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Managing files that are sent to external editors

289 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 24, 2012 10:41 AM by MisterMojo RSS
hibhaven Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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Nov 24, 2012 8:14 AM



I need some suggestions on how various photographers who use Aperture as their primary file management & editing tool, deal with the two versions of files that get created when they send an image from Aperture to an external editor. Let me explain with an example. I shoot RAW with my Canon 5D Mk2 which I import, edit and store in Aperture. Many a times, I send these files to external editors like PS and PTLens, which then come back into Aperture as .psd or .tiff files. Now there are two files for the same image, the .CR2 RAW file of ~ 25MB and the new .psd/.tiff file, of approx 50-70MB. What do other photographers do with the original RAW file after this? Do you keep it for future reference, or do you delete it since you now have a 'new' source file? Keeping both files is hugely impacting space on my hard drive and also having me to track (rating, keywording etc) two versions. Any guidance on this would be helpful.


Thanks in advance. cheers, Bhaven

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.7.1), Intel Core i7, 4 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD
  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,550 points)
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    Nov 24, 2012 8:33 AM (in response to hibhaven)



    yes, that is a good question. Large raw files with added quasi masters after external edits are requiring plenty of space.



    Now there are two files for the same image, the .CR2 RAW file of ~ 25MB and the new .psd/.tiff file, of approx 50-70MB.


    However, this is not exactly true. You have your original image version with the original file, and you have the new quasi master/original of your edited image file. These two are not the same. And some of your other versions of this image may need the original master file.


    If you delete the original, you will no longer be able to revert to that version. I keep the originals, to be able to revert the Photoshop edited image, just in case I want to be able to repeat the adjustments with other setting.




  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,550 points)
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    Nov 24, 2012 8:50 AM (in response to hibhaven)

    , my question of 'how' to deal with two very large versions of the same file, still remains:) How do you deal with it?

    Since the two versions are de facto different images and I need them both, I keep them both. There is no help for it.

    If the external edit does not require a high photometric resolution, I use 8-bit tiffs, to keep the quasi masters small. And I relocate the original originals to an external volume, where I keep the original files from the older projects. On my system drive are only the originals from the projects I am currently working with.





    I hope others will chime in - I'd like to see more answers here

  • Ernie Stamper Level 8 Level 8 (37,455 points)
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    Nov 24, 2012 9:20 AM (in response to hibhaven)

    There is never any question in my mind about keeping the original RAW file -- always.


    I applaude the flexibility that Aperture affords on the quasi-Masters, but one must always remember that later adjustments made in Aperture to any image that has round-tripped to Photoshop will not be seen in Photoshop if re-opened there.  If needed you can make a Duplicate Version of any of these round-tripped files, and send that version to Photoshop to have the full combination of adjustments in PS, and post-PS adjustments in Aperture.


    I generally don't worry about space, but just buy bigger and bigger drives.  I often leave layers created in PS on the quasi-masters now stored in the Aperture Library.  I have a few (very few) quasi-masters that exceed 1 GB in size, but that is mostly a lark.  In general if related to images shot on my Nikon D800, the RAW files are about 45 MB, and Tiffs, 16-bit, are 200 MB plus.  I appreciate the reference to lens correction, and will have to investigate your link.



  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,550 points)
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    Nov 24, 2012 10:15 AM (in response to hibhaven)
    Can you explain how you move RAW files to external drives?


    What I did is, I turned my library into a (partially) referenced library; see Aperture 3 User Manual: Working with Referenced Images



    Is it done by manually dragging your originals from your hard disk to an external drive?


    No, never move image files that Aperture has imported on your own. If I want the originals for older projects moved to another drive, I select the versions in the browser and use the command "File > Relocate original file(s)". Aperture will move the image files to the folder that I select. Since Aperture itself stores the files, it can keep track of them, and I can access them from Aperture just like before. Only they are no longer stored in the Aperture library but n an external volume.


    The consequences are: When I want to edit these image versions or to export them, I have to make sure the external volume is mounted. But even when the external volume is not mounted. I still can use the images in my screensaver or in the media browser; I can rate them and tag them and use them in albums. Aperture will use the previews for this, if previews are available. So you should set Aperture to render high quality jpeg previews. That is what I have done with my older projects.

  • Aye Es Oh Level 2 Level 2 (330 points)
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    Nov 24, 2012 10:27 AM (in response to léonie)

    I'd say to save the images as LZW-compressed TIFFs, which Aperture does support. However, lossless compression of photographic images doesn't save much space, and in my testing, Preview's compressed TIFFs actually appear to take up more space than uncompressed TIFFs.


    I don't have a copy of Photoshop for testing right now, perhaps Photoshop is better in this regard.

  • MisterMojo Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Nov 24, 2012 10:41 AM (in response to hibhaven)

    I always keep the RAW files. Images that are edited using other software are imported into Aperture as TIFFs and placed in a separate project. All my image files are referenced masters on external drives.


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