Monday, October 26, 2009

Picassa vs. ACD See vs. Adobe Bridge vs. ???

No pictures today. I'm struggling with what image cataloging tool to use. I've been around computers for a long time, so managing files and folders isn't difficult. When I got my first digital camera several years ago it came with a stripped down version of ACD See. I really liked what it provided. It was easy to use and didn't have a lot of extra stuff I would never use. I've changed computers about three times since then. I always installed that version when I upgraded my computer. Recently, I got a new laptop and wanted to install the catalog viewer. I couldn't find the disk. I know I have it somewhere, packed in a blue storage tub somewhere (that's a different story).

I went on-line to see if I could download that version of ACD See. No dice. There was a trial version that had a lot more features. I installed it and immediately got the nag message that I had 29 days left. After the month the trial expired, but then I got a free chance for an extra 30 days. That just prolonged the inevitable. I'd have to shell out $40-$70 to buy a real version. Didn't really feel that I needed to do that. I own the software and the version is just fine, but I have to find the original CD.

I'd heard about the free version of Picassa. I was surprised, but I guess that I shouldn't have been, that it is another Google offering. I did download and install the free service. After a brief learning curve, I feel it give me most of what ACD See did. However, I still wonder what Google is collecting about me and my pictures. There are some quirks, and interfaces to editors such as PhotoShop aren't easy to configure - at least I couldn't figure it out. But it works and at the right price.

But I've been thinking about finally updating my very outdated version of PhotoShop. I use and like PhotoShop 7. That must be ten years old. I've been watching some online PhotoShop tutorials and CS4 looks like it gives enough reasons to upgrade. Now I have another beef - Adobe just this year instituted a policy of only allowing people to upgrade for three versions. That means that 7 to CS3 was OK, but 7 to CS4 is no longer allowed. Now I have to pay a lot more. It may be worth it, but that brings up another question. Should I get one of the "editions" which include a lot of things, or just get PhotoShop itself? There is a several hundred dollar difference. The editions come with Adobe Bridge which is an image catalog/management tool which has lots of features. I probably wouldn't use most of the other tools in the edition. But Bridge does look interesting. Does it give me more than either ACD See or Picassa in terms of image management that I'd find useful for what I do?

Are there other packages that I should consider? Comments?

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