Plus Sneak Peek: Differences Between Browsing and Catalogs

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(This Video is Open to the Public) I’ve seen a bunch of questions about how ON1 Browse works, and it seems that a lot of folks think it works similar to Lightroom’s Catalog. Well, it’s really quite a bit different and easier to work with in some ways, so I thought I’d do a quick video to explain how some organizing systems work, and how that differs from the way Browse works. Enjoy!

Editors Note: At the 4:00 mark Matt shows on his Mac: Right Click > Show in Finder. The same can be achieved on Windows using Right Click > Show in Explorer.

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29 comments on “Plus Sneak Peek: Differences Between Browsing and Catalogs”

  1. On December 1, 2016 at 1:59 pm Barry Arnold wrote:

    Hi Matt
    Please could you explain how Photo RAW provides any benefits to a Lightroom user compared with Photo 10?
    If one uses Photo RAW as a plug in, one still ends up with the original raw file and a completely separate, large, PSD (or TIFF) file exported back to Lightroom from Photo RAW. Any adjustments to the RAW file made within Lightroom itself are stored within the Lightroom Catalog.
    Photo RAW only provides a significant benefit if one ditches Lightroom altogether. In this scenario one ends up with the original raw file, plus a small sidecar file containing all of the raw adjustments made to the image in Photo RAW; which is clearly more efficient and represent truly non-destructive editing.
    At first sight, it seems to me that ON1 has shot itself in the foot. By generating proprietary sidecar files that cannot be read by Lightroom, Photo RAW provides no real benefit to Lightroom users. Hopefully you will be able to tell me otherwise!
    Best wishes

    1. On December 2, 2016 at 7:02 am Matt K replied:

      Hi Barry – to me the main benefit is that what ON1 has done “under the hood” for raw editing, actually makes what happens in ON1 Effects faster. I did a video on what it means for me here:…photo-raw/

      As for shooting themselves in the foot, I don’t think so. You have to understand that nobody will let anyone else read their propriety information. Lightroom won’t let ON1 read it. Capture One, won’t let LR read it, etc… it just doesn’t work that way. And even if LR could read it, your photos would never look the same between the two since each uses different raw processing technology.

      1. On December 2, 2016 at 10:07 am Barry Arnold replied:

        Hi Matt
        Thank you for your prompt response and link to your excellent video. Nevertheless, for me, Photo Raw is proving to be a big disappointment (even if I forget the buggy and slow pre-release). I love Lightroom, but I am intimidated by Photoshop. To date I have been using Photo 10 as an alternative to Photoshop; much less powerful of course, but excellent for finishing off a RAW image after Lightroom has done the ‘heavy lifting’. I was hoping never to have to open Photoshop again, but I clearly misunderstood what ON1 was developing. It turns out that Photo RAW has been positioned as a standalone RAW editor to replace Lightroom. It can still be used as an add-in to Lightroom, but, if so, Photo RAW still doesn’t receive a RAW image from Lightroom and from your comments about propriety information never will. So the huge and inefficient PSD files remain, which, in essence, is no different from Photo 10. The only benefits of RAW over 10 seem to be some spin off benefits arising from a change in the program’s architecture, namely speed and a more flexible filter stack.
        To get the benefits of Photo RAW one would need to ditch Lightroom altogether and use Photo RAW standalone. Which might be feasible for a new photographer who has never used Lightroom before. But if one already has a catalog with tens of thousands of referenced raw images, then, in the absence of a comprehensive migration process, it would be impossible to cease using Lightroom in favour of Photo RAW. And again your comments on propriety information suggest that there will never be such a migration process.
        In summary, Photo RAW solves a problem that I do not have; I love Lightroom. At the same time it adds little to Photo 10 in resolving the problem that I do have, namely the steep learning curve of Photoshop. Assuming that Adobe continues to develop Lightroom, it will be Adobe, rather than ON1, that will ultimately deliver the advances that I was hoping for from Photo RAW.
        On a positive note, the coaching providing by you and Hudson has more than justified the ON1 Plus subscription fee, so at least I can write off the cost of the software itself.

      2. On December 2, 2016 at 11:30 am Matt K replied:

        Hey Barry – So you said something really interesting to me: “I love Lightroom”. So my question back to you would be, if you love Lightroom, why would you be looking to replace it? You mentioned Photoshop. Well, assuming you do the $9.99/month plan from Adobe, then you get Photoshop with LR. It’s definitely harder to use, but if you understand the basics of layers (which if you’re using ON1 Layers you do), then you should be able to pick up PS with some training. So I guess I’d say to adjust your expectations. Rather than looking for a replacement for a program you “love” – I’d figure out how to use the program you love with the companion program (Photoshop) that it came with (assuming you did the $9.99/month photography plan).
        As for your hope to “never have to open PS again”, I think that would be tough. Photoshop does A LOT of things and has a huge support system, community, training industry, and history behind it. Yes, it’s got a learning curve, but everything does. For some one like you (and me), I believe sticking with what they have is the best choice.

