P: Store the xmp metadata outside DNG, jpeg etc file to be backup efficient

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 08, 2014 Oct 08, 2014

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Now a days we can it's very easy to backup datas on clouds , amazon, synology etc.But with lightroom and dnd, jpeg, etc the xmp metadata are stored inside the file and not outside like c2r, pef,nef raw file.So each time we modify a small things the whole big file is modified and need to be uploaded insteed of a small xml kilobyte file that are backup friendly. Upload terabyte on internet or local network contains errors and it's took a lot of time to checks backup.The actual solution is a monolitic outdated and ineffecient purpose.Please add this feature into our image favorite software.A simple workaround can be to place the xmp outside when the file is in write only to be fully non destructive.

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73 Comments
LEGEND ,
Oct 08, 2014 Oct 08, 2014

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I agree 100%.

I also acknowledge that the problem is more complicated than it seems at first.

As currently defined:

MyFile.RAW and MyFile.JPG and MyFile.TIF.. would have the same xmp filename.

I realize the problem is solvable, but due to it's impact on other apps etc, would be a can of worms.

Bottom-line: Adobe screwed up (yeah: that's my opinion) by not including the original extension in the xmp filename, but it's a screw up which would be hard to rectify at this point. Easy I mean, in a closed/self-contained environment, but legacy compatibility must also be maintained, so other apps aren't broken.

Don't get me wrong, I still vote for a remedy, and in another decade (probably two) we'd all laugh about the problems it caused at first..

That said, I think the fact that Adobe chose NOT to include the original extension in the filename represents a firm commitment to go with embedded xmp in all cases where it's supported, and think of sidecars as an unfortunate exception. If I'm right, then the fight for sidecars is a losing battle - hope I'm wrong.

FWIW: there *are* some apps which use sidecars for all file-types, and *do* include the extension in the filename. It works rather well, but these non-standard sidecars do not interoperate with apps which only support standard sidecars (like Adobe's). Note: these apps do NOT support embedded xmp.

When both embedded and non-embedded must be supported, the problem is exacerbated - for example: there would not only be the potential issue of metadata conflict between xmp and Lr catalog, but embedded xmp and non-embedded xmp too...

I can see why Adobe would not want to touch this problem with a 10-foot pole.

Rob

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 17, 2014 Oct 17, 2014

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I know the price of backward compatibility in software devloppement.

But some time we need a breakthrough to stay connected with current technology.
Now a days cloud save is very widespread and accecible.

XMP is a xml style file and a simple new tag "" could make the job and correct the colision of MyFile.RAW and MyFile.JPG and MyFile.TIF that now could have xmp file that doesn't named MyFile.XMP.

With this kind of tag older engine can ignore this function and continue to use the file.

For some exportation, the xmp external would be embedded back inside like synchronize meta data function in lightroom.

This feature will be very appreciated for backup efficienty (low drive writeback, low delta data, original file untouched since the external declaration)

Benoit

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LEGEND ,
Oct 17, 2014 Oct 17, 2014

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So if you have MyFile.JPG and MyFile.TIF, both to have their xmp in a sidecar, what would be the name of the file into which you put this new tag?

Can't be MyFile.XMP, since well 2 different files can't have the same name.

If MyFile.JPG.XMP and MyFile.TIF.XMP would be the filenames, then would you really need to have a new tag inside?

Anyway, this is probably all academic since it is highly unlikely that Adobe will remedy for us, or so I predict - hope I'm wrong.

Rob

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Community Beginner ,
Oct 18, 2014 Oct 18, 2014

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Use the extention as filename part can also do the job.

I'm hope your are wrong to.
Now I have swiched back to my Native camera format until they find a solution.

Benoit

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 18, 2014 Oct 18, 2014

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Rather than switch back to the native format, review your backup strategy.

DNGs only need backing up a single time when they are created, not continually. Once you have these "virgin" backup copies, it doesn't matter if Lightroom saves metadata to its "working" copies of the DNGs. The backup of your adjustment and other work is the backup of your Lightroom catalogue, and this contains 100% of what you've done to these images (which xmp doesn't).

However, I wouldn't disagree with Rob's forecast.

