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.

How to create icons from images making background transparent?

To create icons from any of your images, making rest of the background as transparent, follow the steps below:

* Open the image in Photoshop Elements Editor.

* Select the Object using any of the selection tools suiting your needs. To understand how to make precise selections, you may visit the posts.

Selected the bird using quick selection tool

* Right click the selection and select Layer via Copy

* The layer panel now shows the selection in a separate layer.


* Delete the background layer in layers panel using right click option. And here is I see the Bird with transparent background which I can save to be used as icon.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is there a way to compare two photos in Elements Organizer?

I often hear from some PSE users that they miss photo Comparison mode in Elements Organizer.  However, a lot of us are not aware that the functionality is already there in Organizer. Yeah it's bit hidden though.

It's an important functionality when you want to compare two pictures, may be want to select one of them to keep. Also if images are shot in multi-burst modes and there are minute differences in those shost and you want to zoom them together and compare those minute details to select the best one.

Two ways to access this functionality:

1st Way:
Select two or more pictures, press F12. Oh! great there is a shortcut :-)

2nd Way:
Select multiple files, go to View>Full Screen> Click on the icon at the bottom bar. You may choose either of the options- to view images side by side or top-bottom.

You get to see the images in "Compare mode" so that you can compare any two pictures.

In Compare mode

Also you can select the small lock icon in bottom toolbar which syncronizes pan/zoom of both the images together. That means if I zoom in any one of the pictures say y mouse scroll, both of them will zoom with same level so that minute details of the images can be compared as well.

Hope you find this information useful!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

How to edit IPTC metadata of multiple photos using PSE 11 Organizer?

PSE Editor provides a way to edit IPTC metadata of an image at a time. However, Organizer did not have a way to edit IPTC metadata till Elements 11 version. With PSE 11, Organizer provides a way to edit IPTC metadata of multiple photos at a time as well.

Here is how you can achieve that:

1. For a single image, select a file in Image grid in Organizer. Click on Information tab in right panel as shown, followed by expanding metadata panel as shown in the image below:

2. Click on the icon shown on right to view Complete metadata of the image selected.

3. Under IPTC header, select the button that shows 3 dots "..."

This launches the following dialog showing IPTC metadata fields. Fill in the metadata and Click Save.

The saved metadata should now appear in metadata panel under IPTC header. To edit this metadata, go to the same dialog with the same steps as above and you can then append or overwrite the existing metadata.

To edit metadata of multiple files, you just need to select multiple files in the image grid and select "Add IPTC information: button in Information panel :

The dialog you see for multiple files is a bit different as it provides a radio button option for Author and Keywords fields to overwrite or append existing values as shown. You can use these options as desired.

Click Save and here you go!

How to select hair with precision?

Selecting hair, cactus or other selections that requires precisions could not be as great result giving as after using the new Refine Edge feature in PSE 11 Editor. This is a feature that Elements has inherited from Photoshop.

Consider the picture below where I intend to select hair of this lady so that I can copy her to some other background. Open it in PSE 11 Editor.

 1. Select Quick Selection toolto select the lady and her hair.
Tip: Do not select the hair at or around narrow edges. So in such areas, selection would be on shrinked area than the actual hair spread as shown:

Selection should not be made near the narow edges of the hair, like as shown

 2. Now from task bar at bottom, click on the button Refine Edge or go to Select menu>Refine Edge.
The first dropdown lets you view the selection in different ways. I chose the one with White background so that I could see the black hair selected.

The selection is jaggy and does not include the edges and here it shows over white background

3. If selecting narrow strands of hair as in the picture, increase the radius under Edge detection. This value of radius depends on the hair to be selected. So a little experiments might be helpful. The value 50-70px may generally be good in case of such kind of hair selection. Though this value should not be too close to maximum as it may lead to some of the distortion in rest of the selected area by making some of the areas near the selection go transparent. This you would observe when we look at the layer mask generated in steps ahead.

Refine Edge in Photoshop ELements

4. Under Adjust Edge, you can play little with Smoothing, Feathering, Contrast and Shifting edge if required. I generally use Contrast and make it up by 5-10% for good results. But yes for sure, it depends on your image as well.
 One more point to be taken care is that the background color fringe appears near the edges. To avoid that, always select Decontaimate colors an increase the amount to 100%. It really pays good results.

