Photos.app is not the app I'm looking for

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by jdechko, Mar 3, 2015.

  1. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #1
    I really just needed a place to put down my initial impressions on the Photos app, so please bear with me. This isn't a rant, Apple's not doomed. Just need to write this down. Skip to the end if you want the tl;dr version.

    Now I don't have the typical Apple-expected setup, so I know that's my first mistake. I wrote off iPhoto years ago due to what I perceived were major issues with iPhoto. Some of them were real, like performance issues with large libraries, and some of them were self-imposed. I would much rather use the file system to organize my photos (though I'm inclined to believe that a single, monolithic library contributes heavily to performance issues).

    Dropbox is and has been my cloud storage provider of choice, and with the updates to iOS 8, Dropbox (and the awesome Carousel app) can perform many of the same functions as Apple's iCloud Photos. Carousel will automatically upload all photos and videos to Dropbox and will stream every picture in your Dropbox to your iOS Device or on the web. Complete cloud storage/access of all of your photos-sounds a lot like iCloud Photos.

    To save time managing photos, I have a set of Hazel rules (highly recommended) that watches the Camera Uploads folder and automatically sorts them by Year/Date and renames images by when they were taken. The only issue with this method was that I had no good way of viewing my photos for more than a given month.

    As a Windows user, I had used Picasa as a front-end viewer to the file system. However, that has a nasty habit of littering folders with unwanted files, so that was out on the Mac as well. Additionally, it only shows local files, not local & cloud files. This isn't a huge dealbreaker, though. I have a 128GB SSD, so I only keep 2 year's worth of pictures on the internal drive.

    Anyway, getting back to the matter at hand. When the Photots app was announced, I had high hopes that it could solve many of the issues I had with iPhoto. Things looked better when I found out that it was possible to leave photos in their existing places on import. Finally, I could manage the files, but have a front end viewer.

    Unfortunately, things didn't turn out the way I had hoped. Yes, you can leave photos in their existing location, but Photos isn't smart enough to watch folders for new images. You have to do a manual import, which is smart enough to skip photos that it has already imported, but the fact that the import must be manually started means that this feature is essentially a bust.

    Still, that's not the biggest dealbreaker I found. When did the initial photo import, I had just under 1200 photos that took 2.42GB of space on my drive. Leaving them where the were in the file system and just adding them to the Photos app, my Photos library file was 2.5GB! I was astonished. I was sure that I had told Photos to leave the files in their current location. So why was the library so big? Faces. Hundreds and thousands of faces. A feature I'll never use, with no visible way to turn off. Photos had gone through every photo and pulled out thumbnails of every face it could find. And it had taken up more space than all of the original photos.

    That was it for me. I've deleted the Photos library and removed the Photos app from my dock. I'll continue with my old system, that at least did what I expected it to, which is not take up space without permission. It's not even that I don't have the space available, but it did it without asking, and without a way to turn it off.

    Now, I know I wasn't fully committed to the Apple way of doing things. I'll freely admit that I had some reservations, and in all honesty, I probably had one foot out the door before I even tried it. Confirmation bias and all that jazz. I brought this on myself and I don't blame anyone but myself. The simple fact is that I found a system for managing Photos that works well for me, and it doesn't include Apple or the Photos app at this time.

    What I'd really just like to see is a native Mac version of Carousel. It would show me both local and cloud photos and integrate with the way I already work instead of forcing me to adopt a new way.

    If you're still reading this, thanks.

    TL;DR - I'm an idiot. I don't like the new Photos app and it's my fault. You don't need to see my identification. You can go about your business. Move along.
     
  2. simonsi macrumors 601

    simonsi

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2014
    Location:
    Auckland
    #2
    Ugh. I hate Faces. Fortunately you could turn that feature off in Aperture....and now I've moved to Capture One the problem doesn't arise any more for me.
     
