Aperture: library across multiple drives & unified iPhoto library

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by roland.g, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    I have Aperture but have never really used it.
    My iPhoto library is getting larger and larger and with newer higher Mega-Pixel cameras, even more so.

    I'd like to switch to Aperture and read about storing files in more than one location, which I like the sound of. However, I also ready about iPhoto and Aperture able to share a "unified" library.

    Can these work together. Have Aperture store some files locally and other externally, but have iPhoto access them as one "unified" library though stored in separate locations.

    Would I have to import my iPhoto library to Aperture as to make Aperture the main library manager, then tell Aperture where to store some files, etc. And then have iPhoto just access the library.

    Also does this take advantage of the Aperture all versions in a single image? Does that mean that all manipulations need to be in Aperture?

    Can you have it so that a 2ndary library in Aperture is not part of the iPhoto unified library for all non photos (graphics, etc.)?

  2. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    All the "unified library" really means is that Aperture and iPhoto now create exactly the same kind of library file. This means that either app can read the library, regardless of which app you used to create it. (In the past, each app created a proprietary library file, so you could only use that same app to open it again).

    The file management you mentioned is called a "referenced" library (where the file doesn't move, but the app simply points to it).
    It's possible to use a referenced library in either Aperture or iPhoto, although the default setting for each one is to create what's called a "managed" library (where the photographs are imported inside the library).

    The benefit of using a referenced library is that you can organise all your photos in a single library, but have the actual raw & jpeg files spread across numerous drives.

    If you want to set up a referenced library in iPhoto then all you have to do is got to Preferences > Advanced and uncheck the box that says "Importing: copy items to the iPhoto library". Unchecking that box will mean the photo says exactly where it is.

    HOWEVER, you always have to remember that iphoto / aperture is pointing to that file. If you move the file outside of these apps (for example, moving folders around in the Finder) then that link will be broken and aperture/iPhoto will say the file is missing. For this reason you have to be very careful when using referenced files across multiple locations.

    You asked about using both Aperture and iPhoto for different things, but once you start using Aperture I honestly don't think you'll ever have a need to use iPhoto any more. Opening your iPhoto library in Aperture will save all your edits, ratings & tags, so you have no real reason to continue using iPhoto. Aperture is a far more powerful editing tool and offers many more options when managing the locations of your files. It may seem complicated at first, but once you begin to learn how aperture works you will probably just open all your libraries in Aperture in the future.

    Apologies for the long post, but I hope that sheds some light on how both applications work.

  3. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    Thanks for reply!

    The importing function you mentioned. What about coming off the camera. It still has to copy those, I do I need to manually put them "where" I want them, and then add them to the Aperture or iPhoto library to point them. I would hope for this the file is copied in and "managed" in some way or that would be a pain each time I go to import.

    Also, as I understand it Aperture does Faces and Places and Books even better than iPhoto but doesn't do Calendars, which we order every year for family. So there may be an occasion or two to use it.

    Really the only reason I want to split my library at all is that my 2011 iMac was stolen in a home burglary. Thank goodness for backups. And I had a 256GB SSD along with 1TB HDD. I had the photo library on the HDD but should have had it on the SSD for speed. I am trying to decide between the 1TB Fusion Drive or the 256GB SSD for my 2013 replacement, but ultimately want my photos on the SSD. If my SSD gets too full, I would want to offload and point older photos as well as any graphics type files (images that are non-photos) to an external USB drive. Currently my iPhoto library is 100GB but that will be reduced to 65GB when I pull all my video out and store that externally. In the past I let iPhoto import video from my iPhone and Point and Shoots and will stop that from now on.
  4. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Apr 3, 2013
    Scotland, UK
    Yes, if you were doing this in iPhoto then I believe you'd need to copy the photos where you want them manually, and then import them from that folder into iPhoto. I could be wrong about this though because I don't use iPhoto.

    If you're importing into Aperture then you have far more import options - you can choose to copy the files into a managed library, or I think you can move them from the card to another location if you prefer. You also have far more flexibility after the import - you can move files either into a managed library, or out from a managed library to a referenced folder afterwards. It really is completely flexible.

    I don't think the SSD will make as much of a difference Aperture's speed as you're hoping it will. Aperture generates preview images of all your photos when you import them and it's these preview files you are looking at in your library. Having all your original raw files on an internal SSD probably won't speed Aperture up very much, however it definitely will fill your SSD quickly. As long as your library is on the SSD then it should be absolutely no problem to have your referenced files on a regular HDD.
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes, you want to let Aperture "manage" the images. It puts them inside some automatically created folder that you never see and it is all inside the big folder called "aperture library"

    An aperture library needs to be all on one volume. It can't span volumes. BUT you can have more then one Aperture library and you can move projects between libraries. Aperture is license allows you to install two copies. One on a notebook and one on a desktop. the idea is the main library runs on the desktop and the smaller one runs on the notebook. But is is flexible enough several libraries to be any place. The "project" is the smalles self-contained object that has all the metadata and your edits. These are like events orfilm rolls in iPhoto.

    There is also a "vault" system for moving and archiving data.

    If it were me I'd simply combine the SSD and HDD into one fusion drive and left Mac OS X worry about what goes where. It is likely better it than you are.
  6. roland.g thread starter macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    I just wish the SSD part of the Fusion drive was larger since my 2011 machine had a 256 and a 1TB.

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