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aperture database reconfiguration (advanced)

1256 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Apr 28, 2012 2:32 PM by DiploStrat RSS
hotwheels 22 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Apr 27, 2012 12:35 PM

i am about to set down to try and finalize an aperture database sort that involved a large amount of images coming from windows in a very disorganized manner. this has involved my importing my images (basically in bulk into one folder) and then manually sorting these by /moving/ them to an appropriately named folder.


this means that they are basically organized by folder by "keyword" - except that there is no keyword associated with the images yet. i have also taken a good deal of time to organize published ALBUMS in an organization that I need to retain. i am hoping to do two things at this point:


1. I would like to bulk rename important images so that they have a name that is associated with a project when this is information that i plan to use a lot moving forward. the advantage here is that when i need to export it to work on it or send it to someone it will be named something that makes sense instead of something that does not make sense. also, when a lot of different kinds of naming systems are in the same folder or album this makes things tricky for me to understand coherently.


2. I would like to finally organize this database "By Shoot" so that the images with Keywords can still be found as a group but so that when I look at images BY Date there is a kind of parent hierarchy of my images that starts at By Shoot/By Date.


i realize all of this is non-standard but i am wondering if someone can give me some steps that would help me do this, assuming that i do it deliberately and thoughtfully over the course of a weekend.


for instance, is it possible that I could (FOLDER BY FOLDER):

1. TAG the images in a FOLDER with a KEYWORD according to the FOLDER NAME

2. EXPORT these images to the DESKTOP.

3. DELETE the folder from Aperture.

4. RENAME the images using NAME MANGLER, and

5. RE - IMPORT the images



6. Finalize this "Export-Delete-Reimport" renaming, then

7. Go into Photos > List View > Sort By Date and MANUALLY move the images with a similar date to a NEW FOLDER with this DATE (and perhaps a SHOOT NAME)

8. Complete this process and then go into all the OLD FOLDERS, verify that there are no images remaining in these folders and then DELETE THESE OLD FOLDERS?


is it possible to find out from some of the more expert users as to whether this makes sense or if there are big alligators to watch out for in this process? i would very much like to complete this and begin to sort my data in a more rational way as it comes in.



MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 10.6.8 with 64 bit Win7 Parallels
  • DiploStrat Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2012 5:39 PM (in response to hotwheels 22)

    I'll take a swing at this. First of all, read and understand this:


    You may find it helpful. Some further thoughts:


    -- Decide what your smallest element will be, a "Shoot" for example. Perhaps something like: 20120427 - Day at the Beach. Then Import the correct images, Project by Project. Aperture will happily rename your files as you import.


    -- You probably don't want Keywords to track Projects (or Folders). Better to use Keywords to populate Smart Albums which you use for cross cutting themes, e.g., family, animals, pets, cars, etc.


    -- Why would you go to all of the effort to Import/Export and then use another tool? Between rename on Import and Batch Change with Aperture itself, you should be able to do all you want very easily and with minimal effort.


    (Unless, of course, I have completely misunderstood what you want to do. And this is always possible.)


    Start small and relax - if you get something wrong, you can always rearrange it.


    Best wishes!



  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,550 points)
  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,550 points)
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    Apr 27, 2012 7:19 PM (in response to hotwheels 22)






  • CalxOddity Level 3 Level 3 (680 points)
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    Apr 27, 2012 9:30 PM (in response to hotwheels 22)


           Your characterisation of Kirby is incorrect and churlish.  I have followed and indeed participated in several of your convoluted threads and thought processes in an attempt to help you - and am fully aware of your track record.  If you wish to single out Kirby because you don't like his advice, be sure to also include all *your* posts in the complaint.

  • DiploStrat Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 28, 2012 1:20 PM (in response to hotwheels 22)



    Nothing that you want to do is very hard to do; in fact, it is all very easy. If I may, I would submit that part of your difficulty lies in taking too literally the terms:


    -- Project

    -- Folder

    -- Album

    -- Smart Album

    -- Master

    -- Version


    Forget the literal meaning of these terms outside of Aperture, all you care about it their very specific meaning within the context of Aperture. (For example, both iPhoto and Lightroom have similar oganizational elements, but call them different things.) Kirby and Sierra Dragon have published some good threads on this, but basically:


    -- A Project is the smallest container in the Aperture data base. It is the only place where an image physically exists. For best performance, Projects should not contain more than 10,000 images. I think of projects like rolls of film. Other logical metaphors might be all of the images you take on a day, a weekend, or a short trip. For a longer trip, you might use a project for each week, city, or country. Most of my Projects contain under 200 images. A Project isn't really an organizational element, merely a box.