  3. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #3
    I completely understand where you’re coming from. I’ve had a tenuous relationship with iPhoto too. I still don’t even know why I need a dedicated photos application at all, when all I care about is easy storage, access and a decent viewer. However, Finder just doesn’t cut it for viewing photos; both the icon view and Cover Flow have no use to me and I do like to add metadata. iPhoto on the other hand insists on maintaining a separate library file and you get the additional burden of having to deal with an organisation in ‘events’, an unorganised raster of ‘all photos’ and a separate rubbish bin. All I want is a decent album-based vlew, similar to folder management in Finder; but on iPhoto albums are like iTunes playlists that only visually arrange pictures, but leave the underlying files untouched (e.g. in iPhoto you can’t delete a photo in album view, you can only remove it from an album). To me, it felt like iPhoto is conceptually broken.

    I don’t think that Apple has made any improvements in that area with Photos. If anything, arranging pictures into albums seems to be more tedious than ever. At least you can delete pictures from the album view too now, but for that you have to right-click on every single picture and confirm! The moments view feels as unorganised as events view was in iPhoto. In short, Photos doesn’t seem to make it any easier to organise my photo library in a way that works for me.

    On top of that I get the feeling that Photos is an oversized iOS app. There is no meaningful drag and drop to move your pictures around (it doesn’t seem to be possible to drag a photo between albums or to other apps, you need to use the action/share sheet for now), you can’t control that much with the right-click menu or even hotkeys (you need to use the toolbar for everything), the navigation at times makes hardly any sense to me (e.g. the arrow buttons are no ‘back and forth’ controls like in Finder, but zoom controls; similar like the iOS app), the inspector appears like an afterthought and doesn’t make it all that easy to add metadata to pictures (I miss a good sidebar for this, iPhoto had one and made it really easy to quickly move from picture to picture).

    I realise that this is an unfinished product, but after all the early praise I read on several websites, I expected more from this. Granted, the performance so far is great, the scrolling is very smooth, the new filters will give you more options (even though I personally never liked using them) and I’m sure that it will really shine when connected to iCloud Photo Library. We’ll see where this goes during the beta.
     
  4. mjdindc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2015
    #4
    Liked and used iPhoto

    I like and used iPhoto and did use Faces. Faces was not nearly as good at recognizing faces as Picasa, but it did OK.But Faces in the new Photo app is not nearly as easy to use. There is no way to select multiple pics of one person and say there are the same. There is no way to tell it to ignore a face so I have thousands of faces of people in the background that I don't care about but still need to sort through them every time. There is no way to change the main photo that the app displays. When manually adding a face, Photo appears to put the circle for the face in some random spot on the picture. When there are multiple people (and multiple then multiple circles) correcting them to move to a face is time consuming.
     
  5. Beavix, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

    Beavix macrumors 6502a

    Beavix

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2010
    Location:
    Romania
    #5
    Yes, there is: right click on a face > Ignore this face.

    Yes, there is. I can't remember the exact name of the command and I don't have the MBP with me right now, but after you double click on a face to see all photos containing that person, right click on a photo and you'll find the option in the menu.

    EDIT: the command is Make Key Photo.
     
  6. mjdindc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2015
    #6
    Fix

    Thanks! On a laptop its a two finger click. That solves some of the problems.:)
     
  7. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    #7
    If you're looking for filesystem-based viewing only, consider Xee3.

    It's not perfect, but it's pretty good, cheap and does 95%+ of what I want it to do.
     
  8. slffl macrumors 65816

    slffl

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #8
    I stopped reading when you said you'd rather organize your photos yourself using the file system.

    Can someone please tell me why anyone would rather do this rather than use iPhoto's system other than ignorance?

    I used to do it that way before iPhoto back in the day, however letting iPhoto manage the file system is the best thing ever and I've never figured out a reason I'd want to go back doing it myself.
     
  9. KALLT macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #9
    Organisation perhaps? To me, the events view is a complete mess, because I don’t have that many pictures (relatively speaking) that would meaningfully be considered an ‘event’. But iPhoto insists on arranging everything into a event one way or another. Photos does the exact same thing, only calling it ‘moments’. At least with iPhoto you could merge events, but that doesn’t seem to be at all possible with moments.

    iPhoto and Photos neither have a way to manage pictures into folders, only the playlist-like albums. That’s not how how my brain works, that’s not how my organisation in Finder works. As such I avoid the events and moments view completely and just use Photo Stream and new albums for everything, even though it’s not ideal. At least the new Photos application has an ‘All Photos’ album, like the Camera Roll on iOS. I will continue picking new photos and placing them in albums.
     
