Sunday, September 1, 2013

Getting back your missing files using Reconnect feature in Elements Organizer

A lot of times, while cleaning up my PC, I do not have Elements Organizer open and I end up moving folders, renaming folders and files  without realizing that these folders are imported to my Organizer catalog and since I am not moving them from Organizer itself, i might end up making my cataloged files go missing.

Though I very much prefer to do these folder renames, movements, file renames through Elements Organizer so that it knows the latest path of all my media and files never go missing but I have never been the best Organizer. But thanks to Elements' Reconnect feature which looks for all my missing files in my catalog and auto reconnects them wherever they have been roaming on my system.It is a very useful concept as I have not seen any Photo Organizer providing this auto function.

So for newbies, let me explain  the concept.
I have some images which are in Elements catalog staying on my hard drive at say location C:\My pictures\Santacruz trip . Some day, I moved these files from my hard drive to \My Pictures\Family Pictures\Santacruz trip. However when I opened Elements Organizer catalog, I realized, the photos of this trip show "?" icon on thumbnail as they went missing because I moved them to some other location or may be just renamed the files. As soon as I do any operation on these pictures, Elements tries to auto reconnect them and find where are they now on my hard drive. Or you may just browse to the folder were you moved(if you know the location). On connecting one file of a folder, it reconnects all of that folder itself. One does not need to reconnect each file.

Or you can simply go to File>Reconnect >All missing Files. This is small yet very useful functionality which at times saves a lot of your time in organizing your media.

I hope you would find this tip useful in organizing your photos using Elements.

Awesomeness of "Watch Folders" in Photoshop Elements Organizer

Watch Folders : This functionality is a little hidden in Elements Organizer (File>Watch Folders) and not many know about it usefulness. It is one quick way to get media into your Organizer catalog without bothering about manually importing into it.

To use it, just make the parent folder (of all your photo folders) as the watch folder and it auto imports the media  into your Organizer catalog. As soon as any new picture is added to your watch folder in windows explore or to any child of your watch folder, it would be auto-imported to your Organizer catalog.

For example, mostly all my pictures are dumped to one of following three folders (shown in screenshot).  So i have made all three as my watch folders. Hence I never need to import any media to my Organizer catalog.

Awesomeness is added if you say exchange photos or receive photos through dropbox. You can add dropbox as your watch folder. Hence all media comes to your Organizer catalog automatically.


I find this feature very useful as it saves a lot of my time. The dropbox idea was shared by one of the Elements user(Thanks Mellissa) and I really found it useful. So just thought to share this tip with everyone!

How to add shadow to an object or a person on ground using Adobe Photoshop Elements?

Here goes the tutorial for adding shadow to any human body or object such that the shadow is on the ground.

It's damn easy using Elements. So here goes the steps:

1. Choose your model. I chose my favorite one.

Add shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements

I could manage to extract the selection using refine edge tool  in Elements as described in Refine Edge  tutorial. I created a new layer out of this selection by right clicking and choosing- Layer via Copy.

Add shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements

2. Create another new blank layer using Control+Shift +N or through layers menu>New layer. Drag this layer below the selection layer we create in last step. Choose paint bucket tool from left tool panel, changing background color in color picker tool to white and then painting it over this new layer.

Adding Shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements

3. Created a copy of this layer by right clicking it in layer panel and choosing "Duplicate layer". Same can also be done by dragging this layer to new layer icon in layer palette or just using the shortcut "Control+J" on Win and "Cmd+J" on MAC.

Adding Shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements

4. Select this layer copy in layer palette and click on the thumbnail pressing COntrol key. This will select the model here.

Now select brush tool and keeping this new layer selected as shown, paint it over with black. Since the selection is ON, the brush won't paint outside the selection edges.

Here is what you see post that:

Adding Shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements

You can add a little  blur to this shadow layer from Filter>Blur>Gaussian blur.

