Saturday, July 26, 2014

Organizing Digi-scrap files in Lightroom

This is the process that I use.  It will not work for everyone, but may give you a starting point.  To help me get started I referred to the following resources:
My systems starts with storing my files.  I have them in one main folder, then separated by designer, then by kit.  I am mainly a kit scrapper and this works well for me, but would also work for a pick and choose scrapper.

The basis of my system is a Lightroom catalog.  I created a new catalog then added the main folder(s) where I keep my supplies.  This took some time to import as the most current files number around 63 000.  

Once my folder was imported I began by searching out the kit previews.  I did this most efficiently by creating a smart collection with a number of parameters to eliminate files that didn't meet the criteria.  The criteria I used are:
Match all of the following rules
 Short Edge > is less than or equal to > 1000
Long Edge > is greater than > 400
short Edge > is greater than > 400
File Type > is > JPEG
Filename > doesn't contain > small, header, splash, wordart, pira, tou, siggie, thankyou, thanks, thank_you, scrapbook
I then added a keyword for all of the files found labelling them as previews.  There may be files that meet this criteria that ARE NOT previews, but I figure I can look past them or can delete that keyword if they bother me.

The next thing I did was to sort the kit parts.  I created a Collection Set called Element Types.

Then I found my papers.  I know that all of the full sized papers I have are 12x12 and either 200 dpi or 300 dpi.  
Within the Element Type Set, I created another Collection Set called Paper, then another within that called 300dpi (since I mainly work in 300 dpi). To find all the 300dpi papers, I used the following Smart Collection Criteria:
Long Edge > is > 3600
File Type > is > JPEG
Aspect Ratio > is > square
I keyworded this collection as paper.  

I also created Smart Collections by colour using the above criterion in addition to colours.  Now we know that designers won't just use the word red for all red papers; they're usually much more descriptive.  So I employed Google to find my synonyms for each colour.  Here's what worked for me:
Black > black, jet, ebony, sable
Blue > sky , azure, cobalt, sapphire, navy, powder, midnight, Prussian, electric, indigo, royal, robin, peacock, ultramarine, aquamarine, steel, slate, cyan, blue
Brown > brown, rust, tan, sepia, hazel, chocolate, coffee, cocoa, nut, mahogany, umber, sienna, beige, buff, fawn, camel, lait, caramel, chestnut
Dots and Spots > dot, spot
Floral > flower, floral
Greens > green, lime, grass, olive, jade, 'pea', emerald, 'sea', leaf (doesn't contain peach, berry)
Greys and Silvers > silver, grey, gray, gunmetal, metal, slate, charcoal, smok
Oranges > orange,tangerine, melon, cantaloupe, coral, peach, titian, gold, cadmium, flame
Paisley > paisley
Pinks > pink, rose, peony, cherry, fuchsia, salmon, coral, blush, 
Purples > purple,lavender, lila, periwinkle, mauve, plum, violet, amethyst, heliotrope, magenta, mulberry, orchid, pomegranate, wine, amaranth, 
Reds > red, cherry, burgundy, wine, vermillion, ruby, cerise, cardinal, carmine, blood, rose, maroon, rufous, cinnamon, 
Striped > strip
Whites > white, ivory, cream, natural, milk, chalk, snow (doesn't contain cranberry)
Yellows > yellow, sun, lemon, sunflower, flax, gold, cadmium, daffodil, mustard, primrose, tawn
I'm sure there are more and I'll add as I go.  I also added a Smart Collection for 200dpi papers, but didn't sort them by colour (yet!)

