IMatch complements Adobe Lightroom® (Lr) with powerful and flexible cross-application digital asset management (DAM) features. This article explains how to configure IMatch and Lightroom to work optimally with each other.
When you manage files in IMatch and process these files in Adobe Lightroom, IMatch stays in control of the entire process. You can launch Lr directly from within IMatch, you can drag files from IMatch to the Lr application window to open/import them etc.
Changes made to files and metadata in Lightroom (e.g. when you edit a rating, label, title, description or keywords) are automatically recognized by IMatch and it re-imports the files to keep your IMatch database up-to-date. IMatch also records such events in the file history so you can always track back and see who changed which files.
Settings in IMatch
IMatch implements the Metadata Working Group recommendations for metadata processing. It by default embeds XMP metadata in standard formats like JPEG, TIFF, DNG, or PSD, and uses external XMP sidecar files for RAW image formats. Adobe Lightroom behaves the same, which makes metadata exchange between LR and IMatch easy and automatic. You usually don’t need to adjust any of these settings in IMatch.
Changes made to metadata in IMatch show up in Lr when you write-back the changes to the files in IMatch – which can be done on-demand or immediately. The default is to save changes to the database but to delay the update of files until you explicitly execute a write-back command. This improves overall performance considerably.
Note that you may have to explicitly reload the metadata in Lr with the Read Metadata from File command. Lr will indicate that metadata for files has changed on disk.
If you want IMatch to automatically write-back modified metadata at the earliest opportunity, enable this feature under Edit > Preferences > Background Processing. IMatch then always writes back changes to files in the background. While data is written to files, some features in IMatch may be slower than normal. You can monitor the write-back progress via the Info & Activity Panel.
Settings in Lightroom
Lightroom by default keeps modified metadata inside its catalog database. To make metadata visible for other applications (including IMatch), you have to enable the option Automatically write changes into XMP available in the LR Catalog settings or you have to manually write back files.
If this option is enabled, LR writes changes made to metadata into its catalog database and updates the XMP metadata record contained in your image files or the associated XMP sidecar file. This allows IMatch and other applications to see the updated metadata and to process it.
You can also write-back metadata for one or more files manually via the corresponding icon in the thumbnail panel.
Both IMatch and Lightroom flatten hierarchical keywords when writing metadata. In IMatch you control how this is done under Edit > Preferences > Metadata. Lightroom offers less control over this step.
When you tag a face in Lr, it includes the face region (the ‘box’ surrounding the face) and the tag into the XMP record associated with the file.
In IMatch you have several options under Edit > Preferences > Metadata 2 which allow you to control if and how IMatch imports face data from XMP. These settings control the automatic mapping of XMP face regions into IMatch Face Annotations, how IMatch imports the face tag into your hierarchical keywords and other things. Please search the IMatch help index for the word
face to find detailed information.
GPS-Data and Location Info
IMatch has powerful features to work with GPS data, track logs and location data like country, city or location.
IMatch can add add GPS coordinates to files or edit existing GPS data. IMatch has built-in reverse geo-coding for GeoNames.org and Google Maps. IMatch stores GPS data as part of the GPS EXIF record embedded in your images and/or the XMP record embedded in the image or the sidecar file. This makes this data accessible to all applications which support GPS or XMP metadata.
If you prefer to add GPS coordinates to your files in Lightroom, this data will become visible and usable in IMatch automatically. The data is part of the XMP record stored in your files. No specific settings are required in IMatch.
If you crop an image, Lr usually saves a crop record with the XMP metadata. IMatch can use this data to (virtually) apply the same crop when displaying the file. Unfortunately, this cannot not always work due to limitations in XMP and Lr. Please see the IMatch help topic for Edit > Preferences > Metadata 2 in the IMatch help for details about this feature.
See Your Files in IMatch as in Lightroom
When you make changes to a RAW image in Lr, these changes are only virtual. Lightroom remembers your settings and applies these to the image via the proprietary Lightroom render engine. These changes are not visible or usable for other applications. The notable exception are RAW files in DNG format. Here Lr stores an ‘as-intended’ preview in the DNG file. IMatch and other applications can use this preview display the image identical to the Lightroom rendition.
For regular RAW formats this is impossible due to the way Lightroom and other RAW processors manage non-destructive (virtual) edits.
IMatch here offers a solution via a so-called visual proxy.
First you export a JPEG version of your images from Lightroom. This produces an image with all Lr development settings applied. Store this JPEG in the same folder as the original RAW file, or a sub-folder (some users prefer to use the name proxies for this folder).
In IMatch, you define a file relation between the RAW files and these proxy JPEG files. IMatch then knows that the RAW files are masters and the JPEG files are versions of these masters. If you enable the visual proxy attribute for this file relation, IMatch uses the JPEG image to represent the master in the File Window and other features. This means that your RAW files will look in IMatch as they look in Lightroom.
Also make JPEG files a buddy file for your RAW file format(s). This ensures that IMatch keeps master and versions together during rename, copy, move or delete operations. Very comfortable. For more information about the powerful File Relations concept in the IMatch DAM see the corresponding topic in the IMatch help system.
The Lightroom Importer App
IMatch includes a specialized app (version 2017.12.2 and later) which enables you to import selected data from your Lightroom catalog into your IMatch database. IMatch offers to run this importer after you have created your database. You can run it later at any time via the Import & Export Panel (View menu > Panels > Import & Export Panel).
‘Downloading’ Files from Cameras, Cards or Phones
IMatch has no built-in downloading feature. Use the built-in functions in Windows to download images from your camera, card or phone to your disk.
Tip: Create a Download folder on your disk and add this folder to your IMatch database. Download images always into this folder. If IMatch is running it will automatically detect the new files and include them into the database. Else IMatch picks up the new files when you start it the next time.
IMatch has a powerful feature named Renamer which allows you to rename file using a wide range of criteria, from date and time to metadata. The Renamer can move and copy files, create new folders on-the-fly and more. To use it, select the files you want to rename and press Ctrl + F2.
Use it at any time, or on the Download folder (see section above) to automatically rename and distribute new files into date-based folders.
The Renamer is fully integrated into IMatch and supports the buddy file management features of IMatch. This means that when you rename, copy or move files with the Renamer, IMatch moves, copies and renames all associated buddy files automatically. Very convenient.
Exporting Files and Batch Processing
IMatch is a DAM and no image editor or RAW processor. You can still use it to export and convert images into a wide range of formats with the built-in Batch Processor. The Batch Processor not only converts files, it also has options for text or image overlays, borders, canvas, watermarking, controlled metadata export and a more. See the IMatch help topic for the Batch Processor for more information.
Printing Contact Sheets or Photo Books
The Design & Print feature in IMatch is a very powerful tool for printing contact sheets, photo books, calendars, albums and more. It is easy to use for beginners but has highly sophisticated features for advanced users. See the IMatch help topic for the Design & Print feature for more information.
You can output the results directly to any connected printer, as individual images or in PDF or XPS formats using the built-in printer drivers in Windows.
The XMP metadata format and the rules and recommendations of the Metadata Working Group allow multiple applications to exchange metadata in a (fairly) standardized way.
Avoid changing metadata for the same files at the same time in multiple applications. XMP has no concept to handle concurrent updates to metadata and thus one application may accidentally wipe out the changes made to metadata by another applications.
When using a DAM like IMatch, most users find it easier to edit and manage metadata only in the DAM, and use the RAW processing or image editing software for their original purposes: developing and editing images.
You can also use the protection features available in IMatch under Edit > Preferences > Metadata 2 to protect XMP data changed but not yet written to be replaced by XMP data changed in other application. See the IMatch help for details.