    2. On December 5, 2016 at 6:59 am Martin Andersen replied:

      I’m not currently a Lightroom user, but as far as I know, you can send a RAW file to another program through Lightroom; for instance, people who use DxO’s products, like their Filmpack or Optics Pro, with Lightroom send the RAW file, not a TIFF or PSD. You then save in whatever format you want from that program, be it a flattened TIFF or JPEG. No need for proprietary PSD files. Same goes for working with On1 with Lightroom. Send the RAW file to Photo RAW, so you get the look and effects it provides that Lightroom may not, in conjunction with On1’s other products. It is a tool, which may get you a look which Lightroom on its own may not, or not as easily. In this use-case, Lightroom provides the cataloging and metatagging, and On1 the RAW processing for certain files that may benefit from it. Experiment. As with regular plugins (which usually are sent a TIFF or PSD), it is not for every photo.
      Photo RAW may also be for people who don’t use Lightroom, or doesn’t want the Adobe subscription. Plenty of casual photographers who want to step into RAW who don’t know where to start, and doesn’t want to be overwhelmed with features or cost.

  2. On December 1, 2016 at 3:20 pm Ger Meeuwissen wrote:

    Hi, Barry, you are right. Sending a lightroom raw file to on1 only yields a second huge psd file.
    But when you start in On1 as a stand alone application, you do all your edits there (basic plus effects in raw). You don’t have to make a huge PSD file to do effects anymore, in is done in raw without making a huge psd file. You can advance into layers if needed.
    I think Lightroom can still be a good complement when you need to merge HDR or panoramic or do basic (and advanced) corrections.
    You have to set up a workflow where you start in On1 and only import the files into Lightroom that you need to edit in Lightroom.
    Once you have finished editing in On1 and/or Lightroom you keep your originals (with edit history) and export to JPEG. You could import the JPEG files into Lightroom to use GPS, Books, Printing, face recog, Slideshow, Maps/GPS etc. Things that are not there in On1.

    I have thought long and hard about a workflow and I donot see myself using Lightroom and sending a file to On1 only to get a huge PSD file. I like to keep the (edited) raw file and on1 gave me a second option to edit raw files with a lot of extras in effects. But as long as On1 does not have all the options in Lightroom I still use Lightroom. Both as a stand alone app !

  3. On December 1, 2016 at 5:26 pm Darren Poulton wrote:

    Hi Matt,

    I thinks that the browse method is less useful than you make it out to be. Using your car lot analogy lets look at the following scenario:

    My car lot has thousands of cars with hundreds of features and extras. Using the browse method, you need to go and look at each car to check to see if it has the things you are looking for. Red 4 door sedan with automatic transmission and all wheel drive.
    So you would say okay, you group the cars together and then you check the relevant area for you car. This causes a dilemma, do I group by transmission type, colour, drive train……… What ever grouping mechanism you use, you will still have to do a manual search within the chose organisation structure to find the finer details.

    Now let look at the referenced catalogue. As cars come, I enter the important features (keywords) for each car. I can even assign standard keywords to groups of cars to save time. If my system is smart enough, I can get it to automatically recognise the manufacture and model of the cars and list them as keywords for the system as well. This would be what face recognition and GPS coordinates would be in photographic terms. With steps being made in recognition, I envisage the catalogue software being able to identify the location simple by analysing the image and matching against know landmarks for you. It does not matter where I put the cars on the lot as this is recorded in the catalogue. So now to find the cars I have that match the criteria I need, I can just do a search for them and the catalogue can tell me all the important keywords and the location of the car on the lot.

    If you are recording a history of your family or whatever over decades, I know I would rather use the catalogue than the browse method as I don’t really want to have to manually search each location to find photos that have what I want. I was faced with this dilemma just recently when getting a slide show together for my daughters 21st birthday. To have a chronological show, no manner of manual organisation would have helped me get to all the photos I would end up using. In a catalogue system, I just searched for all the photos that I selected as picked (worth using in future stuff) that contained my daughter, I then sorted them base on the date they were taken. I used the keywords to help identify where the photo was taken and what event it was. As I selected the photos I wanted for the slide show, I could easily create a new virtual folder (collection) containing references to those photos and edit where required (if they had not already been edited).

    To do this using browser just does not even come close to the convenience of a catalogue system.

