Aperture Noob: Painful lesson + tip

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by sl1200mk2, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. sl1200mk2 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    #1
    I got married late summer this year in Montana. It was a destination wedding with all of our families flying out and spending a week or more there. Needless to say the area is absolutely gorgeous (Big Fork / West Glacier area) and we were given many beautiful days. Our wedding was handled by a professional photographer, but my wife and I took about 600 shots the remaining days with our D40 and Casio Exilim.

    Being a recent 'switcher' as of May I've been using Aperture and migrated all of my prior photos into the new library. I'm absolutely religious about backing up and using the vault. I backup to two different external drives and had brought one of them with me on the trip. Long story short, not fully understanding Aperture 100% at this point, I had been importing all of the photos we had been taking each day into a folder and not directly into the Aperture library as the rest of my collection. These were 'referenced' files I would later learn. I had been backing up the vault each day after importing pictures (or so I thought I was backing up). Referenced files aren't backup up using the vault feature.

    So... the very last evening of the trip, after about 3/4 the way through a bottle of wine, I'm sitting there as I do each night, reviewing the pictures and what not. I'm browsing the MBP drive and noticing I'm getting low on storage (also taking a lot of video as well). I see this folder I don't recognize taking up a huge amount of space. I realize these are indeed the pictures, but thought they were also within the Aperture vault (why wouldn't they be -- everything else was) and some how just extra copies. I then proceed to.... wait for it.... delete that folder! Absolutely brilliant I know!! :rolleyes:

    It wasn't until a couple of weeks later in trying to do some edits that I realized what I had done. Since Aperture makes preview pictures it isn't apparent until you try to make changes and see all the options grayed out and that wonderful yellow exclamation mark icon I've grown to loathe appears. Absolute sheer panic and terror had set in after discovering I had fully nuked 600 pictures of memories that were of one of the biggest events in our lives. :eek:

    After spending $200 or more in various disk and CF card recovery software and hours upon hours of time invested, I managed to recover about 200 of the original RAW files from one of the CF cards. Nothing was recoverable from the MBP... believe me, I tried (and tried and tried). Keep in mind it was a few weeks before I realized things were gone and using the MBP (including manipulating all those big video files I took) nearly every day, so by the time I used data recovery software that deleted data had been trashed for good.

    I had set Aperture to make 'high quality' previews (much higher than default)... no idea why, just sounded good at the time. In a way that was the only silver lining of my ignorance. I still had all the previews of the missing masters. I proceeded to painstakingly begin to screen capture (in full mode) each of the 400 pictures as to have *something* to salvage of our memories. Needless to say that process absolutely SUCKED! I had gotten about half way through 400 pictures when I found a trick.

    Any of you who accidentally delete or destroy your masters this is a way to get something instead of nothing...

    If you have a MobileMe account Aperture will allow you to export pictures (their previews) to the web gallery even if the referenced masters are missing! You simply get a warning that the full sized images will be unavailable until they are restored to the library. It will then proceed to publish all of the 'optimized' pictures which are (in my case) the same size / quality as the previews. Once published you can download the entire album(s) zipped, delete your missing referenced pictures and re-import your 'new' masters.

    This is a FAR better and faster (by order of magnitudes) method than what I was trying. Again, it's by no means like having the originals (especially if you shoot in RAW), but it's SOMETHING. I can at least make 4x6 prints with these and believe me, I'm practically rejoicing having this instead of NOTHING.

    I don't wish anyone to go through this, but it might save someone else too. I've since purchased the Apple training book on Aperture and learned all about the vault system and referenced files. I try not to drink and edit either, but if I do I certainly don't delete anything!! :eek:

    Wayne
     
  2. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #2
    oh I feel your pain. I would not like to have that happen, and no matter how careful you are, it's just something that could happen when you're not thinking.

    Also one more FYI:

    The previews are saved in Aperture's package...it would take forever (probably) but each of the preview jpgs are stored in the image folder.

    Right click on Aperture>show package.

    Then go into the project by right-clicking that and "show package" as well. Each photo will have its own folder where the jpg preview lives.

    I didn't try it, but to save time, you could probably open an iPhoto library, and import the previews from Aperture into iPhoto (w/ out having a mobile me account)

    You could also rig up some sort of search as well, searching in the Aperture package for all jpgs. It would probably work there as well.

    Wow, I am so glad you at least recovered the "memories" even though they are not full sized raw files - it would have been a shame to be w/out anything.
     
