Aperture users - do you use previews?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by VirtualRain, Dec 13, 2013.

  1. VirtualRain macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    It's interesting, but at some point early on in using Aperture 3, I appear to have disabled previews. Now, I'm starting to wonder why I did that.

    In reading up on it, it seems that previews are good for flipping through images quickly and sharing them with other applications, but it also consumes a lot of resources in creating them upon import and then again with each adjustment. I also see articles related to rebuilding them due to issues, and even deleting them to save GB of space.

    So there are trade-offs involved with using them.

    Are you using them? Was it a conscious decision or just a setting you never bothered to change? Why? What are the pros/cons from your perspective?
     
  2. gene.sf macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    #2
    If you want other iApps to use Aperture photos, then you need to turn previews on. If that's not an issue for you, then definitely turn them off or go low-res to save on some drive space.
     
  3. AlanShutko macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 2, 2008
    #3
    I leave previews on because disk space is cheap and rendering really big raw files (or worse, 48-bit tiffs) is slow.
     
  4. MiniD3 macrumors 6502a

    MiniD3

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    #4
    Hi there,

    Great post, many options I guess
    This is the way I see it,
    If disc space is a concern, there are a few ways to tackle the problem,
    1. you can change the size of your previews and reduce the quality
    2. have all your images managed but reduce the quality of the previews
    3. have all your images referenced and store them on vaults
    4. have a mixture of both, your need will vary depending on disc space and number of images

    I am currently managing with the current year managed and the rest are referenced
    I have a 750GB SSD and don't want to fill it up too much
    I do have other archived images stored on separate drives that I rarely need and only hook them up when I need a particular image
    My experience with a reasonably fast iMac and using external USB3 HHD's, the load of images is extremely fast

    I spent some months sorting it all out, but I'm happy with the result

    YMMV but the first thing I found was that it was time to upgrade, not only to a new computer but Aperture as well, in the past all images were sitting on drives all over the place, now I have about 8000 previews which are not having any impact on internal SSD space

    The only caution would be to always backup on import, (keep those originals in a separate folder and after, transfer those images to at least another external drive)

    When backing up on import, at least you have those files separate from the aperture library giving you access from any other program you like
    ....Gary
     
  5. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #5
    The Aperture community must be in worse shape than I thought... only 4 of us using it. :p
     
  6. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    Location:
    NSW, Australia.
    #6
    I'm using them. As you've discovered, it's very slow otherwise.

    I think they're essential, they don't use a great deal of space compared to the original RAW file and disk space is pretty cheap these days.

    I have them generating at half size of the original and on quality 8 (about 400kb each) I could probably get away with them being even smaller.

    I like being able to quickly drag them out of Aperture into another app and have a useable image of decent resolution already rendered for me.
     
  7. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #7
    I see, thanks. I'll give them a try. Do you notice it re-render the preview while making adjustments or is that completely transparent?
     
  8. TheReef macrumors 68000

    TheReef

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    NSW, Australia.
    #8
    It's transparent, it'll be a new job in the activity window (you will see "Processing" appear at the bottom of Aperture while it's happening)

    It's most noticeable after import where it has to generate all the previews.
     
  9. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #9
    Thanks Reef.

    For anyone that's interested in this, I did an experiment using previews and not... and the results are that I don't see a lot of benefit to using them, and I suspect the faster your computer, the less helpful previews are.

    Here's what I observed...

    I shot 112 RAW photos last night.

    I first imported them into a project with my normal setting of not generating previews. It took 2:40 to import and then processing was done at 3:20.

    I then turned on previews for new projects (half-size, quality 10), created a new project, and imported them again and it took 2:40 to import (as you'd expect) but processing wasn't done until 4:00. So generating previews lengthened the import process by about 10-15%. Not too bad.

    CPU usage during processing with no previews was around 50%, while with previews being generated it peaked at 70% which makes sense.

    Then I started browsing images in both projects. The "Loading" indicator still appears, even when using previews, although it's displayed for maybe only 1 second instead of 2 when not using previews. It's a noticeable difference, but it's not a painful difference. I certainly didn't find previews instantaneous. But I could see that with a slower dual-core CPU or something, this might be a huge advantage.

    CPU consumption loading previews or not seems similar... My CPU usage was about 50% flipping through the browser in either case. Which is strange... this implies a slower computer might still take awhile to display the previews.

    Bottom line: previews do save a bit of time during browsing and it may make more difference on a slower CPU, but on my 2009 Mac Pro Quad Core, it's not a huge improvement since the RAWs can be rendered in real-time pretty quickly anyway. So for me, I don't think the added import time and space consumption is worth it. It will be interesting to see if the nMP I'm eyeing will further reduce the gap here.
     
  10. buysp macrumors 6502

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    Feb 12, 2013
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    Sydney, Australia
    #10
    Sorry if this is a stupid question. If I enable previews on Aperture, can I only shoot in RAW format on my Canon DSLR and let Aperture generate the preview because at the moment its set to RAW + JPEG.
    I have a late 15" rMBP 2.3/16GB/512SSD so RAW will render pretty fast. At the moment it imports both RAW and JPEG and it may become a PITA to manage down the track.
     
  11. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #11

    You must be reading an old book. Check the copyright date. Previews are only generated once on import and it runs in the background while you edit the first pic the second the third are importing. On a modern Mac this runs as fast as the memory on the SD card will allow.

    As for disk space, 1TB drives are now under $100.

    If you don't have the previews Aperture will be very slow.
     
