Photoshop Elements 15 Organizer changes image date when updating thumbnail

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I have Photoshop Elements 15.  Many of my images were created from scans of 35 mm slides.  In the Organizer I use the Date/Time field to indicated the year and month the original image was captured on film.  If at some point later on I decide to edit the image with Photoshop CC and then save the image, I wll most likely want the image's thumbnail updated so that I see the edited photo in the Organizer.  In the Photoshop Elements Organizer, if I request the tumbnail be updated, the Organizer changes the image date to the date the file was created, thus causing loss of important meta data about the image.
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Bill Junk

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Posted 1 year ago

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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Bill,
I am trying to replicate your issue (PSE15, Photoshop CC, Windows 10).
I select an old scan to which a 1936 date_taken had been assigned.
When I open it from the organizer in Photoshop CC, a copy (version set) is created with a -1 suffix. It's imported in the organizer.
I apply other edits, and save those in Photoshop.
Back in the organizer, the version set has the date_created and date_modified adjusted, but the date_taken is not altered. Update thumbnail will show the adjustments.
I suppose that it's what you are expecting, but for some reason, the date_taken is modified in your case?

Edit:
Ctrl W will write metadata to files
Update thumbnail will also recover a caption from the file header and add it to the catalog.
(Edited)
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Steve Lehman

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Michel, 

Not about this topic but I have a tip;   I have something for your records;  

Windows 10 updates can make problems, and we can delay the "Creators update" and other updates if we need to keep Windows updates from messing up things.  
In Win-10 Home:  Go to Settings>Network and Internet>WiFi> Select your network being used, then click on "Metered Connection".   This will delay Windows updates.  

In Win-10 Pro:   Go to Settings>Update and security>Advanced Options then select "Defer Feature Updates" although Advanced Options is not always available.  Keep this on record for problems.   

Steve Lehman, MCSE   
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Bill Junk

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Michael,

I have a bunch of .tif files that I created with a film scanner, then imported into PSE 15.  I only use the organizer to ccatalog, aption and tag the photos.  I also click on the "Adjust Date and Time" and select "Change to a specified datge and time" and then usually enter only a year and month since I don't have day and time for those old photos.   Normally, after captions and tags are added I will do a "Save Metadata to File".  At this point everything looks OK.  Many of the images need various forms of adjustment to make them look reasonable, so I'll access them with Adobe Bridge and do the editing in Photoshop CC, replacing the original file with the edited version, but it's still a .tif.  What's happening is this:  when I go back to the PSE 15 Organizer and ask it to update the thumbnail, the date/time field displayed under the thumbnail gets changed to a date that looks like the date the image was scanned.  I then have to reset the date/time to the year and month that the photo was orginally taken.  I don't remember this being a problem a few months ago.  I wonder if there's been a recent update that might have a defect.

      Bill
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Bill Junk

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When I ask to have a thumbnail updated, that's all I want it to do.  I don't want it to try and be nice by picking up other information it may find.

   Bill
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Bill Junk

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Here's what my system is showing:
Elements Organizer 15.0.0.0
Core Version: 15.0 (20160905.m.97630)
Language Version: 15.0 (20160905.m.97630)
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Wolfgang Exler

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As you do not exactly describe "which date field" you use, I assume you use the file attribute of your scanned tif image. It is a bad idea to use this file system field as a "storage place" for metadata information, as this data field is not stored in the image, it is stored in the file system..

You should use EXIF informations inside the TIF image file to store "date taken" information. From what I know, PSE does not allow to change this fields as this fields are usually set by a camera. You have to use third party tools to create these entries from scratch. Exiftools maybe a useful tool for doing that.

https://www.sno.phy.queensu.ca/~phil/exiftool/
(Edited)
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Bill Junk

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Just as an aside, on my Windows 10 system TIFF files show up with a .tif extension.

I've done a little more diagnostic work on this issue.  I only loaded Photoshop Elements 15 Organizer and selected Media view, then picked an image that had a caption, tags, and a date (June 2001) added to it.  This image I'm test with was taken in June 2001 with my Nikon F3 on slide film and recently scanned to create the .tif file.  Here's the Media screen with the image displayed followed by a close-up showing the date field with a value of "6/2001".




Next is a view of the image file's metadata extracted using "exiftool".  You may not be able to read the exif data but the tag information is locatged in the Kewords field and the Subject field.  The Caption is stored in the Image Description, Description, and Caption-Abstract fields.  PSE is the only application that could have written the information to these fields.  There is no field that includes the date, June 2001 in any format.  Interestingly enough there's a field identifed as "Create Date" with a blank value.



