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How to best store images with Aperture's Library?

6170 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: Feb 6, 2011 6:04 PM by FundyFlyer RSS
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Hamper Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Jan 2, 2011 11:37 AM
I do not understand, after all this time, how the Aperture library works. I've done a little research online but I cannot see anything which satisfies me. The problem is that I have a 500GB HDD and its getting full, with Aperture taking up roughly 300GB of it!

I find that I have a library with 317.91GB in it and the folder has 47k images, but my library has over 100k, so are the rest inside the library? Am I doubling up the amount of imagery with them organised in my Photos folder and a big Aperture library?

I'm not sure if I need the two or wether I can amalgamate the two, so if anybody know please let on thanks.
MacBook (white), Mac OS X (10.6.5), 4GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
  • Mr Endo Level 3 Level 3 (990 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2011 2:16 PM (in response to Hamper)

    To what are you referring when you write of "The two"? I'm not entirely sure what you're asking.

    In general, though, if you have Aperture manage your photos, it will make a copy of each photo in its library from wherever you imported it. So, if you copy your camera's flash card contents to your hard drive, and then import "Managed" masters into Aperture, then you do have two instances of the same file on your computer. One is where you put it, and the other is managed in Aperture's library. If this is the case, you don't need that original, since you told Aperture to copy the photos into its library.

    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Aperture 3.1.1
  • Mr Endo Level 3 Level 3 (990 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2011 3:24 PM (in response to Hamper)

    It sounds like you are currently set up to have "referenced" masters. That may not have always been the case, though, so you may have a mixture of referenced and managed masters. That is not a problem at all, but rather a demonstration of the flexibility of Aperture.

    The location of your photos only affects the speed of Aperture if you are storing them on a faster or slower medium. A network disk would be slower (and potentially problematic). Another location on your hard drive shouldn't affect the speed. Aperture looks up the photo in one place versus another place on the same hard drive. Reading from the storage device is the biggest hit in the speed of your library, not figuring out where to read it from.

    Go to the top level of your Aperture library and display based on a filter (The magnifying glass in the upper right corner). Make a filter based on "file status" is "referenced" and you will see what pictures Aperture is getting from outside its library -- that is, pictures that may be in your Photos folder.

    If you have no referenced images, then you have no worries about removing the photos from the Photo folder, *except that you don't know if you have all of those pictures in Aperture yet*!

    One of my favorite techniques (depending on how many photos we're talking about) is to move the photos I'm worried about to a different directory and start up Aperture and see if things behave right. This is of course a fallable technique. Asking Aperture where it's storing things (through the above mentioned filter) is probably the best bet.

    If you import your entire Photo folder, and ensure that you are not importing duplicates, you probably will get the "merge" you want. Make sure you use your brain here, though. Take a look at a good sample of photos that Aperture presents for import and make sure you're looking what you think you're looking at.

    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Aperture 3.1.1
  • Mr Endo Level 3 Level 3 (990 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2011 6:07 PM (in response to Hamper)
    Hamper wrote:
    One project has me with about 600 in the library and 37k outside, based on that filter. With about 4GB to spare on my disk I'm wondering if it will be possible to do a big import, because it would be a move function wouldn't it?

    Not sure what you are measuring or how you are measuring it. "600 in the library and 37K outside?" 600 pictures that are referenced based on the filter? And you were able to isolate those 600 pictures to look at through Finder "outside?"

    With only 4 GB of space, you're probably playing with fire to do a big import. Yes, I believe Aperture will move the files, and the individual photos won't take up any more space, but there's overhead for Aperture's library, no matter if it's referenced or managed.

    Searching for managed I see those 600 files but when I click "Locate referenced Files..." I get the message "The selection does not have any referenced files" - so what is that? The "Show in Finder" option does not exist for these ones.

    So did you search for managed files (as this paragraph implies) or referenced files (as your first paragraph implies)? If you searched for managed files, then of course there are no referenced files in your selection -- Aperture is showing only managed files, and it will not let you peer into its library to see them in Finder. Export files if you need to use them in Finder.

    I've also got about 300 "offline" images which cannot be found in Finder but do Reference, although the text is red. The remainder of the 37k are listed as "online".

    Missing images are some 300 also, which I think could be the Offline ones. What is going on??

    Your offline files may be deleted referenced files. Can you look in Spotlight for the file names corresponding to some of your offline images? If they aren't on your hard drive, you're probably out of luck. Somehow you made a master that is referenced to something that is either stored on a different drive or that you already deleted.

    Lets say I add the 37k photos from my images folder, if I wanted to see them in Finder would it let me go into the library folder? I doubt it! so how to I get access to the file, do I go via the referenced route?

    If you add the 37K photos as Managed photos, you do not need to see them via Finder. That's the essence of Aperture's library. Aperture is managing them for you. Finding things in the Aperture library is a bad idea. If you need a particular photo, you export it to somewhere new (like a temporary folder on your desktop), do with it what you need, and then delete that exported file.

    Next I was wondering how I might preserve the exact metadata I had when importing a file if its been appended after I added the file. So, by importing the original from the photo folder and it not containing the extra metadata I added after I added the file would I lose my metadata? Would I have to export all 37k files in order to preserve my metadata?

    Sounds like the topic for a new thread in this discussion group, but remember you can always export your managed master from Aperture and get exactly what you started with. You've got about 3 or 4 questions in the above quoted paragraph, so posting a new thread would be good.

