9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 3, 2013 2:03 PM by hallerphoto
hallerphoto Level 1 (0 points)

Happy New Year, all.


We have a problem in Aperture that I was curious if others had, and I'm hoping somebody has figured out a workaround they will share with me. Originally, we used Aperture and it had one huge library for our different types of photography. We had to change away from that setup because if there was a problem it would take ages to troubleshoot a ~500GB library and perform actions like rebuilding the library. We didn't want to do this, but splitting into six libraries has improved the speed in general and has made rebuilding smaller individual libraries quicker.


We shoot a lot of photos and want each photo to have a unique number (along with a custom name). We set up a rename option in Aperture that has "Custom Name_Counter" and set counter to be six digits. The problem this seemed to create is that the counter in the rename function doesn't produce a unique number consistently across libraries. If I'm in library A, and I rename a batch of files, the counter will go up and remember its last number as long as I stay in Library A. The minute I switch to Library B, the number is at where it was the last time I used Library B. This indicates to me that the preferences travel with the library.


Does anybody know a way that I can have a global preferences file, rather than a library preferences file? It seems it maybe used to be this way, but one of the version 3 upgrades forced me to delete a preferences file for the Facebook bug a couple of version 3 subversions ago.


On a different note, another problem with renaming is that it is so slow. Renaming master files for even 100 or so files takes minutes. Does anybody else have this happen? Sometimes it's faster, but I haven't been able to figure out a pattern to this.


I've submitted feature requests for revamping the renaming interface for Aperture for at least a couple of years. It never seems to improve. iView Media Pro, a program I used six years ago, had a great renaming setup and I wish Aperture


Maybe it's time to reinstall Aperture. I bought it on disc, so it's not through the App store. Does anybody have experience reinstalling? I would, of course, like to keep keywords and other preferences.

Aperture 3, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.2)
  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)

    You do not specify your hardware and setup, but my experience has been that properly set up  on strong hardware a 500 GB Aperture Library with images referenced on separate drives should be plenty fast without disabling the images database by splitting into multiple libraries.



  • Frank Caggiano Level 7 (25,715 points)

    The name counter (as well as index) is per library not unique to the application.


    For something like you are looking for you would need to use an Applescript to do the exportoing and have that script access a file that stored the last counter number and then updated the file when it was finished. Then all exports would need to use the script but the counter would be the same for all libraries.



  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    If "each photo to have a unique number (along with a custom name)" is all you are looking for from a file-naming convention, there are ways to achieve it without assigning numbers in series.  For instance, you could have each photographer use a unique numerical prefix, which combined with a rigorously implemented file-naming convention used by each photographer for his/her Library will ensure unique numbers regardless of Library.


    My _general_ recommendation is to use the camera file's date-time stamp as a unique identifier -- this is part of the EXIF, is (usually) retained on export, and is not readily changed.  I would then add an "Event/Shoot" descriptor to each import, and, for Libraries containing Images from more than one photographer, a photographer descriptor as well (usually the photographer's name).  Aperture provides the tools to do this in the File Naming Preset ("Aperture➞Presets➞File Naming").  Put "Image Date" and "Image Time" at the head of any file name, and re-name the Original on import, and you will be able to easily index, file, find, and retrieve your files by name, as well as sort them by time taken using any file browser.

  • hallerphoto Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the reply. Machine is a Mac Pro dual quad-core 2.16 GHz. Files are referenced.


    From experience and experimentation, our setup with one big library is slower and more cumbersome. Combined library size would be 622 GB. I've got it split into six libraries.


    As I stated, if something goes wrong with any library at any time, it takes much longer to repair and troubleshoot with larger libraries. We've had this happen before and had to strike the balance between having something that we could quickly recover from versus being out of commission for a day because of unusable libraries.

  • hallerphoto Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the idea, Frank. This sounds like it would achieve the desired results.

  • hallerphoto Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks for the reply, Kirby. I like your idea, and this is very similar to what I did a few years ago when I first started to use Aperture.


