Option to disable stacking based on file modification date

Describe any features you would like to see in future versions of FastPictureViewer Professional.

Option to disable stacking based on file modification date

Postby pan2fire on Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:45 am

I understand that stacking is an important feature for people (including myself) who shoot raw+jpg. I can see however that it has been a recurring issue in the forums -and probably for support as well.

Like many users, I find FPV very useful for culling early in the workflow, then later as I edit some photos and save them edited (usually as .psd, sometimes as .tif) into a subfolder, if I do not change the filename before saving then stacking becomes an impediment. I cannot easily compare the edited photos with the original, which I would like to do before publishing or further editing.

I can see two solutions:
1- I (and other users in the same situation) adjust to this constraint imposed by stacking and get into the habit of renaming the edited files.
* OR
2- FastPictureViewer provides an option to disable stacking based on the file modified date and time. With this option selected, files with the same filename would not be stacked if their modification date differs by more than a few minutes (which indicates that they are likely to have been edited). This option would be off by default so as not to change at all the behaviour of FPV for current users when they upgrade, unless they consciously want to change that behaviour.

This would then improve FPV when used for the purpose of editing without damaging its functionality for early culling.
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Re: Option to disable stacking based on file modification da

Postby Axel on Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:42 am

Thanks for your suggestion. Unfortunately this is one of those early design decisions that can not easily be reverted later on. I've looked into this and it would affect too many parts of the program and its plugins to change this behavior and make it optional. Similarly, proper stacking cannot be retrofitted to an application that was not designed for it from the start, as FastPictureViewer was, if you want it to really work.

My best suggestion, if you want to keep the edited version in the same folder as the originals, is thus to rename the copies slightly; I propose adding a suffix to the name (I start with lowercase 'a' myself, then lowercase 'b' for version 2, lowercase 'c' for version 3 etc)

DSC_0001.jpg
DSC_0001.nef
DSC_0001.xmp
DSC_0001a.tif
DSC_0001b.tif
DSC_0001c.tif

In the example above, the first 3 files are subject to automatic stacking and treated as one as they share the same base name, while the last three are not and will be treated separately from the first group and from each other (so FPV will display 4 distinct images in total from the above).

All six files are still kept together in Windows Explorer when sorting by name, so there is virtually zero disadvantages of proceeding this way, moreover this scheme allows for numerous "versions" of the edited files: I personally almost always end-up with more than one, 'a' being the full-resolution edit and 'b', 'c' etc. being alternative versions, lower resolutions outputs etc., so renaming/suffixing may very well be the better overall solution if one manages copies and versions manually at the file system level.

Automatic RAW+JPEG stacking has been well refined in FPV. I believe it has more upsides than its (only) downside we are discussing here; it's also is one of the defining features of the product.

FastPictureViewer has been designed to be the best and fastest culling tool. Editing, versionning and multiple versions comparisons are best left to image organizers user later in the workflow, like Adobe Lightroom.

Still, I'll keep this subject in some corner of my head and I don't exclude to find a neat solution someday but, as I see it now, just undoing the stacking mechanism is not possible without major and pervasive changes, a risk that I'm not willing to take at this late point in the project.
Axel
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