Next I worked on Smart Collections for elements.  Elements are PNG files so that was one criterion.   The rest are: 
acrylics: match ANY of filename contains acrylic; folder contains acrylic
alphas: match ANY of filename contains upper, lower; folder contains alpha, _a_
animals: filename contains dog, cat, bat, horse, bear, bee, bird, cage, duck, feather, nest, owl, bug, butterfly,caterpillar, cow, deer, dolphin, starfish, dragon, elephant, fish,  frog, toad, giraffe, groundhog, hedgehog, hippo, knagaroo, ladybug, lion, lizard, monkey, mouse, pig, rabbit, sheep, lamb, snail, snake, spider, squirrel, turtle, whale, wolf, worm
bling: filename contains jewel, sequin, charm, pearl, bead, gem; filename doesn't contain alpha
borders: filename contains border
botanicals: filename contains flower, leaf, grass, tree, bark, branch, stick, fruit, orchid, petal, poinsettia, holly, moss, mushroom, nut, seed, pumpkin, vine, 
brushes: filename contains brush
cardboard: filename contains cardboard
clusters: filename contains cluster
dates: folder contains month, year, date; folder doesn't contain alpha, _a_, new start
fasteners: filename contains brad, button, staple, buckle, clip, eyelet, tie, peg, corner, pin, needls, tape, bolt, chain, cog, hinge, hook, rivet, screw, 
frames: filename contains frame, film
journal spots: filename contains journal, tag, card, bookplate
objects: filename contains badge, bag, balloon, ball, basket, bell, blackboard, book, cap, bubble, bucket, camera, candle, clock, clothes, bib, dummy, hat, shoe, sandal, stocking, sunglasses, umprella, tie, hanger, coin, compass, bowl, pot, pan, frig, curtain, doily, doll, angel, fairy, door, earth, postcard, fence, fireplace, rod, flag, food, cake, chocolate, ice, cream, candy, furniture, chair, game, glass, hill, house, castle, jar, vase, bottle, ink, key, kite, light, lamp, lightning, lock, match, ruler, measur, medal, palette, pen, phone, pinwheel, sand, santa, shield, skull, snowman, stone, sword, toy, tire, fork, knife, spoon, can, varrow, windmill, window, wreath, 
overlays: filename contains overlay, _o_
paint:  filename contains paint
pieces and rips: filename contains fabric, fold, label, mat, strip, piece, pocket, tab, torn; filename doesn't contain word, alpha; folder doesn't contain word, alpha, _a_
ribbons and string: filename contains ribbon, string, bow, elastic, rubber, fabric, lace, curl, raffia, ric rac, ricrac, rope, ric_rac, tassel, twill, wool, twine
shapes: filename contains anchor, arrow, bracket, circle, cloud, cross, crown, drop, egg, fleur, footprint, gate, handprint, heart, horseshoe, jigsaw, lip, moon, music, sun, paisley, plane, card, postage, present, gift, rainbow, robot, scissors, snowflake, speeh, square, rectangle, star, straw, ticket, triange, wand, wave, wing, 
splats: filename contains Fireworks, paint, stain, sprinkle, water, splash, 
stamps: filename contains stamp
stickers: filename contains sticker
stitching: filename contains stitch, thread
swirls and flourishes: filename contains swirl, flourish
transportation: filename contains bike, boat, 'sign', 'car', plane, helicopter, rocket, train, truck
wordart: filename contains word, _w_; filename doesn't contain upper, lower, alpha
Now to USE the catalog with my scrapping style, I start with the photo.  I open it in PS, make any edits, then choose one main colour from the photo to work with.  For example, with a photo using red, purple, white and pink, I started with purple thinking I would find a kit with either purple and red or purple and pink.  

In my Smart Collections, I clicked on the purple papers.  I selected one that looked promising, then right clicked to open in Explorer (Windows).  I didn't like the 'fit' of the first kit, so I repeated the process two mor time before finding a kit that PERFECTLY matched!  I then used the open Explorer window with PS to create the layout.  

I hope this helps you if you want to organize your digi files.  Please let me know if you find anything that works for you!


  1. Wow! You want to come and do mine? ;)

  2. Hey, Addie this is so neat. I have organized and imported my digi files and created a paper smart collection and a element smart collect but I cant figure out how to make the smart collections under each area with all your awesome keywords. Please explain where and how you did this. Thanks, JD

    1. I think the difference is between Smart Collections and Collection Sets. The Collection Set is like the folder and the Smart collection is where all the filters are stored. Hope that helps!