Metadata Malaise

We all chuckle at the way stories change along the way in the rumor mill. We also sigh at the free-wheeling way that photo-editing apps play with metadata.

What surprised me, however, was seeing some text that I didn’t recognize in my Facebook post of a new café-art piece.

I like to “photoodle” and play with photos taking them through several tools to come up with “café art”. The text “CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using I…” was strange and I wondered where it had come from.

As I still had my intermediary image files I took a quick look at them in File Explorer, on the Details tab. Nothing there at all.

So on to an explore digging in the metadata

The image I started with was from a photo I had taken with my iPhone. There was no such text in the metadata. My first processing was using ON1 Photo RAW. That did not introduce anything suspicious.

Then I did a manipulation in Deep Dream Generator, you can see the image there. As I like to make more changes I downloaded the image. Sure enough, there in the metadata is this:

Comment : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.

Deep Dream downloads are modest in size, just 893 by 671 pixels. To make it easy to manipulate I like to up-size the image. For that I use Topaz Gigapixel AI which inserts fictitious, but appropriate, pixels to make the result smooth. The result had this in the metadata along with a lot of other stuff:

Comment : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.

As you can see, Gigapixel added “Caption-Abstract” with the same information.

Next I loaded the image into PaintShop Pro along with the original photo in another layer and made changes there. Then, combining my creations into my final “café art:, I downloaded the new image. PaintShop Pro writes a ton of stuff into the metadata. It included these lines:

Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.

Notice that it had dropped the original “Comment” but retained the “Caption-Abstract” that Gigapixel had added, and added a “Description” line.

My next changes were made in Paint. That app made a cute. minor change to the lines of interest:

Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90..

Paint added a period to the “Description” line, but retained the other line as it was.

Lastly I made some adjustments in Photo Gallery and downsized the image for online use. This app made major changes to the metadata, and the following lines were included:

Image Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90
Caption-Abstract : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90.
XP Title : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90
Title : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90
Description : CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90

The “Caption-Abstract” line was not changed. The “Description” line had the period at the end dropped. Three new lines were added, “Image Description”, XP Title”, and “Title”. These lines did not have the periods.

So now we had come full circle. what was a “Comment” in the Deep Dream file had become a “Description” and finally a “Title” line. Just like the rumor mill!

When uploaded to WordPress the information appeared as a caption line. That finally was picked up by Facebook in the post.

Here is how it looks in my Silver Gallery site:

Moral?

The metadata in image files is a playground where all participants, that is photo-edit apps, think they can do whatever they like – and they do. There are no standards, no respect, no courtesies. Just garbage.

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

About Ludwig

Lending a helping hand where I can. . . My motto: If it is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
This entry was posted in Digital Photos, image editor, Photo Editing, WordPress and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Metadata Malaise

  1. Love your in-depth analysis of Metadata.
    In the internet world….and these days with AI taking control…..one can not be certain of anything.
    Even if one removes all the metadata (to remain anonymous) while exporting to the website…who knows still the metadata is visible.
    Thanks for sharing knowledge

  2. Vanessence says:

    Holy cow, that’s a lot of liberties taken there in the metadata! The picture is super cool though. 🙂

  3. cheriewhite says:

    Beautiful picture, Ludwig! I love the colors and how they blend together.

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