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Photoshop Elements 8 has a new feature called Smart Tags that originated in Premiere Elements, the video editing application. Elements is now able to analyze the content of images and other media files for characteristics like image quality, focus, motion and even content. If it finds one or more of those characteristics, it'll add one or more Smart Tags to the image thumbnail in the Organizer, labeling that file with that characteristic, and then you can search on Smart Tags just like you can search on any Keyword Tags, to find all of the files that have that characteristic.
So for example you might use this feature to find all of the images in your catalog that are in focus. Let's take a look at the Smart tags that come with Photoshop. I'm going to go to the Keyword Tags panel and there's the Smart Tags category. I'm going to click the arrow to the left of Smart Tags and I'm going to scroll down. Here you can see there are tags for Levels Of Quality, there are Audio tags, there's a tag for Blurriness, levels of Contrast, In Focus, Motion and more. If I click the white arrow to the left of any one of the categories here you can see more Smart Tags.
In the Faces category there is a tag for Closeups. Another for Long Shots. There is a tag for One Face, based on the content of an image or file. A tag for Two Faces and Small or Large Groups. So how are these Smart Tags applied to files in a catalog? Well that happens automatically if you run the Content Analysis Engine on your photos and that's what I'm going to do now. First I'm going to select the photos on which I'd like Elements to run the Content Analysis Engine.
I'm going to select all four of the photos in the 03_04 folder by clicking the path at the top of that area of the Photo Browser, and then I'm going to go up to the Edit menu and choose Run Auto Analyzer. Elements is now analyzing the content of these four images. Looking for any of the characteristics in the Smart Tags. When it's done I see this prompt and I'll click OK to dismiss the message. Notice that each one of these images now has a purple icon that indicates that Elements has automatically put one or more Smart Tags on that image.
Let's take a look at these one by one. The first image is obviously blurry. To see whether Elements was able to detect that, I'll move my mouse over that purple tag, and indeed one of the Smart Tags attached to this image is the Blurred tag. Let's look at the Smart tag icon on the next image. Elements thinks that this one is a Long Shot and that it has one face in it. Well you might consider this a long shot, it's certainly not a close-up, but there are no faces in this images. So something in this image confused Elements' Content Analysis Engine, and I show you got to make the point that that content analysis isn't perfect.
Let's see how Elements did on the next image here. Here it found a Long Shot, and it found One Face. Well at first you might be confused, because there aren't any people in this photo, but there is a painting, and in that painting there is a face. So I would give Elements good marks on that one. Now here's an image that I think is too light. Let's see what Elements thought. I'll move my mouse over the purple icon and I do not see a Too Bright tag on this image. So I wouldn't say that Elements got that one exactly right.
So what's the purpose of tagging images with Smart Tags? Just like Keyword Tags, Smart Tags are searchable so you can use them to find all of the images that have one of these characteristics. So let's say for example that I want to see which images are in focus among those that Elements analyzed for me. To search on a Smart Tag I'll just move over to the Keyword Tags panel and I'm going to search on the In Focus Smart Tag by clicking inside the box to the left of that Smart Tag.
Now in the Photo Browser I can see the three images that Elements automatically tagged with this In Focus Smart Tag. So particularly if you're including video in your Elements Organizer, you might give the Smart Tags feature a try. If you don't think this is a useful feature for you, you don't have to worry about it, because Elements won't add Smart Tags your files unless you explicitly come in and run the Auto Analyzer.
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