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 2 years 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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Wolfgang,

I think if you look at my posts, you'll see that Photoshop Elements Organizer is doing something that it shouldn't be doing.  I don't have any control over where the Organizer decides to write the metadata when I invoke that command, but it does appear to be writing data back into the image file.  If it's only saving the date in it's own database that's fine, it just shouldn't replace a date I've given it for the image with another date that it extracts from the EXIF data while updating the thumbnail.  If I had not set a date then extracting a date from the image file would be acceptable, but once I change it, the Organizer should never overwrite it with another date unless I decide the date needs changing.

As to your point about changing the EXIF data myself, that's a step that I just don't want to do because it's very time consuming.  There are also many places in the EXIF data where date information appears.  I don't want to go looking for everyone of them.  Each device that creates an image decides what information it wants to include in the EXIF data set.

     Bill
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Wolfgang Exler

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I expect you missunderstand the field you use. This field is used as PSE/Organizer internal usage for the date when the file has been altered. When you recreate/change the preview image, the file IS altered an therefore the date filed is changed
(Edited)
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Wolfgang Exler

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as the EXIF fields are defined as storage place for informatins like "date taken" all application don't touch this field. If you use other fileds, no one expect the "date taken" information in this other fields. So you have to check the primary usage of the field you use and if that usage is the same as your usage idea. And I expect this is not the case

Wolfgang
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Wolfgang,
You wrote:
" 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."
It looks like you are not familiar with Elements.
There is a good reason Elements allows:
- changing the date_taken field in the database of the catalog
- writing the that field in the file metadata header (shortcut Ctrl W)
... it's precisely for scans.
The organizer uses only the date_taken, which may be modified as indicated above, to display the date under the thumbnail and as the only date type criteria for the sort order of the thumbnail.

It also displays info from the file itself : date_created and modified which are used by the OS, but I don't see any field in the database to store those informations.

I just tried to replicate the workflow with Bridge and Photoshop, but I could not confirm Bill's findings...
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Bill wrote:
" I don't have any control over where the Organizer decides to write the metadata when I invoke that command, but it does appear to be writing data back into the image file.  If it's only saving the date in it's own database that's fine, it just shouldn't replace a date I've given it for the image with another date that it extracts from the EXIF data while updating the thumbnail.  If I had not set a date then extracting a date from the image file would be acceptable, but once I change it, the Organizer should never overwrite it with another date unless I decide the date needs changing."
I agree, and the suspected issue is that the 'Update thumbnail' command not only refreshes the image, but also changes the date_taken field both in the database and in the metadata header in the file.
That does not happen to me for the moment, that's why I think it's important to precise the detailed workflow to reproduce the issue.
My first idea was about Photoshop CC being called directly from the Organizer from a version set. That's not the case. Photoshop opens the file itself (I don't think that Bridge has anything to do with the problem). It saves the file, which does not change the date_taken, only the date modified, I believe. So the problem is how the Organizer reacts to the changes in the image itself and in its metadata when edited with any other external editor.
The 'Update thumbnail' command is not totally clear for me.
- I was surprised to see that PSE15 updated the thumbnail look without the 'update thumbnail' command... I'll need more testing!
- That command did not change anything to the metadata for a simple pixel editing in Photoshop. But...
Creating a new catalog for that scan, I changed the date_taken and 'wrote metadata to files'. Back in the original catalog, I did the 'Update thumbnail'... and the date_taken in the original catalog was overwritten by the date in the metadata header of the file.

The expected and designed effect of the 'Update thumbnail' command seems to be:
- Updating the thumbnail image
- Updating the caption (not sure about keywords and ratings, but that's not the current issue)
- Updating the date_taken.


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Bill Junk

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Michael,

I appreciate your assistance with this issue.  As I stated in a previous post, I think this is a fairly new behavior.  I do this sort of stuff all the time and don't remember noticing an issue until today.

Work flow.