  10. TETENAL macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2014
    #10
    At least when importing the existing iPhoto library, Photos uses symbolic links to the originals. Symbolic links look like real files that occupy real space, but in reality the disk space is only used once on the drive.

    I haven't tested Photos yet, but from your description it sounds like Photos does the same when referencing photos in external folders. Even though it appears to in Finder, your library would not use any additional space.
    If it is indeed like that, it would actually be quite smart, because symbolic links don't leave any dangling references behind like aliases.
     
  11. robgendreau macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #11
    OK, a few points about the TYPES of photo management we have.

    Photos (and iPhoto and Aperture) use a database to store info about images, like faces. And other stuff. So does Lightroom and Capture One and many others. Using a database means you can store everything from image adjustments (like conversion to B&W) to metadata (like face names) in a database for quick retrieval, and it leaves the photos untouched. Hence if you want a B&W you can export it, but still have your original color one. These are PIEs: parametric image editors.

    Most PIEs leave your image files in place and reference them. So in LR if you have "mom.jpg" in the Finder Folder "Family" that's where it lives. If you use Photos, and leave it at default, it will import (and it needs to import since it needs to put that photo and info in its database) and COPY "mom.jpg" into a package (fancy folder) in its library in "Masters" or something. Or, you can change the prefs and it will leave it in "Family" and only reference, i.e. point, to it. So Photos, unlike most PIEs, can be either a manager or a referencer (not sure it can do both; doubt it).

    Another model that can work is a browser. Sorta like the Finder, but with more features designed to work with images. Like display of exif and IPTC metadata, which is info such as keywords, copyright, location, camera type and settings, etc. And with a nice viewer. And smart enough to move images and sidecars, special files for metadata for RAW files. And maybe some image editing tools. Good examples are Graphic Converter and Lyn. Or even After Shot Pro, which can be a browser OR use a catalog.

    Some browsers can go further and create previews of images, so that they are both fast and can be used if images are stored on say an external that isn't available. NeoFinder is a good example.

    Or you can browse in the Finder. People don't seem to realize that they can also use Spotlight to find image files by camera model, lens, aperture setting, keywords, etc etc. A ton of that is indexed. Make a smart folder with such criteria, or say a date range, and right in the Finder you can have a dynamically updating folder with all the Canon shots taken this month in Spain that you've copied to your desktop. No need to import anywhere. And if you add keywords, then they could even find "mom" if that's a keyword you added.

    The advantage of browsers is that you can find stuff just like any old file. Like if you wanted to drag and drop from the Finder into some Word document or whatever, when using something that cannot peer into the Photos database. And it makes it easy to share and copy folders of images; if they are in Photos database they must be exported first.

    So choose the right type of tool for the job.

    And check out Graphic Converter, Lyn, and others like them. The PIE features of Photos are sorta nice, but not every finds them useful, and this is more true if Photos doesn't have the feature set you want, and if you don't wanna commit to Apple's cloud (yes, you can use it without that, but then there is less reasont to do so).
     
  12. orioncrystalice macrumors 6502

    orioncrystalice

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2014
    #12
    I like it so far. The general way it works still feels like it misses something though. Unless I'm mistaken, there isn't a way to simply mirror selected parts of your file system on Photos - I would want to do this and be able to utilize the app as a control panel for organizing the file system itself, e.g. if I rename an album in Photos, the album in Finder follows suit. Same idea as iTunes where things you edit in Info affects the source file in the directory. That would REALLY make organizing easier..
     
  13. hattonna928 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2014
    #13
    Actually the faces are just making up the difference in library size, they are relatively small files. Even if you have your photos optimized, photos for os x will store the full size photos locally on your Mac if you have the storage. I believe it says that in the settings when you choose between download and store originals and optimize storage. It actually does a similar thing on iOS it just doesn't mention it.
     
