7 Replies Latest reply: May 11, 2012 11:48 AM by SierraDragon
DaddieMac Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

I want to move to Aperture, but I need some advice first. (I have considered Aperture in the past, but my expectations and demands were unrealistic. Now I am trying to be as realistic as possible about what I want from Aperture.)

 

I have learned that Aperture 3 in fact supports syncing libraries between computers. Before I attempt this however I want to find out from you people whether what I want to do will work.

 

First let me describe my situation.

 

I have Mac Pro which contains the following types of files dating from 1997:

  • RAW + JPEG pairs from my DSLR, mirrorless, and compact cameras
  • JPEG solo images from DSLR, mirrorless, and compact cameras
  • TIFFs, PSDs, and JPEGs from film scans
  • TIFFs, PSDs, and JPEGs that are saved, edited versions of the above (edited files have the same filename as the original, plus a few letters added to indicate which changes have been made; s = sharpened, a = converted with ACR, c = cropped, w = web resolution, etc.)
  • AVI, MOV, MP4, and MTS (AVCHD) movies shot with various digital cameras

There are 160,383 files in total, although the number of photographs is probably less than 100,000 due to RAW + JPEG pairs counting as two files. The total space used is ~1.2TB. The files are on an internal 2TB RAID volume, which is constantly backed up to an external Time Machine RAID.

 

The files are all organized into folders by year up to 2009, and inside each year's folder are sub-folders that organize the pictures by event. All photos taken after 2009 are organized either by event or by subject matter, depending on which seemed more relevant to the particular shoot. I have been using Adobe Bridge to sort them. After they are sorted, I use a wonderful gem called ChronoSync to sync the JPEGs only (but not the RAWs, TIFFs, PSDs, or movies) to my MacBook Pro. That way I have my photos with me in the field in case I want to make some prints, upload to Flickr/Facebook, etc.

 

However, I am feeling many limitations of this workflow -- hence why I am considering Aperture.

 

Here are the main things I want to do with Aperture. Please tell me if this will work, and what any gotcha's might be.

 

  • I want to have a "master" Aperture library on the Mac Pro. I will add all my existing files into the master library in a 'referenced' fashion -- they will remain where they are in the current directory structure on the 2TB RAID.
  • I want to also maintain a "satellite" Aperture library on the MacBook Pro that contains only the JPEG versions of these files. I would use ChronoSync to copy over all the referenced JPEGs such that they exist in the same places in the directory structure of the laptop as they do on the desktop (i.e. /Users/me/Pictures/etc.), so that hopefully when Aperture looks for them it can find them. (I am guessing that I would create the "satellite" library by simply copying the "master" library to the laptop, rather than creating a fresh library there.)
  • I want to use the "satellite" library on the MacBook Pro to perform tagging, adding location data, rating, further organizing, etc. and then sync those changes back to the "master" library on the Mac Pro.

 

I know that Aperture 3 has the ability to sync/merge libraries, but my questions are:

 

  1. If the "satellite" library has only the JPEGs available on the local drive, then will any metadata changes made in the "satellite" library properly sync back to the JPEG+RAW pairs in the "master" library? I.e. will Aperture still apply changes in metadata to both the RAWs and JPEGs, even though the RAWs were not present on the "satellite"?
  2. Will Aperture allow me to group other versions of the file besides the RAW and JPEG on the master library? Will metadata to just the JPEG also be applied to these other versions upon syncing, as described above?
  3. Is it a "two-way sync" -- i.e. will changes made to the master library also sync back to the satellite library? (If not, that's OK with me, because presumably after merging the satellite into the master, I can delete the satellite library, then re-copy the master back to the laptop to make a new satellite library -- I am also going to have copy over any new JPEG files to the laptop as well, so I don't mind copying one extra file [the new satellite library].)

 

I'm sure I've forgotton something important here but, my time is limited so I'll leave it at this for now and post any other questions later. Thanks for any tips, I know this is a complicated issue.

