Lightroom: Stacking in folders and collections should be global

  • 49
  • Idea
  • Updated 2 years ago
  • (Edited)
Stacks should be handled uniformly, regardless of the source selected. As it stands, stacks are second-class citizens in Lightroom.

* Currently, photos in different folders can’t be stacked. This restriction forces users to be aware of which folder a photo resides in, which goes against the mainstream digital-asset-management philosophy of hiding folder locations. I don’t know of any use-case justifying this restriction.

* Stacking isn’t displayed when viewing collections and smart collections. This is especially annoying when viewing smart collections, since smart collections are the only way to do advanced searching. It would be better if stacks were viewable within collections just as they are within folders and with filtering – when more than one photo in a stack is part of a collection, then the stack could be collapsed or expanded, but only the photos in the collection will be shown. This is the way stacks work now with filtering, so extending this to collections would be consistent. Users who don’t want to see stacking in collections could simply invoke Expand All Stacks.

* And of course, you should be able to stack and unstack photos when viewing a collection.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3894 Posts
  • 1034 Reply Likes

Posted 8 years ago

  • 49
Photo of TK

TK

  • 531 Posts
  • 112 Reply Likes
What is really bad is that images in stacks are not found through a search. Unless you already know that you have a particular image, you'll never be able to find it again unless you expand all stacks first.

That greatly diminishes the value of stacks to me.
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 385 Reply Likes
Good idea John. I have nothing to add over what you and TK already have said...
Photo of Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen

Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

  • 4493 Posts
  • 1687 Reply Likes
Stacking is now available in Collections in the Lightroom 4 beta. You can read more about it here: http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjourn...
Photo of David Hauck

David Hauck

  • 10 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I see no reason why the "stacking attributes" cannot be observable from a smart collection. Other attributes (picks, ratings, keywords, etc.) are available and the logic needed to correlate the stacked elements as a secondary heuristic once the smart collection rules are satisfied seems straightforward to me. I think that this cataloging/metadata feature needs to be avaialble from within smart collections.
Photo of Dan Hartford

Dan Hartford

  • 131 Posts
  • 59 Reply Likes
Unless they've changed something recently stacking only works for images in the same physical folder. I'd be happy if I could create a stack containing images from different folders, let alone a collection, smart or otherwise.

Of course you have to go back to the concept of stacking. It was designed to mimic the standard film process of a light table with slides where you "stacked" the slides that were essentially the same image, like several shots from a burst. In those cases you pretty much were only dealing with images from the same role as in the time it took to change rolls the model moved but I suppose one could extend the concept to several rolls exposed one after the other in a tight time frame. Anyway, this is what LR stacking was meant to simulate.

So, within that context, stacking images from multiple folders or collections (which usually implies images that are not essentially the same) doesn't fit the model for which stacking was created.

Now, that isn't to say that extending the concept to multiple folders or collections might not bring added value but it's not what it was intended for and the technology would be complex. For example, Metadata is at the image (or VC) level. So if one image was in several collections with different stack positions in each one the stack position would need to be stored at the intersection of the image metadata and the collection data (a many to many relationship). Not impossible but not likely to get traction with Adobe..
Photo of David Hauck

David Hauck

  • 10 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
The issue of stacking across folders and (non-smart) collections is indeed a separate concern. Stacking is obviously supported for images like those you indicate above - e.g., from a burst, which are likely necessarily in the same folder - personally I do a lot of stacking related to panoramas, which are also, in my case, always in the same folder.

I just tried stacking in a standard (non-smart) collection and this does indeed work (LR CC), including for elements of the stack that are in different folders. A series of images that pre-exist as a stack in a folder do not remain in the stack when they're added to a collection, but at least one can "re-create" the stack from within the collection. So standard collections seem to be fine.

My request here (and the reason I stumbled onto this 4+yr old request...) is related to smart collections; I would just like to see the same support for stacking in smart collections as in standard collections.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3894 Posts
  • 1034 Reply Likes
"So standard collections seem to be fine."

Note that stacks created in a collection are specific to that collection -- the stacking isn't visible in other collections or in folders. And stacking created in a folder isn't visible when viewing collections. In four years, I haven't heard anyone justify this design.
Photo of David Hauck

David Hauck

  • 10 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
Yes, correct, and this is another annoyance (i.e., folder stacking attributes being visible/available in collections generally). This is really orthogonal (although may have implementation coupling) to the request for (independent) stacking in smart collections.
Photo of Beat Gossweiler

Beat Gossweiler

  • 238 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
But AFAIK, stacks don't carry over from folders to collections and vice versa, do they?