  12. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #12
    Yes, that's one of the benefits of using previews, is that you have access to an Aperture generated JPEG image at a size and quality you specify, so shooting JPEG is a bit redundant.

    ----------

    I did some tests and reported my observations above in post #9.
     
  13. buysp macrumors 6502

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    #13
    Great, thanks for the heads up VirtualRain
     
  14. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #14
    I shoot JPEG+RAW and use JPEG as my masters. I find that out of camera... JPEG looks better than RAW.

    In my work flow... I prefer looking at the JPEG and not applying adjustments to RAW during the early stages. Once I have a collection of photos that are worth doing something with (ex: a book)... then I will select that collection, switch to RAW as the master... and then do my RAW workflow on this [much smaller] collection of photos.

    I find it to be a time saver... by only processing my best images in RAW. One of the beautiful things about aperture is its ability to import both as a pair, and then switch back and forth between the two originals at will.

    I personally use previews, and I have it set to fit within 2560x2560... as it means that I can always fill my screen with full resolution photos.

    My iMac (2012 i7, 780MX, 768 GB SSD, 8TB Pegasus array) is essentially instantaneous in Aperture.

    /Jim
     
  15. buysp, Dec 16, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2013

    buysp macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Hi,

    Yes i did notice that the RAW quality (without adjustments is disappointing)
    What would you suggest as best practice (folder organisation) for JPEG+RAW importing into Aperture?

    Cheers Paul
     
  16. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #16
    When you import RAW+JPEG... the two masters are permanently linked together... and on a picture by picture basis, you can determine which of the two is used as the master. They never get unlinked. You can change back and forth whenever you wish.

    I find it best to import RAW+JPEG using JPEG as the master. They look better out of camera. However... it is trivial to change the master from JPEG to RAW for any pictures you want to manipulate.

    So let's say I go to Hawaii for a month and come back with 3000 images. I import them all as JPEG+RAW (JPEG as master). I can reject/accept, rate, stack, geotag, keyword, etc... and maybe get down to 150 that I want to publish in a book. I take that book album, select all, and switch master to RAW. Now I have a better source to use for editing, white balance, round trip to NIK, etc.

    An analogy of film would be: Get prints&negatives. Sort using prints, because they look better and are easier to use than negatives. Once you know which images to use... switch to negatives for generating your project.

    /Jim
     
  17. buysp macrumors 6502

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    #17
    At the moment when i import RAW+JPEG they come out as separate images i.e. mg/jpeg files so my library will potentially become a photo duplicate nightmare!
    How do i address this?

    Cheers Paul
     
  18. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #18
    This is very strange. Are you using iPhoto or Aperture? Aperture should allow you to import them as a pair... and for all practical purposes, once imported as a pair, they remain a pair.

    /Jim
     
  19. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #19
    I did some further testing on my two test libraries (one using Previews and the other not).

    The attached screens show the CPU Load in two distinct bumps... the one on the left flipping through the Aperture browser with no previews, and the one on the right flipping through the browser with previews. Note that the CPU utilization with previews was about 10-15% less.

    I also used OpenGL Driver Monitor in the Xcode tools that allowed me to monitor GPU utilization... you can see that in the other graph. In this case, GPU utilization was relatively minor while GPU VRAM was nearly maxed out for my 512MB card. BTW, the sustained GPU core utilization on the far left, is when I was testing brushes. It seems brushes utilize the GPU to some extent.

    Bottom line: Previews save about 10% CPU utilization and it's worth noting that Aperture takes advantage of multiple cores nicely. I was consistently seeing 600% CPU utilization (6 cores utilized on my Hyper-threaded Quad Core)
     

    Attached Files:

  20. buysp, Dec 17, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2013

    buysp macrumors 6502

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    #20
    I think I know what's going on here! On my rMBP, I'm using Aperture and when I'm transferring the files via external HDD to my iMac it imports via iPhoto and that's when I'm sighting the multiple copies (RAW/JPEG)
     
  21. flynz4 macrumors 68040

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    Portland, OR
    #21
    Once you move to Aperture... I would suggest that you completely remove using iPhoto from your workflow. I can see no benefit to keep iPhoto as part of a normal workflow.

    If you want to do some small project in iPhoto... I would just export the images from Aperture and import them into iPhoto for the project.

    /Jim
     
  22. redkamel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    #22
    Sure do use Previews. They are great. I turned off auto preview generation to save disk space many years ago, however these days it doesn't make a difference. Sample workflow

    Import->edit->image manipulation->tag and rate->create previews.
    At the end of the year, everything is referenced unless it is an active or very recent project. Those get referenced end of January.

    It makes scrolling/viewing much faster, images can be used by other Apple programs, and you can drag and drop to email and desktop. Also, I only keep the current years photos managed, the rest are referenced, so I can still use/show older photos whenever I want.
     
  23. buysp macrumors 6502

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    #23
    Thanks Jim.
     
  24. stewartmaxipuch macrumors newbie

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    Dec 17, 2013
    #24
    Quick Preview mode?

    You state that you still see the loading indicator with previews enabled, which sounds like you aren't using the "Quick Preview" mode, which to me is the greatest benefit of generating previews.

    I always have Aperture in "Quick Preview" mode (For general browsing and also during first sorting/deleting after import), the only exception being when actually editing pictures.
     
  25. VirtualRain thread starter macrumors 603

    VirtualRain

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    #25
    Hmmm... You're absolutely right. I didn't know that was different in any way from regular previews. I'll check that out. I think you're right, this will make them much more useful during the rating/sorting process. Thanks!
     

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