The Main Explorers:  Catalog Explorer and Media Browser

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The top two icons in the left Explorer Bar allow you to open the Catalog Explorer and the Media Browser. The Catalog Explorer is represented by the "spider web" icon, and the Media Browser is identified by the "folder" icon.


To open one of the explorers, click the corresponding icon tab from the left Explorer Bar, and the selected explorer panel will open. As you start navigating through the opened explorer, IDimager will show the relevant images in a collection at the right side of the screen. Images are presented as thumbnails (small versions of an image) in collections. This thumbnail area is called the “Collection Viewer”. The Collection Viewer enables you to select images and offers entries to many features that relate to collections or selected images.


The Catalog Explorer presents you with a tree-like explorer that allows you to navigate through your catalog database. The Explorer displays multiple top entries which are called "branches".




Each branch allows you to explore the catalog database from different perspectives.


Note: Some of the branches described are available in the professional edition only.



Catalog Labels

This branch contains the hierarchical list of catalog labels (tags) that you can assign to your images.


IDimager offers features to create and organize labels in a hierarchical structure, including the ability to group labels into categories or other label groups. A category is a top level organizing group and a label group is a “normal” tag that is divided into several other “normal” tags.


By assigning labels to your images you automatically create a virtual photo structure which is independent of any other (storage) structure.


By tagging your images with catalog labels, you can select a label in the Catalog Explorer, and all images for the selected label will be presented to you as a collection. If one image has multiple labels assigned to it, then that image will appear in the collection for each of these labels.


For example; a photo containing an image of your son Anthony and daughter Paris that was shot during your holiday in Australia can get labels “Anthony”, “Paris”, “Holiday” and “Australia”. Then when browsing through the catalog labels "Anthony" you see this image, but it is also contained in the collection that opens when selecting "Australia", etc. Note that the photo itself is stored only once on the hard drive (e.g. in the folder “Holiday to Australia 2009”, although the actual location on the hard drive does not matter).



This contains a list of your portfolios.


IDimager allows you to organize images into structures called Portfolios. Typically, you'll create portfolios for sets of photos that you want to keep together. For example, you might create a portfolio for all your website images and/or a portfolio to contain the selected photos for a particular shoot.


Each portfolio can be divided into galleries. Create galleries to make a more detailed grouping inside a portfolio. For example, in a portfolio named “Customer Projects” you could create galleries for each month+year: December 2009 or January 2010, or in your portfolio “Website” you could create a gallery for every main subject on your site; e.g. a gallery "Models", a gallery "Nature" and a gallery for "Architecture".


Each gallery can be further split into collections. Collections are the place holders for your photos. For example; Portfolio “Website” and Gallery “Models” gets collections "Dane", “Wendy”, “Paris” and “Anna”. Each of these collections contains the photos.


In general, a collection is a group of images. Images that are added to a single portfolio collection can be physically stored in different folders on the hard drive. You can consider collections as “Logical Folders” or “Virtual Folders”, meaning that they act like folders, but are not limited by the structure of the file system. This makes it easy to collect all your best images of model “Wendy”, even if they are spread around the hard drive. There is no need to replace the images on the hard drive, and you can even add the same image to several collections.


Stored Groups

Once you start working with IDimager, you'll see that you can easily build search queries that allow you to combine almost any entry in the Catalog Explorer., e.g. all images with a certain rating and a certain catalog label in a certain period. Such a query can then be stored as a single group referred to as a "stored group". The branch "Stored Groups" allows you to browse through these groups.



With IDimager you can rate your images on a scale from 0 to 5, and the Catalog Explorer allows you to browse through these ratings. In this way you can easily browse through all images that have a particular rating, e.g. a 4 star rating.


Color Labels

With IDimager you can optionally assign one of five different color labels to each of your images. These color labels are for you to define and will typically allow you to differentiate image groups. For example, you could define the color label red as "bad images" and the color label blue as "ready for printing", etc. The most important thing, though, is to be consistent in what logic you use to assign color labels to images. Once assigned, the Catalog Explorer allows you to easily browse the images assigned to each of these color labels.



[IDimager Pro Only] As you import images to your catalog the catalog also maintains your metadata (data and properties specific to your images, for example a photo headline or the lens aperture value (F-stop) when the image was recorded). This metadata can then be browsed by opening this branch. In this way you'll be able to quickly find all images with a specific F-stop or all images with a certain ISO value.


Version Place Holders

[IDimager Pro Only] As you start working with versioning, you'll see that IDimager allows you to define version place holders. These are slots in the version set which allow you to quickly access versions with particular properties. For instance when you'd like to identify the version to be used for printing, then you can assign that version to the "print placeholder". In the Catalog Explorer you'll be able to quickly browse through all your placeholders and view all print versions.  By default, IDimager defines version placeholders for album display, web display, slide show display, e-mail and printing. As you'll learn further in this manual, these placeholders are customizable.


File Types

Every image will be of a specific file type. Generally the file type is determined by the file's extension. A typical file type will be "JPG" or "CR2" or "NEF" or "DNG". This branch allows you to browse through all your images of a certain file type, e.g. all JPG images or all DNG images.


Catalog Folders

As images are imported to your catalog, IDimager will record in its catalog database where these images are physically located on the file system. This allows you to browse through the folder structure of a certain CD/DVD, even if that CD/DVD is not inserted in the drive, or to browse images stored on a disconnected hard drive.  (Alternatively, you can also browse through the file system for online drives with the Media Browser)


Catalog States

[IDimager Pro Only] IDimager pertains several states of your images as they are imported to the database. This branch contains entries to display all images that are catalog labeled, bookmarked, rated, GEO tagged, etc. Catalog States allows you to quickly get a helicopter view of the organizing state of your images in the catalog and is a real time saver.



[IDimager Pro Only] The timeline offers a tree that allows you to browse your images by the date the photo was taken (generally this is the Exif original photo date recorded by the camera).  The tree is structured on Year->Month->Day. So, for example, clicking on a particular day will display all images taken on that day.



The Catalog Explorer is storage independent, meaning that it won't force you into a dedicated storage structure on your hard drive. If you already use an organized folder structure, then you can just leave all the images where they are and catalog from there.


The Media Browser can best be compared to the Windows Explorer (as available in the Windows operating system). By navigating through a tree of drives and folders, you can explore the images that are stored in each folder.




The images in the Media Browser are presented in collections in the Collection Viewer, and they represent the image content of the folders on the file system. However, you have the benefit that IDimager offers for collections, like batch processing features, drag/drop features, publishing, slide shows, e-mailing and everything else.


To select a thumbnail in the Collection Viewer, click it once with your left mouse button; the selected thumbnail will then be highlighted. You can select several images by holding the [Ctrl] key on your keyboard down and then clicking on each one of the thumbnails that you want to select. To select a series of images by clicking the first image, then hold down [Shift] and then select the last image in the series.


To open a full version of the image, double click the thumbnail with the left mouse button. The full image will then be opened in the “Image Editor/Viewer”.