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Mask terminology

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Terminology is important, and much confusion in the Lightroom forums results from imprecise terminology. Adobe has chosen ambiguous names for the concepts in the new masking tool, and we're already seeing the resulting confusion. I'm updating my Any Filter plugin for the new masking tool, and I'd like to use precise names that are blessed by Adobe.

What are Adobe's formal names for the item labeled A and the three items labeled B below:

1637723741232.png


The user interface says A ("Mask 1") is a "mask", and new items like A are created by clicking "Create New Mask". But what are the items labeled B ("Linear Gradient 1", "Brush 1", "Subject 1")? The Help documentation calls them "masks" also. But that will only cause confusion (and has already), since the A's are much different than the B's.

Some people (including me, and Victoria?) have called the B's "components" or "mask components". Some people have called the A's "mask groups".

In .xmp sidecars and in the Lightroom SDK for plugins, the A's are called "mask groups" and the B's are called "correction masks". The engineers need to have precise names for these concepts, and these names are precise. But clearly the product managers wanted something else. It's a sign of a broken development process when the product managers don't get together with the engineers to agree on terminology at the start of a project.

So if you have any authoritative information about this, it would be much appreciated. Links to written words get extra credit.
 

PhilBurton

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Terminology is important, and much confusion in the Lightroom forums results from imprecise terminology. Adobe has chosen ambiguous names for the concepts in the new masking tool, and we're already seeing the resulting confusion. I'm updating my Any Filter plugin for the new masking tool, and I'd like to use precise names that are blessed by Adobe.

What are Adobe's formal names for the item labeled A and the three items labeled B below:

View attachment 17591

The user interface says A ("Mask 1") is a "mask", and new items like A are created by clicking "Create New Mask". But what are the items labeled B ("Linear Gradient 1", "Brush 1", "Subject 1")? The Help documentation calls them "masks" also. But that will only cause confusion (and has already), since the A's are much different than the B's.

Some people (including me, and Victoria?) have called the B's "components" or "mask components". Some people have called the A's "mask groups".

In .xmp sidecars and in the Lightroom SDK for plugins, the A's are called "mask groups" and the B's are called "correction masks". The engineers need to have precise names for these concepts, and these names are precise. But clearly the product managers wanted something else. It's a sign of a broken development process when the product managers don't get together with the engineers to agree on terminology at the start of a project.

So if you have any authoritative information about this, it would be much appreciated. Links to written words get extra credit.
For Lightroom in recent years, there has been a lot of confusion about product names, starting with the launch of LR 7.

I can't say definitively that the product managers wanted something else. They may not have thought this design issue. Or, they did, but the engineers ignored the product managers. Or some other failure of the overall process.

That all said, I have no definitive information. Those who might, aren't saying, probably because they are covered with an NDA.

Phil Burton
 
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John,

I am in 100% agrement. When writing my Text tutorials I too was confounded about what to call the "B"s. The "A"'s, I thnik, are pretty universally referred to as Masks, but as you say the B's are all over the map with "Masks", "Components", "Selections" and many others. Personally I chose to call them "Components" as I saw that in some Adobe document someplace that I can't recall night now.

Dan
 
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I specifically asked Adobe this and they said A: masks, B: components. (I then laughed at the fact that their own masking blog post didn’t use these terms, but that’s beside the point!)
 
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At one time in the writing of my tutorial, I found that this sentance made it's way into my Word document: "After Selecting your selection type select the portion of the image you want to select". After a good laugh, I decided to switch all my references to the B's from "Selection" to "Component"
 

PhilBurton

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I specifically asked Adobe this and they said A: masks, B: components. (I then laughed at the fact that their own masking blog post didn’t use these terms, but that’s beside the point!)
Victoria,

Rather, I would say that's exactly the point, which is Adobe is very (sloppy, careless, thoughtless, ad hoc, disorganized) in its use of product and feature names. Going back to @johnrellis's earlier post, it would seem that Adobe lacks an effective "branding and naming architecture" and "message architecture."

As an additional example, why does Adobe persist in calling Lightroom, "Photoshop Lightroom?" Lightroom is a very successful brand on its own.

We have all seen this movie before and I'm sure that we will see it again in coming years.
 
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Sigh. Even within the single Help chapter, it uses ambiguous terminology:

- it uses "masking tool" to refer to the entire masking panel and as a categorical term for the Brush tool, Linear Gradient tool, etc.
- it uses "mask" to refer both to the As and Bs.
- it also uses "group" to refer to As.

At least the tech writer was a good enough writer to make the referents unambiguous (screenshots help).

The LR SDK's DevelopController API has yet different terminology than either the Help or the settings in .xmp sidecars:

- The As are called "masks"
- The Bs are called "tools" and "mask tools", as in:
type of tool to be created, one of: "brush", "gradient", "radialGradient", "rangeMask", "aiSelection".
Delete a mask tool from the current mask.

Usually, "tool" refers to the user-interface construct (buttons, sliders, mouse cursor) that lets the user create something, not what's created as a result. I had to do some experiments to verify the meaning of the SDK documentation.

When I managed product teams, I was often called pedantic for ensuring consistent naming of concepts, but that was usually by people who didn't appreciate the costs imposed on teams and customers by ambiguous terminology.
 
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"After Selecting your selection type select the portion of the image you want to select". After a good laugh...

The back of my 1974 draft card:
Personal Appearance before the Appeal Board -- may be requested if you are eligible to request an appeal to the appeal board. You may appeal to the appeal board without requesting a personal appearance before the appeal board, but if you wish to appear before the appeal board you must specifically ask for the appearance before the appeal board in addition to requesting an appeal to the appeal board.
 
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And I have now answered two topics along similar theme of "Terminology"
"Why doesn't the mask save in my exported photo?" The author expecting the Overlay to remain visible on the exported image.
"When inverting a Mask, Why does the image in develop window change after Menu: Invert Selection?" A mis-understanding between 'Invert Mask' and 'Invert Selection'.
 

PhilBurton

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When I managed product teams, I was often called pedantic for ensuring consistent naming of concepts, but that was usually by people who didn't appreciate the costs imposed on teams and customers by ambiguous terminology.
@johnrellis,

I would have called you the kind of development manager that product managers liked me always preferred. As a product manager, I always worked hard to ensure clear and consistent use of naming, etc., etc., as was judged accordingly by my management and my peers.
 
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