    1. On December 2, 2016 at 7:14 am Matt K replied:

      Hey Darren – It sounds like it’s less useful for you. And honestly, it’s not something that I’ll use either. But… I can tell you from talking to thousands of people each year, there is a place for this. The length and detail of your comment tell me that you are an extremely advanced user with search needs that most people don’t have. You have to understand that most will never use that level of searching because most folks won’t spend the time to keyword and organize the way you explain. It’s just a fact – and I can back it up with thousands of people’s feedback.
      So yes, “technically” the cataloging concept will help if people put the work in on their photos to make it work. But not everyone wants to go that far, which makes the cataloging concept overkill for a lot of people. And, ON1 will let you keyword an create Albums, etc… so there is a bit of cataloging/indexing done there.
      But for some one like you, you should definitely not be using a Browse workflow. Just don’t discount the fact that it can be useful for many others out there.

  4. On December 1, 2016 at 7:15 pm vartkes wrote:

    Both Ger and Barry make appropriate and relevant observations for what Photo RAW represents in its first incarnation. It has gaps when compared to Lightroom. It does not come close to challenging Photoshop… YET! I believe Photo RAW is laying down the infrastructure and plumbing for how On1 will build out this product into the future. This current version makes Adobe Bridge/Camera RAW obsolete for photographers. Adobe does not care about this. What Adobe really will care about is that PhotoRAW can now move forward to make Lightroom irrelevant for those photographers who do not care to build their image library around a ‘Catalog” database. (Notice that a key feature in PhotoRAW will be to ‘import’ Lightroom Catalog into PhotoRAW – that is recognize and imitate the parametric adjustments and metadata from Lr Catalog) From there PhotoRAW architecture will enable On1 to claw away all the unique functionality that Photoshop offers to photographers. And that is really the On1 product strategy for PhotoRAW; to become a credible, capable alternative to Adobe Lr+Ps for photographers. Of course Photoshop covers many more user segments than just photographers. Now On1 can build out a credible alternative to Photoshop for photographers based on the PhotoRAW architecture.

    1. On December 12, 2016 at 11:25 pm Hans Habereder replied:

      Good points above, I also rely on a cataloguing system for my nearly 100K photos to find photos. You might consider that ON1 is not the only SW clawing at Photoshop. There is Luminar, which I have written off, and there is Affinity Photo which is similar to Photoshop , weaker in some areas and stronger in others and the price to own of $49 is a real steal. IT really has no cataloguing capability. It is much further developed and along than ON1 is right now and uses 32 bit color algorithms, but does not have the On1 1 Effects filters, you have to build your own. With the price point where it is I think this will become ON1s greatest competitor

  5. On December 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm Craig Eagleson wrote:

    Matt, I am a long time user of Apples Aperture as my main (preferred) catalogue base with plug ins when needed from Topaz, Efex and On1 among others. I am now planning to put Aperture to bed but I would still like to get a similar App that I can use for cataloging and I intend on using Photo Raw as my preferred photo editor. Is there a preferred App that you can recommend (other than an Adobe product) that would work well with On1? Some folks from my photo group mentioned one called Emulsion…any thoughts?

    1. On December 2, 2016 at 7:07 am Matt K replied:

      Hi Craig – Honestly that sounds like an incredibly difficult workflow. If you’re in to the catalog, you understand it, and you (most importantly) want it, then why not go with LR. Seems like it would be difficult to complicate your workflow by jumping back and forth when you can have one program that does it all. Just my thoughts – I don’t know of any other program that does what you’re looking for though. Thx.

    2. On December 2, 2016 at 8:11 am Cecilia replied:

      I’ve been using Aperture since it first came out and it breaks my heart that Apple has replaced it with the (to me) useless Photo application. I really do NOT want to switch to LR either. I’m not sure what I’ll do when Aperture will no longer function (it still does in its current iteration) as my import/cataloguing/keywording organizational software. I was hoping that PhotoRAW would be that software but apparently not.

      In that case, how does one import images without LR or Aperture and apply key words etc.?

  6. On December 2, 2016 at 5:21 am HL Arledge wrote:

    I replaced Lightroom with Alien Skin Exposure some time ago. This works for me, because I do most of my work in Photoshop. Ultimately, I hope to replace both with On1 Photo Raw, but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  7. On December 2, 2016 at 6:21 am tiamater wrote:

    Never having used Lr, I can only compare the Browse feature to a program like Picasa–yes, Picasa–a program that was way ahead of other programs in some respects (like non-destructive editing as the default). Anyway, Picasa allows the user to choose which folders on the user’s computer will show up in its version of a browser. Quite handy and would eliminate the long list of folders unrelated to photography that currently show up in the sidebar in On1 browse.