  14. jdechko, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

    jdechko thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #14
    As I mentioned in my first post, I think that iPhoto's library was cumbersome and unnecessary. I think that the monolithic library structure causes performance issues when you have tens of thousands of images. For all it's other flaws, I like the way that the iTunes library works.

    If I want to upload a photo somewhere, I can navigate the file system and find the actual file I want. I don't have to hope that an application will play nice with the iPhoto library structure. I don't have to worry that a backup service will mess up some critical function and force me to rebuild the library.

    Finally, an un-abstracted folder of images is portable. If I ever want to leave the Apple ecosystem, I don't have to jump through hoops to export my data.

    I don't know how it references the files, but that wasn't the problem I was running into. If you do a "Show Package Contents" on the Photos library, there is nothing in the "Masters" folder like with a traditional import, however, there is a "resources" folder that takes thumbnails of each face it finds. I looked through dozens of these folders to confirm. It grabs peoples faces, faces on t-shirts & even cartoon character faces. Each one is only a few KB, but in total, the faces resource took up over 2GB of space. I did a lot of digging to verify that Photos did not, in fact, import the pictures anyway.
     
  15. aristobrat, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

    aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #15
    That's weird -- I've never run into an application that didn't play nice.

    Anytime I've ever uploaded a photo in a browser (Safari, Firefox, Chrome), or needed to use one in an app (Microsoft Office, Preview, etc), the app always pops up the Mac's Finder window in "Open File" mode, which has a special Media area in the sidebar that lets you navigate through your Music, Photos and Movies quickly <because they're presented in the order that you last left them in those apps>.

    Personally, I prefer it because everything's visually where I expect it to be, and I'm using the the normal app I navigate the file system with (Finder) to find the file.
     

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  16. jdechko, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

    jdechko thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #16
    I didn't know that. Interesting.

    ------------------------------
    I did some more testing with my photos. Unfortunately, I got the same results as last time. The Photos library takes up more than the originals themselves. I ran some terminal commands to verify that the files aren't symlinked anywhere else just to confirm.

    Here are my results:
    Originals - 2.42GB
    Photos Library - 2.77GB (Not imported)
    Model Resources - 2.25GB

    For the fun of it, I also imported the pictures into an empty Lightroom catalog. I left the originals in place, and did not create smart previews.
    Lightroom Library & quick Previews - 56.3MB

    EDIT: For grins and giggles, I created a new Photos Library and did a full import. That library was 2.98GB. The "Masters" folder showed 2.42GB confirming that all originals were copied. It also created 408MB of thumbnails (this was the same whether the files were imported or not) For reference, the Carousel App creates locally cached thumbnails and was nearly 1GB for 30k photos vs 408MB for 1200 photos in the Photos app. So it looks like my use case would be the worst possible outcome as far as storage space requirements. So in the end, I think the legwork was valuable for people like me. The Photos app nearly doubled the space required to not import the files.
     

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  17. newellj macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2014
    Location:
    Boston, MA, US
    #17
    Interesting and useful feedback - thanks for taking the time to do this and write it up. It's hard to imagine, but it looks like Photos is not only going to leave a lot of iPhoto users dissatisfied but Aperture users as well. Hopefully the official release will address some of the various concerns...but I am not optimistic.
     
  18. jdechko thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #18
    Even with all my complaining, I actually disagree with you to a point. They've done a lot to the app and both included functionality that was missing from iPhoto and built a framework to exceed the capabilities of iPhoto. I really think Photos will be better than iPhoto. Certainly for the average user.

    I think a lot of Aperture users will feel left out, but they will either switch (or have already switched) to Lightroom, or they will realize that Photos can meet their needs (whether as-is or through plug-ins.) But as FCX, Logic & iWork have shown, Apple is willing to scrap applications in order to make them better in the long term.

    As I've said many times, it's just not for me.
     
  19. Hrhnick macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2013
    #19

    The Photo Library is not duplicating photos or eating up twice as much space...

    See this article explaining the Photo library behavior.

    I chose to "migrate" my iPhoto library and was surprised to see a second library almost equal in size, ~30GBS!
    Its because Photos uses hard links.

    "The best way to think of a hard link is that the contents of a file appear to exist in more than one location. If a file has two hard links, and you delete one, the file isn’t deleted—because it’s still linked to from another location."

