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Reduce the file size of Masters

917 Views 17 Replies Latest reply: May 8, 2012 12:03 AM by lĂ©onie RSS
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dirkr Calculating status...
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May 7, 2012 8:08 AM

More than 75% of my photos are not adjusted or starred. Yet I preserve them for reference. They should not take up too much space. Rather 400 kB than 4MB.

After a lot of searching on the web and much discouragement and many misleading tips I found a really good solution for this.

 

In Aperture:

Step 1: make a smart album which contains all your photos for which you do not need fat masters.

Step 2: select them all and do File->Relocate Masters (and select a new or empty directory to collect the masters in).

 

Outside Aperture:

Step 3: batch resize the relocated masters. I used ImageMagick (chances are that you have it already on your Mac) (the relevant command is mogrify). This is a command line tool. Alternatively, you could create an Automator workflow that uses built-in Preview functionality to do the resize. Important: the resized master should have the same name as the original!

 

Inside Aperture:

Step 4: with the photos of step 2 still selected: do File->Consolidate Masters

 

Finished: now you have slimmed your masters, while all your metadata (including faces and places) are stil in place. One of the misleading tips was: export and re-import your photos. This will mess up your metadata, especially the metadata that is not included in the jpg file itself.

 

I am aware that this procedure violates a principle: do not touch the masters. For my purposes, masters are not that important. Often I need very severe crops of my photo's (because the targets are very far away), and I am looking for ways to even crop my masters (have not yet found it).

To me it is not important to adjust and tweak the images, but to manage the metadata, because I collect bird sightings with the aim to do datamining on the collection many years later.

 

Aperture would become much more useful to me, if it offered more (controlled) ways to modify the masters.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,830 points)
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    May 7, 2012 8:11 AM (in response to dirkr)

    And if the original masters are RAW?

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 Level 7 (22,830 points)
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    May 7, 2012 8:26 AM (in response to dirkr)

    Right while what you did will work for JPG's it will not work with RAW files. 

     

    And JPG's already being compressed, by recompressing them again as you are doing here the image quality will realy be impacted. Plus I find it hard to believe your getting much of a savings in file size, going from JPG to JPG.

     

    While doing this may be worthwhile for a situation like yours, where you're not interested in the image just the metadata, most folk asking this question are concerned about image quality.

     

    And the majority of users asking this are starting out with RAW images.

     

    regards

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    May 7, 2012 10:38 AM (in response to dirkr)

    Sorry Dirk but I strongly disagree with the whole approach. It is complex, time consuming and intentionally destroys image data just to save on cheap hard drive space.

     

    IMO we spend a lot of money (cameras, lenses, tripods, travel, etc.) to gain the capability to capture images, so we should never intentionally limit the image data unless for an unavoidable reason.

     

    Anything after shot is not an unavoidable reason and hard drive capacity is cheap. IMO we should:

     

    • Keep things simple to help avoid user/software/hardware error

     

    • Capture RAW (or RAW + JPEG, my preference)

     

    • Back up original RAW captures to multiple drives

     

    • Store RAW files on secondary hard drives and import into Aperture by reference

     

    My 02.

     

    -Allen

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    May 7, 2012 11:06 AM (in response to dirkr)

    dirkr wrote:

    But it is a terrible waste to keep the masters for the 80% of the photos to which I never will devote any editing effort.

     

    External hard drive storage costs less than $100 to store 50,000 20-MP-sized image files.

     

    If photos might have future usage IMO they are worth storing at a cost of $0.002 each (times the number of backups). Truly zero-value photos of course just get deleted, ideally in-camera.

     

    Suppose for instance in the future you want to evaluate and document an apparent evolving species variation. You want all the image quality you can get. Especially if you sometimes need severe crops.

     

    However IMO the need for simplicity is even more important. It is most safe to have one routine for handling all pix, and that routine should maximize both security and image quality.

     

    Just my 02.

