ll probably want to have a separate catalog for your photos and your digi supplies, which entails loading and unloading of the catalogs.

A: For the import, check out http://www.digiscrapinfo.com for LOTS of great information and tutorials on using ACDSee. They are the real product experts there. :)

Q from Jen: I see that you use Picasa for managing photos? Why is that? What are the advantages over using Bridge?

A: I’ve used Picasa since I started taking digital photos. I wouldn’t really say that I “manage” photos. This is one area where Phenomenal Cosmic Tagging Power has no interest whatsoever for me, so I’m all for whatever’s ultra easy to use, automatically imports my photos, and opens photos in either PSE or PSCS2 with a click.  I’m pretty sure Bridge does all those things, too, to be honest. So Picasa just is. And let’s talk about Free! :D I create a new Windows folder for each month, inside a new folder for each year, and all my new photos go in to that month. I actually love to scroll through my photos in Picasa (which lets you add a star to ones you really like, and hide ones you really don’t) and see which ones jump out at me for a story I might like to tell. Works for me. :D

Q  from Rusheika: One question I have is when you unzip a kit do you separate out each piece (ie papers in one folder, ribbons in another folder,)or do you keep everything from one kit together?

A: Everything from a kit stays together after unzipping. I let ACDSee Photo Manager do all the work. :) 

Q from Nicole: Is there any easy way to manage brush sets where there is only an .abr file? ie Fresh Foliage (Jason Gaylor) brushes? (Or an easy way to create .png files from .abr files?)

A: I am a big advocate of managing things in as few programs as possible. There is a brush viewer out there, called ABR viewer, that is free and open-source (it requires you to install the .NET framework, so I’m pretty sure that Mac users can’t use it). It allows you to view .abr files without needing the .pngs.  I think of my brushes as embellishments, though, and I like to incorporate them into the rest of my organization, so what I’ll do if I don’t have a .png file is install the brush set, stamp it, and save out my own .png files to organize in ACDsee.

NOTE: Here’s a great response from the comments from last week, thank you CrazyCurl!

In response to TIA… when I have only an ABR file (love Jason Gaylor too!), I make a PNG that contains thumbnails of all of the brushes in the brush set. To do this, I open the file in ABRviewer (http://abrviewer.sourceforge.net/) and load the brush set. Then I set the thumbnail size to 270. Then go to the Export menu and choose Preview Panel. It creates a PNG file that looks just like the brush preview pane. I put this PNG file in my photo organizer (I use PS Elements) and tag it with my Brushes tag. If you prefer, you can export thumbnails for the brushes to individual files instead.

Q from Paris646: Am I wasting computer storage space by keeping digital kits (1) on my harddrive filed by designer and (2) uploading the kits into IPhoto in order to tag them?

A: If I understand iPhoto correctly, it’s a management program just like Picasa or ACDSee Photo Manager, so the answer is no, you aren’t wasting hard drive space. Basically what you’re doing when you import a file into a management program (some of them do this automatically, and I’m fairly certain you can set up iPhoto to import at least photos automatically) is creating metadata about your item, rather than actually making a physical copy of your item. That is, iPhoto (or any other management software) remembers important details about your item, such as where it is physically located in your file system, what tags you have applied, even when the photo was taken or when the file itself was created. So don’t worry about using hard drive space for this stuff - you aren’t actually storing files in two places, just storing them on your file system and then managing them with a program that allows you various views in to your file system.

Q from Luann: How easy is ACDsee for the new to Digi world folks. I am thinking of putting it on my Christmas list but don’t want something that is not dummy friendly. Any one use this to sort photos?

A: I think ACDSee Photo Manager is pretty easy to use. :) Check out some of the tutorials and getting started ideas from over at DigiScrapInfo. You can also download a free 30-day trial of ACDSee right here, and see if it’s for you. :)  

Oh, and speaking of ACDSee Photo Manager, they JUST announced the release of Version 10.

Q from Sarah: What I’d really love to know is WHERE you store all your digital stuff as well as your photos. It looks like you’re working from more than a basic hard drive. Will another external hard drive work to hold all that information???

A: I’m working from more than a basic hard drive, that’s true. We actually have two file servers that we use to store ALL of our data. This includes things from business-related stuff, all our music, photos, scrap stuff, Jared’s recreational programming stuff, everything. I actually don’t store anything on my local computer at all - it makes it so easy to upgrade computers when there’s no cleaning off to be done. You can do the same thing with your local machine, though, (or your EHD functions the same way) by storing EVERYTHING under one master directory. Say it’s My Documents - then you know that you can create backups of just your master directory and all your data will be safe. :)

Q from Jessica: How would moving stuff impact the ACDSee organization or does it all always need to be kept in the same place?? Does that question even make sense??

A: You’ll need to rebuild your database if you move files. Not too hard to do, but check out the info right over here: Moving files out of ACDSee

Jessica Sprague7 Comments