Automation in Capture One – a lesson in rocket surgery
Naming tokens have been a feature of Capture One for years. In 8.1 naming functionality was extended to include more tokens and in 8.2 we have expanded the functionality even further to generate file paths using the tokens. We call this Dynamic Locations.
Dynamic Locations enable you to filter output files automatically into relevant folders, based on the token you have chosen, e.g. color tag or rating. This enables you to organize your images faster and with consistency, reduce user input and increase efficiency.
But what is a token? At its core the idea of tokens has one function: Automation. It extracts some property, stores it and then inserts it in place of the token. For example, renaming an image with the [folder name token] would take the name of the folder the image resides in (parent directory) and use it as part of the name of the image.
By using the token instead of typing, much of the mundane and often complex ideas surrounding file management and naming is taken care of. It reduces user error and improves efficiency.
“Token path” is a new workflow concept of Capture One 8.2. It has been developed as part of feedback from the Phase One Certified Professional program along with input from the ex-studio techs working in Technical support. It builds on the existing logic of naming tokens for file names, but instead builds file paths (folders) based on the extrapolated data.
For example, color tag in Paths makes a folder called Red for any red-tagged images whereas the color tag token in the name string would process files with the relevant color tag as part of the name – e.g Red_001.jpeg.
Using tokens effectively
The first step when trying out tokens for import or output is deciding the “root folder” on which to build the path. For importation in a typical session this is the “Capture” folder, and for output the “Ouput folder” Any tokens then used in the sub path field will build on this location.
Tip: Try and keep everything relative to the session to make the session compartmentalized and structured. It is important to remember any folder can be actioned as a Capture folder or Output folder. The token paths will then obviously use this as the starting point as the sub path.
Here are some use cases and examples of how tokens might help you take control of your workflow:
One of the most tiresome import tasks is to organize volumes of images by some sort of metric. Date is the most obvious but there are others: file type or serial numbers from multiple cameras for example.
By using the date tokens in the import subfolder field, images are imported and then filed into folders based on the parent image exif date. A large travel story shot over a number of CF cards can then be quickly organized into folders named according to the day it was shot.
E.g. Set up for importing by date. I’ve set the Capture folder to the destination then used [YY][MM][DD] tokens in the subfolder path. This makes a single date folder inside Capture but I could get creative and make a more nested structure like [YY]/[DD]/[MM] and make Capture/2014/02/14/ for example.
If you are on the case with your shoot prep and make the folders ahead of time you can use the folder name as part of next Capture naming. Then when I change folder, then naming follows. On a high paced set this kind of smart planning pays dividends.
Tokens can be used for batch renaming. With the new IPTC tokens this opens up huge renaming possibility.
Probably the biggest use-cases for the token paths is Processing. Replicating the input structure in output, division of rating by folder or making collections of images in folders named after some IPTC element (say photos of a location or persons name). A whole shoot, processed to hi res tiff and web-jpeg copies, sub divided into star rated folders? No problem! The file type and star rating token in the sub path will have this done in no time.
Every recipe has the ability to define a “sub folder” and therefore use tokens. In the output tab there is an additional tool called output location. This sets the “output” folder (same as right clicking a folder in the library>set as output) that can also define a sub folder. Why two places? The two can be mixed! This allows you to define a static element, and then build a recipe-specfic element on top. See the advanced tips below.
Every token has its own variables. For example if I were to use the token: [orientation] in my processing subfolder field, and process a mixed batch of portrait and landscape images I can expect the output folder to contain two folders in output after processing (as the two variables of orientation are “Portrait” and “landscape”). The relevant images are then piped into each folder.
This idea becomes immensely powerful when you look at the kind of tokens available and the workflow data available: date, rating, document names, folder names, file types and metadata.
Like name tokens, path tokens can be combined or mixed with text elements Further nesting beyond 1 folder level can be done by using the applicable OS path delimiters – “ / “for mac and “ \ “for windows: eg. (mac) Output/[parentfolder]/[colortag]
The output location tool also has a subfolder field which can be used in conjunction with recipes. This allows the user to build a static element and then each recipe builds on this.
E.g. In the above example, the output location extracts the Recipe name resulting in Output/Tiff final AND Output/Web jpeg 50 (as two recipes are enabled). The sub folder in process recipe is the same for both recipes – Selects/Colortag. This is then built in each output folder to give:
Output/Web jpeg 50/Selects/red/image.jpeg
The matrix of what is possible is near infinite and can get pretty complex. Getting the best out of it means understanding the variables for each token and testing it in your workflow. Most of the workflow examples here are session based but the ideas are just as valid for catalogs. There’s no reason why it can’t be adapted to your preferred workflow.
Want to know more about the Dynamic Locations? Check out this on-demand webinar.
April 16 2015
By James JohnsonCategory: Tech Talk Tags: Capture One Pro 8 Capture One 8.2 Dynamic Locations Naming tokens Path tokens