    The problem I had with it, and the reason I stopped using that method, is that I liked the idea of a single, small number better (one that kept counting up). I like the more simple filenames. This was always good when using a single library.


    YYYYMMDD-HH-MM-SS-[custom name] is great, but the number takes up 18 characters of the filename. We have one client who can only take 20-character filenames (not sure why) and we want to have at least the digit match and be unique in our library. Throw in a number to identify photographer and you've got another character used up. If Aperture could store exported file name somewhere in the metadata, I wouldn't have to worry about this. One other issue that crops up is when there are multiple images from within the same second. Aperture handles this scenario by giving them all the same Version filename, but then renames the actual master files with a space (1), space (2), etc. It won't let me choose how to handle that situation. I prefer not to have spaces or parentheses in filenames, and I prefer to have all version names match in all master filenames. This isn't too crazy to expect, is it?


    I would strongly like Apple to add more flexibility to the file naming presets. Even if programmers added Image Hour, Image Minute and Image Second instead of the only option of Image Time (which is ok, except I would rather there be no hyphens between), I would be happier. I guess it's time to file another feature request (which I've already done multiple times). Actually, wouldn't it be nice if you could tap into the EXIF info in the renaming options?

  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)

    hallerphoto wrote:

    I prefer not to have spaces or parentheses in filenames, and I prefer to have all version names match in all master filenames.

    I agree.




    Actually, wouldn't it be nice if you could tap into the EXIF info in the renaming options?

    I agree, that would be very nice: fully flexible no-spaces file naming that links as a metadata field.



    YYYYMMDD-HH-MM-SS-[custom name] is great, but the number takes up 18 characters of the filename. We have one client who can only take 20-character filenames (not sure why)...





    The client no doubt uses a database that includes a field that was limited to 20 characters when built for some reason. With modern DBs the reason is usually for output reasons; i.e. forcing the field data to fit into a preset output report format without being cut off.


    YYMMDD is six characters, good through 2099 . Add 4 characters to identify the image (I use the camera file numbering) and one letter to identify the photog or camera and that is 11 characters, leaving 9 characters for a keyword mnemonic like "Boeh.wed." Identifying versions would use another character.



  • SierraDragon Level 4 (2,695 points)

    hallerphoto wrote:

    Machine is a Mac Pro dual quad-core 2.16 GHz.

    I am unaware of a 2.16 GHz Mac Pro tower. Are you referring to a Macbook Pro or to an iMac? Or is it a configuration I am just unaware of?


    My concern is that it seems that you may be making major workflow compromises that might be better dealt with by hardware changes as feasible. E.g. most 2.16 GHz Mac CPUs are about 1/6 as strong as a top Mac Pro today or about 1/4 as strong as today's Macbook Pros, and that has huge implications on Aperture performance.


    Also, graphics processors of the 2.16 GHz era were ridiculously weak compared to modern Macs. Aperture has historically performed best with strong GPUs (e.g. the strongest G5 towers would not run Aperture without a GPU upgrade). If you stay with the existing box a GPU upgrade may (if feasible) be in order.


    You did not mention RAM, which has defining impact on Aperture performance.


    Even if no hardware upgrades are made, it is useful to know what hardware performance bottlenecks may exist. So some questions:


    • Which Mac(s), exactly?


    • Which OS version and which Aperture version?


    • How much RAM is on board?


    • If a Mac Pro, which GPU card is in use?


    • What mass storage (hard drives and SSDs), how connected and how full?





  • hallerphoto Level 1 (0 points)

    Whoops. Actually, I was wrong on the machine. Here are the specs:


    Processor  2 x 2.26 GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon

    Memory  24 GB 1066 MHz DDR3 ECC

    Graphics  NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 512 MB

    Software  OS X 10.8.2 (12C60)

    Aperture 3.4.3


    Various drives for data storage, always < 90% full. Startup drive less full. Will maybe transition to solid state for startup.