Aperture: sharing/exporting previews

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jeffy.dee-lux, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    montreal
    #1
    I recently upgraded from iPhoto to Aperture, partly motivated by the fact that it would allow me to better manage my library. I started shooting RAW last year and am quickly running out of space on my internal hard drive.

    My understanding was that Aperture would allow me to keep the RAW files on an external drive, while keeping a local JPG - I've learned that Aperture calls this JPG a preview file. What I didn't realize though, and what is really surprising to me, is that it seems like you're actually fairly limited in terms of what you can do with this preview. Sure you can view all your photos, and depending on your settings for previews, you can view it at full resolution. But I was surprised to see that you can't export or share photos unless your external drive with the master files is connected.

    This doesn't make sense to me - if the preview file lets you see the photo at full resolution without the external drive with the master files connected, doesn't that mean your internal hard drive contains a jpg copy of the photo, and if so, shouldn't that be good enough for sharing to Facebook, or dragging and dropping the preview onto the desktop for a JPG file? Meanwhile, it does seem to allow you to share with iLife and iWork projects without the original, but sharing the photos over facebook or email is about 99% of what I want to do with my photos, aside from working on the originals.

    Am I missing something here?
     
  2. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #2
    This is expected behavior: when you ask Aperture to export a file, it does not copy preview jpg. The preview jpg can have its own resolution (e. g. half of the master file's solution) and it uses different compression settings. Also, you may choose a different format, e. g. a lossless format like .tif. For that reason, Aperture will always render from the RAW file using the specified edits, and thus, you need to have the drives containing the masters (the RAW files) connected. Lightroom works the same way.

    If you want to mitigate this a bit, you can only reference part of your library, e. g. the older photos which you no longer access regularly, but keep the newer files managed. Aperture is very flexible, it allows you to mix and match managed and referenced files.
     
  3. jeffy.dee-lux thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    montreal
    #3
    Thanks, I appreciate the clarification and advice. Still seems weird to me that this preview file is there but that I can't really do anything with it other than view it! I might as well take a screen shot of it!
     
  4. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #4
    The preview is, well, just a preview. My Nikon D7000 produces 20 MB RAW files, my X100s' RAW files are about 32 MB in size. Each. A preview jpg only has a few hundreds of kB (depends very much on the setting). So for each RAW file, Aperture can load tens of previews. There is one last thing you can try, and that's drag & drop: with the storage disconnected, grab a file from the Aperture windows to, say, the desktop or the Finder window. I'm not sure whether that just copies the preview or Aperture renders the file again. It's worth a shot.
     
  5. jeffy.dee-lux thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    montreal
    #5
    Just upgraded to the new iPhoto (9.5) - not sure if this is a new feature or not, but iPhoto will let me export jpeg versions (to email, Facebook, etc.) of photos for which the original RAW file is stored elsewhere and not available. Aperture still does not let me do this.

    Yes, iPhoto can apparently do something Aperture can't! I really can't understand why Aperture wouldn't let you do this, and the fact that iPhoto can proves I'm not crazy!
     
  6. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #6
    Of course, you can do that with Aperture: you just drag & drop the image to the desktop or to other apps. That will copy the preview of the image. But I think you still don't understand what is going on under the hood and what market each of these apps are made for: when you export in Aperture, the app has to render the RAW file to your specifications (image format, compression ratio, etc.), so it cannot rely on the preview jpg. Among other things, for performance and size reasons, the preview jpg does not have the full resolution of the original (usually about half, I think). Moreover, you just couldn't create a lossless 16 bit tiff file from the preview jpg without incurring an image quality penalty.
     
  7. jeffy.dee-lux thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Location:
    montreal
    #7
    I may not be a pro user of Aperture yet, I'm still learning, but I don't think that means what I'm asking for doesn't make sense (why would iPhoto add the feature then?) Dragging and dropping to the desktop would be very tedious for creating Facebook albums or sending many photos in an email. i'll just simply switch to iPhoto whenever I want to share photos where my masters are unavailable.

    By the way, you can control what resolution you want for the preview, and full resolution is an option.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #8
    I reckon that iPhoto exports based upon the preview (since I haven't used iPhoto with referenced files, I haven't tried it, but it's the only thing that makes sense). For a pro app, such behavior is not acceptable, because it degrades quality. Aperture needs access to the original master file when you want to export photos. In short: it's not that the behavior you want doesn't make sense, period, but that it makes sense for a consumer app where simplicity trumps image quality, but not for a pro app where image quality is more important.
    Certainly, you can find the settings in Aperture's Preferences > Previews: you can set size and quality separately.
     
  9. swordio777 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #9
    Aperture and iPhoto work completely differently. In Aperture, the preview is a disposable file - aperture renders a jpeg based on your settings, but as soon as you change a setting that jpeg is thrown away and a new one is created from scratch.

    On the other hand, when iPhoto generates this jpeg it saves it inside the library at full resolution.

    Apple's own support page says:
    "Here’s how nondestructive editing works: When you import a photo, iPhoto stores the original version and never makes changes to it. After you open the photo and edit it for the first time, iPhoto saves the edited version separately, so you have two versions: the original photo and the edited photo. The original version is unaffected by your edits."

    The reason it appears you can do this in iPhoto is that it ALWAYS creates a full resolution JPEG and saves it inside the managed library. Aperture does not do this unless you specifically tell it to.
     

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