Previous 1 2 Next 15 Replies Latest reply: Apr 29, 2012 7:44 AM by DiploStrat
Andrew Mitchell Level 1 (10 points)

I have just upgraded my white 24" iMac - which was too old/slow to run Aperture - to a 2.8GHz, i7 iMac with a 240GB SSD.


Because I have never been a fan of iPhoto (but do like bits of it), my previous workflow was:


1. Import to computer, open and sort/delete/tag using iView Media Pro (I love the way I can immediately use the EXIF data to name the photos by date)

2. From within iView, edit photos using Lightroom (used only for its editing capabilities)

3. Save back to iView and put into appropriate folders (by year)

4. Import saved photos into iPhoto, adding them into existing Events called 1997, 1998,  ...... 2011, 2012 (which is also how I file them on my hard drive)

5. (I do not keep the RAW photos once they have been edited)


So I have 2 full sets of tagged photos on my computer, one on my hard drive, and one in an external iPhoto Library (backed up to different external hard drives).


My questions:


1. In the interim period, as I learn how to use and edit in Aperture, will I be able to use the above workflow and add already-edited photos into events in Aperture? If so, how?

2. I haven't imported anything into Aperture yet. Are there any absolutely vital early tips you would care to pass on to an Aperture virgin?


Many thanks


Andrew (in Taipei)

iMac, Mac OS X (10.7.3), 21.5", i7, 2.8GHz, 240GB SSD/1TB HD
  • dbmoore Level 1 (105 points)

    Andrew every program has its features that you need to learn and adapt to, Its a learning curve to be sure.  Start out with a "test library" and import some folders of images either referenced or managed.  Dont be dissaponinted if you feel like you have to start over.  I think I dumped my first library twice befor I felt comfortable with how Aperture wanted me to work.  It may just be me  Im a slow in some areas   Im glad I stuck with it.  Good luck and keep asking questions.  Cheers

  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)

    It is late in this time zone, so please forgive a short, snarky answer.


    Can you continue to use your current workflow? Sure, but if you like it, don't waste your money on Aperture, just buy Photoshop.


    Why? Because Aperture makes all of that iView/folders by year/convert files/delete RAW unnecessary. Better yet, it makes it all obsolete.


    Do some digging on this site and do the Tutorial. Once your grasp the concept of a non-destructive work flow you will wonder why you ever put up with it!


    Welcome to a better world!


    DiploStrat ;-)

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Hi Andrew.  You seem to want to learn Aperture.  That's a commitment of time:  Aperture is a large, very powerful database.  Mastering the use of a large, powerful database is no easy task.  Should you decide to use Aperture (this is separate from learning what it does and how to use it), there is a significant commitment to its workflow. Paradoxically, the Aperture workflow is both endlessly variable, and significantly fixed.  Explaining what that means is beyond the confines of this little note.  You have little to go on except that many many smart, savvy, skilled photographers rely on it.  It is _radically_ different from your current practice.


    By all means, set up a practice Library, and start to grow your skill.


    To get started, you might find my very short "Naming of the Parts" useful.  Later on, this slightly longer post on how to use Aperture might also be useful.


    Here is a list of resources I and many others used as we tried to make sense of this new thing.


    There is _a lot_ of superb advice posted in the threads here -- personally, I think it's one of the best, most helpful and most expert user-to-user forums on the Web.  Search it.  Ask more questions.


    Welcome aboard.

  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)

    Andrew, welcome to the Forum and to a better way to manage images. With coffee in hand and a real keyboard (as opposed to an iPad), let me try to add some helpful content to Kirby's excellent advice.


    Back when Aperture was first released, Ben Long (who helped write the first Apple Tutorial) wrote an excellent chapter in his book "Real World Aperture" in which he discussed the philosophy of Aperture and how it differed from a Finder (or Explorer, if you come from a PC) based system. I read and reread that chapter and, I think, I "got it" and I have found Aperture very easy to use ever since.


    Conversely, this Forum, and others, is filled with frustrated rants of "I can't do X" in Aperture when, in many cases, the correct answer is "You don't need to do that anymore." So please permit me a bit of philosophy on the Zen of Aperture:


    -- Aperture is an image (or photograph) management system, not a file management system. Or, if you will, Aperture manages your files so YOU manage your IMAGES. This has huge implications. So your first use of iView to rename images by date is really unnecessary. (Aperture can do it, but naming by date is one of the least useful things to do.)


