3 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2011 6:29 PM by macorin
justplanecrazy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I'm new to Aperture and just finished importing my iPhoto library via selecting import iPhoto library to Aperture library. My desire was to have the same library that was organized in iPhoto only in Aperture. When I go to iPhoto library and right click I have all my photos organized in year folders and then in date folders. Unfortunately when I go into Aperture and do the same thing, I end up with one year with multiple layers of folders that don't seem to reference anything and then end up with my events individualized in folders under about 12 layers of folders? Is this normal, did I miss selecting something in the import. I've read something about metadata and how to organize into year month project etc. Will this also rearrange the folders in the file?

iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.7)
  • macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Welcome to Aperture. Transitioning from iPhoto to Aperture can be a surprising event to some if you don't know what to expect. There must be a reason for your recent decision to start using Aperture. Hopefully it is that you want to take a giant step in what you can do with your images. This goes well beyond image organization, but since this is your primary question, why don't we stick with that.

    The first thing I would recommend is that you take a serious look at reconsidering how your image library is organized. Do not sell yourself short by sticking to the conventions that iPhoto allows in its organizational structuring. Aperture is so much more powerful than iPhoto on every level, and this extends into its organizing and filtering powers. You are going to want to take advantage of these amazing features.

    That said, I would take a serious look at the way you were organizing your images and seriously consider starting fresh with a brand new structure that you can customize to fit your needs with amazing accuracy and clarity.

    First, a few basics:

    Aperture has a few basic containers that hold images. Projects, Folders, Albums and Smart Albums.

    Lets start with Projects. These are akin to what iPhoto calls Events. For the most part, all of your image masters will be stored in a Project. You can create as many, or as few as you like. I would recommend creating a new project for every different event or photo shoot. More on Projects in a bit.

    Folders are places to store other things. You can store projects, albums and smart albums in folders, but you can also place folders in projects as well. Folders are a great tool to use to create a nested organizational system. More on Folders in a bit too after we talk about albums.

    Albums are a way of sub-categorizing and separating certain images out of projects so that you can isolate them. Think of them as photo albums that you keep on your shelf. You can place as many, or as few images as you like in them. You can place images from the same project, or from different projects into the same album. They don't actually contain the master images. They simply contain a reference to that master image called a version. Albums can be regular albums that you add things to manually, or smart albums that hold items that meet a certain criteria that you choose. Think of them the same way that you would think of albums and smart albums in iTunes.

    Getting back to your issue, it is hard to determine what exactly took place on your import into Aperture. If you are going to use Aperture at all, you should really make it your primary application, using iPhoto as your secondary application, if at all. There really is very little point using both, and using it in the way that you are using it, is like having both a Kia and a Mercedes and driving the Kia, while keeping the Mercedes in the garage. Use your top of the line program.

    If I were you, I would forget transferring your photos to Aperture in the way you went about it. I would locate your master images (by either exporting them to your HD or external HD, or by finding them wherever they might reside) and doing a straight import of your master images into Aperture as either a Managed Master Library, or as a Referenced Master Library.

    A managed library simply means that all of your photos are kept neatly in a packaged folder called the Aperture Library. This folder will also contain all of your metadata, edits, thumbnails, etc. Aperture manages this folder, so while you can have access to it, you generally don't need to ever go in there. A referenced library means that you keep your master images where they are, and Aperture simply references them in there current location.

    Deciding on which way to go is purely up to you, and you can't go wrong with either, nor can you make a mistake. If you decide that one isn't for you later on, Aperture makes it very easy to switch from a managed library to a referenced library and vice versa as many times as you like.

    Getting back to projects, folders and albums, there is really no right or wrong way to go about organizing them. It is best to pick some type of organizational structure from the start that you are comfortable with so that you don't have to do a lot of rearranging later, but even if you do, it is not big deal. Aperture takes the hard work out of almost everything for you.

    petersa wrote:
    I'm new to Aperture and just finished importing my iPhoto library via selecting import iPhoto library to Aperture library. My desire was to have the same library that was organized in iPhoto only in Aperture. When I go to iPhoto library and right click I have all my photos organized in year folders and then in date folders. Unfortunately when I go into Aperture and do the same thing, I end up with one year with multiple layers of folders that don't seem to reference anything and then end up with my events individualized in folders under about 12 layers of folders? Is this normal, did I miss selecting something in the import. I've read something about metadata and how to organize into year month project etc. Will this also rearrange the folders in the file?

