LIGHTROOM - Smart collections to filter by nested tags, proper

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  • Updated 3 years ago
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Currently it is impossible to filter by nested tags in a smart collection. Honestly, this is not good at all. Everywhere in LR we can use nested tags, except in smart collection filters.

For example, I can't filter by "carpets > red". There is no way to tell a smart collection to filter by the tag "red" that is nested under "carpets". The only way is to pray that filtering just by "red" is sufficient and that there's no tag "red" anywhere else. It's also insufficient to propose "filter by carpets AND red", because the tag "carpets" may not be set.

The filter bar at the top works as expected. Now the smart collections need fixing in this area.

I assume smart collections filtering by tag means it's just doing a dumb text-lookup. Very efficient, but it won't work for tags with any reasonable level of complexity.

This has been an issue in Lightroom 5, but there's no improvement in this area in Lightroom 6. So, please do ;)
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martijn Saly

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Posted 3 years ago

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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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Does this help?:
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martijn Saly

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Fiddling with AND/OR in smart collection does not give proper nested tags filters. You can never get that as long as the tags filter is a dumb text search.

You cannot add a filter for "carpets > red", because there is *no way* to tell the smart collection to look for the tag "red" INSIDE the tag "carpets". On top of that, even if you could manage to get it right by exempting everything you didn't mean, adding a new tag will break it.

Only people who actively work with large amounts of complex tags, will know what this means. AND/OR filters can't possibly solve it. That's a totally different concept with a totally different use.
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Rikk Flohr, Official Rep

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This seems to work like you want:
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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But that smart collection will also include a pic that has two keywords, "carpets > blue" and "flowers > red", which is not what Martijn wants.
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Admittedly my smart collection will not handle a dual nested keyword with double intersecting keywords. A well-constructed controlled vocabulary list should help mitigate that. In my list: Colors appear once under a color hierarchy and would never show up under both Flowers and Carpets. I realize these are only Martijn's examples and cases besides colors can occur.

If faced with the two-keyword problem you describe, John, I would use a filter - rather than a smart collection. The filter would contain a columns of keywords so that I could drill to what I wanted. I suspect that is what Martijn is doing now.

But, his feature request is here and others can vote for it.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I agree with your points about setting up the hierarchy and using the Metadata browser. I use filters almost exclusively for working with keywords, but rarely have to use smart collections because filters only have a subset of the smart-collection criteria.

The Red example wouldn't occur in such a controlled vocabulary. What's more likely to happen is confusion between "Colors > Red" and "Comedians > Red Skelton".
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We need a better language...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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Esperanto?
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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I agree with Martijn. In general, it isn't possible to use smart collections to easily distinguish keywords by their full hierarchical path, e.g. to distinguish Carpets > Red from Flowers > Red. While it is theoretically possible to add negative criteria, e.g.

Keywords contains words Carpets
Keywords contains words Red
None of the following are true
Keywords contains words Flowers

this is error prone. You have to examine the entire hierarchy to make sure you have all the needed negative criteria, and as Martijn points out, when you add additional keywords, existing smart collections could break.

This is just one of many holes in LR's smart-collection and filtering criteria. A bigger hole is lack of exact match for keywords and other text-valued fields. The criterion "Keywords contains words Carpets" will match both the keyword "Carpets" and the keyword "Persian Carpets". Unfortunately, despite a fair number of people requesting enhancements here, Adobe has made almost no changes to smart collections and filters over the last many years. One can always hope, though...
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That is what the [ + 1 ] Button is for. Let's hope some people hit it.