Beat
Photo of Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen

Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

  • 4261 Posts
  • 1544 Reply Likes
No, true. Do we want this reopened?
Photo of Beat Gossweiler

Beat Gossweiler

  • 238 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
I think we would ;-)
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 382 Reply Likes
The big print giveth, but the small print taketh away...
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3894 Posts
  • 1034 Reply Likes
[I'm away from a fast connection for many days so can't download the beta.]

I'm confused by Beat's comment. In LR 4 beta, suppose I stack two photos in collection A. Will those photos appear stacked when I select the following sources?

- All Photographs
- the containing folders
- collection B (which also contains the two photos)
- a Smart Collection matching the two photos
Photo of Beat Gossweiler

Beat Gossweiler

  • 238 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
1) No
2) No
3) No
4) No

Also, to answer your next question :-)
If I stack two photos in All Phtotgraphs, the stack only shows up in the containing folder (not in any collections nor smart collections).

Beat
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 385 Reply Likes
Put another way, stacking is entirely context-sensitive (it is tied to the source), like how pick flags *used* to be.
Photo of Beat Gossweiler

Beat Gossweiler

  • 238 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
Almost ....

Flags would at least show up in a smart collection if applied in folder/All Photographs, stacks don't.

Beat
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 385 Reply Likes
Gold star comment.
Photo of john beardsworth

john beardsworth

  • 1110 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
Flags are global, stacks are local
Photo of Beat Gossweiler

Beat Gossweiler

  • 238 Posts
  • 38 Reply Likes
... but not as local as flags used to be ;-)

Beat
Photo of benjamin wong

benjamin wong

  • 12 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
I liked it better when flags were local.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3894 Posts
  • 1034 Reply Likes
Does anyone know example workflows (use cases) this stacking design is intended to address? With collection-specific flags, I understood the motivating examples, even though they didn't apply to my workflows. Absent motivating examples, I can't figure out why this stacking design might be useful to a "typical" user.
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 385 Reply Likes
I can't imagine either...
Photo of Andrzej Martyna

Andrzej Martyna

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
The simplest example.
Being in "All photographs" you can't stack two photos from different folders which is a big pain.
With stacking possible in collection I suppose (I'm not sure) you could stack photos virtually from anywhere - it would be great!
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3894 Posts
  • 1034 Reply Likes
That's what we thought was the intended design. But according to Beat, if you stack two photos in a collection (regardless of whether they are in the same folder or not), they won't appear stacked when you select All Photographs.
Photo of Son Nguyen

Son Nguyen

  • 61 Posts
  • 12 Reply Likes
Can you create a collection that contain All Photographs? Would the stack transfer from one collection to another?
Photo of Jerome Mckeon

Jerome Mckeon

  • 1 Post
  • 0 Reply Likes
Surely, this isn't the way you would expect stacks to work? In Elements stacks seem to work the way I would expect - so if you stack images together they are effectively treated as a single photo where ever you view them from! I can see some possibilities of context specific stacking - but in general I would have thought that this is not what is required. I would completely agree with John's original proposal about how stacking should work and if do a search or use a Smart Collection you should be presented with the pre-stacked photos and have the option to expand them if required. It would be a real shame for LR4 to do some work in this area - but still not deliver functionality which is already working in other members of the Photoshop family!!
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 385 Reply Likes
You can have stacks in collections be same as in folders using Stacker:

http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...
Photo of dan

dan

  • 61 Posts
  • 14 Reply Likes
Yes, the stacking feature of LR is, at the same time, a potentially very powerful feature, and not quite living up to its promise.

I would also like to see a way to expand a stack and have all the images become "selected" as part of the expansion (rather than just the top image). As a suggestion, perhaps if you hold when you click the "1 of x" symbol the stack is expanded with all images selected.

I'd also like to see a way to have meta data changes applied to the entire stack when you change it on the top image on a collapsed stack. Perhaps a preference setting. For example, if I add or remove a Keyword to the top image of a collapsed stack I'd like to be able to have that change replicate to all images in the stack rather than just the first one.
Photo of Andrew Stauffer

Andrew Stauffer

  • 2 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I keep the RAW versions of images on an external drive since they're large, and keep the finished .jpg versions in a folder on my MacBook Pro. In my Photoshop Elements catalog I stack the photos to keep them together and reduce clutter. But when I tried to stack photos in this manner in LR I got an error message saying it is not possible to stack photos from separate folders.

Adobe, please make it possible in the Lightroom catalog to stack photos that exist in differing folders and/or drives.
Photo of benjamin wong

benjamin wong

  • 12 Posts
  • 1 Reply Like
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom 4: Moving Stacked images into a collection (and keep their stacked conf....

