Annotation Studio Basics
  • 05 Dec 2023
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Annotation Studio Basics

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Article Summary


As a broad and highly customizable platform, Dataloop has a built-in annotation studio for image, video, audio, text, documents, and Lidar. The Dataloop team is always working on introducing new ones, and is made it possible for customers to build their own. Dataloop follows a certain template for the annotation-studio, to make it easy to switch between them and quickly get familiar with and become highly productive.

The main sections of the Annotation Studio are explained below.


The information and details, such annotation tools, settings, etc. available on the annotation studio are displayed according to the type of the annotation studio.

Section 1: Label Picker and Annotation Tools (left-side panel)

This section allows you use labels and annotation tools perform the annotation process. The available labels and tools are determined in the Recipe.

Label Picker

A Label Picker is a feature within the annotation studio that allows you to pick or select labels to assign to specific objects or elements in the data being annotated. You can perform the following activities on the Label Picker section.

  • Scroll and click a label to activate it.
  • Use the search bar to easily find labels.
  • Resize the label list to better fit your number of labels by clicking and dragging the separator line.

Annotation Tools

Annotation tools are designed to facilitate the process of data annotation. Data annotation involves adding metadata, labels, or tags to raw data, making it understandable for machines.

By default, the first tool in the list is selected. To activate a different tool, click on the available tools in the list.

Annotation Tool Controls

Selecting a tool will automatically display its specific settings, providing access to enhanced functionality.

Annotation Tools for Different Annotation Studios

Explore the Annotation Tools in Annotation Studio, each carefully designed to cater to specific annotation needs. The following table provides a concise overview of these tools, offering a versatile toolkit for insightful and collaborative annotation within the platform.

Annotation Tools / StudioLiDARAudioText ClassificationImageVideoRLHF
Bounding BoxNoNoNoYesYesNo
Text ClassificationNoNoYesNoNoNo
Semantic SegmentationNoNoNoYesNoNo
Point and PoseNoNoNoYesYesNo
Reinforcement Learning Human Feedback (RLHF) Studio

The RLHF is a unique studio, see the RLHF article for more information.

Section 2: Annotation Lists, Attributes, Modalities, and Item Details (right-side panel)

This section allows you controlling and managing annotations involves utilizing the annotations list and attribute controls, particularly when attributes are configured in the Recipe.

Annotations Lists

The annotations list displays all annotations added to the item and incorporates numerous features, facilitating efficient work even with dozens or hundreds of annotations.

Annotation Selection

Selecting an annotation from the list enables you to apply operations, reflecting the activation of its controller on the item.

The list enables two selection modes:

  • Single Selection: Click anywhere on an annotation to have it selected, replacing any previous selection you made.
  • Multiple Selection: Use the checkbox to add annotations to your selection.

Action Buttons

Hover over annotations to view related action buttons, including:

  • Edit annotation label and attributes
  • Toggle annotation visibility (Hide/Show)
  • QA Flow controls - Create an Issue, or flag an issue as For review.

Also, you can use the following actions available on top of the annotation list:

  • Clone: Click on the clone icon to clone two or more annotations from the list. You cannot clone semantic annotations.
  • Delete: Click on the Trash icon to delete an annotation.

Grouping Modes

By default, the annotation list displays all annotations as they are created, listed sequentially. After reaching 15 annotations, the list automatically switches to group-by-label mode to optimize loading. Users can click the Annotation Grouping button to toggle between the list view and group-by-label or group-by-creator modes (with a confidence level for automated annotations [model/bot]) by clicking the respective buttons.

Annotations Filter

The filter in the annotation studio includes the following sections:

  1. Annotation type: It displays annotations based on the annotation tool types, such as box, point, polygon, note, etc. This filter type is not available for Audio items.
  2. Annotation status: It displays annotations based on the annotation status, such as no status, issue, for review, etc.
  3. Annotation properties: It displays annotations based on the annotation properties, such as object ID, description, etc.
  • By default, all the filter are unchecked. When you select a filter, it displayes only the annotations according to the selection you made.
  • Each filter shows the total number of annotations.
  • When you select multiple filters, only anootations that satisfy all filters will be displayed.