    Just a thought.

  8. On December 2, 2016 at 8:20 am Volker Gottwald wrote:

    Well done this explanation and difference of browsing and cataloguing. And I’m waiting for the explanation what indexing does in ON1 RAW and if and when I should use it or not. In the current (pre-release) version indexing is killing my PC. (In the video I see that you have indexing switched on for some of the directories).

    My hope with all the advertising videos I had seen has been to stop using Lightroom one day and only use On1 RAW. The disadvantage of combining the two packages is the creation of these huge PSD files that also takes real long and saving it when done much longer.

    I think one day ON1 needs to decide whether they want to be a companion to Lightroom or a competitor, both at the same time may not work and may keep them away from developing the best in class product because they may think what you can’t do in ON1 RAW could be done in Lightroom.

    I think one day ON1 needs to decide whether they want to be a companion to Lightroom or a competitor. Both may not work.

    1. On December 2, 2016 at 8:28 am Matt K replied:

      Hey Volker! ON1 has several great products. And they’re exposing them to users, in the way that the users want to use them. If you want stand-alone… you got it. If you want a great effects plug-in… you got it. My guess would be they’ve already made the decision you speak of at some level. Browse and Develop are a full raw solution, and (make no mistake) a competitor to Lightroom. Just because Effects is exposed as a plug-in to LR (and other apps) as well, doesn’t make the Browse/Develop workflow worse for others. The people that will use it as a full raw editor don’t lose anything because a LR user can also jump in to Effects. The all-in-one folks get a great all-in-one editor. And ON1 (smartly) decided not to close it up, and abandon their plug-in users (like me), and still give us a workflow for Effects if we want it.

  9. On December 2, 2016 at 12:50 pm David Price wrote:

    Hi Matt

    Thanks for a very clear explanation. I like Lightroom, but I already like Photo Raw too. You once suggested checking your photographs in Browse, then culling them down to just the ones that you actually want to develop in Lightroom. That ‘cull first’ in Browse, before going anywhere close to Lightroom is a great time saver. So, thanks for the advice.

    You also advised on how to tag and describe photos in Browse. Then demonstrated how to search. The main way that I now find my photos, is through the folder structure that I have created on my hard drive, but I can also use the search facilities in Browse to find tagged photos. And you are spot on, the more time and effort you put into tagging the more likely you are to find those photographs that you thought that you had lost.

    At the moment, Photo Raw can’t correctly process micro 4/3rds raw files, which makes it a bit of a non starter for a Lumix user. However, when it does, then I am very likely to spend more and more time developing my raws in Photo Raw and less time developing in Lightroom. Ultimately, for me, working standalone could be a time saver. Besides, except for the fact that none of my straight lines are straight. Some of my horizons were even bent down in the middle. (Although the grinning sunset look did have something going for it :) it didn’t look right). I think that the over all quality of my raw files as developed in Photo raw are slightly better than the same files developed in Lightroom 5. So I am patiently waiting for quarter two in 2017, when what I need should arrive, and my straight lines will finally look like straight lines.

    Also, because On1 have chosen to go out of their way to ‘play nice’ with other editors, I should be able to swop over to other editors, when I need to do something that On1’s products can not do. And, as there are things that On1 can do that Lightroom can’t, ‘play nice’ works to the benefit of both camps of users. I don’t see a conflict in being both standalone and play nicely.
    Actually as both On1 develop and effects can work with both Raw and Tiffs, then Lightroom users can get almost as much out of using them as an On1 user.

    What I also really like about On1 Plus is that the coaches have such a range of backgrounds and differing approaches and views, which is refreshing, because it brings things to light that I probably would never have considered.

    Looking forward to December and to your new videos.

    Best wishes, David Price.

    1. On December 4, 2016 at 4:00 pm replied:

      Hi David. What is the problem with micro 4/3 files? I have an Olympus OM-D E-M1 which is fully supported from what I have read. Am I missing something? Best, Paul.

  10. On December 2, 2016 at 10:15 pm Carmen K wrote:

    I have used Photoshop and Lightroom for a long time, but I have cancelled my Adobe subscription. I am happy to use On1 Photo Raw as a stand alone software, plus Serif’s Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer. I’m also looking forward to Serif’s future page layout program which will replace InDesign. I will not miss the LR cataloging. I’ve always been very organized prior to Lightroom and never found it difficult to find exactly what I needed without LR. And now I’m looking forward to the growth/development of Photo Raw and all it’s components.

    I enjoy being a member of On1 Plus and 2017 will be fun!

    Best to all.