1.  I scan a batch of slides to a directory that's in the view of the organizer.  I'm scanning to .tif format.
2.  Generally the next step will be to import those files into the organizer.
3.  At this point I might add captions and tags as well as set the date field in the organizer's slide sorter view to the date the images were taken.  After adding the metadata I will save the metadata to the files.
4.  Next step is to load Adobe Bridge and Photoshop CC.
5.  Using Bridge I select a file to view and edit.  I will typically open the file first in Adobe Camera Raw and do some general adjustments -- black level, highlight, shadow, etc.  
6.  Next I open the image in Photoshop CC and do further adjustments, such as color balancing, dust and scratch removal, etc.  Then I will save the file, replacing the original .tif with the edited .tif.  (I realize this is destructive of the original scan but it suits my needs and saves disk space.)  I typically do a number of files before going to the next step.
7.  With several recently edited files sitting in my import folder I will load the PSE Organizer, go to the folder with the modified files, and then request that the thumbnails be updated.
8.  This is the point where I've noticed that the dates I previously set for the "image taken" date get changed to a date in the image file.

One more point.  I know that my scanner adds a caption field in the image's EXIF data and it will appear as the caption in the Organizer when I first open it up.  When I add my own caption it's permanent.  Updating the thumbnail doesn't change the caption I entered.

     Bill
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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Thanks for the detailed workflow, Bill.

I'll come back after more testing.
Here is how I see the debugging process.
- it seems I have the same OS and Adobe softwares as you have
- Exif viewers are useful but not necessary to spot the steps where data is changed in the file and in the catalog: you can use the organizer for step by step debugging (more on that with screenshots later)
- The suspected step is the 'Update' thumbnail command
- Your own workflow which is not usual, implies many steps and different softwares. I believe we can simplify by testing the 'Update' command on files which have been edited externally after registering in the catalog. Any other editing software will do, including using Elements editor from another work catalog. What's important is what is in the file header itself, not the way it was produced.
- We also know that the date format is not indifferent: full dates or simply years...
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I rarely use Organizer and I can't add to this.  But Bill talks about TIF files which is found on Mac.  TIFF is found on Windows.   I think Bill has Mac and Michel has Windows.   Only my observation.   The two files work the same way.   Both use EXIF.   Watching from the gallery, it came to my email box so I read all through it.   
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Bill Junk

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I believe this problem with the date information being replaced is actually a reimergance of a problem I reported on February 27, 2017 under the title "Defect? Photoshop Elements Loses Caption, Tag, and Date Information."   What is different in my current issue is that the caption and tag information has been saved in the file's meta data (EXIF) area.
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Michel BRETECHER, Champion

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It's a post in the Elements user to user forum:
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2283321
You did not get any answer by that time... I probably read it and thought that I could be of no thelp.
It was on PSE15 (I assume Windows), and there has been no update to the software.
So, the issue to investigate is the same, the behaviour of the 'Update thumbnail' in the Organizer in the situation where a scanned file already registered in a catalog is externally edited and saved, then re-opened  in the Organizer, then the 'update thumbnail' command is issued. Your former post was about captions and tags, the latest one is about 'date_taken', always a problem for scanned files. Precisely, since there is no date_taken from a camera, you enter your estimated date, in full format, or only year in the organizer, and that is recorded in the catalog and in the file metadata header (optionally by using the command 'write metadata to files';

A few notes to start with:

*** If you scan from you scanning software, from the editor or from the organizer, the different metadata fields are recorded differently. The only important thing is to start by looking at what is written in the metadata header, that maybe empty fields or other fields from the OS. You can use an Exif viewer, but the Organizer is enough.

*** The different steps which can edit the metadata in the header are:
- scanning
- import in the organizer
- adding the missing date_taken in the database and in the file header
- using an external editor (or the Organizer editor from a different catalog) to edit the image itself and saving over the previous file. You can also add or change keywords or captions in that step.
- Opening the edited file in the Organizer (check if that changes something both in the catalog and in the file itself, thumbnail, dates, captions and keywords).
- Use the 'update thumbnail' and check what changes in thumbnail, dates, captions and keywords, both in the catalog and in the file.
- Write metadata to files if there is something updated in the catalog but not yet in the metadata header of the file.

*** It has been stated elsewhere that the format of the date_taken you have input may trigger a different behaviour of the organizer, so it's necessary to perform the above steps for different date formats.

I don't know if I will be able to replicate your problem in the process, but I am sure I'll discover interesting things!
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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.