    -- Using Aperture (or Lightroom; they are functionally the same) only to edit photos is not a very good use of the tool. You can make it work, but neither is a pixel editor and so you would have to go through an Import/edit (called "Adjust" in ApertureSpeak)/Export cycle. Why, because neither Aperture nor Lightoom will ever write edits into the Master Image File. You would have to Export and new Version to capture your work. (This is because both are non-destructive workflow tools, not pixel editors.)


    -- Exporting back to iView in year specific folders is a lot of extra, unnecessary work. Aperture is a much, much more powerful image manager than iView or iPhoto and it will keep your images sorted by date automatically through the use of Smart Albums. As long as the date is right on the image out of the camera, you need do no further work at all. (I work with a lot of scanned slides and negatives, so I do have to manually set dates; but Aperture does that quickly and easily.)


    -- Similarly, Importing back to iPhoto is no longer necessary. Aperture does more and better than iPhoto.


    So the good news is that Aperture will replace iView, iPhoto, and in your case, Lightroom, with one, more powerful tool. Renaming files by date and manually sorting by year is no longer required.


    Read the many good links in Kirby's post and follow the good advice to start slowly with a small subset of your images until you get the hang of things. (And, at the risk of being heretical, Lightroom can do all you need as well; many of us prefer Aperture as it is more powerful for filing and much smoother to use.)


    Some final thoughts:


    -- Deleting your RAW Masters is a TERRIBLE idea. Aperture is well designed to protect your Masters, RAW of JPEG. Think of Aperture as a kind of image vault where you keep your negatives (if you are old enough to remember negatives) safe. It will then make any number of "prints" through the Export process. You make these, use them, and then delete them.


    -- With an SSD and, I assume, a conventional HD, you will quickly want to moved to Referenced Masters. Sierra Dragon, on this Forum, is a strong advocate of this kind of arrangement. It entails a bit more physical file management, but with an SSD can produce very good system speed.


    -- Most of us find Aperture much faster with 8 GB or more of RAM. (But I still run Aperture 3 on my 2006 MacBookPro with 2 GB of RAM. Let us just say that performance is slow and deliberate. But completely usable in the field, especially with an SSD.)


    Again, welcome to the Forum and I hope these comments may be useful.



  • Andrew Mitchell Level 1 (10 points)

    Incredibly helpful and useful information. Thank you.


    I understand that I need a major "brain shift" in the way I have been doing things, but am not sure what this entails. I look forward to working it out as I try it out on some practice libraries. However, a few notes on your points (if you have the time):


    1. I started using EXIF data to date-name my files back when I started in digital photography (Olympus C-2100 UZ). There was no one to advise me otherwise. Why is this "unnecessary"? It's always been the _one_ thing I couldn't get a handle on, with both Aperture and Lightroom.

    2. I understand that using Lightroom the way I have been was not using it to its full potential, but my white iMac was just too slow, and filling up too quickly. Aperture wouldn't run, while Lightroom would, and I quickly found out that it was so much easier to edit large numbers of photos than using PSE 9.

    3. The new iMac came with a 240GB SSD + a 1TB HD + 16GB RAM. However, it's still going to fill up real quick if I keep all the RAW files. I'm more of an "advanced amateur", definitely not a professional photographer, so I'm not sure why not keeping the files once I've edited them is such a terrible idea.

    4. I understand the concept of referenced files, but don't quite get the "you will quickly want to moved to Referenced Masters".

    5. I'm definitely old enough to remember negatives! Bought my first camera - a MInolta HiMatic 7s - back in 1967. (Strangely, I saw a brand new one for sale in a tiny little camera shop up in the hills of Taiwan a couple of years back.)


    Again, many thanks.



  • dbmoore Level 1 (105 points)

    Hi Andrew


    Nice new rig you got there.   Depending on howmany Images you shoot you will want to eventully take the masters off the 1TB or the 240 ssd.  Your library can grow pretty fast.  My Lib is on a volume of the main HD 200gb and the library is about 70-80 gb without any managed files.  That is I use the reference system with an external raid box (drobo) to store only images.   Starting off with everything in the library is good while learning and for me its a little slower (in theory) being referenced.   If you decide to move the managed images its quite simple with "Relocate masters".  In fact you can take them back in to the library again if you change your mind.  Again for starting out a Managed library is great. 


