Lightroom 4: Multi Selecting Smart collections and Folders in Library Module has changed for the worse

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Disappointed in one major change to Lightroom 4 form the previous Versions. When in the library Module, I have smart collections created for specific color labels for filtering out images within a folder(s). In previous versions, when multi selecting a folder or multi folders and then also selecting the smart collection, for example "Blue" It would filter out all other images within the folder or folders to only the blue labeled images. In Version 4, it does not work the same, as Lightroom 4 COMBINES (does not filter) the images in the entire catalog that have the color label along with all of the images in the folders. Very disappointed and hope Adobe will correct and go back to the same library filtering as previous versions.
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ABetterExposure

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  • frustrated

Posted 8 years ago

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Lee Jay

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Why not just use the library filter for that? Select the folder, then attribute, then the blue label.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Hmm, the same thing also occurs with regular collections and folders -- LR 3 intersects folders and collections, LR 4 unions them.

I agree that it's a change for the worse. While you can do some intersections using the Filter Bar, Smart Collections have significantly more capability -- more criteria and the ability to form arbitrary boolean expressions. Smart-collection criteria missing from the filter bar include: Folder, Collection, Published Collection, Published Via, Is DNG With Fast Load Data, Edit Date, Has Adjustments, Is Proof, Cropped.

I wonder if this was an intentional design change or accidental?

As a work-around, you could use the Any Filter plugin, though it's not as convenient as the built-in LR functionality.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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"boolean expressions" => "arbitrary boolean expressions"
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john beardsworth

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I can see the difference, but it strikes me that the current behaviour is what users would expect. It looks to me like it's a bug fix.
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Lee Jay

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I concur.
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Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață, Champion

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Doh...

Because the user of me never new that selecting a collection and a folder showed their intersection (which was what I needed) and not their union (which I never needed, but assumed it should do), I used the following trick to get an ad-hoc intersection:

1. Select all in one source A.
2. Switch to source B.
Result: Only the intersection remain selected.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Hmm, that doesn't work for me in either LR 3.6 or 4. For example, if I have 3 five-star photos, only one of which is in "folder1", then if I select "folder1" in the Folders pane, do select all, then click on the smart collection Five Stars, I see all 3 five-star photos, not just the one in "folder1". Are you doing something different that I'm missing?
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Dorin Nicolaescu-Musteață, Champion

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That's right. They're all there, but only one (the intersection!) is selected. From here, you can do something with the selection (add to quick collection, view and/cycle thru them in Survey, add metadata etc.).
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Ah, got it, good tip. It's not as good as the LR 3.6 behavior: It's more keystrokes; the final selection may be scrolled off the screen and hard to find; the Quick Collection may already be in use, if you want to use that to consolidate the final result. But it's a useful workaround.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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The LR 3 behavior aligned with the way the Filter Bar worked: Within a particular metadata column or attribute (color, pick, kind), multiple selections were unioned (boolean or). The results from the individual columns and attributes were intersected (boolean and). Similarly, within a particular source category (Catalog, Folders, Collections), multiple selections were unioned, while the results from the categories were intersected. And the Filter Bar and source categores were intersected.

In LR 4, the source categories now work differently from the Filter Bar.

Use cases for the LR 3 behavior are pretty obvious: Some people use folders to organize by date or by project; when they're working on that project, they want to identify photos that meet specific criteria, such as the built-in smart collection Without Keywords, or their workflow-specific criteria. Similarly, the built-in collection Previous Import identifies the most recent shoot, and you want to further refine photos from the shoot using smart collections.

Perhaps there are equally compelling use cases for the LR 4 behavior?
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john beardsworth

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Yes, there certainly are - selecting all the images in one or more folders and also those meeting a SC criteria. Are you suggesting Union should be dropped from SQL then?

It's simply bizarre that in LR3 selecting a smart collection should invoke it as a filter on the other selected containers, and another way of saying "aligned with the way the Filter Bar worked" is that it was redundant. I'm sure it was a bug, but in any case we now have more functionality, and more intuitive behaviour.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Do you have an actual workflow example of wanting to union the results of Smart Collection with a folder?
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john beardsworth

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Do you believe it's unlikely people would ever want to do so? I certainly don't.
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john beardsworth

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By the way, in LR3 try selecting some folders and two smart collections with different criteria. Not sure what it's returning - looks like a union of the two intersects.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Can you give a more specific example? Here's an extended example where LR 3.6 behaves the way I described:

Two folders, f and g, each with 4 photos:

f/f-red.jpg and g/g-red.jpg have the red label.
f/f-5.jpg and g/g-5.jpg have 5 stars.
f/f-red-5.jpg and g/g-red-5.jpg are red and 5 stars.
f/f-none.jpg and g/g-none.jpg are neither red nor 5 stars.

Results of various selections in the left pane:

f, g: all 8 photos (union of selections within Folders)

Colored Red, Five Stars: f-red, f-5, f-red-5, g-red, g-5, g-red-5 (union of selections within Collections)

f, Colored Red: f-red, f-red-5 (intersection of Folders and Collections)

f, g, Colored Red: f-red, f-red-5, g-red, g-red-5 (union of Folders intersected with Collections)

f, Colored Red, Five Stars: f-red, f-5, f-red-5 (Folders intersected with union of Collections)
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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John B wrote, "Another way of saying 'aligned with the way the Filter Bar worked' is that it was redundant."