     

    -Allen

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,755 points)
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    May 7, 2012 11:30 AM (in response to SierraDragon)

    I'm with Allen on this one. Complexity is the mother of dataloss. That's one complex workflow  you’ve devised and, well, it begs another question... Why are you using Aperture at all? Aperture is designed specifically for the one thing you don't want - a lossless workflow. If that's what you want to do it would be a whole lot simpler to use another app - one that doesn't force you through cumbersome hoops to throw away data.

     

    With Allen's that makes 04c

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    May 7, 2012 11:57 AM (in response to dirkr)

    If space for something like online backup of the Aperture Library is of paramount importance another (IMO not not bad) choice might be aggressive culling during import to Aperture:

     

    • Keep things simple to help avoid user/software/hardware error

     

    • Capture RAW (or RAW + JPEG, my preference)

     

    • Aggressively delete unwanted pix in-camera

     

    • Back up original RAW captures to multiple drives

     

    • Store RAW files on secondary hard drives and carefully review each file during import into Aperture by reference, unchecking the 80% less desirable RAW files you refer to before hitting the import button. That way all RAWs still exist because they were saved to external drives during backup and you can go look for them in the future if necessary. If you import as RAW + JPEG ("Both, RAW as Master") they would even still show in Aperture because with no RAW file imported Aperture treats a JPEG as Master even when you tell it to treat RAWs as Master.

     

    HTH

     

    -Allen

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    May 7, 2012 12:25 PM (in response to dirkr)

    Dirk-

     

    Dirk-

     

    We cross-posted. See if my suggestion to uncheck RAWs above has any merit. Note that: (IMO not not bad) is supposed to be: (IMO not bad).

     

     

    dirkr wrote:

     

    (3) I really want to have all my images in one database, the good, the bad and the ugly.

     

    I agree 110%. I find referencing Masters on external drives to be the solution.

     

    -Allen

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
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    May 7, 2012 12:55 PM (in response to dirkr)

    dirkr wrote:

     

    Aperture has nice facilities for the selection process, I prefer using those above "aggressive deletion in camera".

     

    Yes, that is a major negative of that part of my suggestion.

     

    I prefer to keep all essential data on the hard disk in my computer, otherwise my back-up workflow becomes too complicated!

     

    Actually it becomes less complicated:

     

    1) "Stuff" happens (scores of threads here clearly document that). IMO backup of originals should happen before import into Aperture or any other images management app anyway.

     

    2) Once originals are properly backed up the Aperture backup process becomes much more simple because one never again needs to back up the image files. Just use Vaults or any other backup routine on the much smaller Library that results from use of referenced Masters.

     

    Note that in general, handling larger sized-batches is always slower and more problematic than handling smaller-sized batches.

     

    my camera does not do RAW.

     

    That is your choice and is fine.

     

    Do note that JPEG files have already been lossy-compressed. Every additional size reduction further corrupts the image file in an exponentially lossy fashion. JPEG originals are all the more reason to not apply additional reduction routines.

     

    Aperture's non-destructive workflow is ideal for you because it prevents the original JPEG Master from multiple saves that otherwise would be corrupting the image.

     

    IMO doing further reduction on JPEG originals is a very bad idea. And JPEGs are small anyway!

     

     

    -Allen

  • SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,665 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    May 7, 2012 1:26 PM (in response to dirkr)

    dirkr wrote:


    Of course it is important to destroy image data. It is called data reduction. Our eyes and brains do it all the time.

     

    Our eyes and brains are constrained by our unexpandable skulls. OTOH with computer-based image files and a competent database we can continually increase storage cheaply.

     

    Of course it is important to destroy image data. ...Why should the recording of a rather dumb sensor be exempt?

     

    Actually your camera at its best lossy-JPEG(Fine) setting already has destroyed a large amount of image data. My argument is that it is a bad idea to intentionally destroy more data during post-process storage.

     

    Whether RAW or JPEG my opinion is that zero  image data should be intentionally destroyed after the shot just for storage purposes.

     

    I want to keep the valuable data and strip the rest.

     

    Your camera has already done that for you using the lossy JPEG algorithm. JPEG (Fine) is actually quite a high quality way to lose lots of image size. Guessing that you are shooting with a Nikon P510 I estimate that JPEG has already scraped your pix of about 80% of their original image data.

     

     

    -Allen

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