Photoshop Elements 2020 Strips People Tags from Edited Images

Explorer ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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This bug has been present since Photoshop Elements 14 and it's really annoying. 

 

History: https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/photoshop-elements-14-strips-people-tags-from...

 

How to reproduce

  1. Import an image, test.jpg, into the Organizer
  2. Apply a People tag (T1), a Places tag (T2) and an Events tag (T3) to the image
  3. Edit the image with the PSE Editor and save into a Version Set as test_edited-1.jpg
  4. The edited file is now missing the People tag (T1). The orginal file still has the T1 tag. The Events and and Places tags are still attached to both files in the version set.Apply a People tag (T1), a Places tag (T2) and an Events tag (T3) to the image

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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I'm guessing that the reason a People tag is not applied to a version set copy is that you may have cut the person out of the picture while editing it.  Or cropping the photo may move the location of the face in the image.  So, the face recognition will not be accurately located.  Editing the photo does not change the Event or the Place.  So, it's probably a feature not a bug. 

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Explorer ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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This isn't related to face recognition (which I don't use). I'm simply applying tags (by dragging) to images. It's definitely a bug - there's no reason why editing should strip people tags

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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"This isn't related to face recognition (which I don't use). I'm simply applying tags (by dragging) to images. It's definitely a bug - there's no reason why editing should strip people tags".

 

I can see why that the management of face recognition is at the root of the issue. Even if you don't use it, it requires additional management of dedicated stacks and additional resources compared to the management of standard stacks/version sets. That stack management may contradict the standard one or at least require much more work to get that property inherited in a version set. So, I don't see it as a bug, only as a 'feature'; maybe it's 'by poor design', maybe it's on account of a logical impossibility.

 

However, what I don't understand is why you don't use the old custom hierarchy of persons, like in the old versions before PSE11. I am perfectly happy and I can have full flexibility in managing my people tags (I manage people, not faces) and their hierarchies. No issues at all with version sets and stacks.

Since PSE14 you did not get any answer by Adobe, except perhaps to go to Lightroom... Expecting a change in PSE2020 seems irreealistic.

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Explorer ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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I am using the old custom hierarchy of people tags exactly as I think you're suggesting as are the other people in the original thread on the old Adobe forum. 

 

As to getting the bug fixed, it seems reasonable to me that Adobe fixes a bug that's been in the product for ~5 years given that this is paid-for software. 

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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I am using the old custom hierarchy of people tags exactly as I think you're suggesting as are the other people in the original thread on the old Adobe forum. 

I always recover the people tags in my conventional 'My People' tag hierarchy.in the version sets. I don't even need to write metadata to files.

Just tested in PSE2019.

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Explorer ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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Ah, I think I know what you mean: you're implementing people tags in the "keywords" tag hierarchy. That should work. There's something clearly special/broken in the People tags which I'm using

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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Yes, I am using the normal keyword hierarchy. We all have different requirements to manage our assets. I am very picky to tag persons with any tag that can help me retrieve them by name, first name, married name, nickname or even family branches. I also manage family history and genealogy. I have learned to beware of face recognition... even by older people! I consider that face recognition may be useful when the job is to tag a relatively big catalog, and that is not my case, I have kept and enhanced my own hierachies from the first versions (PSE2). I don't consider than using both face recognition and normal keywords is necessarily redundant. If you manage seriously those standard keywords for the minority of people you really care about, that makes sense.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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So, would it be a bug if I edit a file with several tagged people in it, crop out one of the people, save the file in a version set, and the edited file still has a tag for the person who is not in the photo?  What do you think Adobe should do in that situation?  Recognize whose face is no longer in the photo and delete the tag?  How about an edited file with a face added to a group photo from a different tagged photo?  Should the added person's tag be automatically included in the version set?

 

I haven't tested this yet, but I suspect that in your situation the version set image goes through a new face recognition analysis as a newly imported photo does, and the opportunity to add the tag through face recognition will be found.  If this is not the case, then I would certainly support a request to add that as a feature. 

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Explorer ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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It's certainly possible to think of a scenario that you outline in your first paragraph where PSE could do something reasonably clever when a face is added or removed from a photo but in my case there's no face recognition involved (I've explicitly disabled it). And *any* edit will result in the People tags being stripped from the image. That's not reasonable behavior. Also, if PSE is going to start removing user-applied tags from photos it ought not to do it silently. This seems like a bug to me.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 03, 2019 Oct 03, 2019

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Well, I have now confirmed my suspicion.  After a photo with People tags is edited and a copy of that photo is saved in a version set, yes, no People tags are added to that new file.  However, if face recognition is turned on, the new photo file is analyzed for face recognition, so that People tags can be added by those who chose to use the AI features of the program.  The new photo analysis will take into account any people who have been added or removed, and will include only those who are in the newly edited photo.

More importantly, if you do a search/filter for a tag that is buried under the untagged top image in a version set, the version set will expand and reveal the image with the tag right next to the untagged image. 

 

If this is a big deal to you, I suggest you use keyword tags to name people in your images, instead of the specialized system People tags which are tied to face recognition.   The keyword tags will be carried over to the edited file in a version set.  (I have been using keyword tags to identify locations instead of the system Places tags.  This has avoided all the problems that have been created by the change in map services.)