    Have fun! David


    opps I forgot...  I know photog who put the date in their file name while importing.  Perfectily good thing to do...some how I didnt start that way.  Also I agree with keeping the Raw files.   I have been known to go five years back and delete Raws that did not recieve al least a one star rating.  Trying to free up space and having to add another HD to the raid. 


    Everybodys workflow is based on their needs or desires to organize/utilize and the workflow is based mostly on what we understand about AP3, always changing. So everyone is different and no one is wrong.  If it works for you it works.



  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)

    Very good questions with easy answers. To date myself as well, my first good camera was a Asahi Pentax Spotmatic II from a shop in Hong Kong. (One reason that my collection contains so many scanned slides and negatives. And if you think RAW files are large, a slide works out to about 120 MB in TIFF. So to your excellent questions:


    (N.B. Capitalized words are all Aperture specific terms, like "Project" and "Export". They have very specific meaning in the context of Aperture. Someone once had tremendous angst over the term Project; "That's not how I define a "project!" Fine, think "rolls" or "events" or whatever. )


    -- Naming by date was an excellent want to organize things back when you used the Finder to, well, find things. It is also a carry over from the days when photo processors stamped a date on slides. There is no reason not to keep doing this, but then neither is there any need to keep doing it as all modern digital images have a date embedded in the metadata. For my camera pictures I tend not to bother to rename at all, for my slides I tend to store to some form of name+date+counter. More to the point, Aperture allows you to display and find your images many different ways, not just by date. This may become clearer as I ramble on.


    -- Aperture and Lightroom are unique beasts that start with organization and move towards editing. PS and PSE (I also use PSE9) are full blown pixel editors. I use PSE very little; mostly for special projects like photo cards, calendars and the like. This workflow is very common to many Lightroom and Aperture users - almost all "photographic" (as opposed to graphic artist) tasks - crop/adjust exposure/balance color - can be done in Aperture, quickly and non-destructively. I only use PSE when I need to get Aunt Mary out of the picture or move Uncle Louie more to the left; in other words, not often.


    -- Your new iMac is an atom bomb for Aperture. I predict that you will want to end up with an arrangement somewhat like this:


         ** SSD: OSX/APPS(including Aperture)/Aperture Library

         ** HD:Folder containing all of your Master Images.


    Aperture thrashes the part of the Library that contains your Thumbs/Previews/Versions/indices but rarely touches the Masters at all. Thus they can be relegated to a slower HD, even an external USB 2.0 drive. See some of my too numerous posts on what is fast and what is not.


    Using Referenced Masters requires the extra step of either setting up some basic folder structure (recommended) or merely mapping to where the Masters are already. Remember, however, that once a Master is Imported, you should never use the Finder to move it, least you break the link within the Aperture database. Aperture has easy tools to move the physical files for you. In fact, Rob Boyer has long advocated Importing all of your images into Aperture as Managed Masters, arranging them the way you want, and only then Relocating the Masters out of the Aperture Library. There is also an argument that to take advantage of the speed of an SSD you should:


    -- Import your images from the card to Aperture. (Some make an archival copy before even doing this.)

    -- Do your heavy editing (called Adjusting) while the Masters are on your SSD. This will assure the fastest possible response.

    -- Once this is done, Relocate the Masters to your HD.


    This kind of work flow makes it very easy to keep your Referenced Masters neatly organized. (Not that it matters to Aperture where they are or how neat they are. They could even be on CD's.)


    -- Why keep RAW? For the same reason that you keep negatives. Remember, in Aperture, you never actually edit a file. (And you can't alter a RAW file, in any case.) When you Import an image into Aperture it creates a Thumbnail image and a Preview and a Version. The Thumb is trivial in size, the Preview can be larger - most of us limit Previews to the size of our largest monitor (or one size smaller) and the quality to 6-8. (My Previews are sized to a 23" monitor, quality 8, and run 200-500 KB each.) Your Version file is only about 30 KB. So unlike a classic RAW>TIFF/PSD>JPEG workflow, your HD is not going to fill up that fast. My Aperture installation is 12,000 images. Which creates a 17 GB Library (which would go on my SSD, wre it not in my MacBookPro in preparation for some trips) and 185 GB of Masters which are on a HD. And that includes several thousand 120 MB TIFF files.


    -- What about JPEG? I Export 'em as needed and then delete. The beauty of Aperture is that you are always working directly in the RAW decode pipeline and all of your work is stored in that little 30 KB Version file. So you can create all of the Versions you want: Vivid, odd crop, B&W, with minimal disk overhead. This concept throws some; you invest in your RAW Masters and you expense your JPEG.


