Lightroom: Smarter Smart Collections

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  • Updated 7 years ago
  • (Edited)
I'd like to see some smarter Smart Collections. This came about because I was setting up SC for my wife so she could see what images were taken which month. I ended up creating a collection set for each year, and a SC for each month within the year. I have about 13 years of digital images, so I ended up writing a Linux script to build the collections for me so I could import them.

I'd like to see the ability to create a SC "by date" or "by camera" or similar.
To take the date example, I would create a "by date" SC, and tell it I wanted it broken down by year and month. Then in that SC would be a "folder" (collection set) for each year for which there are images in the catalog. In each year folder there would be month "folders" (Smart Collections) containing the images for that month. If it's July 2012, and I have images from Jan, Feb, Mar, and Jun, I should see:

2012\
Jan
Feb
Mar
Jun

These should be automatic.

Same thing if I create a "by camera" SC. Every time an image from a new camera is added to the catalog, a new "folder" should show up named after that camera.

This could be done with lenses, focal lengths, etc. Basically, anything where the list of possible Smart Collections in the set may grow over time.
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paul archer

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Posted 7 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Good idea. I can imagine two kinds of solutions:

1. Solve the problem natively.
2. Wire the SDK up to dynamic collections and let plugins do it: http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...
3. both.
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Becky Sowada, Adobe Employee

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Paul, it sounds like you want a Smart Collection model that works similar to the Metadata filter in Library - am I understanding correctly?
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Rob Cole

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|> ...a new "folder" should show up...

I think that is the cruxt of the biscuit...

i.e. its about not having to specify the target values, but have the collection folders be auto created (dynamically) based on whatever values there are:

Maybe a new smart(er) collection criteria:

"Divide by" ... "target".

for example:

One could have a collection set called "Divide by date":

with collection criteria:

"Divide by year"

With a child collection set:

"Divide by month"

having a child collection set:

"Divide by day"

Thus one could see photos for a particular year, month (within year), or day...

Likewise, if one said "Divide by Camera", then one would not need to define which cameras as part of the collection criteria...

Bonus Idea:
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Also, if one could define independent criteria: "divide by day", then if one were to select this smarter collection in conjunction with any other collection (or folder) then the photos in that collection could also be viewable "by day".

Summary:
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I'm not Paul, but I've also given this a little thought:
- I think the idea is to be able to auto-sort into (dynamically created) folders based on specified criteria...

Again:
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I'd like to see this solved in 2 parts:
1. The general mechanism for dynamically creating collection folders, with Lightroom implementing some of the most mainstream criteria, like "divide by...".
2. SDK hook(s) so plugins could implement the corner cases and stuff not thought of yet...

Acknowledgement:
Much of this capability already exists by way of the library filters, where you can filter photos divided by date, or camera..., begging the question of what value is added by building that logic into collections criteria. Other than the obvious - collections are accessible in Develop module (and the other obvious of dynamic plugin participation), I'm not sure how much value would be added... hmmm......


Paul? - a little help here please? - why not just (teach your wife to) use the library filters?

Rob
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paul archer

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Thanks, Rob! You described exactly what I'm looking for (and much better than I did).
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Rob Cole

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Hi Paul.

Still, a lot of this functionality is covered already just by using lib filters. At this point, I'm not sure how much value is added having like functionality in smart(er) collections - perhaps you could address that?

For example, adding 'Date' and 'Camera' columns to the metadata lib filter.

Rob
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paul archer

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Rob: I missed your Acknowledgement the first time around.

The big thing for me is that I have over 10 years of images. If I want smart collections based on date and broken down by month (which I do), then I have to create 120 individual smart collections, which is a pain in the assets at best. If I wanted by week, it'd be another 520 on top of that.

While I could teach my wife to use the library filters, they wouldn't work for her purposes. Every year she makes calendars for the grandparents using images of our son. She prefers to use images of him taken in January for the January page, February for February, and so on. She doesn't necessarily do this in order, starting at January and working her way straight through. Instead he jumps back and forth, tweaking the layouts, adding and removing images.
So the library filters are not adequate because she'd constantly be changing the criteria to look at different months. The permanence of the Smart Collections is an absolute necessity.
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Rob Cole

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I still don't understand the difference in clicking a 'January' collection, and clicking the 'January' date filter. You have tried adding a 'Date' column to the metadata filter bar, right? Sorry if I'm being dense :-}

Note: You MUST have it set to hierarchical.
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paul archer

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OK, so I took a closer look at the Library Filters, and yes, you can set a column under the metadata heading to filter by date. And it only shows you the dates relevant to the current collection. So that is basically the functionality I'm looking for. BTW thanks, Rob, for pointing that out.

I would mention that the one problem I see with using the library filters is that depending on what you're sorting through, the filter pane eats a fair bit of screen real estate, and the Smart Collection is more efficient in that regard. Perhaps that issues goes back to the other idea I posted of using Photoshop-style palettes for everything. Then the filter pane could moved out of the way.
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Rob Cole

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Yeah. I'm not saying you don't have the seeds of a good idea, but it sounds like most of what you want you've already got, albeit some screen real-estate required...

Personally, I'd like a good (efficient) way of getting a plugin into the loop, so I could program lua regex searches and stuff... (at the moment, I've got a plugin that treats spaces as part of the search term, instead of a separator - it works, but its sloooooooow...

Oh well, for now...
Rob
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paul archer

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The more I think about it, the more that having Photoshop palettes would make this idea unnecessary.
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Simon King

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I definitely want smarter smart filters (comments based on fact that I'm on LR2.7)

Couple of points: Most things are duplicated anyway so I don't think thats a good reason for not doing something in a way that works for customers e.g./i.e. most commands have not only a keystroke but are available from top menu, in a panel or via filter/collection both in LR and Ps. If I'm trying to do something (as I am now) with smart filters I don't want to have to use metadata filters ( which I find confusing - don't know why), i.e. I want a program that lets me work the way I want to.

Currently looking for images that I may or may not have labelled correctly, starred correctly or flagged correctly. (not everyone is super organised!)

MY REQUEST: what would help me in my current project is a smart filter that allows me to do e.g. this: set three stars PLUS a Blue label OR a purple label but also AND NOT a yellow label.

Currently the options are either 'all' or 'any'. which means that if I want a collection that has 3 stars , no yellow labels and any with either a blue or purple label, I can't do it. The no yellow under 'all' kills it, and yellow label under 'any' kills it.

I don't think I can do it any other way or perhaps it is possible, however it would just be so useful to have a system that offered an option of 'images with any/all these filters, but not those with these filters'

Entirely probably of course that Im just confused by the current set;)
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Rob Cole

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Are you familiar with alt/opt-clicking in smart collections?
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Simon King

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No I wasn't , presumably this provides the options needed?

just tried it - that was scary - I don't understand the options at all - but I'll work on it

OK tried that and can't seem to get it to do what I was hoping. e.g. trying to get it to show me all 3 starred that are both blue and purple label but not yellow - can't work it

?