Full Dynamic Range Tools
Project management
Copyright © 2002-2012 Andreas Schömann

Use cases

FDRTools start in a project management mode. The motivation for using projects is as follows: projects comprise all images of the exposure series and accompanying parameter settings of the project editor into a unit. Projects are saved at program exit and reloaded with the next program start. Projects are useful for:

Workflow

The (recommended) workflow consists of four steps:

  1. Creation of projects.
  2. (Optional) Automated preparation of all the projects for interactive processing.
  3. Interactive processing of the single projects.
  4. Automated rendering of all the projects to create the HDR and (tone mapped) LDR images.
Motivation: the complete processing of an exposure series consisting of several RAW images is rather time-consuming: loading the images, interactive evaluation of the HDR and tone mapping settings and especially the rendering of the results take some time. In order to minimise waiting times for the user it makes sense to separate automatable working steps from interactive working steps. This separation is supported by FDRTools' project manager when adopting the recommended workflow.

Elements of a project

A project comprises the images of an exposure series and the accompanying parameter settings from the project editor into one unit. You can create single projects or several projects in one go, see Overview project management.

Projects have a name. When a project is created its name is derived from the project images. This automatically created name may be changed at any time. A project shows thumbnails of the project images and has several buttons.

   
  Elements of a project  

The buttons have the following funtions:

Remark: Thumbnails may be moved among projects via drag&drop. This is necessary to correct wrong allocations that may evtl. result from creating projects via the "Many" button.

Overview project management

FDRTools start in a project managment view. Here projects can be created, edited, rendered and deleted again. The buttons of the toolbar allow the following actions:

 
 
  Overview project management  

Dialog "Project Manager Settings"

The Project Manager manages Projects and Templates. Templates in principle are Projects too. They differ from "ordinary" Projects in that

The data belonging to Projects and Templates is stored in directories. You can determine where in the file system the Projects and Templates shall be stored. You can store Projects and Templates in as many places you like and set the directories in this dialog:
 
 
  Dialog "Project Manager Settings"  
Projects Directory

The Project data is stored in this directory. In detail the following files are stored:

Templates Directory

The Template data is stored here. Templates are contained in the file .fdrtemplate. Alle files have the same structure as their Project data counterparts.

Many Projects grouping criterion

Projects may be created manually or from a larger set of images in an automated way. For automated generation the images must be grouped somehow so that images belonging together form a project. Images are grouped according to one out of two possible criteria:

Prepare Projects

When there are many projects to process one can save some time if automatable calculations are performed before the actual editing is done. This comprises e.g. the development of RAW images and the alignment of images - although automatic alignment of course delivers an approximate solution only. Currently these two steps are supported. Other precalculations are thinkable but not yet realised.

GUI

For the thumbnail browser within a project you can set the number of thumbnails per row.

Dialog "Missing paths recovery"

If you see this dialog it means that FDRTools while loading projects could not find all related image files.

How is this possible? When creating a project FDRTools remembers where the accompanying images can be found in the file system. The image paths are saved in the project files. Without this information it would not be possible to edit a project because the images must be loaded in order to edit a project. Now if you move these image files within the file system - be it because you want to rearrange your images or because you want to archive images on external storage media - this invalidates the image paths stored in the project files and FDRTools can not retrieve the image files any more. The projects are unusable in this state. In order to make the projects usable again the incorrect image paths must be recovered. The dialog supports you in performing the recovery.

 
 
  Dialog "Missing paths recovery"  

The left side of the dialog shows all the missing directories and the right side lists all the image files that are expected to reside in the missing directory (move the mouse over the directories to show the accompanying image file names). The directories are decomposed into their elements, the "path nodes". The path nodes are selectable.

To recover a path you replace the non existing part of the directory path with the correct, existing path, assisted by the dialog.

How does the recovery work? Let's assume you have moved the folder "E:/Bilder/HDRI/Szabo/" with all its subfolders to "D:/Bilder/" some time after you created projects with images from these directories. Now FDRTools is unable to find the (original) directories and you will see the dialog as shown in the figure. To recover the missing paths choose one of them and click the path node that you have moved, in our example this is "Szabo/". The dialog for choosing a folder opens up. Navigate to the existing path - in our example this is "D:/Bilder/Szabo" - and confirm your selection. Now FDRTools replaces the path "E:/Bilder/HDRI/Szabo/" with "D:/Bilder/Szabo" and checks if the expected image files are there. If so the now corrected path is removed from the list.

Moreover all paths which have "E:/Bilder/HDRI/Szabo/" as part of their path and can be recovered by replacing it with "D:/Bilder/Szabo" are also removed from the list. So in the example in fact all the missing paths are recovered by replacing "E:/Bilder/HDRI/Szabo/" with "D:/Bilder/Szabo".

You can close the dialog at any time via the "OK" button. If you have not recovered all missing paths the affected projects will be visible in the project browser, yet they will be deactivated and thus be unusable. You may then delete the unusable projects or recover them the next time you start FDRTools.