    The article goes into depth explaining the photo import process, and hard links, and why it looks like its eating up space.

    The only other place Apple has used hard links before has been in Time Machine Backups, since the same file can exist in multiple backups.

    I hope that article helps.
     
  20. jdechko, Mar 3, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2015

    jdechko thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #20
    Respectfully, I disagree. While I value Mr. Snell's opinion, the case he documented in the article is not the case I'm presenting. He migrated an iPhoto library into the new photos.

    Running the command
    Code:
    ls -li
    on a file in Photos.photolibrary/resources/modelresources yields the following results:
    Code:
    7809544 -rw-r--r--@ [B]1[/B] jdechko  staff  2567113 Mar  3 21:15 /Users/jdechko/Pictures/Photos Library.photoslibrary/resources/modelresources/37/48/%0RRgxJqSPO%kdNg%CkEPQ/IMG_2014-02-09_122411.jpg
    From the article, the bold "1" which would indicate a single link to that file and therefore not a hard link as several others suggest. Unless I'm missing something else, the library is, in fact, duplicating files.

    Here's the Info panel on the original image (left) and the modelresource (left).
     

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  21. vista980622 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2012
    #21
    From what I understand: The library container may seem large in Finder, but it's due to Photos app linking to your photos through hard link. In fact, it does not make duplicates of your photos and take twice the space, instead, it only takes 2.5GB-2.42GB=800MB of space, which is reasonable for storing thumbnail, index information and faces data, as you suggested.

    But yes - I do think Apple should allow us to turn off Faces, like it did in Aperture.
     
  22. jdechko thread starter macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2004
    #22
    A bit more follow up. The left is the mobileresources version, the right is the original version. Both files are the same (filename based on date and time taken).

    The other attachment shows a close up crop of my son's face, taken from the full picture on the right.

    I keep running the "ls -li" and "stat" terminal commands on files in the Photos library and on the original file. Not once have I found a hard link. I'm not sure what other evidence is necessary, but I'm thoroughly convinced that Apple isn't hard-linking the files behind the scenes when you import a directory of photos without copying them.

    However, as Jason Snell reported, Apple is hard linking old iPhoto libraries to new Photos app libraries.
     

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  23. Sysimon macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2015
    #23
    Hi, found this thread when googling to find out why Photos was storing copies of images in the modelresources folder.

    Have an Aperture library on iMac for 50gb of pictures stored on a NAS drive, all the pictures in the library are referenced. When I imported the Aperture library (all 3.7GB of it, mostly thumbnails) into a new Photos instance (this was from the 10.3 Yosemite update) all seemed OK at first. Then I noticed that Photos was consuming all the available RAM and using a lot of CPU as well as lots of network bandwidth - on further investigation I found that the modelresources directory had grown to >30GB despite setting the preference for not importing pictures into the Photos library.

    These files are not hard linked - the originals are on a network drive, AFAIUI it is impossible to hard link across file systems - they are copies, and from a quick inspection they seem to be slightly larger than the originals.

    The puzzling thing is why this is happening at all, and why some images are copied and not others. I'm not sure that this is due to Faces - there were images with no people in them that were copied.

    I have gone back to using Aperture for the time being; what's the point of having referenced images if they are going to be significantly duplicated on the host hard disk?

    Does anyone have any idea what is going on with this modelresources directory?
     
  24. rkbca1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    #24
    Not sure why Photos is doing this but I am seeing very similar symptoms with a converted iPhoto library. I also am using referenced originals stored on a separate disk. No hard links involved:

    Originals - 48gb
    iPhoto library - 6.5gb
    Photos library - 36gb (with modelresources accounting for 30gb)

    Other than slight size differences between the original jpegs and the copies in modelresources, there are some differences in the metadata stored shown when using the inspector tool from the Preview app.
     
  25. Big Stevie macrumors 6502a

    Big Stevie

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2012
    Location:
    UK
    #25
    The new Photos app is beyond a joke. If Photos is the future, then I want to die now.

    Ive dragged iPhoto back into my dock, which is where it rightly belongs.
     

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