    I'm not exactly sure what is taking place here, because it should essentially create the same folders that you had in iPhoto. A screenshot would be handy to see exactly what you mean. Aperture is not going to create a folder automatically based on the year, month, etc. You can certainly go about organizing your images that way if you like and you can do it pretty quickly. In Aperture, images are stored in Projects. At some level, you will need to have projects, so it is not going to be a matter of having a hierarchy of folders. You can filter down your library in Aperture by clicking on photos in the library pane of the inspector and creating a filter by capture year. Once you have all of the photos in the year, say 2007, you can highlight them all and then click, "New" "Project" and have all of those images moved into a new project that you name 2007. Again, moving forward, it is all going to depend on how you want to organize your images, and Aperture gives you so many more great options than just calling your projects and folders a year and a day. You don't really need to do this because you can easily create albums and smart albums to do this for you. I think you will be selling yourself short by going with this system, but that is just my humble opinion.

    I would really like to help you get organized in any way that you want, so perhaps we can continue this discussion after you read this and get back to me. For now, I hope I haven't confused you too much.

  • justplanecrazy Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks Macorin,

    Not to complicate things even more, but I had a number of duplicates so I ran duplicate anhilator to get rid of them before starting to organize. After it ran the check and appended duplicate on the duplicate files, I tried searching for some files in finder to ensure that they were in fact duplicates. There were often more duplicates than annihlator discovered but all the files were located in the iPhoto library. Does this mean that my Aperture library is simply referenced to the iPhoto library? It's almost the same size so I expect the original images to be in both libraries.

    As far as running a referenced library off of your hard drive, how do you easily organize your files and folders? Right now my files/folders are a mess. Do I have to manually sort through each image placing it in the right year and date folders?

    If I do a managed library, what should the files look like when I right click on the Aperature library in finder and click show content files. Should it then show me an organized folder structure containing the files like in iPhoto? Right now if I click show contents, it gives me a number of folders including: attachments, database, ilfieshared, masters, etc. In order to get to the actual files, I double click on masters. This is where the issue is,

    At this point in iPhoto I would have double clicked on originals.
    After double clicking originals, I would have a number of folders appear containing the various years that the photos were taken.
    If I double click on any of the years it contains another set of folders with the dates the pictures were taken on.
    If I double click any of the dates, it'll display all the photo files taken on that date.

    In Aperture, after double clicking masters, only 2011 and capture show up as a folder choice.
    If I double click 2011 then 01 appears
    If I double click 01 then 25 appears
    If I double click 25 then a number of folders appear with all my projects grouped together but the folder titles don't seem to make any sense. ie. 20110125-173825
    So from the best I can decipher, Aperture took all the photos and grouped them under the date that they were imported not taken. All the photos are under 2011/01/25 and then individual folders with some secret number code. I know I really don't need to be concerned about these files as they just stay in the background but I also like to know where I can find my originals rather than just assume that they are flying around somewhere on my hardrive under some secret codename.

    The other thing of interest is these files are still named their original names once you click enough folders to get to the actual files. For example IMG_3021 is still IMG_3021 in the Aperture library. I would assume that this is an actual file not just a reference. Yet when I search with finder for IMG_3021, only IMG_3021 in the iPhoto library appears. It is as if there is no file in the aperture library.

    Thanks for all your help
  • macorin Level 1 Level 1 (30 points)

    Before getting into the heart of the response, let's take a step back for a minute. I don't want anything catastrophic to happen to your original images, so before anything else, you need to make sure you have a true backup of your master images. Once you are certain that your original images are secure, we can proceed. I hope that you have been making backups of your original images, and that the only place they reside is not in the iPhoto library on your internal disk. You should have either a backup of the images on an external drive (multiple backups on multiple drives in multiple locations would be even better, but more on backup strategies at another time), or at the very least, a backup of the iPhoto library on an external drive.

    The reason I mention this, is that I am a bit uncomfortable hearing that you are deleting anything, duplicates or not, without truly knowing what you are doing. The worst case scenario should be that completing this transfer takes more time than you would like. It would be catastrophic for you to lose your image files, so please, please, please make sure everything is backed up.

    Once that is done, we can restart this thread.

