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Subject: "Large NEF quantities - how to manage in Aperture?" Previous topic | Next topic
Holger Moderator Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography. Nikonian since 30th Dec 2002Sat 14-Aug-10 07:14 AM
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"Large NEF quantities - how to manage in Aperture?"


Roeschenz, CH
          

Dear Friends,

I am just switching from NX2 to Aperture for good part of my work (though not discarding NX2, it's too good for some details). The basic question I have is file management.

I have read all I could find here and in specific Aperture forums about managed and referenced libraries, so technically that part should be clear. I have tried both, and basically have decided to go the managed way, since it seems more adapt to the database approach Aperture takes.

On my PC I had some 5-6 TB of NEF's, on several drives, all of them with a separate backup. Lots of hard drives, all over the place. Only two of the drives are constantly linked to the computer, the rest is switched off and disconnected most of the time. When I need something older, I just connect the right drive to my computer, switch it on, and go get the file in my NX2 or ViewNX browser.

The problem for me now are these multiple hard drives. I see no problem at all working with managed files in Aperture if you can keep all your pictures on one drive or the Mac itself. But how do you handle such an enormous quantity of data and drives?

I see two possible ways to go right now:

1. Get the really big hard drive with some 2-4 TB. Load all existing directories as projects into Aperture. Copy new files to single hard drives first (as primary backup), load them into Aperture and its monster drive next. That would have me keep an original NEF file on my plain hard disks, plus a working copy in Aperture. I could search my entire picture pool in one tool only. And once imported, no more searching for hard drives...

2. Load projects into Aperture as needed, and export masters once the project is done. The day I need a picture, just import the project again. This way I would not have to get the monster disk, but could go on distributing files to my external hard drives. On the other hand, looking for something specific would require a search or via finder or via ViewNX or similar. And I don't exactly know how to get my wife to sort all this out...

Do I miss something? Is there another option, or would you prefer to work with referenced files in this situation? (btw, I suppose Aperture won't read my NX2 modifications, so importing all of the old stuff is questionable anyway. But pictures are piling up fast, so even if it's not for the existing data, I'll have the quantity problem again soon enough in Aperture only).

Thanks in advance for any advice. I would not want to start one way and then have to reorganize everything from scratch a year later...

Holger - Nikonian in Switzerland

  

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DiploStrat Registered since 06th Dec 2006Sat 14-Aug-10 03:52 PM
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#1. "RE: Large NEF quantities - how to manage in Aperture?"
In response to Reply # 0


Bangui, CF
          

>The problem for me now are these multiple hard drives. I see
>no problem at all working with managed files in Aperture if
>you can keep all your pictures on one drive or the Mac itself.
>But how do you handle such an enormous quantity of data and
>drives?

On a Mac, this is absurdly easy.The first step is to think Mac/Aperture and not PC/Explorer.

While Aperture can have multiple libraries, its greatest advantages are:

-- You CAN have just one, huge library.

-- Through Albums and Smart Albums, that library can be arranged many different ways - at the same time.

-- Your library structure(s) is totally, absolutely, and completely independent of the physical arrangement of your computer files.

Let these concepts sink in a bit. You don't have to spend time plugging in drives, copying files, or any of that. You really don't.

>I see two possible ways to go right now:
>
>1. Get the really big hard drive with some 2-4 TB. Load all
>existing directories as projects into Aperture.

If you have a MacPro, this is the easy way. And it is what I do. I have only 150 GB of images, in one managed library on a second 1 TB drive in my MacPro. Need more space? Get a bigger drive.

>Copy new files
>to single hard drives first (as primary backup), load them
>into Aperture and its monster drive next. That would have me
>keep an original NEF file on my plain hard disks, plus a
>working copy in Aperture. I could search my entire picture
>pool in one tool only. And once imported, no more searching
>for hard drives...

Close, but why keep two copies? Load the trash into Aperture and let Time Machine make one copy every hour and use SuperDuper! to make another copy automatically overnight. Keep one working copy and two backups. Done. Easy.

>2. Load projects into Aperture as needed, and export masters
>once the project is done. The day I need a picture, just
>import the project again. This way I would not have to get the
>monster disk, but could go on distributing files to my
>external hard drives. On the other hand, looking for something
>specific would require a search or via finder or via ViewNX or
>similar. And I don't exactly know how to get my wife to sort
>all this out...

As they say in French, non! non! non!s Why would you subject yourself to this?
Basically, you would be using Aperture, which is a DAM as a pixel editor. Lot's of extra work.