Sorting the Annotations List

Click on the arrows icon to sort your annotations on either Ascending or Descending by:

  • Creation Time (default)
  • Update Date/time
  • Label
  • Type
  • Confidence

Advanced Search Box

Type in the search box to have the annotations list that displays only annotations that match the search criteria. You can search in every aspect of the annotations:

  • Tool: Enter the tool name like BOX or POINT.
  • Label: Enter any label from the recipe.
  • Creator: Enter the name of the annotations creator to see only related annotations.

Focus Mode

Click on the icon to filter out annotations that are out of view from the annotation list when zooming or panning. The annotation list will then display only those annotations that are available within the zoomed area.


Setting Attributes

When attributes are defined in the recipe and annotation is selected (annotation is also selected immediately after it’s created) the attributes section will be visible, allowing the user to set them.
The attributes section starts with the first ‘section’ open with its attributes/answers.

  • Select the attributes relevant to the object.
  • Click the chevron to close the section - selected attributes are shown.
  • Click the chevron to open the next attribute section, and repeat until completing all attributes.
  • Skipping a ‘mandatory’ attribute will show a yellow flag, to highlight it for the user.
Set attribute values in bulk

Setting attribute values in bulk for annotations from different labels is currently disabled. It can be enabled from the respective recipe setting:

  1. Go to the Ontology > Relevant Recipe > Instructions.
  2. Under Global Settings, select the Allow bulk attribute update without single-label validation option.

Reviewing Attributes

Annotations with attributes selected will be marked with an 'A' sign, hover over it to see the attributes. For mandatory attributes, the 'A' will be highlighted in yellow.
Click on the 'A' button on the bottom left to toggle the display for all of the annotation's attributes on the canvas.

Item Details

The Item tab displays information according to the type of the selected item, including:

  • Created Date: The creation date of the selected item.
  • Description: The text description, which can be viewed and edited from this panel. Item descriptions can be added during file uploads, serving as an additional way to search for items containing specific text or descriptions.
  • Item ID: Unique identification for the item.
  • Dataset ID: Unique identification for the item's Dataset.
  • File Path: A URL link to the item on the Dataloop platform.
  • Item path: A URL link to the item on the Dataloop platform.
  • Item Metadata: Item metadata refers to the descriptive information and attributes associated with individual items within a dataset.

Item Actions

  • Edit: Click on the Pencil icon to edit details.
  • Copy: Click on the Copy icon to copy IDs, file paths, etc.
  • Import Annotations: Click on the Import icon to import annotations in a JSON file or paste annoation source info.
  • Export Annotations: Click on the Export icon to export annoations and masks.
  • Recipe: Click on the Recipe icon to open the Recipe page of the selected item.

Section 3: Item Info & Controls (top-side panel)

Item Info & Controls, such as detailed info, keyboard shortcuts, brightness/contrast settings, etc.

From left to right, the top panel provides the following controls:

  1. Undo-redo: Applicable for all actions performed directly over Canvas when creating or updating annotations.
  2. Item description: Add/edit the item description
  3. Item info: Details and enables copying item-related information and context such as File-name, item path, dataset ID, and more.
  4. Keyboard shortcuts: Displays the keyboard shortcuts applicable to the current annotation studio. For more information, see the Keyboard Shortcuts section.
  5. Adjustments
    1. Opacity
    2. Brightness
    3. Contrast
    4. Border thickness

    Opacity, brightness, and contrast are only supported for images up to 8192 px (either width or height).

  6. Work settings - Various options for annotators to toggle and tune their work, such as:
    1. Keep zoom and position: When moving between items, especially frame snapshots out of video files
    2. Pixel measurement: This shows the pixel length value for Box, Polygon, and Polyline tools.
    3. Pixel smoothing: Smoothes the display of pixels when viewing low-resolution images at high zoom
    4. Cross grid - provides a cross-grid for the mouse cursor, a tool that may assist in achieving higher annotation accuracy
    5. Coordinate - displays the mouse coordinates over the item when hovering it
  7. PDF - Open/close the PDF instructions document, when it is set from the Recipe page.

