Lightroom: Smart Collections poorly designed

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I have a critisism of Lightroom. Who ever designed the smart collections does not I have a critisism of Lightroom.

Who ever designed the smart collections does not understand Boolean Algebra. Using 'contains', 'contains all', 'contains words', 'doesn't contain', 'starts with' and ends with' as predicates for Folders, Collections and others offers very poor usablity.

For instance I want to test if any of my pictures in folders, 'Capture', 'Selects' or 'Masters' has more than three stars. This would be simple in Boolean Algebra:-

If folder is (Cature OR Selects OR Masters) AND Rating is greater then 3 stars

The tools offered to me in Lightroom do not allow this to be set up easily and it could be easily altered by the addition of a later unrelated Smart Collection. It is possible to set up the OR's by using a Smart Collection and matching any of the conditions, but to use this as the basis for the full test you have to use the 'contains' predicate and the full name of the OR test Smart Collection. This test is so loose it is possible at a later date to create a Collection that fulfills the criteria. This would then be included in the OR test results and screw up the final test.
understand Boolean Algebra. Asking
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Richard Evans

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  • frustrated

Posted 4 years ago

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John R. Ellis, Champion

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The underlying issue here is the lack of exact text match in smart collections and filters. It's a pretty glaring omission that's caused lots of people pain:

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

Please add your vote and opinion to those existing topics. The first thread has a list of plugins that provide partial solutions.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Also, the "contains words" operator will lessen (but not eliminate) the chance of false matches.
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Rob Cole

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Indeed, "contains words" can help, when it works (it usually does) - just beware: the "contains words" operator has a nasty bug or two in it which can lessen the chance of true matches. (Big Mallard Ducks bug is the most notorious, but at least one other has been discovered too).

Bottom line: If you're being smart, you'll be leary of results when using "contains words".

One thing to be sure you know is how to use the Alt key (option key on Mac?) in the smart collection dialog box.

Also consider using Smart Colluder - it's a free plugin I wrote designed to help debug/develop smart collections (findable using internet search).