As is often the case, version 2 of nearly anything is an improvement over version 1. While this doesn’t necessarily hold true with movies, it generally does with most things computer related, and uploading your ACDSee tagged photos to Fotki is no exception. This time around, we’re able to leverage the powerful Java upload method Fotki has built for us, which is excellent for uploading lots of photos. I’ve used it in the past to upload over 1,000 at a time and rarely have there ever been any problems with it.
To reiterate what we’re after here, the goal is to upload photos to Fotki, while retaining categories applied in ACDSee. This has been tested with ACDSee 7, but I suspect it’ll work in newer versions as well. For those unfamiliar with Fotki, check out Backups Part 2 where I cover some of the high level features Fotki offers that other online photo storage solutions don’t.
First, I’ll start by giving you a high level indication of how my photos are stored and managed. Then, I’ll lay out the steps required to accomplish our goal.
My photos are stored on my file/media server. For this purpose, it’s basically just a fileserver. It’s no different than any other computer on your home network with a shared folder where you can read/write files. At the top level, I have a folder called Pictures. Under that are folders for each year. Beneath the year folders, I have folders for each date a picture was taken. An example of the structure looks like this:
Within each date folder, there are two things, an RAR file (similar to a ZIP file) and the pictures and movies taken on that date. The RAR file contains the unedited version of each photo and movie. The pictures are typically sized down to 1280×1024, and the movies are often compressed into DivX files. While retaining the originals in an RAR file does require additional space, my thought is that photo/video editing software and compression algorithms will only improve over time, and I don’t want to recompress my photos again and again, losing quality each time, new compression methods (think JPG) become available. Additionally, I always upload the full resolution, unedited version of my photos to Fotki. While yes, they do still contain red-eye, need brightened, etc. for me, it’s the perfect off-site backup. If a tornado rips through my house, I know the memories captured of my children are safe and sound.
Now that you’re aware of how and where my photos are stored, let’s move on to how we’ll accomplish our goal. Again, the goal is to upload the full, unedited version (contained in RAR files) of my photos, so that is one of my steps. It may however, not be one of the steps required for you. Individual tweaks to the overall process may vary depending on your specifics, the but main steps will be the same for everyone. To indicate the difference, I’ll preceed the required steps with an asterisk.
- Extract all original photos from RAR files
- * From ACDSee, write categories to EXIF data
- Copy all photos to local PC
- * Run exiftool to copy exif data to IPTC tag
- Create Fotki folder for year (if necessary)
- * Create empty Fotki album: upload
Step 1 – (again, this may not be a requirement for you) is to extract the full resolution, unedited images from the compressed RAR files. This is easily done by placing rar.exe (found in Program Files\WinRAR since I have that installed) in the top level folder (Pictures folder in my case) and running the command:
for /r %1 in (*.rar) do rar x -o+ "%1" *.jpg "%~p1"
Step 2 – From within ACDSee, add your category information to the EXIF data of each photo. This is done via the following steps:
- Select a Category (I chose year 2005. Note that this maps 1 to 1 to my 2005 folder on my fileserver)
- Click on the first photo, then press Control-A to select All photos
- Go to Database-Copy EXIF Info
- Choose “Copy from ACDSee database to EXIF
- Click Next
- Map “Categories” to “User comment”
- Click Next
- *wait for the operation to complete*
Step 3 – Copy the photos to my local PC. I copy them to my PC since they are still on my fileserver at this point. I simply create a folder called Pictures, and copy all of the folders under my Pictures\2005\ folder on the fileserver to this new folder on my PC. This is easily accomplished via the following command. Note that it only copies the .JPG files, and not .AVI or .RAR files. Open a command prompt by going to Start-Run and typing “cmd” (without the quotes) and pressing ENTER. Then, navigate to the folder you created; in my case it’s on drive D: so I’ll switch to that drive, then to that directory, then run the copy command. Those are as follows:
- cd Pictures
- xcopy \\fileserv\Pictures\2007\*.jpg /S
When the copy finishes, all of the 2005 photos are on my local PC in D:\Pictures, and the categories are stored in the EXIF info inside each photo. Unfortunately, they aren’t in the field Fotki needs them in. To copy them to the appropriate field, we’ll use a freely available tool called ExifTool. From that link, download the Windows Executable version and save it to your PC. Unzip it and rename the .EXE file to exiftool.exe. Copy exiftool to D:\Pictures or wherever you put your pictures.
Step 4 – To copy the EXIF information to the correct location, run the following command in the command prompt box you opened before:
- exiftool “-EXIF:UserComment>IPTC:Keywords” -r -F -overwrite_original .
That command will copy the EXIF information in each photo to the correct location, and will do it for all photos in the Pictures folder and every folder underneath it. When that operation completes, we’ll be ready to move on to Fotki.
Steps 5, 6, 7 – Log into Fotki, and create an album to hold your photos. If you will be uploading multiple folders of photos, create an album called “upload” (without the quotes), then go into that album and click “Add Photos”. Select the “Fotki Java Uploader”, and from there, navigate to the folder containing your photos that ExifTool just updated. Add the photos to the list, and if you are adding folders, click the icon to the left of the folder icon to view the photos within that folder. Look at the “Tags” column and ensure that it contains tags for each of the pictures. You won’t have to do this for every folder, we just need to check one to make sure our Tags made it where they were supposed to. Note that the folders you upload won’t actually go into the uploads album. When the upload is complete, the upload album will be empty and can be deleted.
That’s it! Once the upload completes, you should be able to view your tags using the “My Photo Tags” link underneath your “Photo Albums” link on the left side of the page.