    Let me take a breath and see if this makes any sense.



  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)

    This screen shot may help stimulate your thinking. I do not make anywhere near full use of Aperture's cataloging power, but you can see that I still use an embedded date in most of my Project names, etc.


    Aperture Layout.jpg

    The key idea is that you get dates for free, so you may want to use some other criteria for your top level Folders. I start with Continents and then work down to Countries. Then use Albums and Smart Albums to crosscut. (Which I have not done enough.)



  • léonie Level 10 (90,669 points)

    -- Why keep RAW? For the same reason that you keep negatives. Remember, in Aperture, you never actually edit a file.

    A good point, DiploStrat. I hope you do not mind if I elaborate a little on this:


    The raw processing is camera specific and has many parameters you can adjust. You may find later that you are not happy with the original raw processing parameters you have choosen and want to reprocess your masters. Or Apple may release an improved raw processing for your camera, maybe even a bugfix, and you will not be able to profit from it, if you no longer have the raw masters. Or you want different versions of your image with different adjustments - one version with hard contrasts and vivid colors, another version with subtle shades of color - then you will need to be able to revert to the original master.




  • Andrew Mitchell Level 1 (10 points)

    Thanks to everyone who is helping with this thread. I'd like to add "This helped me" to all of them, but cannot find a button to click.


    I now plan to sit down and do some serious reading, and watch all the Apple "How to" videos. I don't want to jump in (as I did once before) before I understand a lot more.


    I like the suggestions for what goes on the SSD and what on the HD. Would you have any suggestions as to how I should set up the preferences before I start importing my trial library?


    When I've eventually got it all sorted out (ie I understand about 10% of it!) I think I like the idea of actually importing the photos into an Aperture library, and not using referenced files. I trust my nomenclature is correct here. It seems that at the moment, I am unneccesarily duplicating my photos over my HD, whereas I could just be keeping them in the Aperture library and a back-up.





  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)

    Rob Boyer no longer seems to post here as often as he used to, but you may find this useful: 0.pdf


    If you don't see it, shoot me an e-mail and I will send you a copy.


    While the good news is that nothing you do in Aperture is permanent, start slowly. After all, you were taking pictures before you got Aperture, it won't kill you to keep using your current system (no matter how much we trash it!) until you are comfortable with Aperture.


    The Apple Tutorial is very useful for some folks as it forces you to try out all of the features of Aperture. Many you will never use, but at least you will know they are there.


    As with all things digital, back up is essential. Herewith some ideas:


    -- Allen (Sierra Dragon) and Scot Kelby preach the Monica Lewinsky rule: Make an archival copy of EVERYTHING that comes off of your camera (or scanner) and put this away, never, ever to be touched or deleted. (Until Monica Lewinsky makes the news and you remember that you have a terrible picture of her with the President - allegedly a true story.)


    -- That done (should you choose) everything goes into Aperture. Scholars differ, but one of the great things about Aperture is that you can easily keep all of your images in one large Library. Folders and Albums make it easy to find any single image you want.


    -- I advocate (and use) a cascading total backup approach. That is, I don't use Vaults and I don't do anything exceptional for Aperture. I don't want to lose anything. So I:


         ** Run Time Machine all the time to an external drive on my desk.

         ** Run SuperDuper! to clone my system every night (at about 0100) to a different external drive on my desk.

         ** Run Crash Plan, all the time, to back up my system to their servers over the Internet.


    Others do different things.


    I don't do anything clever with my Preferences, the Boyer article discusses Preview settings in detail.


    Again, I hope this is helpful. The real goal of Aperture is to get you away from the computer and back taking pictures.



  • Andrew Mitchell Level 1 (10 points)

    Everything is slowly coming together, the more reading that I do. Your replies and points most helpful, as usual.


    However, I am not sure what to do with my iPhoto library (actually, I have several, but only one large one). As I want to completely stop using iPhoto, I need to import this large library (18,000 jpegs, no RAW, 49GB) into Aperture, so I can delete it from iPhoto. If I understand what you have been writing, in future I will be:


    1. shooting entirely in RAW

    2. importing to Aperture library on SSD

    3. Adjusting in Aperture

    4. returning the RAW files back to a folder on my regular HD

    5. deleting the jpegs, and using much smaller Preview (stored in the Aperture library on the SSD) to look at my photos on computer (I get a bit stuck here, how can such a small Preview show a quality photo on the screen?)

