Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Feb 7, 2012 4:50 AM by CroMagnum
CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)

There was just a new thread which asked about iPhoto edited images being moved to Aperture. Didn't want to be accused of hijacking a thread by asking an elaboration in that thread, so here's a new one.


A further question that thread brings up:


I too have edited images. (Very few are in iPhoto).

I do have way too many edited images that have little clones, in various states of edit & possibly recropped in Photoshop, as well. Saved as various resolutions of *.png or *.jpg or *.psd. It appears daunting to move all those in a coherent way.


Is there a way to handle a move to Aperture that reduces the pain of such a messy state?

Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • léonie Level 10 (90,639 points)

    When you decide to let Aperture manage your images, then you usually do not need to keep your images in various resolutions inside the Aperture Library.

    • You import the image file with the best possible resolution you may possibly want into Aperture as master image file.
    • When you need different encodings and sizes outside Aperture you export the image and generate the other image format using a custom export preset. Aperture handles that quite nicely, and you do not need to clutter up your disk space by trying to keep track of many image files in different formats.




  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    CroMagnum wrote:

    Is there a way to handle a move to Aperture that reduces the pain of such a messy state?

    Léonie's lesson is _very_ important: Aperture is a software workshop for

    - storing and organizing digital camera negatives, and

      - developing and publishing pictures derived from those digital camera negatives.


    You prepare pictures to be published, but you don't publish them until needed, and you don't save the published pictures in Aperture.  (A significant part of Aperture's efficiency derives from computing things as needed and _not_ saving data that can be re-computed.  Understanding this is, imho, the key to making the most of Aperture.)


    You are moving from one paradigm -- file management -- to another -- image management (as practiced with Aperture).  As with any paradigm shift, there is no frictionless translation from one practice to the other.  In other words: there may be ways to reduce the pain of the change, but there is no certifiably "good" way to convert you existing data stores from what you have to what Aperture will provide.


    My working suggestion ("working" as in: a first draft) is to save _all_ of your digital negatives, and only the highest resolution copy of each of your edited files.  Separate these into those you want to have regular access to, and those you can archive.  Import those that you want to regularly access, in such a way that you can find what you're looking for.  Don't try to make it perfect:  the effort to completely tidy the "messy state" is almost surely not worth the time.  Better to devote that time to crafting an Aperture workflow that will not leave your data in a "messy state" at any point during the years you use Aperture.

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    PS to CroMagnum:  Starting a new thread is the proper way to add questions that diverge from an existing discussion.  Thanks for being considerate.  (I haven't read the other thread, but from you description this is clearly worth a dedicated thread started by you.)

  • CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)

    PS -- I understand that "hijacking" a thread is poor form - its just messy to retain comment continuity once its been done.


    The other thread I actually responded to, was a post that maybe had another agenda, if I were a little cynical. Or the person completely was new to photo-editing, but mentioned the competing product as something they'd tried for point of comparison, so it was potentially a dead end thread. A calculated choice on my part.


    I took it as though that opening question was just off-the-cuff & poorly phrased for benefit of the doubt.


    The other extreme, rather than be a little tangental, is to ask something in a new thread that was already covered many times because a search didn't yield a perfect match. That's equally annoying to long time forum members.


    Sometimes tangents reveal a new direction to go.


    Leonie has it right, that Aperture or similar application is a new paradigm from separate cataloging & editing apps & I understand that, while appreciating his/her input.


    I'm trying to zero in on the details, however. I'm more than a photographer & lot of my stuff has PS edits that are beyond a manipulated photo image. Some of those are going to be easier to do in Photoshop or Illustrator, I'd wager. I'm tracking illustrations, photos and video & that's what I want to test drive.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 (25,715 points)

    Unfortunately if you have multiple edits of a single image outside of Aperture there is no way to combine those as a single master and versions. Each image file will be its own master in Aperture with no connection (unless you make one) to any of the others.


    There are some organizational thins Aperture could do for you. You could keyword all the images in one 'thread' so that you could gather them all up once in Aperture. You could place them in their own project so that they would be together. You could stack them. You get the point.


    There are many ways Aperture can make it less painful but no way to totally eliminate the pain.

  • CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)

    I know I cannot combine the past images into one (well I could to a point if I assembled the layers in PS, but would be mostly a futile waste of time).


    Looking: If I use "Stacks," I can group/clump them together. That's a pretty good use for stacks, especially if judiciously assembled into a project container.


    (I don't want to organize into stacks, then re-colonize my app with poorly chosen, or haphazard projects. I need to figure out what overarching criteria are useful since I'm intending to track a variety of media).


    Its a personal quirk of mine to work with careless abandon, then go temporarily overly-intense, categorize & overorganize until I have a organizational structure too strict to ever maintain, or find anything. I like what I see in Aperture, but I still need a way to keep from creating too many needless copies for other applications.


    I need to spend more time test-driving.

