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Collections in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2

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Martin Evening discusses Quick Collections, Collections, Collection Sets, and Smart Collections.
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Quick Collections

When it comes to combining search results, it is good to familiarize yourself with the Collections features in Lightroom. A selection only offers a temporary way of linking images together in a group, and as soon as you deselect a selection or select a different folder in the library, the selection vanishes. Of course, you can still choose Edit 124icon02.jpg Undo, or use the keyboard shortcut 131icon01.jpg170icon02.jpg(Mac) or 131icon03.jpg170icon02.jpg (PC) to recover a selection, but the main point is that selections offer only a temporary means of grouping images together. If you want to make a picture selection more lasting, you can convert a selection to a Quick Collection by choosing Photo 124icon02.jpg Add to Quick Collection or by pressing the 170icon01.jpg key. Any images that have been added to a Quick Collection will be marked with a filled circle in the top-right corner in both the Library Grid and Filmstrip views. Note that you can have only one Quick Collection at a time but that you can make further selections and keep adding fresh images to the Quick Collection. The other advantage is that a Quick Collection is always remembered even after you quit Lightroom—no saving or naming necessary—and the images remain grouped until you decide to remove them from the Quick Collection.

Quick Collections can be accessed by clicking the Quick Collection item in the Catalog panel (Figure 4.57). You can also choose File 124icon02.jpg Show Quick Collection or press 131icon01.jpg170icon01.jpg (Mac) or 131icon03.jpg170icon01.jpg (PC) to display the Quick Collection images only and choose File 124icon02.jpg Return to Previous Content (press 131icon01.jpg170icon01.jpg or 131icon03.jpg170icon01.jpg again) to return to the previous Library module view.

With Quick Collections you can make selections of photos from separate sources and group them in what is effectively a temporary collection. Quick Collections remain “sticky” for however long you find it useful to keep images grouped this way. If you want to save a Quick Collection as a permanent collection, you can do so by using 131icon01.jpg151icon01.jpg170icon01.jpg(Mac) or 131icon03.jpg151icon01.jpg170icon01.jpg (PC). This will open the Save Quick Collection dialog (Figure 4.58) and let you save as a normal Library Collection. Once you have done this, it is usually good housekeeping practice to clear the Quick Collection, which you can do by selecting File 124icon02.jpg Clear Quick Collection or pressing 131icon01.jpg162icon01.jpg170icon01.jpg(Mac) or 131icon03.jpg162icon01.jpg170icon01.jpg (PC). See Figure 4.59 for an example.



A Quick Collection can be converted into a collection, or you can convert any selection directly into a collection via the Collections panel. Whereas a catalog image can only be assigned to one folder at a time, you can use collections to create multiple instances of the master files. Collections are therefore useful for grouping images together from different folders in ways that are useful or meaningful (Figure 4.60). For example, Figure 4.61 shows a Library collection I made from filtering UK and Travel photos. As you conduct various catalog searches you can save the results as general collections (172icon01.jpg). However, since the Collections panel is now accessible in the Slideshow, Print, and Web modules, you can also save module-linked collections. Figure 4.60 shows examples of the different collection types, which are distinguished by the Collection icon appearance: Slideshow (172icon03.jpg), Print (172icon04.jpg), and Web (172icon02.jpg). The way this works is that you can create a module-specific collection while working in any of the above modules, and have the collection be associated with the module where it was created. Figure 4.62 shows the Create Collection dialog, and Figure 4.63 shows a Slideshow collection being created within the Slideshow module, which then appears in all the other module Collections panels with the Slideshow collection icon (172icon03.jpg).hen you click on a module-specific collection, this selects the collection photos from the catalog (regardless of what filters are applied, what collection type it is, or which module you are in). But if you double-click on a module-specific collection, it selects the photos from the catalog and takes you directly to the module the collection was created in. To give you an example of how you would use this, I double-clicked on the Stockholm trip collection to select the Stockholm trip collection photos and go directly to the Slideshow module. Once there, a single-click on any of the other listed collections allows me to access other collections directly within the Slideshow module. To help organize your collections, you can choose Create Collection Set. This adds a new collection folder (172icon05.jpg) allowing you to create folder groups for your collections (as shown in Figure 4.60). Figure 4.64 explains renaming a collection.

Collections sets

Collections can also be placed into collection sets. These are container folders for managing hierarchies of collections. To add a new collection set, click the + button in the Collections panel header (Figure 4.65), or right-click anywhere in the Collections panel to access the contextual menu. Choose Create Collection Set, name the set, and drag and drop to manage the collections as you wish.

Smart Collections

Smart Collections can be used to establish rules for how photos should be grouped as a collection, and Lightroom will automatically update the photos that should be included in that collection. To do this, you need to again click the + button or use the contextual menu to select Create Smart Collection. This will open the Edit Smart Collection dialog shown in Figure 4.66, where you can set up a series of rules to determine which photos will go into a particular Smart Collection. In this example, I used a Keywords filter to select photos with the keyword Jobs, a Filename filter to select photos with the .psd extension (Photoshop file format images), and lastly a Capture date filter to select images that were captured throughout the year 2008. You will note in the Match section that “all” was used. This means that photos would have to match the combined rules before being added. An “any” match can be used where you want to select photos that match multiple terms, but not exclusively so. You could create a Smart Collection with an “any” match to group photos that had both red labels and yellow labels taken in the date range of 2007–2008.

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