5. Now we are just two steps away from the final result. Go to Image>Transform> Free Transform or  just press control+T, keeping top most layer we just painted as the one selected in Layers palette:

Keeping Control key pressed, move the edges of the transformation boundary such that the shadow part now goes towards the ground as shown. You can tweak the shadow in a way you want, imagining the source of light as per your needs. Click the green commit button when you see better placement. Make sure you now make the shadow layer as second by dragging it down otherwise your shadow will paint black over the body. So in order to make it behind the body, drag it below the selection layer.
One most important thing is that you must coincide the feet of person with the feet in shadow here while transforming else they would be disjoint and not look realistic or seem like person flying in the air :)

6. The last step is to reduce the opacity of the shadow. This can be done from layers paleete by selecting this layer and reducing opacity to something around 60-70% or as per your need.

Adding Shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements

Here goes my final result:
Adding Shadow using Adobe Photoshop Elements
Shadow added using Adobe Photoshop Elements

I have been receiving suggestions from the readers of this blog about the content and some specific tutorial requests using Elements. Suggestions and feedback are welcome. I will try to respond as soon as I can.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

What are different searching options in Elements Organizer?

There are several search mechanisms available in Organizer which lets you look for any particular images in your catalog from your huge catalogs which may be as huge as 80K.

Following are the different ways to search media through your large catalogs.

Advanced Search

This is a new search mechanism introduced in Elements Organizer 11 to support quick complex searches based on Tags, People, Places and Events.
Here is the advanced search widget which appears above the grid when it is invoked from search bar dropdown or Find menu.

To understand the utility of these searches more, let us take an example of search criteria which is as follows:

My catalog has 80K media and I wanted to create a greeting card  for my cousin’s birthday and use a particular photo of hers while she is wearing a “ hat”<tag> and is on “boat”<tag>; the photo was taken during your trip to “Naukuchiataal” <name of a place>  during “Art and Music Fest” event.

Advanced search allowed me to tick me these 4-5 parameters and get down to this particular image in seconds.

Entry Points
Advanced search can be invoked from three places.
1.       Click search icon adjacent to search box on the top and selecting Advanced Search menu option.
2.       Select Find > Using Advanced Search.
3.       Clicking > icon that appears on mouse hover on a tag in keyword tags pane.
Exit Points
1.       Clicking x button in Advanced Search widget would exit the search.
2.       Clicking the Back button on the sort by Bar. Back button would appear on the sort by bar whenever any tag is selected in Advance search widget.
Note: Click Clear on Find bar would clear the search results and also all the selected tags in Advanced Search widget.
More Info
1.       This is an AND search means that only the media which matches all the selected criteria i.e. Tag, People, Place, Event would be shown in the search results.
2.       To exclude a tag from search results, right click it and select Exclude.
3.       There is a submenu on the top of the Advanced search widget which have options to Deselect All the tags, Expand all the items in the tree and also Collapse all the tree items.
4.       There is an icon  
besides the cross x button to expand or collapse the Advanced search widget.


Free text search

On the top right of UI, there is a search box which looks like this:

You can use this Search box to run a text-based search. Type a name or word, and Elements Organizer 10 displays media files that match the text across a wide range of criteria. 

Matches can include the items: Author; Captions; Dates; Filenames; Keyword tags; People; Places; Events; Notes; Album names; Album groups; Camera information; Camera models; Formats etc.

The text search also supports the operators: “AND,” “OR,” or “NOT” if a space precedes and follows them. 

There are some keywords that can be used to make searches more specific. For example I may want to search the images with tag name "hat" but may not want to look for images that has filename or caption containing the word "hat". In such cases, i can use these search keywords to enhance and make my searching quicker.
Following table details the search criteria that can be used to run a text-based search:

Search Criteria
Displays media elements that match the specified date.
Date: dd/mm/yyyy
Date: mm/dd/yyyy
Date: yyyy
Date: this year
Date: last year
Date: today
Date: last week
Displays media elements that match the specified tag.
Tag:<tag name>
Tag: Boat
Displays media elements that match the specified People.
People:<People name>
People: Bob
Displays media elements that match the specified Place.
Place:<Places name>
Place: Sanjose
Displays media elements that match the specified Event.
Event:<Event name>
Event: Aarna’s birthday
Displays media elements that match the specified filename.
Filename:_MG_7409.jpg or Filename:_MG_7409
Displays media elements that match the specified caption.
Caption: Disneyland
Displays media elements that match the specified make of a camera.
Make:<make of the camera>
Make: Canon
Displays media elements that match the specified model of a camera.
Model:<model name>
Model: Canon EOS 5D
Displays media elements that match the specified name of the author.
Author:<name of the author>
Author: James
Displays media elements that match the specified notes.
Notes: Trip to Disneyland

The Search box also populates a list of existing tags based on the letter you type. For example, to search for photos and videos that have been tagged with "Disneyland", type the letter D in the Search box. The Search box displays a list of tags beginning with the letter D. 