I then did a Save Metadata to File operation.  Next I asked for an "Udate Thumbnail" to be performed which changed the Date/Time field in the Media view.  You can see that it now shows a value of 9/4/2017 12:16 PM which is the date and time corresponding to when the Save Metadata to File operation was performed.



There are three fields in the exif data that have a date that could be the date being displayed by PSE after the Update Thumbnail operation.  They are the Meta Data Date, Modify Date, and File Mod Date/Time.  Interestingly enough the Create Date is blank.
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Bill Junk

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Here's what I would say as an overall summary of the issue.  The PSE Organizer has a problem with its functional specification or one of the developers just decided to implement the Date/Time Change feature in a particular way that was not ideal.  With regard to the Date Taken information displayed in the Organizer, I really don't think it matters if during original importation of the file the Organizer decides to use some date that it can extract from the file's included metadata.  IF it's not an appropriate date then the user has a way to change it.  But, if the user decides to "Adjust Date and Time" to some specific value that is different from what is found in the file's exif data, then either the date needs to be stored in the catalog and always extracted and displayed when the image is displayed or the Organizer needs to add a field in the exif data where it stores the modified date and from where it can recognize and extract that date in the futher .  Personally, I think an operation that is labeled as "Update Thumbnail" should do only that -- update the thumbnail, not do other stuff that's not advertised.  It sounds to me like a poor design decision.  If there's justification for updating some of the information displayed in the Organizer other than just the thumbnail, then the feature should be relabeled to include all of the effects the operation creates, e.g. "Update Thumnail and Metadata You May Not Want Changed".  At least you'd be given a warning and a chance to rethink what you're about to do.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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It's too soon for an overall summary of the issue. It's not yet reproducible and debugged. We do not know exactly what the 'Update thumbnail' does under various conditions, even if you have provided a lot of good info about your workflow.

But I agree that 'Udate thumbnail' is a very bad labelling for a feature which is more like 'update the catalog from the file metadata'. By the way, When I follow your workflow and browse a file externally modified by Photoshop in the editor, I am surprised to see that the thumbnail is updated without any action from me.

About the dates I recommend reading the faqs by John R Ellis, the 'metadata and exif expert' in this forum (unfortunately for Elements users, he left Elements years ago...)
http://www.johnrellis.com/psedbtool/photoshop-elements-faq.htm#_All_the_different

http://www.johnrellis.com/psedbtool/photoshop-elements-faq.htm#_Unknown_month,_day,

No wonder there are problems with dates especially for scanned documents.
In my view, what has always been missing in Elements is the way which Lightroom provides a way to update the catalog from the files. It's not likely to happen soon, they'll tell you to use Lightroom...
The hidden, nearly unknown, effect of the 'Update thumbnail' command is to enable recovering captions from the files (visible in the IPTC section of the file properties) and write them into the catalog.
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Bill Junk

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I've discovered  another interesting aspect of the PSE 15 Organizer's behavior.  In my previous explanation of the "problem" where the image date gets changed when the Update Thumbnail operation is performed, the dates that I have set for the image are just the Year and Month which is allowed when clicking on the date and selecting the ??? value (unknown) for the day of the month.  In this case the time defaults to ??? as well.  Just out of curiosity I decided to click on an image's date in the media slide view and then set the day of the month to 1 (one) and use the default time, 12:00 AM.  Then I saved the meta data to the file.  To my surprise there's a new field in the IPTC section of the Metadata -- "Date Subject Created" showing a value of 2001-06-01.  Now when I do an Update Thumbnail the date displayed on the Media page remains at 6/1/2001.  

This may seem insignificant to some, but having a date of 6/1/2001 instead of 6/2001 is a problem for me.  With some of the scanned images I do know the actual full date, but most of the time I only know for certain the year and month.  Putting a "fake" day of the month in the date just to make the system work correctly is not an acceptable to me from a usability standpoint.  It is implying that the day of the month is know, when it is not. 

With that insight it appears that using the "unknown" options for part of the date value is not adequately handled when the user enters the partial date / time.  For images captured with cell phones and digital cameras there's no issue because they tag the image with all the date and time information required.  For images scanned from film where the date is not known precisely a solution that preserves that "unknown" factor is important.
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Bill Junk

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Those references you provided that were authored by John Ellis, while they may not be totally accurate after several subsequent releases of PSE, were none-the-less quite helpful and do likely explain why the current release's behavior is still lacking.