Excire Search 2

Excire is the creator of Excire Search 2 and Excire Foto. These are photo management and content tools which are powered by AI and designed to make your life easier in terms of finding photos by a range of parameters including Keyword, Faces, People and more. In this post I am looking at Excire Search 2 however, the principal of the software is the same between Excire Search 2 and Excire Foto, its just Excire Search 2 is a plugin for Lightroom CC whereas Excire Foto is a stand-alone app.


What is Excire Search 2?

Excire Search 2 is an add-on for Lightroom, it allows you to analyze and organize your Lightroom Catalogue to help you find your photos. Using the power of AI and machine learning Excire Search 2 can analyze your images and apply keywords (if selected). Excire also maintains its own internal database of images and keywords which allows you to search by keyword, as well as have the ability to search for content (i.e. search for people), faces or similar images. You can of course add in keywords through lightroom.


How does Excire Search 2 Analyze Images?

Excire uses a combination of machine learning and AI, when you first install Excire Search 2, or when you conduct an update there is a process known as initializing or re-initializing that the user has to undertake. This process shows Excire Search 2 each of the images that you select (either specific photos or your whole catalog) and Excire then analyzes these images to understand more about them.

In order to understand the content of these images, Excire has used machine learning to train a model with millions of images. Whilst oversimplified, this training involves showing the model images with and without a range of elements (i.e. cats) so that the model can then understand what a cat looks like, and the various different appearances of cats so that when Excire Search identifies a cat in your image, it knows that it has seen a cat and can store the cat keyword against the image.

Whilst I have used the cat example, in reality, the training is far more comprehensive and the model is trained with a far greater number of elements from both content as well as photographic elements. In my testing, the model was able to keyword images based on Photographic elements (i.e. Aerial Photography, Bokeh, Dark, HDR (extreme), Leading Lines, Light Painting, and much more). In addition, it was also able to identify based on content, with keywords being identified ranging from Animal –> Mollusk through to Amphibian and Rodents).

In addition to typical content keywords, the model is also able to identify based on Person, with information being available including Approximate Age Group (Adult, Baby / Toddler, Child, Elderly, Teenager / Young Adult), Face (i.e. Beard, Eyes Open / Closed, Frontal Face, Glasses, Profile Face, Smile, Sunglasses), Gender, Group, Hair Color, Head Gear, Kissing, Number of Faces, Portrait, Pose, Singer as well as the Pose, and Number of Faces (One, Two, Three to Many) to name a few.

Because of this comprehensive training, it is not possible to train the model yourself as it would require a significant number of images to offer an acceptable hit rate, and the training can often take days with specialized hardware.


Does Excire Search 2 use cloud services?

Excire Search 2 does not use cloud services to process and/or identify your image. Whilst the model is trained externally (i.e. by Excire), it is provided as part of the software so that when you analyze your images this is all being done on your local machine and not being sent off to the cloud.


How does Excire Search Perform?

I used Excire Search within Adobe Lightroom CC and was impressed at its performance, I initialized the library which took a while due to the number of images. It reported a few errors around images being too large or so on but really that was only 1 – 2 images so not very significant. I was impressed with the tagging that was applied to images (I used transfer keywords which moves the keywords from Excire's internal database to the Lightroom Keywords Section) and whilst I liked the keyword tagging, I was happier with some of the photographic element tags (e.g. Bokeh, Leading Lines et al).

I had used a similar tool (called AnyVision) however, I much prefer Excire as it is all being done on your local computer, and does not require cloud services (e.g. google image recognition).

As mentioned in the introduction, Excire Search 2 is a plugin for Lightroom. If you are looking for a tool that works stand-alone, then you should look at Excire Foto which is a standalone tool with all the features of Excire Search 2 but without the need for Lightroom.