    6. the iPhoto question: as they are all jpegs, I won't be able to delete them, and they will start to clog up my SSD; what to do?


    As a separate note, with iPhoto '11 on the SSD and the iPhoto library on the HD, the program runs really slowly which was an unexpected surprise seeing the rig I have. When I transferred the library to the SSD, iPhoto ran like greased lightning.





  • DiploStrat Level 2 (345 points)

    Andrew Mitchell wrote:


    Everything is slowly coming together, the more reading that I do. Your replies and points most helpful, as usual.


    However, I am not sure what to do with my iPhoto library (actually, I have several, but only one large one). As I want to completely stop using iPhoto, I need to import this large library (18,000 jpegs, no RAW, 49GB) into Aperture, so I can delete it from iPhoto.


    Importing iPhoto Libraries is easy, but it has been so long that I would defer to Léonie and others for practical advice. But remember, you don't have to do this at once or all at one time. This is important; iPhoto works today and it will work tomorrow - you have time to experiment with Aperture and you don't have to go anything until you are comfortable.


    If I understand what you have been writing, in future I will be:


    1. shooting entirely in RAW

    2. importing to Aperture library on SSD

    3. Adjusting in Aperture

    4. returning the RAW files back to a folder on my regular HD

    5. deleting the jpegs, and using much smaller Preview (stored in the Aperture library on the SSD) to look at my photos on computer (I get a bit stuck here, how can such a small Preview show a quality photo on the screen?)

    6. the iPhoto question: as they are all jpegs, I won't be able to delete them, and they will start to clog up my SSD; what to do?


    Yer still tryin' to make this too hard! Aperture is EASY:


    -- Shoot pictures, RAW, JPEG, TIFF, it doesn't matter. You can easily shoot RAW and JPEG, should you wish.

    -- Import Aperture will place the files where you want and rename, should you want to bother.

    -- Optional: Keyword, distribute to Albums, take other organizational steps as required.

    -- Adjust to taste.

    -- End, Stop, Quit. There is nothing else that you must do.


    You don't have to spend a moment on classic tasks like: RAW conversion, filing of RAW masters, creating PSD or TIFF working copies, organization of JPEG, etc. None of that matters. Not even color space. Really.


    There are two really great things about Aperture:


    -- If you shoot RAW, you never have to bother with creating myriad copies to edit. (Unless you want to use Photoshop, in which case, Aperture automates almost all of the filing work.) You get the advantage of always working directly with your RAW image with none of the traditional overhead.


    -- If you shoot JPEG, your Master JPEG file is protected from accidental recompression. This is huge as it is all to easy to recompress a JPEG if you use a destructive workflow.


    Now, what do you do with your images? How about sharing: printing, burning to CD, e-mailing to Aunt Mary, etc.? Again, all of this is too easy. You just have to understand the concept of Exporting. Think of Aperture as your negative vault - you never, ever give away a negative, you make copies and, once those copies are used, you discard them; you can always make more. So:


    -- Print: Use Aperture's print system or, export a copy to the Desktop and print with any print package you wish. (I sometimes use Canon's print software for special projects.) Delete the exported file after you have used it.


    -- Web Post: Aperture links automagically to Facebook and a few other services. I use Pbase, so I export JPEG and upload them. Very easy, as I have an export Preset that resizes, lowers the quality, and changes the color space to sRGB.


    -- Burn CD: As above. Neat trick - if you need a record of what you have exported, drag the images to an Album first. The contents of the Album will tell you what you exported.


    -- E-Mail: Aperture links directly with Apple Mail. N.B. If you want to send a full res file, you will need to export a Master, a full res Version, or, if you are sending to someone who has Aperture, a Project.


    Let me stop here and come back to your last point in another post.



  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Just a quick emendment:

    DiploStrat wrote:

    -- E-Mail: Aperture links directly with Apple Mail. N.B. If you want to send a full res file, you will need to export a Master, a full res Version, or, if you are sending to someone who has Aperture, a Project.

    The user specifies the settings used by the "File→Share→E-mail" and "{right-click}→Output→E-Mail" at "Aperture→Preferences→Export→E-mail Photo Export preset".  This can be set to full-size.


    I use MacMail, which has the handy feature of allowing resizing of attached image files using the control that appears at the bottom right of the message window.  So I keep my e-mail Export Preset set to "Original Size", and use the control in Mail to re-size when needed.




    I drag Previews from Aperture to Mail when the Preview is the size I want.



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