    Okay, so moving on, I'd like to know how you went about importing your iPhoto library into Aperture. In Aperture did you goto File -> Import -> iPhoto Library, or File -> Import - Show iPhoto Browser? If you imported the first way, i.e. the iPhoto Library, a dialogue box would have come up giving you a number of options. You would have been given option such as, "Import Folders as" where you could have selected things such as Projects and Albums, etc. Next, it would have asked you where you want to store the files - in the Aperture Library, in their current location, or a location of your choosing. Depending on what you might have chosen here could help answer your question as to where those files are. You would have also been given the option to either move the files (in which case, the image files would be permanently moved from the iPhoto folder to your newly created Aperture folder) or to copy the files (in which case you would have duplicates - one in your iPhoto folder and a new one in your Aperture folder). You would next have the option to instruct Aperture not to import duplicates if you so desired. You would then have been given the naming options...

    It doesn't sound like you took this route, but instead chose the second option where you opened the iPhoto Browser. From there, you might have dragged your images into Aperture, but unless your dragged them in folder by folder, you really wouldn't have any organization at all. You would no projects or folders, but rather an image library of referenced images that are potentially not of a very high quality depending on your settings. By default, Aperture creates previews that are half the size of the original JPEG image. You can change all of this in the settings, but this is for another discussion.

    My advice to you at this point is to start again, so long as you know everything is backed up and you are certain that you have backups of your original files. If you are sure of this, I would delete the Aperture Library. Out of curiosity, I would be interested to know the method you took to import your images into Aperture in the first place. Once that is deleted, you can open Aperture and start again. I would be happy to walk you through it.

    A few words on the rest of your post.

    1. A referenced library means that everything is stored in the Aperture library except the master file. The master (or original image file) is stored in a location of your choosing. Everything else is still stored in the Aperture library, and this includes edit instructions to images, previews (should you generate them, which you shouls), etc. Most people who choose to run Aperture as a referenced library, keep their master images on an external disk. This allows them to have immediate access to images and their folder structure. I would still recommend a managed library, as for what you seem to want to do, a managed library would be much easier for you.

    Before moving on, I want to mention a bit about the Aperture Library (and iPhoto Library) folders. While you can access them, you really shouldn't go in to them. Apple allows you access to them, but there really is no reason you should ever have to go into them. Therefore, when you mention the bit about right clicking on the Aperture Library in the finder and click "show content files" you really shouldn't be (nor need to be) doing this. Aperture manages this folder for you and you really shouldn't concern yourself with the organization, structure or hierarchy of things. There are other items in that folder aside from the masters, such as Thumbnails, Previews, instructions, etc... If you need access to an image, everything can (and should) be done right from within Aperture itself. This goes for iPhoto as well. I believe that Aperture and iPhoto keep your masters organized by date, so you might see a folder named 2009 and inside of that, different folders with a number from 1 to 12 signifying images that were taken in a certain month and inside of that days from 1 to 30(1) for the images taken on those days. This is the way that the Aperture and iPhoto library keep your masters, but in no way, shape or form does this mean that it is how you have to organize your library.

    Of course, if you want to you can as that is a personal preference. In any case, it is very easy to do that, but it won't necessarily happy automatically.

    Getting back to what you need to do, is better understand how your computer holds and stores images versus how you can organize them in Aperture. When you start talking about going into the iPhoto and Aperture folders and digging around looking at and trying to find images, you are in for a lot of trouble. This is not the way to do this.

    In trying to keep this simple without trying to explain every nuance and detail of how Aperture works and what you can do with it, we first need to set up your Aperture library. As I mentioned, I would trash the Aperture library you created and just start again. You can either import the Aperture Library as I mentioned above and make sure of the import parameters that Aperture gives to you. Another option is to export all of your original images from iPhoto into a folder system that makes sense to you on your desktop or external drive and then import them into Aperture in the ways that I described above.

    Since this is getting very long and winded, I'm going to stop here to see if you are following me and understand what to do next. If so, we can proceed with more detailed instructions moving forward. This will include how to organize the Aperture library based on what makes sense to you (and this does not mean going into the Aperture Library folder. I will reiterate that you will never need to go in there, and shouldn't go in there). We can also talk about naming files. You have different options - a master name and version names. You really have so many different options and it is all non-destructive so you can really customize to your hearts content without worrying about it. Okay, let me know if you understand what to do next, or if you are totally confused.