** For those of you who have read this blog for awhile – some of the information in this post may be repetitive. However, it is essential to understanding why you need to convert your PNG files to truly have the metadata stored inside them. This is so important because it means that no matter which organizing program you use, with keywords stored inside the photos, you can quickly organize all your files – in other words, converting PNG files means your organization system is not 100% reliant on your catalog. **
The biggest obstacle between where you are now and having your digital supplies organized in Lightroom is the PNG file format of many element files in most of your kits. Lightroom doesn’t want to play with them – it won’t even import them into your catalog because it refuses to recognize the PNG file format.
PNG stands for Portable Network Graphics format and unofficially the PNG acronym stands for “PNG Not Gif.” PNG was a file format created in 1995 when Unisys and CompuServe officially announced that programs using GIFs would require royalties because of Unisys’ patent on the LZW compression method used in GIF.
The best thing about PNG files for digital scrapbookers: they are small in size and preserve transparency – perfect for elements that are purchased and downloaded online. However, while you can categorize/keyword PNG files inside many organization software programs, it turns out that there is no standard metadata format for PNG.
To spell it out in a visual way. Imagine you have a house. Most houses (i.e. JPEG, PSD, TIFF, etc.) have similar closets inside the house which are standard places to store metadata. However, a PNG house doesn’t.
Certain programs like Bridge may write to that file and pretend to have a closet to store the metadata, but if you open up that file in another program, or even save the file with no changes, the closet will be hidden and unrecognizable.
Basically, if you try to store metadata in PNG files, it is a safe bet you will eventually lose all your work. In my opinion, PNG stands for Preserves Nothing Good.
Remember Peter Krogh’s first rule of thumb when it comes to a digital software organization program – Get A Prenup! Whatever work you do to organize your supplies in a software program should be transferable to another program.
So what are we left to do? Convert those PNG files to something that will retain metadata. While the process is definitely a process, I can honestly say that if you want to get your money’s worth out of your digital supply stash, the time you invest in converting your files will come back with dividends.
THIS TIME when you organize your stash, all the keywords and information and metadata are going to stay with your files no matter WHERE you organize them in the future or how you save them (unless you try to re-save them to PNG format) and that is a VERY GOOD THING!
LASTLY: Before you do anything further in this class, make sure you have completed your FULL AND COMPLETE BACKUP of all your digital files!!