  • léonie Level 10 (90,639 points)

    In Aperture you have two different flavors of organizing structures:

    • Containers (projects and folders): In the projects you store your images, and the folders help to group them hierarchically for easy access, see Kirby Krieger's essay: Re: Organizing in Aperture, concise long version:
    • Output structures: Album, smart albums, slide shows, books, webpages, ...: The output structure does not actually store the images, but references them for specific uses and describes relations between images, bases on properties of the images, like keywords, captions, and other tags.


    What you need to do, when designing your own library structure, is to clearly seperate the aspects - storage and use:

    • The storage structure should be simple, but consistant - I am a follower of Kirby's maxime: "one shoot - one project" - just like in the old times of rolls of film - one box per film roll. As to the allocation of folders to contain your projects, there are different approaches; you may go for a chronological scheme How do you structure you library? or group by categories, anything is fine, as long as it isn't to involved, straight forward, and easy to maintain.
    • The output structure should be flexible; you will find that you will frequently adapt it to the project at hand. Since the ouput structure heavily relies on the tags and keywords, you should invest some effort into define import presets, to get most of your tagging done automatically on import.


    Thus said, back to the problem at hand:

    Looking: If I use "Stacks," I can group/clump them together. That's a pretty good use for stacks, especially if judiciously assembled into a project container.

    I recommend against using stacks for long-term structuring. Stacks are somewhat weird, transient creatures between storage and output structures: they don't fit completely into one of the above categories. They are used by Aperture as storage stucture on import, but their use is restricted - you cannot move single  images contained in a stack to another project (all images in the stack will move together), and special rules apply if you use stacked images in books and slide shows. Also you will need stacks for other uses, and you will want to be able to stack your images according to other criteria. It easy to unstack all images by mistake - happens to me all the time - then your storage structure will be broken.


    I suggest to group related images by filename on import - using a custom import preset for filenames. That way your structure will be persistent not as fragile as when based on stacks.




  • CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)

    Thanks leoni.

    I appreciate the time it took to work it out in detailed a fashion. Sorry I took awhile to get back.


    Every 'Roll' as a Box

    One shoot, One Project is interesting, but isn't that a lot like iPhoto's treatment of events?

    The problem there (iPhoto), being that not every event is a fistful of ROLLS of film from one shoot, or even one whole roll.


    OK, the feature set depth in Aperture is deeper & it has more tools to track the nuance than an entry level program,

    so there's no point in dwelling at length on what iPhoto has.


    The naming by filename on import is a big one.

    Why that isn't a suggestion as part of online help in every photo app is beyond me. Or why it isn't a built-in option, to create a structure based on a few common criteria. (While there are some, I've never found the ones in iPhoto satisfying enough).


    When using under-powered tools, or hardly any at all - is the learning ground in digital photography. Its where habits, good or bad are learned.



    Thanks for the sketchy insight there. Stacks seem to be a good plan to help reduce "lightboard, lightbox" clutter in an organized fashion.

    Stacks are a visual organization & I guess we should conclude that's a good idea in a visual medium.


    The idea that the STACK structure can be accidentally broken & thus isn't the best criteria is an important one to note.

    You suggesting to treat it as a temporary clumping is duly noted! You may have saved me some pain!


    This drops me into the on-going quandry of not having an ideal way to organize multiple variations of the same or similar original image.

    To this point, I have a chaotic approach in naming edited files, appending characters at the end of the filename. That's not recommended as useful,

    but its better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.


    Is there a criteria that works well to identify items stacked, to reassemble them into that organization later?

  • CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)

    Kirby - (had a question, but decided it was too underdeveloped just yet).


    What you talk about, creating that structure going forward is crucial. Its a pain to learn from mistakes, then go back to make everything fit the new wisdom. What is that structure?


    And of course, the wisdom of the ages handed to a "newbie," is underappreciated when on a silver platter.


    I try to build some intelligence into the naming convention, so that its not entirely database dependent.

    Just numbering them gives no idea to "roll content." That does not work well.


    Long files names are awkward too.

    In Camera convention, or pre-shoot convention are the good intentions on the road to ****. (Edit: asterisks? Are you kidding me?)


    I've been shooting film for a very long time & digital cameras for a decade. I still haven't got it worked out. It feels as though I'm watching A Day At The Races & everything requires a Breeder's Guide & a Code Book.

  • CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)



    I guess I still think of photography as doing it the old way with film & projectors

    & of Photoshopping as more like illustration creation; breaking from merely enhancing the captured content & that may be wrong today.


    Moving off multiple resolution masters is nice.

    The other issue is final output size & perceived image brightness, etc.


    I'm also concerned about custom crops - and saving that setting for future repeats.
    For example, I might like a hairline white border on an image & in photoshop I'd add it (vs adding a white stroke), or I might apply an odd ratio to best fit the composition.