It's not redundant -- Smart Collections have more criteria than the Filter Bar and the ability to form arbitrary boolean expressions. Smart Collections also handle stacks differently than the Filter Bar.
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john beardsworth

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That's more a curious result of the lousy availability of fields in each tool. Functionally, it's redundant.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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In addition to the criteria, there are other differences between Smart Collections and the Filter Bar: boolean expressions, the handling of stacks, and the user interface. Smart Collections allow nesting and fast one-click access, but defining a smart collection takes quite a few clicks. Whereas the Filter Bar is designed for fast one-off filtering, filter presets are a little harder to access, and presets can't be nested. Adding significantly more fields to the Filter Bar would interfere with its role for very fast one-off searches.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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One partial indication of "what users expect": I don't recall seeing any user feedback here or in the LR forum about the LR 3 behavior. If many users were suprised by the behavior, there's a reasonable chance at least someone would have posted feedback (LR users aren't shy!).
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john beardsworth

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I don't recall any complaints either. Had I noticed it, I would have raised my voice. But as you say, it's a partial indication and what do you think is more expected behaviour? LR3's?

But the fix for the OP isn't reinstating a bug - it's using the filter panel properly.

Adobe's efforts can be better spent on improving SCs and filtering.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I think more people would find intersection more useful than union; I'm not sure what people would initially expect. But of course, this is my guess based purely on my experience with these forums and experience with other DAMs.

What's "useful" is a somewhat different issue than what's initially "expected" by users. LR has a number of things I found unexpected but quickly learned to appreciate. The change in LR 4 pick behavior is a feature that many people found unexpected but learned to find very useful. The union/intersect behavior of the Filter Bar isn't particularly perspicuous, but I think it's a good design that's useful.
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Lee Jay

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"I think more people would find intersection more useful than union; I'm not sure what people would initially expect."

When you multi-select two folders, you get what's in BOTH of them. I would expect the same behavior across the folders, collections and smart collections since they are on the same panel and serve the same purpose (sources).
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TK

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I didn't know about LR3's intersection behaviour but now that I do, I'd like to have it in LR4 as well.

I always found it cumbersome that I had to hard code a folder location in a smart collection in order to apply some search criteria to a specific location only.

If selecting a source location and a smart collection would give me the result of the smart collection confined to only the selected source location, that'll be great.

I find selecting a smart collection much quicker than fiddling with the library filter where there's always something turned on that I don't need at the moment and the way the active / inactive status of criteria are displayed makes it very hard to quickly see what needs to be toggled. Furthermore, smart collection search criteria go beyond what is possible with library filters.

I don't think the current LR4 "union" behaviour is worth keeping as it can easily be emulated by just adding all sources to a (quick) collection step by step.
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john beardsworth

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It's worth keeping because it is the intuitive behaviour and corrects a bug.

The fix for your cumbersome hard coding of folders is a suggestion to make SCs children of folders, as in Aperture.
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ABetterExposure

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I use Lightroom at a minimum of 30 hours a week and don't care for the change. It has greatly affected our studio's workflow. We are continuing the use of LR3 due to this change.

In previous versions, Collections (Smart or Not) are essentially a FILTER and should function as a filter.

By the creation of the UNION when multi-selecting, largely decreases the functionality of Collections (Smart or Not) by removing the criteria that has been specified by the user.

In my opinion, I do not see this change as an improvement but a move in the wrong direction. I am frustrated because this new change has rendered LR4 and the use of collections irrelevant to our studio.

I have spent time talking with a senior support tech and I was told that this issue will be discussed in the weekly developers meeting. I am crossing my fingers and hope they revert back to the behavior of the previous versions.

How many of you actually use Apple's addition of "Natural" Scrolling? At least they gave the user the option of turning it off.
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john beardsworth

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Have you tried using the filter bar, and saving a new filter preset?
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TK

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Making smart collections children of folders is not a good solution as one would have to replicate smart collection definitions as many times as one needs them.
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john beardsworth

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Try it in Aperture. It works fine. If you want to point a smart collection at another folder, you just drag the smart album to the other folder or duplicate it and drag it.

If you need lots of identical smart collections, it's a sure sign you're not making good use of the Library Filter or filter presets.
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Rob Cole

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It's a bummer that this feature/bug was changed/fixed - it was better (more useful) the way it was, to me.
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ABetterExposure

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In library, when multi-Selecting a folder and then a smart collection (for example I have color labels set up for smart collections) there is a bug causing it to select all images. Please help.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom: Multi-Selecting a folder and then a smart collection causing it to select all images.
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Benjamin Warde, Employee

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Official Response
In Lightroom 3, multi-selecting various folders and collections would sometimes show the union, and sometimes show the intersection. The inconsistencies in the behavior were confusing to a lot of people, and caused various problems as well. In Lightroom 4, all such multi-selects now show the union.

We certainly recognize that any change (even an ostensible bug fix) can potentially be detrimental to certain workflows, and we appreciate getting this feedback. In the case of the particular use cases described in this thread, it should be fairly easy to do what you want to do using Filters.

Thanks,
Ben
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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See the post by David Burton for a use-case of wanting to intersect a folder with a smart collection:

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
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dbur

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I just started using smart collections in LR 4. From my point of view sometimes I might want an intersection and sometimes a union. Just give us a button that selects one or the other. Neither is the right way to do it. It depends on what is desired. I do agree that randomly one or the other would be a bug.
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Rob Cole

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SmartFilter supports the use of smart collections to filter other collections or folders.

It supports "intersection" of sources when enabled, and "union" when disabled.

Rob