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Feature Request: Thumbnail Stacking

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  • Feature Request: Thumbnail Stacking

    Please implement a solution so that related images / versions can be shown as a single "stacked thumbnail".

    This is often used to stack the JPEG and its associated RAW file in other software (Adobe Lightroom, Canon Digital Photo Professional, etc.) and without this feature it's very difficult to work with multiple versions of files (for example, shooting JPEG + RAW, or RAW, converted TIFF, and exported JPG, or... there's lots of scenarios where multiple versions of the same file are used)

    The feature would be expected to apply the same actions to both / all files in the stack. That is, editing metadata for the stack would apply those metadata changes to the entire stack. Moving, copying, deleting, etc. the stack would be expected to apply to all files in the stack.

    See for an excellent implementation of this, or see how Lightroom etc. do it.

  • #2
    In the context that I am looking to move away from LR/PS to "a DAM/"Affinity Photo I echo this request. I frequently have multiple versions of the same image and currently stack those in LR. If I want to move to ACDSee the lack of this facility is possibly going to be a deal breaker unless I can think of an alternative way of doing this.


    • #3
      I can foresee a difficulty. Stacking Develop versions of the same file is easy when you are dealing with versions of processing actions and not files. How do you reconcile relationship between files with different names? ACDSee could implement a save as new version feature, which really is a different set of Develop mode settings and that would work in Develop mode, but that wouldn't work in Edit mode, which creates new files each time.

      I can see a number of scenarios: one file with multiple Develop versions, same file (duplicates) in multiple locations, different files Edited (i.e. different filenames) versions in the same location, different files (versions) in different locations, same image in different formats (JPEG, RAW, TIFF, DN) in same location, same image different format in different locations. All of these would need a common denomination that ties them together, i.e. a File Unique Identifyer embedded in the file metadata and a Version Identifyer. Lets say a file has a FUI RAW and JPEG instances get tagged at import (note this has to occur from within ACDSee). If you rename the file, the FUI is still the same. If you Edit the file and save a version Identifyer is added (#12345.1) and if you Save As, the original is also given a versions counter. Each time you re-edit the file a sub-version is added (#12345.1.1). Each time you copy a file, it is given a Copy Unique ID (#12345(12) etc. In other words ACDSee would need to implement a full pledge version control system. It would be nice extension of Ultimate DAM capability actually.
      Last edited by Regor250; 03-18-2023, 08:34 AM.


      • #4
        As far as the files coming from edit mode, ACDSE could allow us to stack of files regardless of it not spawning directly from the same Raw file. Versions or virtual copy will simply be the action of directly making a virtual copy of the image for separate development. Each virtual copy should have its own set of metadata.

        The Virtual copy feature is an essential feature that found any advance raw developer and DAMs. For example, it is common among many photographers to create different image renditions like color vs black and white vs images using different recipes and then show them to customers side by side for comparison. I'm just an armature, but I do occasionally like to do that. With ACDSee we only get to save snapshots which is clunky and does not allow a side-by-side comparison.

        I also believe this will be a very welcome feature if incorporated into ACDsee.‚Äč


        • #5
          Grumpy Hec

          Thumbnail stacking obviously must have some benefits otherwise there wouldn't be requests for it, but as one who doesn't have any software with that capability, I have no personal experience with it to draw on in regards to possible pros and cons..

          For example:

          Is it envisaged that the stacking would be maintained if the physical location of one or more of the constituent items were changed, either within ACDSee or outside of it?.

          Would the stacking be maintained only within the database, or would it need to have specific Acdsee embedded metadata so it could be recovered by a catalog process into a new database?.

          What difference would thumbnail stacking make to the present way a RAW that has had a number of Develop snapshots made is handled?.

          With a thumbnail stack that includes the original ex camera RAW+JPG shots, an xmp sidecar file for the RAW, plus a number of processed JPG variations, including some with significantly different crops, how would one "see" all of these?. Is it envisaged that selecting the stacked thumbnail in manage mode open a new display screen of all of the individual thumbnails in the stack, and allow access to each of these independently?


          • #6
            Hello Greyfox,

            I don't know the technical details on how the stacking and virtual copies (they are both different) would be handled in ACDSee. I do know those features have been around in other software for years now without issues. I'm guessing that the stacking information will be saved in the database as you mentioned, but I don't know if that information is suitable for storing in the XMP files.

            The snapshot feature in ACDsee is not very useful to me. The snapshots cannot be compared side by side on the screen. It very difficult for me to make decision on photos by going back and forth between the different snapshots. Also, I don't believe you can set independent metadata to each snapshot. Therefore, you cannot rate them, search and organize them by their metadata properties.

            When a group of thumbnails are stack, you can set a selected image to be on top the stack for displaying in the library. You will normally have an option to expand the stack to see all the thumbnails. In lightroom for example, you can expand the stack on the same screen. They just appear next to each other. This will move all the images to make room for the expanded stack. Each image in the stack has completely independent metadata.