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LEGEND ,
Feb 11, 2016 Feb 11, 2016

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Currently, when the "Automatically write changes to XMP" option is checked this ONLY writes metadata to an XMP sidecar file if the file being worked on is a proprietary format - eg. .CR2, .NEF etc.; if you're working on a .PSD (or .TIFF) file (eg. after editing it in Photoshop) then any develop module or keyword changes are written directly into the (often very large) .PSD file with no sidecar created. 

This is OK if you never back up your PSD files to a non-local device, as copying the changed files is pretty quick, but when backing up to a NAS or the Cloud etc., rewriting 100 huge .PSD files just because you added a keyword or changed the output sharpening setting is a huge overhead! 

The solution would be to add an option to make Lightroom store ALL metadata in sidecar files when the "Automatically write changes to XMP" option is checked. The files could be given an extension of xyz.psd.xmp etc. to differentiate them from the XMP files generated for same-named RAW files. 

With this option checked NO metadata would ever be written directly into files such as PSDs, TIFFS etc. and backups of changed metadata to network storage would only have to copy the relatively tiny .XMP files as is already the case for proprietary files. 

Clearly the code to create such .XMP files is already in place for the other base file types so enabling it for .PSDs and TIFFs etc. should be a relatively trivial matter that would save users literally HOURS of backup time and gigabytes of network/cloud bandwidth. 

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LEGEND ,
Mar 28, 2016 Mar 28, 2016

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Agree to the former, I would very much like this feature. Backward compatibility would not be too hard to realize IMHO.

Currently I shoot RAW only (Olympus .ORF) so I am happily using .XMP sidecar files. The small files and changes are uploaded quickly through my Online backup software. However others supply JPG files and my older pictures are all in this format as well.

Just reorganizing my keyword sets changed all these JPG files. This is not a big problem for my backup to a secondary HDD. But for the online backup, my computer will be busy during a full day to upload 250GB. Alternative would be to use only the catalog files to store XMP, size is less and so quicker upload. However one can find may examples that this introduces a single point of failure which does fail...

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LEGEND ,
Mar 02, 2017 Mar 02, 2017

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While I agree it's unlikely Adobe will ever change this, allowing sidecars for non-raw files while maintaining backward compatibility is quite straightforward.  

Given a file "f.ext", if the file is raw, its sidecar continues to be named "f.xmp", whereas if it's not raw, the sidecar is named "f.ext.xmp".   There would be two additional options in Catalog Settings > Metadata:

[] Write metatadata for non-raw photos into the file
[] Write metadata for non-raw photos to .xmp sidecars

(The careful reader will wonder what happens when there are two raws in a folder with the same basename, e.g. "f.cr2" and "f.nef".  In that case, LR currently overwrites "f.xmp" with the metadata of whichever photo last has its metadata saved. This proposal doesn't change that behavior.)

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New Here ,
Mar 02, 2017 Mar 02, 2017

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I agree that this is a critical issue for keeping backup simple, but there is another issue. When one makes changes to an original image file, there is a small possibility of corrupting that file. While it has never happened to me with image files, it has happened to me with audio files.

In addition, if, at the file-system level, we create file checksums to check for random changes (file fixity), changing the metadata within that file will, rightfully, change the checksum. While there are audio solutions that only generate checksums for the audio chunk within the WAV file, these have so far proven to be non-robust solutions. I am unaware of that utility for TIF files.

I am spoiled as most of my new files are NEF files (Nikon Camera Raw) so these have the XMP side cars. I am not pleased that I don't have the option of having XMP side cars for my 50,000 TIF images made mostly with my Nikon Coolscan 5000ED.

I did find the ability to turn off the automatic following of the XMP data within the TIF files within Camera RAW, so my original complaint about this has been solved, but the ability to maintain fixity confidence while using the TIF files is a major frustration.

Just as an aside, the volume of backup is actually somewhat minimized by RSYNC which does do partial file backups and that function is used within Dropbox, as I understand it--I don't know about the other cloud storage providers, but even with that said, the fixity monitoring issue remains.

Thanks!

Cheers,

Richard

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Community Beginner ,
May 02, 2019 May 02, 2019

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I like that I can set LR (Classic CC 2019 for Mac) to automatically write changes made on raw files in LR or CR (Camera Raw) to the xmp files. What I don't like is if I check that preference, LR also writes any changes made to jpeg files- like ratings changes or flags. It would be great if LR had a few more options, such as don't write changes to PSD, TIFF or JPG files, but instead keeps those internal in the LR database. No reason to rewrite a jpeg, and change its modification date just because I added a star!