    MacBook, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Aperture 3.1.1
  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 2, 2011 6:24 PM (in response to Hamper)
    Yours is a common problem, even typical when folks use Managed Masters. You are no doubt currently using Aperture's (unfortunately default) Managed-Masters setup, which invariably leads to overfilled hard drives on single-drive boxes.

    Working with only a few GB of free hard drive space is a recipe for disaster. Once you switch to the more appropriate *Referenced-Masters Library* Aperture will help you keep from overfilling the internal drive.

    First off, all *hard drives should be less than 70% full.* That is important for speed and stability. Don't try to do anything until <70% full is achieved for all drives. To get to less than 70% full move data off of the internal drive to external drives.

    The Aperture Library should live on the internal drive for best speed.

    Best solution (after you achieve minimum 30% free space on all drives), especially with mobility-hardware computers like laptops and iMacs, is to reconfigure your image Masters to have a *Referenced-Masters Library* on the internal drive with the Masters referenced on external drives via FW800 or (preferably) eSATA; however Referenced Masters usually do still work adequately with Masters accessed on externals via slower methods like FW400 or USB. After a slow reconfiguration process it will work fine, your speed and operation will be recovered and the Referenced-Masters Library will remain a reasonable size, not again grow to overfill the internal drive.

    Note that Vaults back up the Library but a Referenced-Masters Library does not have the Masters in it, so Masters must be separately backed up. *I very strongly recommend that back up of original Master files be performed BEFORE importing into Aperture.*

    Aperture 3 has improved methodology for handling Libraries. I suggest that your steps should be:
    • Back up your current Library with its Masters to a Vault on an external drive.
    • Move data off of the internal drive to external drives to get to less than 70% full.
    • Set Aperture 3 to use your existing Library on the internal drive.
    • Use Aperture 3's tools to reconfigure your Library to be a *Referenced-Masters Library* on the internal drive with the Masters referenced on external drives.
    • In the future back up Masters before import into Aperture or any other images management application. Then with the new Masters on external drives select Store Files: "In their current location" from the import window when importing into Aperture. This will maintain a *Referenced-Masters Library*. Routinely create Vaults to back up the Library.


    -Allen Wicks
    AP 3.1; 2.66 Mac Pro, 8 GB RAM, HD 2600 XT; 17" C2D MBP, 3 GB RAM; Nikon D2x, Mac OS X (10.6.4)
  • 141FD Calculating status...
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2011 11:48 AM (in response to Hamper)
    I also prefer managed masters though I do have another master backup just like we use as referenced masters. So I maintain and work under both structures. I first started with managed then after reading all the discussions here, especially the long referenced vs managed thread, I moved to referenced but now I am back to managed and think its Aperture's beauty to maintain masters.

    I have SSD on my notebook and my drives space on mac pro doesn't really matter at all to managed masters. I still have some referenced masters though for purposely but I enjoy working under managed masters than referenced masters. I don't think its a matter of pro using referenced and hobbyists use managed. It's a matter of the way you think.
  • 141FD Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2011 12:46 PM (in response to Hamper)
    I will never go back to HDD if that tells you something, would be an answer.
  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,415 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2011 1:36 PM (in response to Hamper)
    Outside the Aperture Library and Referenced is ignoring the fact that they are referenced to the Pictures folder on the same boot volume, and thus competing for space on the save drive.

    In my book, Referenced only makes sense if the referenced Masters are on a completely different disk drive.

    For my purposes, I favor a Managed Library where the complete Aperture Library resides on a different drive than my boot volume. But with my Mac Pro, that other drive is still an internal drive, and from what I have read having the application on one drive and the Library on another internal drive is the fastest configuration. That cannot be said of an external drive, however.

    I modeled my configuration after the advice from Apple for configuring Final Cut Pro, where the video assets are on a drive or drives totally separate from that where the application is running. I have also read that Apple originally planned Aperture to only use a Managed Library, but that was not as practical for use on laptops of most consumers.

    Mac Pro 8 Core, iBook, and QS G4 867, Mac OS X (10.6.5), 10.5.8, 10.4.11, Aperture 2 & 3; FCS3
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,745 points)
    Ernie Stamper wrote:
    Outside the Aperture Library and Referenced is ignoring the fact that they are referenced to the Pictures folder on the same boot volume, and thus competing for space on the save drive.

    In my book, Referenced only makes sense if the referenced Masters are on a completely different disk drive.

    iMac Intel 3.06 GHz 8GB Mem; Macbook5.1 2.4ghz 4GB Mem, Mac OS X (10.6.5), Aperture 3.1.1
  • Wes W. Level 2 Level 2 (255 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jan 3, 2011 3:34 PM (in response to 141FD)
    Tested the fast Crucial C300 (~350MB/s) SATA 6 SSD for two days with my managed Aperture library. The SSD was a little faster, but not worth the trade-offs, IMHO. Reverted back to the Seagate "nearline" drives in RAID 1 which I've been very happy with and don't miss the SSD.

    Don't compare a SSD to a slow HDD...that won't even be close. Unfortunately, most laptop-class hard drives are pitifully slow, so a SSD might make more sense there if you can afford enough capacity.
    Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad, 8 GB RAM, ATi X1900 XT, Mac OS X (10.6.5), 
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