>Do I miss something? Is there another option, or would you
>prefer to work with referenced files in this situation?

Possibly, yes. Consider this, lifted from a mega post on DPReview:

A little background: I have always used a big box Mac; a MacPro or predecessor. When my MacPro died I ordered a Mac Mini as I have no access to Apple service and the Mini would come through the mail. The little Mini has performed so well, that I have taken another look at the lower end of the Mac line. Suddenly, a 27" iMac, for example, begins to look like a very viable alternative. But, what about the ever expanding photo library?

Thanks to a lot of gnashing of teeth over Aperture performance, some manic research by Kevin Doyle on the Apple Forum, and a few years working with DBMS, it seems clear that:

-- Aperture is fundamentally three elements: Application, Masters, Index.

-- The Application needs to read as fast as possible, but this is not usually much of a problem as great hunks of it get read in to memory and stay there. SSD might save you a nano second or two here.

-- The Masters don't actually get used as much as you might think. You never really scroll them (you actually scroll the thumbs or previews), you never, ever rewrite them (so they don't fragment), in fact you probably only read them when you edit at full resolution and when you print/export, etc. So, based on the work done by a lot of referenced library enthusiasts at the Apple forum, it seems that your masters might be quite happy on that old USB 2 TB drive that your PC owning buddy threw away. (Defrag 'em upon big imports and forget it.)

-- The Index (previews/versions/etc.) needs to read AND WRITE as fast as possible as this is where all the action takes place. And, as Aperture writes all of the time, not just when you press "Save", a lot of this delay can come just when you don't want it. (There is a whole chapter of UI debate to be written right here. ) Bottom line, this is the one place where you really want a fast, conventional drive. You probably will see a slowdown if you use USB 2.0 or FW400.

-- Final observation; depending on the size of your masters (RAW/Scanned Slides/JPEG) and the size/quality of your previews, your Aperture Index is probably about 25-30% the size of your masters.

Sooo, if for any reason you actually like using a Managed library (less chance of breaking links, less work on import, use vault, etc.), and your library is growing, then you simply dump a eSATA drive into your MacPro and relax. (Which is what I did.)

But if, as noted, you are contemplating downsizing, then the logical answer is to use referenced masters on an external drive. Given the usual ratios, a 50-100 GB Index could manage a lot of Masters. That means that a 500 GB internal drive might have a lot of room for growth if uncluttered by masters (or a million iTunes!)

Original Post: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1017&thread=36005188&page=1

This thread promises to be useful: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1017&thread=36038610


>Thanks in advance for any advice. I would not want to start
>one way and then have to reorganize everything from scratch a
>year later...

Just to bait you a bit, why not? Remember, with Aperture to rarely have to physically move your files. And when you do, it does NOT change your organization. And when you change your organization, it does NOT move your files. (Unless for some reason, you want to.) Changing you mind on how you want to arrange your images is easy. That is why you pay for Aperture.

So, final thought. If you have OTHER than a MacPro, with lots of open bays, stick your Aperture Library on your internal drive and then stick your masters, as referenced masters, on all of those disks that you had on your PC. Even using USB 2.0 they are probably fast enough.

I hope this is clear enough to be useful.

--
DiploStrat

Visit my gallery.

  

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Holger Moderator Awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Resources. Awarded for his wide variety of skills, a true generalist both in film and digital photography. Nikonian since 30th Dec 2002Sat 14-Aug-10 09:07 PM
1033 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#2. "RE: Large NEF quantities - how to manage in Aperture?"
In response to Reply # 1


Roeschenz, CH
          

>>I hope this is clear enough to be useful.<<

This IS in fact clear enough, more than that, more of a full instruction manual then just an answer in a Nikonians thread! Thanks a lot, this sure has helped. I will reread your post again tomorrow, but I think I will take the easy road right now and use managed files to start with. Just need to sleep over it once...

Thank you very much again, I'll report back when I'll have had my thoughts and taken a decision (not final, as you state).

Holger - Nikonian in Switzerland

  

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DiploStrat Registered since 06th Dec 2006Sat 14-Aug-10 10:34 PM
473 posts Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin    Click to send email to this author Click to send private message to this authorClick to view this author's profile
#3. "RE: Large NEF quantities - how to manage in Aperture?"
In response to Reply # 2


Bangui, CF
          


Wonderful.

Tchuss!

--
DiploStrat

Visit my gallery.

  

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