Join Jan Kabili for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding photos that are visually similar to each other, part of Photoshop Elements 10 Essential Training.
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If you have thousands of photos in a catalog, it can be difficult to put your finger on just the one that you're looking for, so the Organizer offers a variety of search features, which I'll cover in this chapter. Among those are the three visual search commands that you can access from the side of the Search menu: Visual Similarity Search, Object Search, and Duplicate Photo Search. These seem to work almost magically to find photos with similar colors, shapes, and objects. In this movie, we'll look at the first of these methods, Visual Similarity Search, which I think is one of the most amazing features in Elements 10.
I've switched the Display menu over to the Thumbnail view, because Visual Similarity Search and Object Search can't be limited to searching in just one folder. However, you can limit those searches to one album or to photos that are tagged with particular keywords. But I'm searching now through this entire catalog of a few hundred photos. If you're working with the exercise files, make sure that the Sort menu at the top of the Thumbnail view is set to Date (Newest First), so that this thumbnail of orange-and-green beach umbrellas is near the top of the Media Browser.
I'd like to find some photos that resemble this one, so I'm going to click on this photo, and then I'll go up to the arrow to the right of the Search field and I'll choose Visual Similarity Search. That rearranges the photo thumbnails in the Media Browser according to their perceived similarity to the photo that I selected, with the photos that Elements thinks are most similar at the top of the Media Browser. And on each of the photos a percentage of perceived similarity is reported. This isn't bad for a first try. Several of these photos are beach scenes, but it's not perfect.
Here are some horses in a field, and here's a shot up in the mountains, and so on. So what I can do is try to fine-tune the results of this search. There are two ways to do that. One is to use the Color and Shape slider that appeared up here. And if your Color and Shape slider isn't showing, you can toggle it on by clicking this icon here. Dragging this slider to the left tells Elements to favor similarity of color over shape. Let's see how it does with these photos. That actually did bring in more photos of the beach toward the top of the Media Browser.
On the other hand, dragging this slider to the right would tell Elements to put more weight on shape over color. There is no one solution for every photo; it just depends on your photographs. So I'm going to drag this more over toward color. The other way to refine a Visual Similarity Search is to add more photos to the search query. You can add up to three more photos. To do that, I'm going to scroll down until I see another photo that I think is representative of the kind of photos I was looking for.
I'm going to take one of these blue umbrella photos and I'll click on it and drag it up to the plus symbol up here in the Find bar, and I'll release. Now the two thumbnails in the Find bar mean that Elements is taking both into account in this Visual Similarity Search. You can see that that did change the thumbnails that are showing at the top of the Media Browser. And these really are the ones that I was after, all these umbrellas at the beach. I'm going to close the Color- Shape toggle by clicking this icon. Before I'm done, I'll take a look at the Options menu here.
From here, I could save this search as a smart album, and that's not a bad idea so that I can get back to it quickly and so that it will automatically update as I add new photos to this catalog that are similar to these. But I'm not going to do that for now. I'm all done with my search. I found the photos that I want, and I'd like to go back to see all the photos in my Media Browser. The way to do that from any search is to click the Show All button, right here in the Find bar. So I'll click that and I'm back where I started. If I scroll down, I can see all the thumbnails in this catalog, here in my Media Browser.
I think this Visual Similarity Search feature is not only fun to use, it will also save you lots of time. Now it does work better on some photos than on others, so don't be disappointed if it doesn't give you a great result every time.
- Importing photos from a camera, computer, or iPhoto library
- Adding keyword tags and ratings to photos
- Automatically tagging people
- Organizing photos into albums
- Renaming and moving photos
- Correcting common photo problems automatically
- Retouching photos of friends and family
- Adjusting lighting and color
- Working with layers and layer masks
- Converting photos to black-and-white
- Cropping and straightening photos
- Adding text to photos
- Working with raw photos
- Making a slideshow
- Ordering prints