Importing Partial Filename as Keywords

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New Member
Dec 12, 2016
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Hello everyone, thank you for taking the time to check this thread. I am new here and I look forward to your help ^^;;

I use lightroom for a number of things! One of my usage for it is cataloguing about 50k mostly-unique art references. The catalog is kept separate from everything else and consists purely of study references (textures, colors, lighting, paint mediums, human poses, artistic styles, etc).

I have my library tree organized by artist/instructor, and most of the filenames were batched a long time ago to echo a form similar to this: (Artist name) - (subject reference ('texture' 'color')) - (image series#).jpg.

I would like to import parts of the filename as keywords to filter through them more quickly. I know a popular advice is to use the library filter text search as oppose to importing keywords, but there are many unique and less-used keywords I've forgotten. Bulkiness is not a concern for me as most of these files are less than 1mb.

I believe the best way to go about this is by using regular expression to retrieve the partial filenames and then importing it into the keyword tags. I understand lightroom can't do this however and was wondering if anyone know of anyway or any program this can be achieved through. I have looked at quite a few and have had terrible luck. Thank you for reading!
There is no built in mechanism on import that I am aware of to do what you are requesting.
However, if you look at John Beardsworth's Search and Replace tool:
Search Replace Transfer – John Beardsworth
I think it can handle keywords, but not positive. This would potentially allow you to look at the "original filename" meta-data and perform any transformations you require and insert it somewhere else as a more searchable item.
Search Replace Transfer can certainly transfer the filename without extension ("Picasso-color-001" eg) to keywords. But I don't know that there's a way to parse out parts of that filename, to get say Artist>Picasso, subject reference>color, and so on. Usually people go the OTHER way, from keywords to a caption or filename. Once you wrote "Picasso-color-001" as a keyword you could still search and filter and such on it, and then gradually edit them all to conform to a more tidy hierarchical structure.

But look at exiftool: it can be used to parse certain stuff, but filenames might be tough. Again, usually they are written, not read in this scenario. Bridge is also used to write say a whole filename into IPTC tags, but again I dunno if it's possible or efficient to parse out parts of the filename. Might be easier to just get all the filenames in as keywords, then edit from there. That sounds like tons of work (to make hierarchies and so on) but I find that doing it makes one think about the organization, and it might be a good opportunity to clean house a bit as well as add other keywords that could help, especially since filenames are such poor containers for this info, and very limited in size.
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