In case you feel that there were areas of hair strands that you wanted in selection but they have not come into your results, make use of the brush and eraser tool on left to paint over such edges where those hair strands were present but havenot come into your selection. However while doing this you would not know where is that area as you currently do not see the original layer and hence cannot figure out seeing above as you cannot see the area which has not come into selection. So to do so, again click on View dropdown and select R to Reveal Layer which will show you the original. Switch back to the white background mode by clicking W or select again from dropdown and paint to teh areas where you have missed something in selection.

5. To work further on refining the results, you may prefer to select "New Layer with Layer Mask" in "Output To" dropdown so that you can work with layer mask in next step to enhance the selection.

6. Click Ok. Here is what you get to see:

You would observe on looking closely that some of the areas near the boundary of the arms and hair shows transparency. We will fix that using layer mask.

Alt+Click on the black and white layer mask in Layers palette.

Here is what you see:

Some of the areas look grey near the edges which needs to be painted with white

This clearly indicates that the details on outer area of arms and some of the hair are lost. That is, the area is not complete white where it should have been.

Let's select Brush tool from left. Change the Color Palette colro to White and paint those areas as white so that it looks like this:

Now Alt+Click on the image icon next to mask icon in layer palette to switch back to image mode again.
So here is my final selected image:

And here is how it looks when a drag a new background to this image from Graphics>Backgrounds panel:

Hope the tutorial helps!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What's new in the new version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 11?

There is alot new and exciting in the new version of Elements.
I thought to brief the set of these new features before I get onto sharing more tutorials on them.

Elements Organizer 11

The new version of Elements Organizer offers alot of usability improvements along with new features and new UI. The top level things you would notice when you launch the new version may be:

1. Better UI and  simplicity in workflows from previous versions. As most of us remember our pictures though the people in them, or the place where they were shot or the events associated them, the new Organizer is built on this concept and provides an easy way to organize the media by bringing in the different views that are: People, Places and Events and provides an immersive experience organizing your media.

Here is the quick preview of the new Elements Organizer 11

Elements Organizer 11 UI
Elements Organizer 11

2. The new version allows media to be placed on Google maps and hence allowing organization through the Places. It's the first time ever Elements has integrated the Google maps.

3. Import to and Export from Adobe Revel: Media from Organizer catalog can interact with the Adobe Revel. So one can access the media stored on various devices like iPad, MAC and other machines etc in your Organizer catalog. Similarly export the media to your Adobe revel account from the Organizer catalog.

4. Auto suggestion of Events based on media timestamp for quick organization.

5. Auto organization through Flat folders. Alot of us do not want to spend alot of time creating albums and we generally tend to associate our media with the physical location on the disk and hence are more comfortable with using folders. Previous versions of Organizer lacked an ability to show the list of that folders only that have media imported in the catalog. Hence using folder view in Organizer was cumbersome as it used the get the complete folder hierarchy even if not needed. This version gives a quick access to your managed folders(from where media has been imported) and the tree as well if required.

6. Faster response with larger catalogs as compared to previous versions. There has been improvement in performance of launch of application, folder view(trememndously), and a few other areas like tagging, albums, full screen view etc.

Elements Editor 11 

A lot of new exciting features to give a try that includes:
1. New enhanced and simpler UI. Here is a screen that captures the new UI of Editor:
Elements Editor 11

2. New Guided Edits like high key and low key effects, Vignette effect.
Some examples with Before/After using these features:

Before applying High Key effect in PSE11
Before High Key applied
After applying High Key effect in PSE11
After High key applied

Before applying Low Key effect in PSE11
Before Low key applied
After Low key applied

3. Enhancements in "Refine Edge" feature allowing more precise and natural selections for cases like selecting hair etc.

Refine edge

4. Some new filters that include Comic filter. An example output of comic filter:

Comic Filter in PSE 11

5. Allows to add new effects/actions easily from other websites and blogs which allows you to create more creative content.

I hope you would find this summary of the new Elements version useful. I will soon share more about these in detail.