LR4: Is there a way to move stacks of images into a collection and have those stacks retain their original stacking "formation"/order?
Photo of Rob Cole

Rob Cole

  • 4831 Posts
  • 385 Reply Likes
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Option for stacks in collections to be same as stacks in folders..

I want my stackage in collections the same as my stackage in folders.

I'd be perfectly happy to handle this via plugin, if the requisite functions were added to SDK, although I imagine some people would prefer this option in Lightroom, natively.

Bonus points to anybody who can come up with the SQL required to accomplish this, then I could just add it to SQLiteroom, as a work-around solution.
Photo of Josh Anon

Josh Anon

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Request: Stacks should be global, not collection-specific.

I'm an Aperture user gradually switching over to Lightroom. One of the biggest pains I've found in Lightroom is that stacks are collection-specific. I'd really love it if when I stacked two images, they were stacked globally (and the images in each stack added to other collections as needed). Here's a sample of my workflow:

- I have a collection set for each project/shoot.
- I create collections for each card in a shoot, grouped within the collection set, and I go through each collection and rate my images plus possibly edit them in an external editor (Nik suite, Photoshop, etc.).
- I might have 300 5-star images after a two week shoot (think a photo trip), and of those, I'll make a new collection that I'll show people/upload to my website that has 100 of my favorite 5-star images in it. I don't use a "show" keyword + smart collection because I don't want that showing up when I export my images to my agent. Similarly, I don't use flags + a smart collection because I use flags for short-term purposes, such as when I'm picking which images to print for a show.

Given both the original image + the edited ones have a 5-star rating, it's frustrating seeing duplicates when I filter the collection set for 5-star images. They're stacked: just show me the top of the stack. Next, it's annoying when I drag my favorites into a "Show" collection to have to figure out if I'm looking at the edited image or the original RAW. Last, it's really painful if I decide to tweak an image in the Show collection in Photoshop to have to then go copy the image to the original collection and re-stack it there.

Aperture handled this well. When an image is stacked, it's stacked. If I drag an image that's stacked, the stack moves with it. If I filter, there are options to look at top of stack only or the whole stack. It's very simple and elegant, and it makes it easy to keep the original RAW, edited TIFF(s), and any virtual copies together seamlessly.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3894 Posts
  • 1034 Reply Likes
"I don't use a "show" keyword + smart collection because I don't want that showing up when I export my images to my agent."

Given LR's wierdness with stacks and collections, you might reconsider using keywords rather than collections to manage your workflow. This would allow you to use stacks the way you (and most others) expect.

You can easily stop a keyword from getting exported -- in the Keyword List pane in Library, double-click the keyword and uncheck the option Include On Export.
Photo of Josh Anon

Josh Anon

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
John, I didn't mention all the various ways I've come to rely on stacks being global in my workflow. Finding workarounds for every single case will be really annoying.

Frankly I'm just amazed at how Lightroom, which has a database behind it and should be a true DAM like Aperture, really just seems to be a fancier version of Bridge. It wants you to still use folders to manage everything and to play with files directly. That's so funky. I want it to abstract my folders away and really make collections & similar first-class citizens.
Photo of Rikk Flohr

Rikk Flohr, Champion

  • 1373 Posts
  • 335 Reply Likes
It might also break the workflow for many others.
Photo of john beardsworth

john beardsworth

  • 1103 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
No, I'm not turning it into an Aperture v Lightroom debate, but correcting your assertions. Lightroom doesn't continue Bridge's method at all (and who cares about Bridge anyway?) as Lightroom's Folders are drawn from the database, not Finder/Explorer. Aperture was an exception among DAMs in hiding folder locations and only allowing virtual organization in its main UI. But if you prefer it, just hide the Folders panel.

Similarly, by offering local stacks Lightroom provides more flexibility than a simple global stack, so you can have the same image stacked differently in different contexts. Stacking is used in too many ways for another app's metaphors to be imposed.
Photo of Josh Anon

Josh Anon

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I do have the Folders panel hidden, but unless you're very careful when importing new images (either making sure to click Add to Collection or immediately making a new collection from Previous Import) and careful when deleting images, it's easy to end up with images in the catalog not in any collection. If you have 100 images, no biggie. But when you have tens of thousands...

Reading through this thread, it seems like while local stacks might be great for your workflow, they confuse a lot of people beyond me. If I edit an image externally or make a virtual copy, I want an easy way for that group of images to travel together between collections. Stacks could give that to me. Currently they don't.
Photo of john beardsworth

john beardsworth

  • 1103 Posts
  • 258 Reply Likes
It's not many people over 5 years, and what you don't see is how welcome it was to get local stacks when Lr4 was released.