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Explorer ,
Oct 04, 2019 Oct 04, 2019

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Thanks. Nice detective work. It'd be nice if the People tags behaved correctly (they used to). Like you I'm already using Keywords tags for locations as the Places mechanism is buggy (for example, I haven't been able to add new Places tags for several versions). I guess using Keywords tags for everything is the way to because it certainly doesn't seem like Adobe is going to fix anything anytime soon. It rather feels like Adobe has neglected Organizer: I don't believe any features have been added for a few versions and egregious bugs go unfixed. That's a real shame as Organizer is my main interface to my photos and videos. I have what I believe is one of the largest collections of assets in PSE (~195K items) and Organizer generally works really well for me. The only vaguely viable alternative I know of is Lightroom but I don't really like the UI and the PSE -> Lightroom conversion process leaves a lot to be desired (or rather it did a few versions back which was the last time I tried).

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Oct 04, 2019 Oct 04, 2019

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Adobe has added and improved features to the Organizer in recent versions.  Elements 2020 has just added face recognition for videos.  It actually does a pretty good job of finding faces to tag in videos.  If you click on a face in the People room, it will take you to a specific frame of the video where the face is found.  Smart tags and other search features have also been added recently.  I know it doesn't interest you, but face recognition performance has improved greatly since it was first introduced.

 

I agree with you that the Organizer is the best media library software; and you probably have one of the largest catalogs I've ever heard of.  (I have been using the Organizer seriously since version 3 and have ~20K media files less than you.)

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Explorer ,
Oct 04, 2019 Oct 04, 2019

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It's good that Adobe has added features to PSE - I hadn't noticed them. I always immediately disable any kind of face recognition or smart tagging - it's never done anything for me beyond create useless tags and eat CPU cycles. When I tried it, the facial recognition was dreadful (e.g., when compared with Google) but maybe I'll give it another go at some point. With such a large catalog though it makes experimenting with this sort of stuff a bit of pain. Nevertheless, Adobe should fix some of the more egregious bugs/misfeatures such as the dreadful places/maps mechanism.

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New Here ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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It seems to be much worse than this. I "upgraded" from PSE14 to PSE20 and have now found that large swathes of People Tags were not copied over to the new database. I have 24'000 images plus all the edits, so this is an utter disater, Am I the only person to whom this has happened? Is Adobe aware of this mess?

The only possible solution would seem to be to throw out PSE20 and to revert to PSE14 and import the missing images taken over the last three months.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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@DRM

Did you actually allow Elements to convert your Elements 14 catalog over to 2020?  I suspect not.  It is highly unlikely that you would have lost any information if you did a conversion of your old catalog.  I suggest you go through the conversion process with your old catalog via File>Manage Catalogs>Convert dialog.

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New Here ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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Well, this is three months ago, so I don't remember specifically. Howere, when I have moved on from one version of PSE to another in the past (I started in 2005) the new version automatically made the conversion. For one thing, at some point Adobe changed the database they used, so the database must then have been converted or nothing would have worked. In no case do I ever remember explicitely asking to convert, but the original database was not over-written, and so I assumed it was converted.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 18, 2020 May 18, 2020

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It is very easy to miss the  conversion message. 

 

Even if the conversion took place and was somehow corrupted, you can convert the Elements 14 catalog again.  Before doing that I would suggest selecting the images you have tagged or edited in the last 3 months and write the metadata to file (using Ctrl+W). 

 

When you search for the old catalog to convert, make sure you check the box for displaying catalogs that have already been converted.

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New Here ,
May 19, 2020 May 19, 2020

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Thanks, Greg for your messages. As I am paranoid, I made copies of everything. I then used PSE-14 to Optimize the catalog and then Repair. The Repair found no faults, but I did it anyway. I then made a full backup, which went only until 2020/02/21 of course. After renaming the root of my original file structure, I the did I restore using PSE2020. This then automatically converted the catalog, making a new catalogue folder with "-1" appended. It then went through an optimize step (I think) and spent about 10 minutes doing I know not what. I let it run, and eventually my photos re-appeared and indeed I now have my People tags back (apart from the issue with version sets mentioned by others).

 

The catalog with the missing tags must have been converted when I started to use PSE2020, because it is also of the type PSE18DB. Thus, I would very much like to know what went wrong: how did my People Tags get lost? I certainly made a backup of the PSE14DB file for safety when changing programs, but I didn't restore it as there seemed to be no need. However, that seems to be the only difference in the procedure from today. I can only conclude that there is a bug somewhere.

 

I am now left with the job of replicating all the wook over the last 3 months. Importing the new files will be straight forward, but sorting out the old files I have re-edited will be a lot more complicated. Still, it is much less work than adding 20'000 missing tags.

 

I have been managing large hi-tech software projects for many years, and I hate this sort of situation. Nominally the issue is resolved, but as one doesn't know what really went wrong, there is the likelihood of an analagous problem at a future date. 

 

Anyway, many thanks once again. David M.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
May 19, 2020 May 19, 2020

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I'm glad it's sorted out for you now.

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