    I really am too unfamiliar with the tool yet, to really speak. I'm talking about it, when I should be test-driving!

  • léonie Level 10 (90,639 points)

    One shoot, One Project is interesting, but isn't that a lot like iPhoto's treatment of events?

    The problem there (iPhoto), being that not every event is a fistful of ROLLS of film, or even one whole one.

    Some things in iPhoto are just good - most of all the metaphor used to name the items in the library.

    Aperture's name for "projects" is ill chosen and very misleading - the common use of the word  "project" suggest an output item, not an input item, I fondly remember a recent discussion I had with Kirby Krieger on the naming of projects.


    Projects -  as containers of images - really should be small, putting all images needed for a particular output into one single project may needlessly make Aperture slow. To bundle the several "rolls of film", group them using folders. A hierachy of nested folders is very useful to group items and to browse items, that are related.


    This drops me into the on-going quandry of not having an ideal way to organize multiple variations of the same or similar original image.

    I repeat my suggestion- give them similar names. You can search by filename or version name.


    Aperture is very good at organizing multiple variations of the same or similar original image - versions are built in as a main feature of Aperture. But you have to let Aperture create and manage the versions. Your main problem right now is that you are already confronted with a mess of many versions - forgive me for saying so -and want to continue this by importing all the versions into Aperture.  I strongly suggest you think about Kirby's advice Re: Move to Aperture with Photoshop edited images? - start with a well designed library by only importing the best version with the highest resolution and let Aperture create all the variations you need - then you can set Aperture to auto stack new versions, and if you accidentally unstack them, no problem - the versions will be related and easily identified.






    P.S. No, I do not know how to search for stacked items. I found no criteria to do it either in Aperture's search rules not in the AppleScript Dictionary. Perhaps the other forum members have a solution.

  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)

    CroMagnum wrote:

    This drops me into the on-going quandry of not having an ideal way to organize multiple variations of the same or similar original image.


    Is there a criteria that works well to identify items stacked, to reassemble them into that organization later?


    No quandry using an images database, very easy.


    • One way is to use keywords, an essential database concept.


    Just take your batch of similar images, pick a representative one, and keyword the whole batch to the file name of the arbitrary representative image. Then at any time you can search on that keyword and see all those images; takes about 2 seconds. Or if the group of images is important enough it could have a named keyword, like Jones_wed_kiss.


    Personally I try to keep transitory keywords in their own grouping, as opposed to global forever keywords like "flower," "dog," "family," "wed," "bride," etc.


    Note that keywords apply globally across all images in the Library that they have been applied to.


    • A second way is to create an Album. Albums are just collections of pointers to images that exist in one or more Projects. Because they  just consist of pointers, albums take up almost no space and can be created or deleted at will with zero impact on the images they point to. Like keywords, albums are a very useful tool.


    Note that either albums or keywords can also be used to help organize the image files that come into Aperture from your pre-existing Photoshop image folders.







    I think it makes a world of sense to start thinking about structure before using the app. Good for you. The move from film-think to database-think is not necessarily intuitive and it does take some time.

  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 (25,715 points)

    Why not just put all the external versions of a particular image in one project? All the projects that contain these multiple master images could go into a folder.

  • CroMagnum Level 1 (65 points)

    It works I guess. I haven't managed the first hurdle - getting them all in one place yet.


    Once I am loaded into the app & all my images back on one drive, that project idea may be the way to proceed with, to get SOMETHING at least bundled, even if not perfectly so. (I have a lot of images across many archived DVDs, some scans, as well as on drives).


    There's nothing remarably mysterious about going digital.
    Its not as though I just discovered computers.


    The lone biggest complication in computers, I think, is this very thing: Cataloging. Knowing & remembering every thing you've got & a way to find it quickly.


    The problem is that there are several metaphors at work & they really aren't perfect analogs of the film process. I suppose it depends on what you DO with the images beyond photography. I'd like to be optimally organized out of the gate, because I use them in other areas than photography.


    If a series of images get used in a video project, or a slideshow or poster, I tend to group them in folders & that sometimes yields nearly identical duplicates.
    The difference may be the perfect cropping for a particular visual impact, or a more complicated treatment.




    One presumes that the best way to use a project - is task-based & impermanent.


    It sounds as though stacks may likewise be relegated to "impermanence," while I was hoping they were going to be useful to sort out my similar images, while grouping them.


    Albums are a useful grouping, but it seems to me that there are too many top level albums possible.

    Its easy to create so many that you are visually overwhelmed. Like staring at a picket fence - pick your slat.


    Finding a way to bias toward specifically keyworded album themes would be useful.

    A way to narrow the primary search key immediately to a high percentage of hits & a broader second tier of possibles.


    Its similar to using spotlight for a search of hard drives for specific data. If all your hard drives are junk drawers, you can likely still find the one file you seek, but it won't always be a prompt or pleasant experience.

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