            As far as missing images, I'll assume that if a stack was based on a single Raw image, all images in the stack would indicate that they are missing. If the stack is based separate image file, then they should be handled independently, with only the related thumbnails indicating that the file is missing.



            • #7
              Originally posted by hectorsm View Post
              ...The snapshot feature in ACDsee is not very useful to me. The snapshots cannot be compared side by side on the screen. It very difficult for me to make decision on photos by going back and forth between the different snapshots. Also, I don't believe you can set independent metadata to each snapshot. Therefore, you cannot rate them, search and organize them by their metadata properties.
              Thanks for the reply.
              The sole advantage of Develop snapshots for me, is simply that with RAW images, the Develop settings for all of the snapshots I retain for that RAW image, are retained in its sidecar file. I usually export a JPG for each retained snapshot so they can be easily seen and included in contact sheets. Those JPGs could obviously be easily compared.

              I guess I could use independent metadata for each of the JPG's, but I don't. A metadata search that will bring up the parent RAW also brings up the "snapshot" JPG's. They also have the same basic filename as the parent RAW but with suffixes.

              Each image in the stack has completely independent metadata.
              Do they by default inherit the metadata from the parent and you can then change only individual parts, or do you have to add the metadata to each from scratch?.


              • #8
                Using virtual copies save on resources. The only thing generated is an extra thumbnail image. Combined with stacking capability, this makes the workflow a lot simpler and smoother in my opinion. No need for creating additional images for comparing. However, in ACDSee I do create additional images in a similar to what you do since that the only way I can accomplish what I need.

                To answer your last question, yes, when doing virtual copies, the copies will inherit the parent metadata, but each copy can be changed to be different. However, when stacking unrelated images, the metadata does not get copies since there's really no parent image.

                I don't use searches very often. I do most of the organizing via keywords, so I am assuming that the search will be based on the specific metadata of the images. However, when a virtual copy is created, it will have the same filename as the parent, so searching for the entire group should still be doable even if you change the metadata on each copy.


                • #9

                  Thanks, that helps a lot with my understanding


                  • #10
                    What you are asking can only work in Develop Mode, where development parameters are applied to a parent-image as you preview that image, and these parameters are saved within an XMP sidecar file stored with the original image. If you export/batch Develop an image it becomes a new image with no ties to its source image. Certainly feasible. Basically a Develop Save Version mode, but would nonetheless treat individual files versions once exported/developed as separate entities with no relation. You would still possibly have multiple individual copies of images, some with multiple versions, some without. Manage mode would have to display files with multiple versions as stacked thumbnails and somehow provide a mean to expand it to preview individual thumbnail. Might be worth submitting as future enhancement request, have you done so?
                    Last edited by Regor250; 03-21-2023, 12:22 PM.


                    • #11
                      Hello Regor250,

                      I've only seen this feature in Library or Manage mode. I don't think it's really needed anywhere else. It's just a feature of a DAM or library in general. Once the images have been copied or stack, they can be developed or edit independently. Metadata can be sync, cascaded or even managed independently. The original poster "thei" provide a link to iMatch software that shows one way of doing it. I've also seen similar implementations in Photo Supreme and Lightroom.

                      I would also encourage thei to summit this feature request. I believe I did that a while back while submitting a ticket with question, but I am not sure if it's currently being considered.

                      ACDSee DAM features and interface are quite good. Having this feature will further improve user workflow.


                      • #12
                        This would be a feature I've been long waiting for. In my case I would use it primarily to ease the categorization and keywording process as I mainly shoot RAW+JPEG I always need to apply the same keyword and categorized to 2 pictures which would simplify significantly. I'd also see benefits when doing certain development work like removing ugly dust spots where I could apply the development to both pictures at the same time. Further it might be convenient when developing a JPEG and I want to switch to the RAW version as I don't get enough out of the JPEG.
                        There may more useful scenarios where this would help like browsing pictures without seeing every picture multiple times or not needing to put RAWs into a separate folder, etc. Also the [Originals] could be folded into this feature...
                        Last edited by fonebone; 03-24-2023, 10:12 PM.


                        • #13
                          Regor250 , Greyfox

                          To all the people apparently confused about how this would work, or saying it could only work in Develop mode - the world's leading photo editing / photo DAM - Adobe Lightroom - has had this feature forever. While I suppose it could be used for more advanced purposes (which is why I linked iMatch's market-leading implementation - if you're going to build it, why not make it an advanced implementation?), the general use is to stack RAW+JPEG photos.

                          I am asking for a feature that's identical to (or better than!) the one in Adobe Lightroom. As others here have said, the lack of this feature is a deal-breaker for many people such as myself who shoot RAW+JPEG.

                          In Lightroom it just works as most photographers would want, and does not have any of the issues or confusion that people here seem to be thinking of.

                          If you have a Canon camera, you can try Canon's Digital Photo Professional software as well for another example of how this is done.

                          hectorsm how do I submit a "feature request"? I thought this was a feature request.


                          • #14

                            I'm not too sure myself. I would try this link:

                            good luck,