And speaking of suggestions, it would be great if I could sort a jpeg by its creation date, not its modification date, which keeps changing (see above).

Thanks.

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Explorer ,
Dec 07, 2019 Dec 07, 2019

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It was suggested that I bring this discussion over here from another forum, so I apologize if you've seen this before.

I have used XMP files since the very beginning of Lightroom. It's a handy way of having an "instant backup" of changes just in case something ever happens to my Lightroom Catalog.  I love the safety net that XMP files give me.

A year and a half ago (after 15 years with Canon) I switched to the Sony a7iii.  The biggest downside to that is that Sony's ARW files are 47mb each.  But if I use the Adobe DNG Converter, I can losslessly compress them down to just 27mb each.  As I shoot thousands upon thousands of images each month, that 20mb per image savings is huge.  Especially when you take into account backups.  

However, there is one big thing I hate about using DNG files.  And that is that every time I make a change in Lightroom (change a star rating, adjust exposure, crop, etc) that 27mb DNG file needs to be backed up.  AGAIN.  Because unlike my Canon raw files, with XMP sidecar files, the DNG files are written back to whenever I make any changes.  

Is there any way to change Lightroom to write to a tiny XMP file every time I make a change, rather than modifying my 27mb DNG files?  I would much rather backup and rebackup tiny little XMP files.  It makes no sense to have to backup an entire 27mb file just because a few bytes inside of it have changed.  And it costs me money (I have to pay extra to Internet provider as I go over their imposed limits). 

For a real world example, let's say I shoot 64GB worth of files for a wedding.  It backs up 64GB worth of files right after I get home and import the files into my system.  It'll be a few weeks before I get to the wedding, but when I do, I'm going to rate all of the images.  Now they all get backed up again (that's an extra 64GB needlessly being backed up).  I probably won't finish all of my edits in one day, so the next day as I continue editing... any remaining files that get changed will be backed up again.  And again.  And again, for as long as I keep making changes inside of Lightroom.  See how this is suboptimal?  Certainly it's not a lot of money, but it all adds up and is costing me extra for my Internet usage because it is metered.  Whereas if it was using XMP files, then only tiny (what, 10K?) files change as I make my LR edits and that is all that has to be backed up, with XMP files the much larger raw files remain unchanged.

So for me ... DNG storing internally any changes is expensive.  I would love to have an XMP option if it were available.  It would reduce how often my local drives get hit with backups as well as the my internet cost for backing them up. 

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LEGEND ,
Dec 07, 2019 Dec 07, 2019

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I too would like the option to use .xmp sidecars with all photos, raw and non-raw. I backup the catalogs regularly. But backup procedures can fail (more often than you think), and I like having the sidecars as a secondary backup. Also, about once a year I accidentally delete a photo from disk, and the sidecar makes it more likely I'll be able to recover the most recent edits and metadata changes.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 08, 2019 Dec 08, 2019

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XMP has a tag that tells what filename is linked to that sidecar.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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Yes, Adobe, please provide an option to force creation of XMP sidecar files for ALL file types, including DNG. I just have to change or add one single keyword for a larger number of photos (an operation which may not take more than a split second), and because they are DNG, instead of a few megabytes (at most) my next backup is hit with dozens or even hundreds of gigabytes of data which is getting needlessly re-copied.

The capability is already there (at least on Macs): if you lock a DNG file in Finder, Lightroom immediately starts writing metadata changes to an XMP file for that DNG, just like it would with a proprietary raw file. Unfortunately, locking DNGs manually is not remotely practical for normal usage; but it shows it must be nearly trivial to offer such an option. So, please, please do so.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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So if the sidecar and the DNG/TIFF/JPEG have different data than the file, which is used? Lots of programs can edit common file formats, and none of them would know about the sidecars. This would be a HUGE change that would involve not just DNG/RAW files. How does Facebook handle a JPEG with sidecar, for example?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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"if you lock a DNG file in Finder, Lightroom immediately starts writing metadata changes to an XMP file for that DNG"

Oh no it doesn't!

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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As I said, this should be an option (and off by default, I might add). And anyone who thinks their workflow might be impacted by it should leave it off.

