12 Replies Latest reply: Aug 9, 2012 11:46 PM by Terence Devlin
Phierce Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

I am used to using Lightroom but am considering a switch to Aperture just so I can take advantage of the tighter integration that it provides with other Apple applications and devices. In Lightroom I am used to have a separate library file which then references the files on my disk (wherever I want to have them). I know that this type of management is possible in Aperture (and even iPhoto) by using "referenced" libraries instead of "managed" libraries. However, I'm not sure how you can get Aperture to actually sync with the disk? Is this something that Aperture can't do?

 

By sync with the disk what I mean is that if I am in my referenced library in Aperture, and decide that I want to move some photos from on folder to another, will it actually move them on the disk as well, or do they stay in the same place on the disk?

 

For instance, let's say that when I first import my directory structure into Aperture as a referenced library I have two folders that are each under a separate year folder:

<2010 Photos>

     <Big Wedding>

<2011 Photos>

     <Birthday Party>

 

While looking at my photos in Aperture I discover that some of the photos in the Birthday Party folder are really from the Big Wedding, so I move them to the Big Wedding "Project" that Aperture has created based on the folder structure during import. Do those photos now move to the actual Big Wedding directory on the disk, or do I end up in a situation where in Aperture everything looks like it's in the right place, but if I just copy the Wedding folder to a USB drive it will be missing some of the photos that are still hanging out in the Birthday Party directory?

 

This is my main hangup between Lightroom and Aperture right now. I want to use Aperture for the features, but I really like how Lightroom lets me keep my directory structure how I want it, but then also moves files within the structure from within Lightroom.

 

Also, as a sidenote, any idea why referenced libraries are so large? I just tested out iPhoto using referenced libraries and the library grew to be over 10GB while the exact same set of photos only created a 1GB library file in Lightroom.

 

Any ideas on this? Thanks!


Aperture 3, Mac OS X (10.7.4)
  • 1. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (123,800 points)

    By sync with the disk what I mean is that if I am in my referenced library in Aperture, and decide that I want to move some photos from on folder to another, will it actually move them on the disk as well, or do they stay in the same place on the disk?

     

    File -> Relocate Masters will do that for you.

     

    But it's not necessary. This is just dumb file storage. You never access the photos via the Finder. Aperture is your go-to app for everything you need to do with your images.

     

    So, if you move the images in the Aperture window and then want to access them - to say send to a client - you would export the Project or Album from Aperture rather than access the images via the Finder.

     

    Regards

     

     

    TD

  • 2. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Phierce Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks for the information. Can you elaborate on the Relocate Masters command?

     

    I used iPhoto in the past and just used the "managed" library, but that seemed to eventually cause me problems when I wanted to easily do something at the file level (such as backups). I also am a little scared of doing this as I've read lots of stories on here about people having library issues and losing photos. At least if the photos are just referenced I always know that my originals are safe on the disk.

     

    My folder structure right now is based on Year at the top level, and then on event names within each year. Having this physical disk layout separate by year makes more sense to me rather than just having all the events from all years under one huge folder... Maybe I'm just old school

  • 3. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,945 points)

    What you refer to as a "physical disk structure" is in fact just a logical disk structure.  The user has no idea how the data in the files is actually distributed across the disk sectors, and -- this is important -- has no need to know.  The OS handles that.

     

    There is a conceptual hurdle people face with Aperture:  it is rigorously Image-centered (not file centered), and your organization is done at the Image level (not at the file level).

     

    Just as, when using Finder for logical disk organization you did not know and did not ever need to know where your data strings were stored, when using Aperture for logical image organization you do not need to know where your Images are stored.

     

    (Additionally, Images are not files.  In fact, they are created on-the-fly by a combination of two files.)

     

    As Terence said:

    Aperture is your go-to app for everything you need to do with your images.

     

    If you want to move your Originals to a different Finder location, you select the Images whose Originals you want to move and run "File➞Relocate Originals".  (NB: as of Aperture 3.3, "Master" is no longer used.  That term has been replaced by "Original".)

     

    You say:

    This is my main hangup between Lightroom and Aperture right now. I want to use Aperture for the features, but I really like how Lightroom lets me keep my directory structure how I want it, but then also moves files within the structure from within Lightroom.

    Aperture manages Images (and makes file management irrelevant except for back-up).  You don't create (or worry about) a Finder folder structure (sometimes called a "directory structure"  ):  you create a fully customized relational (it seems to me -- might not be the correct term) Image storage and retrieval structure using Projects and Albums (there are several kinds) and Aperture Folders.

     

    In this regard it is very much "new school".  It is also clever, flexible, sophisticated, and exponentially more customizable than any file manager.  Imho, it is the beginning of the kinds of information topology that computers have always been capable of, but that has been suppressed by designs that insist on mimicking physical structures.  (See Skeuomorph.)

