FotoStation Pro 5.1

  • Editors' rating
    8.5 Excellent

Pros

  • supports batch renaming
  • customisable
  • quick and easy to use

Cons

  • Some files require source application on server
  • may need additional server software
  • limited Web functionality

Digital Asset Management (DAM) applications are the lifeblood of companies that need to share and organise a central pool of digital files. FotoStation Pro, like many other professional DAM solutions, is too powerful and expensive for individuals who simply want to manage their holiday snaps, but networked business users will benefit greatly from the software’s ability to search media files, write IPTC text (Photoshop compatible), acquire new multimedia files from different sources, as well as enhance and colour-correct images. That’s not all though: FotoStation Pro lets you group and organise your archives on side panels; create custom views to organise your files; sort files by attributes, image similarity or text content; or make a custom arrangement by dragging and dropping files.

Version 5.1 of the software adds more than 39 new features and bug fixes (the upgrade is available for free to existing FotoStation 5 owners), including better support for digital camera raw files, four new Actions that help you to automate mundane processes, improved slideshow capabilities, plus support for IPTC Text (data fields used to describe JPEG images).

Many companies are finding it hard to control and manage vast amounts of digital assets -- digital assets can encompass artwork, text files, photographs, audio files, presentations, email and so on. The ability to access, share and re-purpose files across a network with colleagues can enhance an organisation’s productivity and its value. However, an asset is only an asset when you can find it, or know that you have it in the first place. This is where FotoStation Pro proves so useful.

FotoStation Pro is a platform-independent DAM suite that helps you to fully archive digital files. The software supports images, video and sound, and includes a number of key new features, such as integrated colour management, a workflow-oriented interface, configurable ‘Actions’ for the automation of time-consuming operations and better printer support. With FotoStation Pro you can edit images, add or change text, acquire files from media, or send files by email or via FTP. You can also create actions for automatic workflow and batch processing. There are plenty of advanced search functions too, allowing you to search and retrieve digital assets from archives relatively quickly and easily.

Workgroups will especially appreciate the way the software lets you organise images into projects. This feature is useful for grouping and arranging files from several different locations, which can then be shared on a network. Access rights can be assigned to networked project folders, which is useful when you’re working on sensitive documents.

The software's search tool lets you perform multi-archive searches, as well as specify file attributes to help narrow the search. From the clean and uncluttered interface you can enter text into the search box to get results quickly, although the accuracy of file naming will determine the success of a search. Files found can also be isolated by name, modified date, camera date or other criteria. From a calendar view you can also filter out files with a certain date. For example, clicking on a date brings up all of the images that were handled on that particular day. So, for instance, you could see all files that were added to your database or were modified on a certain day. Archive maintenance is also made possible through search and replace functions that let you update archives quickly.

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For larger archives and for the added benefit of phonic, synonym and fuzzy searches, FotoStation Pro can be connected to FotoWare’s proprietary server software, Index Manager, which can handle hundreds of thousands of files without compromising search speed. FotoStation Pro is not without its limitations though. For instance, it doesn’t automatically provide file ratings, hit tracking or top-rated reports; there’s no total category image count display; and it doesn’t support JavaScript rollovers or exec and include SSI (Server Side Includes) tags. Its Web functionality is relatively limited, too.

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