Aperture 3 Migration

Posted by in Aperture, Aperture How-To, News

Well here I go again swapping photo library software.  I have decided to go back to Aperture and leave Adobe Photoshop Lightroom behind.  I invested in external hard drives when I switched from Aperture 2 to Lightroom back in September 2009, so I will start from those backups. I knew having a backup would be a great idea; maybe I knew that I would switch back at some time. What will I loose by switching software? I am going to loose 6 months of Lightroom edits to photos that should be re-edited anyway.  All the edits that I want to keep I did in Photoshop so those edits will import without loss of data.

Library Structure

It’s time to look at what I have done in the past with Aperture and Lightroom and use those experiences to develop a better way to store my photos. In the past I would create a library for family and sshaPhotos stuff, each of those libraries were located on separate external hard drives.  In those libraries I divided by my photos by subject, within the subject folder I had the events.   Two new features in Aperture 3 are having me looking at a better way to store my photos.  Those new features are Switching Libraries without restarting Aperture, and Library Merge.  Not having to close Aperture 3 when I change libraries allows me to have quicker access to multiple libraries. Library Merge allow me to make mistakes. I can always merge libraries back together if I don’t like the new structure.

My new system will include a different library for each subject. This gives me the flexibility to place the libraries on the hard drive that best fits that library. Libraries that I don’t use as often will go on slower drives, libraries that I use ofter will go on faster drives. With darn near 2TB of photos in my libraries, it’s a fine juggling act keep things straight. This is going to require me to do more work on the back end but I think the trade-off will be worth it.

Importing Aperture 2 data

Now to get to the work of importing, I decided to go a different way than the manual prescribes for importing. Than manual tells you to upgrade your existing Aperture library to version 3. I don’t like the idea of moving any potential errors and I don’t think that the library database has anything for me.  I decided to create a new library in Aperture 3 then go directly into the package of the Aperture 2 library, there I was able to see the file structure of the project.  Once I found the project I wanted, it’s a simple drag and drop from the old library to the new one.  So I did a test with a few projects to make sure that this plan would work. It actually worked quite well, I was pleasantly surprised. All my edits, metadata, and ratings where preserved.  This may also be a cleaner import method as I may not have any corruption carry over.

Here are the steps I did to “selectively” migrate from Aperture 2 to Aperture 3:

  1. Purchase a new hard drive, I did not have one with enough space to do what I wanted.
  2. I created a new Aperture 3 library on the new hard drive calling it the name for the projects that will be located in the library. In this case I called it Architecture.
  3. I opened the old library in finder by right clicking (or cmd click) on the Aperture 2 library and selected “Show Package Contents.” There you will find all our projects in nice and tidy packages.
  4. With Aperture 3 open and the finder window open, I dragged and dropped the projects I wanted in the newly created Aperture 3 Library.
  5. Then I sat back drank a beer and waited until the process was complete. After that beer was gone, I decided to let it sit over night.  Yes the process takes awhile.
  6. In the morning I found that Aperture 3 was done with the import, everything was there including all the metadata and smart albums.
  7. Aperture 3 did not automatically reprocess any of my photos. Because Aperture 3 uses an’ improved rendering engine, your photos will render different than Aperture 2 and 1.  So Apple leaves that step to you. It’s a another beer or 2 step from Photos, that’s where you can see all the photos in your library, select all the photos. Right click on the photos and select reprocess masters.
  8. Rinse and repeat for each library.

I will post more information about migration once I finish with these steps on all my libraries.

Bill Debevc