     

    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger -- link added.

  • 4. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Phierce Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Thanks Kirby. I hadn't thought of the logical vs. physical disk analogy before. I guess my first thoughts when dealing with this type of system always go to a giant drawer full of random negatives with no organization other than a list that might get lost at some point. I've always felt better about image management if I can always ditch the actual program and still have some sense of order just by the file structure (like if Apple drops support for Aperture in the future or something and I have to move to a different system). I guess there is always a way to export everything out of Aperture somehow? Maybe by setting an export structure such as Year/Project or some sort?

     

    Once you have the managed library file created can you move it anywhere? In that all the references are relative rather than absolute? Like if I decide that the library file is getting too big for my MBP I can just move it to an external disk and it will work the same way when Aperture opens it? Right now in Lightroom I have two libraries, so I guess I could do the same with Aperture and keep multiple managed library "packages" across different external disks? I just wouldn't be able to view the library previews without the disk connected, correct?

  • 5. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Phierce Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    As a follow-up is there a benefit as to the way Aperture handles the managed libraries over iPhoto? I'm not sure why when I tested my existing Lightroom set of photos with iPhoto the library became 10GB but Lightroom's library file was only 1GB. This was for about 80GB of source files. So should I expect if I import my 80GB of photos into a managed Aperture library the library package will end up being 90GB?

  • 6. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    si_trig Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Having just about hit the 500gb point with my managed aperture library I am now looking to move to a referenced library. While I agree with the comments above, a key reason to use referenced files is for 'time machine' backups. With a managed library, time machine sees only one file; the 500gb aperture file.

     

    So to dig out that one shot, you need to open aperture from time machine and try and export an individual shot. I've just tried it with my 436gb library of a few weeks ago and it didn't open - but perhaps I wasn't patient enough.

     

    Either way, the advantage of a referenced system is that you're not relying on a file management programme to always work seemlessly. Yes it does a cracking job now, but if things do go pear shaped you want a file structure you understand to be able to recover what you want.

  • 7. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,945 points)

    si_trig wrote:

     

    Either way, the advantage of a referenced system is that you're not relying on a file management programme to always work seemlessly. Yes it does a cracking job now, but if things do go pear shaped you want a file structure you understand to be able to recover what you want.

    Why?  The file structure you understand just gets in the way of the computer.  It is much easier, for example, to find a single file by creation date from a single folder of 250,000 files than it is from a complex folder structure based on date that may be eight levels deep and contain 1,000 separate containers (and have some files mis-filed).

     

    As long as you have files with metadata, _there is no reason (afaik) to have a static storage system based on any of the metadata_.  It just gets in the way, precisely because it is meaningless to the computer.

  • 8. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,945 points)

    Sorry about the delayed response -- I didn't see your posts.

    Phierce wrote:

     

    I guess my first thoughts when dealing with this type of system always go to a giant drawer full of random negatives with no organization other than a list that might get lost at some point. I've always felt better about image management if I can always ditch the actual program and still have some sense of order just by the file structure (like if Apple drops support for Aperture in the future or something and I have to move to a different system). I guess there is always a way to export everything out of Aperture somehow? Maybe by setting an export structure such as Year/Project or some sort?

    The difference between a drawer full of negatives and a HD full of image files is that the image files contain information (metadata) that is either already indexed or easily indexed.  It would take a year to index and properly file 100,000 slides stored in a heavy-weight garbage bag; a computer will index 100,000 image files in a minute.

     

    Computers allow us to walk away from any static, arbitrary organization system.  Because each record (file, image, etc.) includes metadata, and the metadata is readable by many programs, all you need is a bag.  Any grouping and/or sorting that can be done, can be done on-the-fly.

     

    As I mentioned, the actual filing of your data on your hard drives already exemplifies this.  Your files are chopped into pieces and strewn every which way -- it doesn't matter.  You have instant access to any file, assembled whole in memory on-the-fly from the bits all over your drive.

     

    Of course, there is metadata specific to programs such as Aperture, and this metadata is often not going to be usable outside of the program that creates it.  Using your example -- what about Projects groupings? -- I suggest coding the name of every shoot (which for me are Projects) in the file name.  I do this on Import using a file naming convention stored as a File Name Preset.

    Phierce wrote:

     

    Once you have the managed library file created can you move it anywhere? In that all the references are relative rather than absolute? Like if I decide that the library file is getting too big for my MBP I can just move it to an external disk and it will work the same way when Aperture opens it? Right now in Lightroom I have two libraries, so I guess I could do the same with Aperture and keep multiple managed library "packages" across different external disks? I just wouldn't be able to view the library previews without the disk connected, correct?