If it matters to you that images aren't in any collection, just create a smart collection using collection name / doesn't contain / a e i o u.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3873 Posts
  • 1027 Reply Likes
"John, I didn't mention all the various ways I've come to rely on stacks being global in my workflow. Finding workarounds for every single case will be really annoying. "

Much as I dislike the current stacking design, I think it is unlikely that it will change after all these years. So you have the difficult choice of adapting your workflow or using a different app. In Lightroom, keywords can work more smoothly than collections in many instances.
Photo of Geoff Vane

Geoff Vane

  • 13 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Stack beyond folders.

Stacking beyond a folder and collecting beyond a folder is needed a.s.a.p. It has been asked at least 5 years ago so hurry.
Photo of Geoff Vane

Geoff Vane

  • 13 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
About the collection solution:
Sorry but they need to sit stacked in a main folder. The subfolders have to be stacked. A collection works for a subject where the folder isn't important and I use collections for that already, but we work with dated folders that contain too many images in subfolders. 
Photo of Ralph Hill

Ralph Hill

  • 28 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
I am currently running 2015.3 under OS X 10.11.5.

Stacking, as it exists, does not meet my needs even at the most rudimentary level. The design of the interaction among stacks, folders and collections seems fundamentally flawed. In my opinion, a blank-paper redesign is need. If the current system is too deeply ingrained into the system, then come up with something new. Call it grouping. That would work for me. Just give me something that works across folders and collections (including smart collections). 

Declaration of Bias: I was, and still am, an Aperture user. I am hoping for something better than Aperture to replace Aperture. So far as I can tell, Lightroom is not the the application that I am looking for.
Photo of Geoff Vane

Geoff Vane

  • 3 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
I don't understand the slow pace with which seemingly simple improvements are done. Some wishes are 5 years old. I got the impression Adobe sells a lot of software and that there should be resources to fix these things within a few months.
Photo of anssik

anssik

  • 129 Posts
  • 30 Reply Likes
This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled When should Stacks be used for sports shoots as photos don't stay grouped between....

I've just tried grouping similar photos together using Auto-Stacking for a sports shoot but found out stacked photos don't stay grouped when making new Collections. Is this really how it is meant to be used – group photos don't stay grouped? Is there a setting I'm not aware of that would keep the photos together even between folders and Collections?

I'm finding it hard to understand why should I use Stacks for grouping photos, if those groups disappear after putting to a Collection.

I mean, for a sports workflow I import each camera to its own folder and own folder for each date – so for a sports event that lasted three days and I used three different cameras I get nine folders, and for example last weekend 3.200 photos. I make one Collection to put all photos inside of it and group burst of photos with Auto-Stacking. But, when I make a new Collection (to sync a smaller set of photos with Lightroom mobile, to share to public or whatever) those groupings are lost.
Photo of Ralph Hill

Ralph Hill

  • 28 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Thanks to Dan and John for the replies. I agree that keyboarding seems to be the only answer for now and that is what I am trying. The next thought I had was to have named filters so I could quickly jump say, from mammals to birds to pictures from days 3. Then I realized that smart collection are named filters. Yes! Wait, smart collections are collections which means that they ignore stacks. Sigh. I just don't see a winning move here.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3883 Posts
  • 1028 Reply Likes
"named filters so I could quickly jump say, from mammals to birds to pictures from days 3."

To be precise about terminology, Library filters are a different beast from smart collections, and you can do some of what you want to do with filters. For example, you could define filter presets to show photos with the keyword Birds or Mammals:



An advantage of filters is that they can be applied to the currently selected source (e.g. a folder or collection), whereas smart collections cannot (there is a clumsy workaround). A disadvantage of filters is that they do not support all the criteria that smart collections do (another design wart).  For example, while filters let you (somewhat clumsily) filter by date, you can't easily do "capture date in the last 3 days", as you can with smart collections.  
Photo of Ralph Hill

Ralph Hill

  • 28 Posts
  • 3 Reply Likes
Thanks for the suggestion John. Saving library filter presets helps. This is not something l had looked at. One issue is that the presets change everything. So, if you are working on 4 star birds and want to switch to 4 star mammals, you have to select the filter preset then the star level (unless you have saved presets for every combination you might want) and perhaps also flags, possibly change the sort order and then try to remember what images you were looking at last. So, yes, you can get to the collection of images you want with a handful of clicks, but you have lost all the context from the last time you were looking at this collection. A bit better than nothing, but not a good solution for the work I do.
Photo of Dan Hartford

