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Whether you call them image databases or media-asset managers, programs that help you organize photos, illustrations, movies, sounds, and other elements are the current rage among media pros. ImageAXS Pro 4.0 occupies a middle ground among these programs, lacking networking capabilities but otherwise offering a full range of media-organizing tools, including the ability to automate operations through AppleScript.
In ImageAXS, creating an image database is easy: you can open image files from within the program or drag and drop folders from the Finder. You can then view the images as individual records, in a thumbnail window or in a Finder-like text list. Within each collection, images are organized into portfolios.
You can quickly tag a group of images using keywords; once you define a keyword, you can drag it to any records you choose. You can also create keyword hierarchies. In addition to assigning keywords, you can define an unlimited number of text fields for each collection.
ImageAXS's scripting functions are also impressive. You can script most operations with AppleScript and use the program's recording mode to automate repetitive functions. An HTML Export function lets you quickly create Web pages containing thumbnail images; clicking on a thumbnail in a browser brings up the full image. You can also export selected images as self-launching slide shows.
Unfortunately, the program's multiple windows tend to clutter the interface. When viewing a single collection, you're likely to open the Text List window for fast sorting, the Thumbnail window to see the images, the Keyword window to assign keywords, and the Portfolio list to show all portfolios within that collection. If you perform a keyword search, any images you find appear in a temporary Portfolio window. It would be nice if the program took a more streamlined approach.
ImageAXS Pro supports most popular graphics and multimedia formats, including PICT, TIFF, JPEG, GIF, and all QuickTime 3 media types. However, it can display EPS files only if they include screen previews, and its support for native formats is limited to Adobe Photoshop.
ImageAXS Pro 4.0 gives you flexibility when you're setting up collections and makes it easy to apply keywords to multiple image records. If you need a full-featured image database and can live without the networking functions, give it a look.
RATING: PROS: Flexible, scriptable image database; easy-to-use keyword function. CONS: No networking capabilities; cluttered design. COMPANY: Digital Arts & Sciences (800/449-6220, http://www.dascorp.com ). LIST PRICE: $299.
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