     

    You can move your Library to any locally-mounted drive.  I am, for reasons not worth going into, running several Libraries right now off of USB2 drives.  On a fast machine, this works well (Aperture is, afaict, beautifully engineered to make the most of current hardware).

     

    References to Referenced Masters are absolute.  You can move your Library, and the Library will find the Masters as long as they are available.  You must not more your Masters except via Aperture commands to relocate or consolidate them.

     

    The more comprehensive your Library, the more useful it is (why search multiple Libraries for all pictures of Theo? or all photos recorded with an equivalent focal distance of 16 or less?).

     

    As of the most recent versions of iPhoto and Aperture, the file format of the Library is identical.  There are no longer "iPhoto Libraries" and "Aperture Libraries".  There is one Library file format, and that Library file can be opened in either iPhoto or Aperture.  There are hardware limitations that must be met to run the upgraded programs, however.

     

    HTH.  Post back with more if you'd like.

  • 9. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    The advantage - and it is a huge, IMO overwhelming advantage - of referenced versus managed is that referenced-originals Libraries are much, much smaller than managed-originals Libraries. Smaller is better, by a lot.

     

    Originals should be moved from camera cards to hard drives and backed up before import into Aperture anyway, so it is an easy step to reference the images when importing. One-time backup (ideally to multiple drives) and never back up the image files again.

     

    And even though I have been building databases (DBs) for 20+ years (or maybe because I have been building DBs for 20 years) I very much like the idea of "seeing" a fairly direct link from my original pix (and their backups) to the images DB (Aperture). I keep the camera's 1-9999 file name even after import into Aperture. If Aperture's pointer to the original ever loses itself I can always manually find the original.

     

    -Allen

  • 10. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    si_trig Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Kirby Krieger wrote:

     

    si_trig wrote:

     

    Either way, the advantage of a referenced system is that you're not relying on a file management programme to always work seemlessly. Yes it does a cracking job now, but if things do go pear shaped you want a file structure you understand to be able to recover what you want.

    Why?  The file structure you understand just gets in the way of the computer.  It is much easier, for example, to find a single file by creation date from a single folder of 250,000 files than it is from a complex folder structure based on date that may be eight levels deep and contain 1,000 separate containers (and have some files mis-filed).

     

    As long as you have files with metadata, _there is no reason (afaik) to have a static storage system based on any of the metadata_.  It just gets in the way, precisely because it is meaningless to the computer.

     

    Hi Kirby, I agree with you entirely, but everything you're saying relies on one thing; aperture working. Searching for a specific image via aperture is great; exif data, location, faces - anything and everything is possible. My comments are purely in the wider context; thinking outside the aperture 'box' if you will.

     

    Lets say for example, that you only keep a managed Aperture library. You back up via time machine, and occassionally take a duplicate of the aperture library (but hey, with a 500gb+ library this takes a while, even over firewire 800. Then one day (as happened to me the oher day) you realise you accidentally deleted some of your favourite photos at some point in the past. You know the date - or at least approximate date - on which they were taken, but you've imported many other photos since and also been through old photos and deleted ones you no longer want.

     

    Your only option for recapturing that lost photo with a managed library is finding space on a hard drive to copy the time machine backup to (because opening a big aperture library directly from time machine is very slow - in fact when I tried to do it i ran out of patience before seeing if it worked), and then open and search within there. If it's from several years ago, chances are you the aperture library would also need updating in line with the various software updates since.

     

    With referenced masters, you could simply use time machine to roll back to a date on which the original file exisited in your image folder. You would be able to browse the images in the time machine finder and *see* the image you were looking for.

     

    I love Aperture, and have been using managed libraries ever since aperture 3 was released. But following my hunt for a missing image I've decided it's much safer to have the masters stored outside aperture's walled garden - you may have a key into that garden at the moment but that's not guarenteed that it won't become corrupt.

     

    PS. I'm not suggesting that you should file all your images x levels deep in folders. in theory using a unique file name (e.g. YYYYMMDD HHSS <IMAGE ID>) should mean all of them can sit pretty in single folders, or perhaps separated by year?

     

    All jsut my ten pence...

  • 11. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    leannejh Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi everyone,

     

    Back to one of the begininng questions:

     

    "By sync with the disk what I mean is that if I am in my referenced library in Aperture, and decide that I want to move some photos from on folder to another, will it actually move them on the disk as well, or do they stay in the same place on the disk?"

     

    Thanks, Leanne

  • 12. Re: Will referenced Aperture libraries sync to disk?
    Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (123,800 points)

    They stay the same place.

     

    If you want to move the files on the disk you use the Relocate Masters command.