April 2, 2008
One of the key new features in Lightroom 2.0 is the Filter bar, which is accessible in the Content area whenever you are in the Library Grid view mode. The Filter bar combines Find panel and Metadata Browser features into one, along with the search functionality of the Keyword Tags panel. Basically we have a new, more streamlined approach to the Library module panels layout where one can broadly say that the left panels contain the catalog source locations such as Folders and Collections and the right hand panel contains the catalog edit controls, such as the Quick Develop and Keywording panel. The Filter bar is now the main place to go for making refined filter selections of photos in the catalog (although you can still use the Filmstrip controls for filtering by rating and labels).
The Filter bar has therefore rationalized the filter controls that were in Lightroom before, in order to make the filtering process more centralized and flexible. The example shown here is simply a quick introduction to working with the Filter bar and suggests just one of the ways you can use keywords and collections to find photos quickly and gather them together into a permanent collection.
1. I wanted to start by showing you how you can search for photos quickly, without needing to refer to the folders that the images are stored in. In this example I wanted to search for photos taken in a town in Spain. Now let’s say that I couldn’t remember the actual name of the place I was looking for, but I did know that it was somewhere on the island of Mallorca. Remember what I said about the left panel defining the source – the Filter bar will filter whatever is selected there first. To carry out a complete catalog filter search, I selected “All Photographs” in the catalog panel. I then went to the Filter bar, clicked on the Text search tab, set the text search criteria to “Keywords” and typed: Mallorca.
2. I have visited this island several times and taken over 1,700 photos there. To narrow the search, I held down the Shift key and clicked on the Metadata tab (which makes the Metadata filter active alongside the Text filter) to reveal the Metadata search options, where I clicked on the 2007 year date in the Date Hierarchy list.
3. I could now see a narrowed set of Keywords in the Keyword list next to the Date panel. As I scrolled down I came across the keyword for the town of Sineu – that’s the place I was looking for! I held down the Shift key and clicked on the Refine tab (to add this to the Filter bar view) and selected a 2 star and higher filter to narrow the selection further.
4. I hid the Filter bar (by pressing the \ key), applied an Edit ➯ Select All to select all of the photos and pressed the B key to add the selected photos as a Quick Collection.
5. I pressed the \ key again to reveal the Filter bar, selected All Photographs in the Catalog panel and did a new search. This time, a text search for photos with the keyword: Malta, with a rating of two stars and higher. I then pressed B to add the results to the current Quick Collection.
6. The Quick Collection now contained 19 selected photos and it was time to make this temporary collection more permanent. I made an Edit ➯ Select All to select all of the photos, clicked on the Add Collection button at the top of the Collections panel, selected the Create Collection… option and titled this new collection: Mediterranean towns.
7. Here is the final stored collection, which represents the combined result of the two separate Lightroom catalog searches. This quick intro by no means covers everything about metadata filter searches and collections. But it does at least give you a rough idea of how the new Filter bar works, why it is useful to tag photos in the catalog and also why you don’t necessarily need to be concerned with where the photos are actually stored in the system folders.
Key Filter bar features
So far I have described using the Date hierarchy and Keyword panels, but there are four panels in total in the default layout, plus you can customize the layout by clicking on the + icon in the rightmost panel to remove or add extra columns (up to 8). The individual panels can be customized by mousing-down on the panel name and select from one of the many other search criteria that are available.
The backslash keystroke (\) is used for toggling the Filter bar on and off. The only downside here is that the screen animation is rather slow compared to the speed with which the side panels and toolbar appear and disappear from the screen (but remember, this is still a program at the beta stage). Plus it has to be said that the metadata panels do consume a lot of valuable space in the content area, particularly if all you are interested in is filtering with one or two panels only.
Because you can customize the layout of the panels, this provides the opportunity for you to filter photos in different ways. For example, I could have used the configuration in Figure 1 below to achieve the same kind of search as I was doing in the initial steps, but all in one single search. Basically, you can use the Shift or the Command key (Mac), Control key (PC) to select more than one search term in a single panel. And because you can customize each panel, you can have more than one panel used to filter by say, Keyword (or whatever else you may wish to duplicate).
Figure 1. This Filter bar layout shows how I could have selected more than one date to search by as well as multiple Keyword terms. In this filter search, I was able to filter photos by date range from 2005–2007, searching for photos that matched the keywords: Mallorca or Malta, and of these filtered images, I restricted the search to those photos that matched the keywords: Sineu or Valletta
You can also save filter searches as settings. Now in the above example, this was a rather specific search. But in Figure 2 you can see an example of a more general search where it could be seen as useful to save this as a custom search setting.
Figure 2. In this example I created a filter search for photos that matched the keyword: Jobs (to select all client job photos), where the File type was a PSD file (which is what I generally use when editing retouched master images), that had a star rating of 2 stars or higher. I then clicked on the custom filter menu to save this as a new preset setting and named it: Client select masters and clicked “Create”. I was then able to use this custom filter whenever I needed to access a shortlist of all client retouched master images.
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 book
The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0 book, by Martin Evening and published by Adobe Press (Peachpit) will be available for purchase shortly after the official launch of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.0, from the usual book shops and on-line book stores.
The new book will be fully updated for all the new changes to the program since version 1.0 and contain 624 pages.
Price: $49.99 (US)