  3. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #3
    Oh I'm so sorry for you :(

    Ever since my daughter was born, I am absolutely fanatical / terrified about backing up.

    I keep everything on the computer, time capsule, two external hard drives, one at work, and burn CD/DVD with Backup of all new photos that I store offsite.

    And I still don't feel safe, so I'm getting a Drobo.

    I just can't stand the thought of losing this stuff. Oh, the really good ones go on .Mac/iDisk, too.
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    Two things I always try and tell people.

    1. Never go on a trip with new equipment. Learn to use it at home. Go through multiple full cycles. Two reasons for this: a) It is easier to learn at home where you have time and b) If something is going to break it is most likely to either when it is very new or very old.
    2. Test your backup method before you trust it. Can you actually restore from a vault or time machine drive?

    To bad you didn't ask here about here to get all the JPG previews. There is a simple easy way to pull them out of the Aperture library. Would have taken just a couple minutes.
     
  5. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #5
    I figure yo know this already, a Drobo would not have address this problem. Most data loss is do to operator error. Theft of the equipment is something like second place.
     
  6. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #6
    What is it? It might be a good reference to list it so we all know just in case...hopefully we'll never need it though!

    I couldn't find anything "easy" when I looked through the menus. I am curious now
     
  7. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #7
    I agree, but I am just adding every possible layer I can possibly have.

    Also, I will put all my Mac Mini ripped DVD movies on it, which I don't have a ready backup for (too big) to insulate against drive failure. Won't save me in a theft though, you are right.
     
  8. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    #8
    Thanks for sharing with us. I'm also an aperture noob and I totally destroyed my library the other night just as you had done. Thinking that ALL photos are moved into the aperture library file like you had thought, I deleted all the originals from the harddrive. I then tried to work on one of the photobooks I was working on a few days later. To my surprise, I wasn't able to work on it because all the originals had been deleted.

    I then tried restoring my Photo folder from TimeMachine. Guess what? The Aperture Library was never backed up by TimeMachine for some reason. So, I have all the originals back but the way I had them neatly organized in Aperture, the three photobooks I was working on and all the edited pictures are gone. :(

    Needless to say, I'm pretty mad at myself for not learning how to use aperture properly but also pretty mad at Apple for making such a lousy "TimeMachine".

    Based on experience, what is the "BEST" way to organize and back up photos? Optimally, I would like the original photos and Aperture library synchronized with my desktop. I'm just going to manually back up my photo folder on an external HD.
     
  9. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #9
    I think that is what the vault is for, although I don't use it.

    I use chronosync to back up my aperture libraries. I do use Time Machine as well, but I don't know if it's backing up Aperture, but it doesn't matter, since I have an alternate way of backing up.
     
  10. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    #10
    I'll have to use the Vault from now on. Anyone know how I can resync my new Aperture library with my MobileMe Galleries?
     
  11. disdat macrumors regular

    disdat

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Location:
    New England USA
    #11
    I was thinking about your problem today...and I took at look at my Time Machine backup through Finder (not through the TM interface), and it appears that the package for Aperture is intact. I opened the package, and it looks like all the photos are there...but I didn't officially try to copy the library over to another drive, so I don't know for sure if it would work.

    Did you check your Aperture library in Finder to see if your full library was there?
     
  12. Aries326 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2007
    #12
    I've been playing around with Aperture myself. Apparently, you can move original files into the aperture library and discard the originals. If you add files to the library without having the originals physically copied into the library (keeping the files in the original folder), whenever you work on a file, it works on the original file found outside the library and what you have inside the library are the thumbs or lesser equivalents of the files. This is how I understand it at least.

    The mistake that the original poster and I made was to make room on our harddrives by deleting the original files in the original folders thinking that a full copy was already stored in the aperture library.
     
  13. Digital Skunk macrumors 604

    Digital Skunk

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2006
    Location:
    In my imagination
    #13
    If you want the preview files from Aperture, all you have to do is drag and drop them from the Aperture window to the desktop, or open an iLife app like iWeb and drag and drop them from the media window.
     
  14. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #14
    Always burn your files to a DVD first.

    I can't tell you how many times, regardless of my good backup habits, this has saved me.
     
  15. DrWhiteFPS macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    #15
    accidently deleted photos in aperture

    I did something similar - total bonehead move - erased my aperture library by mistake.

    I called apple - they said nothing you can do...sorry. Called the genius bar at a local apple store - they said the same.

    I found this program through a friend and bingo. I got all of the photos back.

    It's called data rescue 2

    I highly recommend it
     

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