Keyboard Shortcuts

CategoryDescriptionKeyboard Shortcuts
GeneralUndo⌘ Z
GeneralRedo⌘ Y
GeneralZoom In/OutScroll
GeneralChange BrightnessVertical Arrow M
GeneralChange ContrastVertical Arrow R
GeneralPan⌘ Drag
GeneralTool Selection0-9
GeneralMove selected annotationsShift Arrow Keys
GeneralPrevious ItemLeft Arrow
GeneralNext ItemRight Arrow
GeneralAdd Item DescriptionT
GeneralMark Item as DoneShift F
GeneralMark Item as DiscardedShift G
GeneralEnable Cross Grid Tool HelperAlt G
GeneralHold G to show Cross Grid MeasurementsG
GeneralHide/Show AnnotationsH
GeneralShow Unmasked Pixels⌘ M
GeneralHide/Show Annotation ControllersC
GeneralSet Object ID menuO
GeneralToggle pixel measurementP
GeneralUse tool creation modeHold Shift
GeneralCopy annotations from previous itemShift V
Tools - SemanticToggle Paint Bucket ModeShift B
Tools - SemanticToggle EraserShift E
Tools - SemanticToggle Auto SegementationShift A
Tools - SemanticToggle Super PixelShift S
Tools - SemanticToggle DrawingShift D
Tools - SemanticDraw Straight LineShift Drag
Tools - SemanticChange OpacityX Scroll
Tools - SemanticStroke SizeAlt Scroll
Tools - SemanticDelete Super PixelAlt Left Click
Tools - VideoPrevious Frame<
Tools - VideoNext Frame>
Tools - VideoHide/Show Selected Annotation/
Tools - VideoToggle Play/PauseSpace
Tools - VideoDecrease Play SpeedZ
Tools - VideoIncrease Play SpeedX
Tools - VideoSets annotation start for selected annotationsShift S
Tools - VideoSets annotation end for selected annotationsShift E
Tools - VideoToggles annotation occlusion for selected annotationsShift O
Tools - AudioToggle Play/PauseSpace
Tools - AudioPrevious Annotation<
Tools - AudioNext Annotation>
Tools - AudioDecrease Play Speed[
Tools - AudioIncrease Play Speed]
Tools - AudioStopBackspace
Tools - AudioActivate zoom button-
Tools - AudioFit to screen=
Tools - AudioToggle Audio Binding/
Tools - AudioJump 20 seconds backwardZ
Tools - AudioJump 10 seconds backwardX
Tools - AudioJump 5 seconds backwardC
Tools - AudioJump 5 seconds forwardV
Tools - AudioJump 10 seconds forwardB
Tools - AudioJump 20 seconds forwardN
Tools - AudioSet current transcription start time\
Tools - AudioSet current transcription end time"
Tools - AudioEdit selected annotation transcription⌘ A
Tools - AudioSave transcription⌘ S
Tools - AudioOpen Search Modal (Transcription Finder)F
Tools - CuboidDraw 3D CubeMouse Left-key + Drag
Tools - PoseNext Label⌘ >
Tools - PosePrevious Label⌘ <
Tools - PoseNew PoseN
Tools - PolygonDelete VertexRight Click
Tools - PolygonClear / Close PolygonEsc
Tools - PolygonClear / Close PolygonEnter
ModalityNext layer>
ModalityPrevious layer<
ModalityToggle visibilitySpace

Section 4: Item's View Controls (bottom-side panel)

The controls on the bottom-side panel display based on the annotation contexts and work controls.

Assignment Context

Assignment controls, including moving between items, displaying the item gallery, and the status buttons (Complete / Discard). It displays only while working on an annoation or QA task.

  1. Browse between the assignment items using the Left and Right arrows
  2. Open the Thumbnails gallery viewer, and click a thumbnail to open that item
  3. Save button - Clicking the button when it is enabled triggers saving changes to the Dataloop platform before the auto-saving feature takes care of that.
  4. Status buttons - Complete and Discard.

Work Controls

From left to right, work controls at the bottom panel deliver the following functionality:

  1. Zoom control - Small steps using the (+) and (-) buttons
  2. Zoom reset.
  3. Attributes control - Toggles On/Off attribute-details visibility over the item, next to each annotation.