  11. On December 4, 2016 at 6:37 am Adam Rubinstein wrote:

    Hi Matt, it’s great to see that your involved in the RAW launch and I always appreciate your insights. While RAW is clearly in it’s infancy, it would be extremely helpful to hear your recommendations for optimization of the program’s general settings (cache size, scratch disk, etc.) as well as those for one’s tablet (Wacom).

  12. On December 6, 2016 at 7:27 am Robert Sergeant wrote:

    Since the demise of Nikon Capture NX-2 I have been in limbo trying to determine my workflow going forward. NX-2 was simple and while destructive, I could manage that through a folder structure for files that proved adequate. Since then I have cataloged years of photos that were mostly but not exclusively family photos based on Year/quarter/event. Along comes On1, I see the promise and look forward to the rollout of RAW. But again, reconsidering workflow.

    I think my decision is to maintain LR for primarily family photos due to the catalog/keyword feature and maintain my art/portfolio photos separately. I can then catalog jpegs in a distinct LR catalog.

    But before any of this can begin, I need On1 to fix the login error 7 problem. I have submitted the problem to support, there are 17 days left on the eval license. If I dont get that corrected soon, I may have to learn PS

    1. On December 9, 2016 at 8:56 am Robert Sergeant replied:

      Thank You!!! I finally have direct access to RAW. Now the work begins.

      It would be nice to know if there is a video or could be a video on content management.
      Is there a way to have the browser list my folder directly rather than having to open the entire hirarchy of my disk?
      What is indexing and why should I do this.?
      What files are created during the editing process and how/where should they be stored or saved? Example:
      I have a similar structure to Miguel; Year/Quarter/Subject. For each subject I have RAW, Edited RAW, jpeg, PSD/TIFF, scaled, watermarked. WIth Capture NX-2 I had my workflow established through saving to the approprite folder. Can this workflow work with RAW?

      Hoping to get started and just have LR as a catalog with keywording.

  13. On December 7, 2016 at 9:46 am Miguel Rozsas wrote:

    Hi Matt, how are you doing ?

    So, there is no “import” photos in ON1 RAW.
    It is fine if all images are already in your computer, and them, all I need is to browse to the proper folder. But when the photos are in the sd card, it is not make sense, as I need first to copy the photos from the sdcard to somewhere in my computer to work on it.
    I just opened ON RAW and figure out I should copy the photos from sdcard to my computer in a new folder.
    But ON1 RAW does not “see” this new folder in indexed folders ! Let me explain better:
    I already have an indexed folder named “2016”. Inside this folder there are sub-folders for each month (01; 02; .. 10 and 11). I created the new folder in “2016\12″and copied the new photos to it, but On1 Raw does not see this sub folder inside of “2016”. If a try to add a new indexed folder and navigate to “2016/12” it creates a new entry named “12” on top level. I expected it inside the “2016” indexed folder.
    It is a bug or an unimplemented function ?
    Or may be there is a “refresh” function to ON1 Raw to re-read the “2016” folder or something like that ?
    best regards,
    Or am I doing something wrong ?

    1. On December 7, 2016 at 11:52 am Matt K replied:

      Hi Miguel – Correct, there is no “import”. You browse to photos where ever they are… on your computer, external hard drive, or even the memory card attached to the computer.
      As for the indexed issue you spoke about, I’m not sure but that sounds like a ? for the tech guys. I’m not sure if the “indexed” folder will/should see new folders that are added at a later date. Thx.

  14. On December 7, 2016 at 5:47 pm Alan Beeler wrote:

    Nice job on the video Matt. Like Volker noted earlier though, an explanation of indexing is conspicuously missing. Can you splice a bit on the end (or perhaps address here) “what indexing does in ON1 RAW and if and when I should use it or not.”

    I’m curious because when reading On1 Raw beta tester’s comments it seems some had issues with indexing. Perhaps it’s better not to index at all?

  15. On December 13, 2016 at 9:47 am Christian Quiñones wrote:

    Hi Matt. Thanks for the clip explaining the benefits of on1 RAW over Lightroom. One of my expectations was that On1 RAW would be able to browse my images directly from my camera but it appears now that I would have to buy a card reader to be able to browse my images without first having to import them into Lightroom. Any chance the browsing functionality will be extended to browse directly from the camera?

  16. On December 14, 2016 at 1:05 pm Michael Anderson wrote:

    So much depends on the capability of RAW Develop vs Lr Develop. If I can do everything I need in RAW Develop and then have the option of using Effects for one cost, it beats paying both Adobe and On1…..especially if I never use Ps anyway. I look forward to not having to routinely create TIF or PSD files.

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