For me and many others, this is about how Lightroom (or ACR) handles raw files. All non-DNG raw files get XMP sidecar files and are never touched by LR/ACR. (Modification dates on the raw files remain unchanged, so if your file is from 2005, its modification date will likely still be something from 2005.) In Lightroom, any operations on those raw files are recorded either inside the catalog file or in XMP sidecar files (depending on whether you have the "Automatically write changes into XMP" option enabled or not). I don't use Photoshop, but I presume in ACR the same applies without any such option since there is no catalog.

Treating proprietary raw files this way means they are preserved in their original state. And this is what many want for DNG raw files, too, because otherwise we get a huge backup burden for tiny, metadata-only changes. (Nowadays we have individual raw files that can be larger than 100 MB. If those are DNG, add one keyword and you have to re-backup those > 100 MB as a result.)

To be clear, this does not concern any files exported from Lightroom/Photoshop. Those will always have their metadata properly embedded. And if you use Lightroom and you're working with JPEGs or TIFFs, you'll want to use the export function for distribution anyway since the original files will not contain your actual edits; so I don't see how that would be a problem. (But if so, as I said, you'd still be good by just leaving the hypothetical force-XMP option disabled.)

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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@john
See my comment above. This whole discussion presumes you have "Automatically write changes to XMP" enabled for your catalog. Otherwise locking DNG files will of course not cause LR to produce XMP files since all changes will be written to the catalog. Although you can still prevent the backup problem that way since LR (or ACR, for that matter) won't have write access to your DNGs anymore.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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xmp sidecars are intended only for file formats which aren't publicly documented. They aren't the norm and wouldn't exist unless they were necessary for one exception - proprietary raw files.

If you adopt DNG, you also need to review your backup procedure. Clearly it's not efficient to keep backing up the DNGs when some keywords were added to the files. In any case, this backup omits other work you may do in LR. Instead, consider a backup model that covers new files when they are created, and the catalogue on a daily or better routine.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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No, even with automatic writing enabled, LR does not create sidecars for locked DNGs. You must be thinking about Bridge or some other app.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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“See my comment above. This whole discussion presumes you have "Automatically write changes to XMP" enabled for your catalog. Otherwise locking DNG files will of course not cause LR to produce XMP files since all changes will be written to the catalog

Changes are always written to the catalog, even if you have this option turned on. Writing changes to XMP is additional, it does not replace the catalog entry. That may explain why this does not work in Lightroom, while apparently it does work in Bridge.
-- Johan W. Elzenga

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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"If you adopt DNG, you also need to review your backup procedure."

I don't think it is a raw developers prerogative to tell the user to change his backup strategy. I have a very robust backup strategy in place, and what you're suggesting would mean switching to a much less robust model. Most importantly, if a file that has already been backed up is changed, it should be backed up again, since otherwise there is no backup of the changes to this file!

Then again, if you like to do your backups differently, then you should be able to do so. This decision should not be forced upon you by the developer of some piece of software you use.

Regarding locked DNG files and XMP sidecars, I apologize, I indeed misremembered. Photoshop/ACR will write changes to XMP if the DNG is locked; Lightroom will not. See https://diglloyd.com/blog/2018/20181226_1738-locking-DNG-files.html for example. Although this still doesn't change the fact that the capability to use XMP files in addition to the catalog is already there in Lightroom, as it is used with all proprietary raw files when the "Automatically write to XMP" option is enabled for the catalog. And again, anyone who dislikes the effects of a hypothetical "Force XMP for all file types" option could leave it disabled and remain entirely happy.

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LEGEND ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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"Changes are always written to the catalog, even if you have this option turned on."

That is correct, and I didn't mean to imply otherwise. (Also, see my correction concerning locked DNG files above.)

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New Here ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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The good news is that many cloud services do incremental backups if that is your method of backing up.

I also keep two NAS units. Updates are made to the main NAS, but for certain file types (WAV, TIFF, JPG) updates are not propagated to the backup NAS. Deletes are not propagated to the backup NAS. Updates and deletes are propagated to the backup machine that feeds Backblaze.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Dec 20, 2019 Dec 20, 2019

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It's not the developers' prerogative - it's ours. I am not suggesting a less robust model but one which covers all images and all the work. The catalogued DNG can be written as many times as one wants, and doesn't need repetitive backup that only partially contains your work.

As with any proposal, I can't buy the "leave it disabled" line. The development resources would have been spent on something one dislikes. But it's more than dislike here. As David Converse pointed out, one can only imagine the incompatibility and confusion that this idea would introduce.

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