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View Full Version : Raw workflow for Mac: Got one!


jlw
03-16-2005, 22:00
I probably should have gone to sleep like a sensible person, but instead I stayed up late and worked out an Epson raw batch workflow that should work for MacOS X users. It's not as slick or automated as the commercial solutions available for other file formats, but it's not TOO clunky and it DOES seem to work!

(See my previous thread for my wish for a way to use the R-D 1 for studio shooting in raw format, which would let me view thumbnails as I shoot and still access the original raw files later for Photoshop conversion. None of the MacOS viewer/cataloger utilities I've found supports the Epson raw format.)

One key to making this work is Adobe's free DNG Converter application, which converts a wide range of raw files to Adobe's Digital Negative (DNG) format. DNG Converter is the only MacOS application I've found that can batch-process Epson ERF files. It's a free download from Adobe (although you have to register and get a user ID to get into the files area...grr...)

The other key is that iView MediaPro, my preferred cataloger/thumbnail viewer application, already supports DNG files -- at least to the extent of reading them and displaying their thumbnails. DNG Converter generates a nice big 1024-pixel thumbnail, so this combo provides plenty of information for feedback during a shooting session.

Here's how I made this combo work together. You only have to do most of the setup once; after that, you can import more images with a few clicks every time you insert a memory card. The setup:



-- Insert a memory card containing Epson ERF files into your card reader.

-- Define an "in" folder on your desktop or other convenient place.

-- Launch DNG Converter (you can set Image Capture preferences to do this automatically when you insert a memory card.) Set DNG Converter's preferences as you prefer. (The key one is whether or not to embed the original raw file; if you want to use Epson's raw-conversion plug-in rather than the Photoshop default, you'll need to enable embedding, even though it makes the file larger.)

-- Set your memory card as DNG Converter's source location, and your "in" folder as its save-to location.

-- Click the 'Convert' button to start reading the files off the memory card, converting them to DNG format, and saving them to your "in" folder.

-- Once DNG Converter is done, launch iView MediaPro and catalog the contents of your "in" folder. Then, open the folders list in the Info panel, locate your "in" folder, and use the pop-up menu to set it to auto-update. (If you use a different cataloger application, use whatever equivalent commands you need to make it watch a folder and add its contents to the catalog.)



Once you've done this, all you have to do for each subsequent memory card is insert it in your card reader, select it in DNG Converter, and click "Convert."

DNG Converter will convert and save the files into your "in" folder, and then iView MediaPro (or whatever you use) will add them to the catalog so you can review them as you shoot.


Once you're back at your home base, you may want to use the "extract" function of DNG Converter to get your ERF files back, if you prefer to open them using the Epson plug-in rather than Photoshop's default raw-file conversion (many of us feel the Epson plug-in does a better job on ERF files.) Again, you can batch this operation, so it costs some time but not effort.


And one more thing: Many cataloger programs give you the option of automatically erasing your memory card after its images have been transferred. (I know, this is kind of risky, but in a fast-paced studio session you don't always have time to open up the LCD and reformat the card in the R-D 1.) To save myself several clicks, I wrote the attached AppleScript to do the same thing. Put it in your Scripts menu and, when run, it will check your system for a disk named "EPSON_DSC," delete any image files and folders on it, and eject it. It works fine on my system, but use at your own risk!

Sean Reid
03-17-2005, 03:02
Nice job...I'm sure this will be helpful for other Mac owners.

Cheers,

Sean

Larry Kellogg
03-17-2005, 06:53
Hey,
Thanks a lot for doing this! I have been trying to decide whether I should shoot raw versus jpg and this may tip the balance towards raw. Have you gotten this to work with Extensis Portfolio?

Larry

vincenzo
03-17-2005, 06:53
Hey, nice one!! Thanks for sharing this mac workflow) I'll give it a go!

jlw
03-17-2005, 07:24
Hey,
Thanks a lot for doing this! I have been trying to decide whether I should shoot raw versus jpg and this may tip the balance towards raw. Have you gotten this to work with Extensis Portfolio?

Larry

I don't use Portfolio -- but if it can import Adobe DNG files, it should work.

The only thing distinctive about this workflow is using DNG Converter as a "Rosetta Stone" to get from Epson ERF to something that cataloging utilities can recognize.

Someday, when/if the software vendors get native ERF support into their products, this no longer will be necessary!

sevres_babylone
03-17-2005, 22:01
I'm a bit confused. In the other thread, you mentioned using Photoshop 7, which I have. But when I went to download the converter, it says it is only compatible with CS or Elements 3.0. Am I missing something?

Larry Kellogg
03-19-2005, 06:26
Hello,
Ok, I have started to try out this digital workflow on my Mac. The funny thing is, all of the color in my monochrome images comes back when I convert them to DNG format and throw them into Extensis Portfolio. Any idea why that is happening?

I just discovered that Extensis portfolio supports ERF files. It displays the thumbnails in the catalog list, so maybe I don't have to go through the trouble of converting them to DNG format.

Regards,

Larry

jlw
03-19-2005, 08:06
Yeah, I also get the effect of color coming back when you convert the files to DNG format. I'm pretty sure it's because DNG Converter doesn't recognize the way Epson tags the files to indicate that they should be b&w.

If Portfolio reads the ERF files, then there's no need to go through DNG Converter. I'll have to see if I can find a demo and try it!

Larry Kellogg
03-19-2005, 10:28
Yeah, I also get the effect of color coming back when you convert the files to DNG format. I'm pretty sure it's because DNG Converter doesn't recognize the way Epson tags the files to indicate that they should be b&w.

If Portfolio reads the ERF files, then there's no need to go through DNG Converter. I'll have to see if I can find a demo and try it!

I was surprised that Portfolio displayed the thumbnails of the ERF files because I couldn't find any mention of support in the manual or on their website. I haven't figured out if it is possible to get the double click to launch Photoshop with the RAW converter but I just drag and drop photos on top of Photoshop and it launchs the RAW converter program.

You can get a 30 day trial of Portfolio. I have about 25,000 photos in a catalog and it seems to be holding up pretty well. I paid $199 for the program.

Regards,

Larry