As you type in more text, the list changes dynamically to display tags (or People/Places/Events) that match the text being entered. If you click any item in the list, a search for that tag is performed, and the results are displayed in Elements Organizer 11.

Visual Searches

These searches allow looking for visual similar images and help to quickly get onto such images in large catalogs. There are 3 kinds of workflows which are built on visual similarity:

Visual Similarity Search: It allows you to pick an image and look for all images that are similar to the selected one with respect to color and shape parameters.

To perform this search, one can select an image in grid and select this option from search bar drop down as shown above. After building indexes of the images once, you can quickly find out visually similar images.


Object Search: This search allows you to quickly find out all images of an object which you have searched for. It is very useful feature if used for pets/buildings or other objects that have specific color and shape characteristics. 

To perform Object search, select an image followed by selection of the option Object search from top search bar drop down. 

This workflow allows you to select an object in Single image view (as shown below) and clicking “Search” leads to the results that have that object in them somewhere.


In both Visual similarity search and Object search, you can refine your search results using Color-shape slider or using + placeholder icon on top bar for visual similarity.   

Duplicate image search:  Allows you to stack or delete similar images. This feature is especially useful when you capture photos in the multi-burst modes.


You can select the images in which you want to search duplicates in. So if there are images that have good visual similarity or are shot in multi burst mode through a camera, it suggests those images as duplicates and allows you to delete some of them and stack the rest which you want to keep.
Follow the steps given below to perform the duplicate image search:
   §  Select the media from the grid. 
   §  Select Duplicate Image Search. The search results are displayed; you can stack or delete images.


You can drag the unique photos (not suggested as stack) from bottom to the stacks suggested above. Once you have stacked any photos from a group, you can right click any photo in a stack and set it as top of that stack as well.

Search options from Find menu
There are several options in Find menu which allows one to quickly filter the media. These options are as shown in screenshot below:

As you can see that there are varieties of options which are quick to understand through the names, there is one which is for creating complex searches in large catalogs which is “By Details (Metadata)…”

You can search by file details or metadata available in your images. Searching by metadata is useful when you want to search using multiple criteria at once. For example, if you want to find all photos taken on 12/31/05 that include the “Butterfly” tag, you can search for both “Capture date” and keyword tags in the Find By Details (Metadata) dialog box.

Searchable metadata includes criteria such as filename, file type, tags, albums, notes, author, and capture date, as well as camera model, shutter speed, and F‑stop, among others.

Note: Searching for camera raw files will also find TIFF files with a .tif extension.

Search for a variety of photo details at once using the Find By Details (Metadata) dialog box.
1.       Select Find > By Details (Metadata)....
2.       In the Find by Details (Metadata) dialog box, select a metadata type from the first pop‑up menu.
3.       In the second pop‑up menu, select a range for the search, such as Starts With, Is Greater Than, or Contains. This range tells Elements Organizer 11 how to use the text that you enter in the third pop‑up menu. Not all criteria include a second pop‑up menu.
4.       In the third pop‑up menu, type or choose the metadata name or value that you want to find.
5.       To include other metadata values in your search, click the plus (+) sign to the right of the third pop‑up menu and specify new values for the two or three pop‑up menus that appear.
6.       To remove metadata from your search, click the minus (‑) sign to the right of the third pop‑up menu for the metadata you want to remove.
7.       Click Search.
8.       To modify the search, click Options > Modify Search Criteria in the find bar and make changes as desired; then click OK.

* There is one new option in Find menu in Elements 11 which is “Find>All Missing Files”. This option allows you to quickly look for all missing files in catalog and reconnect or delete them appropriately.