    -- A Folder is really the basic organizational element. As I noted, I nest Folders by Country inside Continents.


    -- Albums are merely (data base) pointers back to images. They don't actually contain images, but, if you access an image inside an Album, you can Adjust it. So if my physical images are arranged by country, then I use Albums for themes, such as: Cars, People, etc. I do this by dragging the image from a Project to an Album. (It can then be "seen" in both places.)


    -- Smart Albums are simply a way to populate an Album by the use of Keywords. So, for example, I can go through my Library and Keyword every image that has a picture of a pretty girl with "Chick" and every image of a car with "Car." When I create the Smart Albums "Chix" and "Cars" and set the rules properly, they will be populated instantly. Aperture comes with several preset Smart Albums, including dates. So the conventional desire to group images by date is not really necessary as long as your camera dates your images.


    If you think about it for a moment, the whole point of Aperture is that you don't have to worry that much about the physical layout of your Library; you can change it at will and, by using Albums, view your images many different ways.


    -- Master images are simply the images that come out of your camera. They are written once and never moved or changed.


    -- Versions are what you actually "see" in Aperture. All of your edits, called Adjustments, are physically written in the Version files. So when you first Import an image into Aperture, you "see" the Master through an empty Version. When you crop, change exposure, etc., the image appears to change because you view it through the revised Version. Versions are tiny little text files, so one Master can spawn any number of Versions, for example, different crops, a B&W conversion, etc.


    Final note, file names for individual images are not usually that important; I never bother to rename files. I do rename the copies that I Export to send to someone, but, within Aperture itself, I don't bother.


    I would urge you to reread the materials and threads that you have been given and to set up a small, experimental Aperture Library first. All of this becomes clear when you actually do it for yourself. It is really much, much easier than what you were doing on a PC. And you don't have to get it all right the first time; it is easy to change things.


    Best wishes,



  • DiploStrat Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 28, 2012 1:44 PM (in response to hotwheels 22)

    Looking at the Library layout that you posted, I would offer this observation:


    "Published" might be a classic use for an Album. I don't know what you do for a living or hobby, but let us suppose that it has to do with construction or architecture.


    You take pictures of a building under construction. So the top folder might be something like "New City Library Building." Under that, you might have Folders like: Foundation, Walls, Roof, Systems, etc. Within each of those you might have Projects, Named something like: Site Visit Date, or Foundation Date, etc. If you looked at several systems on a given day, you might spread the images from your camera across several Projects.


    Now you use Albums to group images from this archive for specific purposes, like "Client Review Date" or "Submitted to Architectural Digest" or whatever. Those Albums would provide easy groupings as well as a record of what you had submitted. And, of course, it is very easy to then Export all of the images in an Album to actually print or send to someone.


    Nice thing about an Album is that when you no longer need it, deleting it does not have any effect on the original images.



  • DiploStrat Level 2 Level 2 (345 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 28, 2012 2:32 PM (in response to hotwheels 22)

    Dude, you're lucky I'm retired; I bill at about E 150 the hour!


    Seriously, you don't have a problem; Aperture can handle Libraries much larger than what you have, the kind of arrangement you want isn't really complex, and you don't have to do it all at once. (Just don't delete anything!) Your files were a mess yesterday, they will be a mess today, but tomorrow you will be making progress.


    Given our time zone, I'm off for an adult beverage. Your homework, should you choose to do it, is to lay out a map of the layout you would like to see, ideally in some format that can be posted. Then folks like Kirby, Allen, Léonie and I can take turns suggesting which Aperture elements might go where. (And Lónie can even do it auf Deutsche.)


    As they say in Sango, "Alla gue yeke, yeke!" (You go forward, bit by bit.) It took you a few years to make this mess, allow yourself a few weeks to clean it up.


    Will post more, later.




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