 

-=DM=-


Mac Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8), 2009, 8-core 2.2ghz, 12GB RAM, 10TB
  • 1. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    léonie Level 9 Level 9 (51,720 points)

    Hello -=DM=-,

     

    Aperture is a very versatile program, but don't get your hopes up too high - Aperture can merge libraries, but Aperture cannot sync Libraries so far - there is no two-way sync between Aperture Libraries on two computers, or even on one computer.

     

    Have a look at the Aperture 3 online manual, chapter Working with Library Files

     

    Regards

    Léonie

  • 2. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    DaddieMac Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    Thanks for the links.

     

    It appears that Aperture will basically do what I want, except that any changes made to files on the Mac Pro will be overwritten when I merge in the library from the laptop. I still need to do some experimenting to see if the file references are volume-specific or if they are volume-blind -- i.e. if they just use paths starting with "/[path]" instead of paths starting with "/Volumes/SpecificDriveName/[path]".

  • 3. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    léonie Level 9 Level 9 (51,720 points)
    I still need to do some experimenting to see if the file references are volume-specific or if they are volume-blind -- i.e. if they just use paths starting with "/[path]" instead of paths starting with "/Volumes/SpecificDriveName/[path]".

     

    I am not sure I understand you fully - what kind of file referencing are you speaking of?

     

    • If you use managed master image files, the master images are stored inside the Aperture library, and if you move the complete library to a new drive, then thereferences to  files inside the package still work. So obviously Aperture uses relative pathes here.
    • If you use referenced master image files - let's for example assume the Aperture library is on Volume A, the referenced master image files are  on Volume B, and you move your Aperture library now from A to Volume C:  If you open the Library on Volume C, it will still find the master image files on Volume B, so the library stores the absolute path for referenced masters. This even works with referenced masters on network volumes, but I really cannot recommend to store the masters on remote volumes; you will have to make sure the volume is mounted, when you launch Aperture.

     

    Is that what you were asking about? if not, please rephrase your question.

     

    Regards

    Léonie

  • 4. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    DM-

     

    Like Léonie said, Aperture cannot synch. A very serious limitation of Aperture.

     

    There are many workarounds including various possible merges. None are bombproof, do not rely on them in a pro workflow unless you carefully back up ahead of time and check every image after doing merges.

     

    HTH

     

    -Allen

  • 5. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    DaddieMac Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)

    SierraDragon-

     

    That is ominous and reminds me why I have stayed away from such databases until now. I do of course keep a time machine going... but, how likely iare the kinds of problems you allude to? And what exactly are these problems?

  • 6. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    Nothing wrong with the database, works great.

     

    My intentionally ominous commentary was not a reflection on using the database, rather it was saying be careful when building workarounds that involve batches of thousands or hundreds of thousands of image files.

     

    Merging Libraries is relatively new but generally works fine. However no one should perform merges without backing up first and reviewing the resultant merge.

     

    Merge is not synch. The difference is subtle but significant; degree of automation and ease of use really.

     

    Note that in general (not Aperture-specific) any time anyone copies images from point A to point B (copies among drives, merge or whatever) backups should exist and the end resultant files should be reviewed.

     

    -Allen

  • 7. Re: Aperture 3 library syncing question
    SierraDragon Level 4 Level 4 (2,695 points)

    DaddieMac wrote:

     

    SierraDragon-

     

    That is ominous and reminds me why I have stayed away from such databases until now. I do of course keep a time machine going... but, how likely iare the kinds of problems you allude to? And what exactly are these problems?

    IMO Aperture Libraries should be manually backed up using Vaults, not just TM.

     

    The likelihood of problems constantly using Merge as an ersatz synch is non-zero, in fact IMO well above zero.

     

    My personal solution was to switch from (MBP + MP) workflow to a (MBP only) as desktop-replacement-workflow, which only became feasible for me with the advent of 2011 Thunderbolt Macs. No constant usage of merge to emulate true synch. Works great.

     

    If Apple ever finally builds synch into Aperture I will probably go back to a (MBP + MP) workflow.

     

    -Allen