Excire Foto & Excire Search 2 are exciting new suites of tools for photo management.
One is a standalone app, and the other is a Lightroom plugin. They are virtually the same thing; they differ in how you use them and some minor design choices.
Let’s get right into it.
Excire Foto Review
When I first opened Excire Foto, I decided to import all my photos. It took the software around 30 minutes to upload more than 7,200 photos that take up about 200 GB of disk space, which is reasonably fast.
Naturally, you don’t have to import all your photos. I did it to test the software thoroughly.
Interface: Outdated but clean
The Excire Foto interface is simple, but it looks somewhat outdated. Considering that it’s new, I expected a more modern and intuitive interface. However, the interface has a lovely dark, black and blue colour palette that’s pleasing to the eye when working long nights.
While you can minimise sidebars by clicking double arrows, you cannot adjust their size. There are several panels within the sidebars, which can be toggled by pressing the down-facing arrow. On the left, you can find folder and results, Database, Folders, and Collections. In the right sidebar, there are a histogram, keywords, and metadata.
In the middle, between both sidebars, are your photos. You can adjust their size with the slider above them, which determines the number of photos displayed.
This brings me to the most annoying feature of Excire Foto. It’s not even a feature, but lousy coding:
When you resize images, the slider moves. For instance, you’ve scrolled all the way down in your folder; let’s call this 100%. When you enlarge images by 2x, Excire Foto scrolls back up to 50%, displaying completely different images. And if you enlarge them by 4x, you’re back at the top (or 25%). The same happens when you close and open the sidebar, but luckily in these cases, the interface flickers for 0.5-1 seconds before returning to its original position. Since it’s software for photo management, such missteps in coding are inexcusable. However, I’m certain the developers will soon fix the issue.
Features: Everything you need for photo management
Excire Foto is an app for photo management and content-based browsing. Thanks to AI, it is capable of scene and face recognition, making it super easy to find a specific photo in your collection.
Let’s take a look at each feature separately, starting on the left side.
Databases, Folders & Collections
Databases are like folders on your computer, but they’re virtual. They are best used to store professional and private photos separately, for example. They work like separate drives.
Folders are similar to databases, but they’re the exact folders you have on your hard drive. Any changes you make to them in Excire Foto affect real folders on your computer and vice-versa.
Lastly, you have Collections and Groups. Collections are like albums or imaginary folders. You can use them to separate between photos based on the motives and colours, for instance. Groups are simply groups of Collections that make Collections easier to manage. For example, a group “Landscape” might contain Collections “Lakes” and “Woodlands”.
The toolbar features tools for filtering by ratings, colours, flags, metadata, and date. You can sort your photos by name, creation date, and star rating.
Of course, you must first label your photos for filtering to make any sense. Luckily, it’s very easy to do. Simply hover over the photo you want to label and left-click on its bottom bar. Doing so will open a small panel with star, colour, and flag ratings, as shown in the image below.
To label multiple images simultaneously, select them by holding the Control (Command on Mac) button on your keyboard and click on them. Then, left-click on one of them to open the labelling panel. Any ratings you perform will be applied to all selected images.
Histogram, Keywords, Metadata, & Keyword Hierarchy
The right sidebar consists of 4 icons (Find by keyword, Find faces, Find people, and Find similar photos), Histogram, Keywords, Metadata, and Keyword hierarchy.
Clicking on any icon immediately pops up a new window that allows you to refine the search you’re trying to make. For instance, if you search by keywords, you can enter multiple keywords, pick dominant colours in photos, and even tweak the number of results and which database to search.
Find faces is the most intriguing tool. You can choose between one face, a single portrait, two faces, and several faces. In addition, the software can recognise toddlers, children, teenagers, adults, and the elderly. But it can also differentiate between males and females, and smiles and no smiles.
This sounds all well and good, so I tested whether face recognition works as intended.
Here are my results:
|Feature||Did it work?|
|Child||Found toddlers and images of young women|
|Adults||✓, also threw in a couple of teenagers|
Overall, the face-recognition function worked very well. It made a few mistakes, but searching for specific photos is a lot easier than doing it manually.
Metadata is conveniently displayed on the right side, providing all the available information. You can also edit metadata, but you cannot change EXIF metadata.
Finally, let’s take a look at Keywords. Excire Foto automatically adds keywords based on colours and picture contents. But it’s not always accurate. In most cases, it accurately recognises objects and moods, but it’s not consistent. For instance, it would assign different keywords to two almost identical images. While all of them would be correct, they would be different; for some reason.
Performance: 10 out of 10
Excire Foto works very fast, considering that it handles thousands of files. Every change or parameter you set is applied instantly. For example, setting face recognition and checking “male” and “smile” output the results in a blink of an eye.
(I performed my tests on a fully updated Windows 10 machine, 16 GB RAM, Ryzen 5 3500, Nvidia GTX 1660Ti)
The program loads in around 8 seconds. Scrolling through images is smooth, without any discernable lag or stutter. When you quickly scroll through images, they are greyed out but load within 0.5 seconds when you stop scrolling.
Excire Foto: Who is it for?
Excire Foto is a very fine photo management tool with a host of great features that make sorting a large number of photos a breeze. Since it works extremely fast, it’s an excellent option for anyone looking to sort, find, or organise their numerous images.
Considering that it’s a standalone app, it’s best suitable for users who do not use Lightroom. For example, if you own Luminar AI, the best Lightroom alternative, Excire Foto, is for you.
But what about Lightroom users? For you, Excire Search 2 is the best option. Keep reading…
Excire Search 2 Review
I won’t go into too much detail about Excire Search 2 because it’s very similar to Excire Foto. The crucial difference between the two is that Excire Foto is a standalone app, and Excire Search 2 is a Lightroom plugin. And there are some design differences.
Let’s check it out.
How to use it?
First, install the software following the instructions on the screen. Open Lightroom, go to File > Plug-in Manager and find Excire Search from the left sidebar when it’s done. Enter your email and license key, and press Done.
Next, you need to initialise Excire Search. Remember that it only works when you’re in the Library module. Click on Library in the navigation bar, Plug-in Extras, and choose the search option you want to use.
The first time you use Excire Search 2 within Lightroom, it will take a couple of seconds to minutes to initialise, based on how many images you have.
You’re all set. You can now choose any tool by going back to Library > Plug-in Extras.
I have tried quite a few photo management tools until today. But Excire Foto easily ranks in the top 3 (I’d give it the 1st place); it works super-quickly, it has a great suite of tools that you need to sift through thousands of photos, and it’s not expensive.
The best part; it can be used as a Lightroom plugin.