This suggestion combines and elaborates some suggestions that have appeared earlier, and deals with two complementary ways of organizing images: Variants and Stacks. Variants are the existing way of grouping and prioritizing multiple edits of the same underlying images. Stacks are a way of grouping (and sometimes prioritizing) multiple different images that may be related for a variety of reasons. By Stacks, I do not mean actually combining the images as in HDR, panoramas or focus stacking, though this organizational tool is useful for all three. Stacks were, as far as I know, originally introduced in Apple’s Aperture software.
The motivation for Variants is the same as now: it allows the user to try our multiple strategies for editing an image, and to order them by preference.
There are several motivations for Stacks. First, one may stack sets of bracketed images that are intended to be exported to an HDR or focus stacking app. Second one may stack images that will be exported to a stitching app for panoramas. But stacks can also fulfill a role sort of like variants. One may have taken a burst of images of a sports scene, or a set of slightly different compositions of a landscape or a portrait. Grouping these together can be useful for later editing or selection.
Stacks and Variants should be combined into one, hierarchal, grouping with Stacks at the top level and Variants one level below. Within a Stack it should be possible to promote or demote an image, and within a set of Variants it should be possible to promote or demote as well Both Stacks and Variants should be collapsible in the browser
So for a completely collapsed view in the browser you would see the most promoted Variant of the most promoted image. If you opened up the Stack you would see the most promoted variants of all the images in the Stack, and if you open a Variant in the stack you’d see all the Variants for that image .
It should be possible to name a Stack or any Variant in the Stack. I’m not quite sure what the best way to display these names would be, Its could either be an overlay on the image in the browser or an addition to the label with the file name. Perhaps the group name should only be shown when the group is fully collapsed.
When adding a Stack or a Variant to an album, what is added should be controlled by what is selected in the browser. So for example, if a Stack is fully collapsed and selected in the browser, then the most promoted variants of each image in the stack should be added to the album. If a Stack is open, and a collapsed variant group is selected, then the most promoted Variant should be added to the album. If a Variant group is open and multiple variants are selected, then they get added to the album.
The same rules can apply for exporting images or using the Edit with command.
Since it is common for one to want a Stack of images that are going to an HDR , focus stack or stitching app to have the same exposure settings, it might be nice to have a command that would set the most promoted variants of the images in a stack to the same exposure. But this can be done manually, so its less important.
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