Dan Hartford

  • 125 Posts
  • 53 Reply Likes
another time saver when using keywords and filters is to use a Text filter rather than a metadata filter.  For example, rather than selecting "Birds" in the metadata filter column called Keywords, use the text filter and select Keywords in the first box, and contains,contains all, or starts with in the 2nd box and 'Birds" in the 3rd box.  then when you want to switch to "Fish" just type 'Fish" right over "Birds" in that 3rd box.
Photo of John R. Ellis

John R. Ellis, Champion

  • 3883 Posts
  • 1028 Reply Likes
"use the text filter and select Keywords in the first box, and contains,contains all, or starts with in the 2nd box and 'Birds" in the 3rd box"

Unfortunately, depending on the keyword hierarchy, that can often produce false matches.  For example, "Keywords contains words birds" would match the keyword "blue birds".  And "Keywords start with birds" would match the keywords "blue birds" and "birdseed"".

(The lack of exact match for keywords and other fields is another design wart.)
Photo of Dan Hartford

Dan Hartford

  • 131 Posts
  • 59 Reply Likes
Anssi, 

I'm not going to dismiss the desire of many people to change how stacking works (for example allow images in different folders to be stacked together, allow stacks to work in collections, etc.) but one has to understand where the concept of stacking came from.  This goes back to the days of film and slide film in particular.  After our "shoot" was processed we'd put the slides on a light table and literally stack similar images.  It was rare that one would ever stack slides from two different shoots (e.g. on from this years Superbowl with one from last years Superbowl, or one from this wedding with once from some other couples wedding).  In fact, any images taken more than a few minutes apart would probably not be stacked.  This is the model Adobe used when creating LR.  The thought was that images from any particular "shoot" (however you define it) would be in one folder.   The classic use of slide stacking was when we bracketed our shots.

As a prolific LR user, I too have a need to clump or group similar images when selecting those I'm going to put on my web site, or send to the client or add to a photo book or slideshow and in many cases these similar images are not in the same folder.  And, yes, I've said to myself I sure wish I could stack these.  but I've created work arounds.  

Let me go back to Anssi's case.  First of all you may want to rethink having 9 folders for 3 days and 3 cameras.  First of all, Date is a strong metadata field that can be used for filtering, smart collections, and sorting so if you consider the 3 day "event" as one "shoot" you really will not have lost much.  Second,  I too shoot with multiple cameras.  For me it's important that I can sort by capture date/time to see things in chronological order  even though I kept switching camera's.  So, I naturally want them in one folder.  But it's possible that two cameras could produce the same file name on the same day.  So, when I import images from my memory cards I let LR rename the files.  For example, images from my Canon 5D Mark III would have a file name like 5dk3-#1234 (for image IMG_1234).  Now I can keep the entire shoot in one folder and stack to my hearts content.

Now, when it comes to selecting photos to publish, I don't use stacking but rather I use collections - most often the Quick Collection with the "B" related speed keys.  Keeping with a sports analogy, let's say I'm trying to select between several bull riders being thrown off the bull.  What I'll do (after rating them) is select filter for>= 3 stars.  Then I put all the candidates in the SC (Smart Collection) by tapping B for them.  Then I open the SC, click "N" for survey view or "C" for compare view and narrow the field to the best one(s) and I bump up the star count or drag them to the collection I'm using to gather the images for that book or client or whatever.  

But, that's just me.  So, even though I initially wished that stacks could span folders that is no longer high on my list.  However I do still wish that if I have stacked images in folder, that when I look at those images in a collection (especially a smart collection in my case) that it would show me the stack position and let me perform stacking operations assuming, of course, that images involved are in the same folder.

One other thing.  Anssi, I'm sure you're aware that you can view multiple folders at one time by selecting more than one in the Folder panel.  I mention this because one reason I've seen people want to put images in collections is so they can see multiple folders at once in the grid not knowing that you can multi-select folders.

Dan
Photo of Josh Anon

Josh Anon

  • 6 Posts
  • 0 Reply Likes
My workflow and desire for stacks to be global is likely simpler than what you describe.  I have the RAW master file.  Then I edit a version in Photoshop or in a plugin.  I want to keep those versions together, no matter where the image is.  That way, if I make a smart collection to see 5-star images, for example, I could see the TIF, decide I want to re-process the RAW (or maybe I need the RAW to export to verify the image), and I wouldn't have to hunt for it.  

I used to do that in Aperture easily with stacks.  Now I have to go searching.