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Aperture 3.3 Update Improves Locate Referenced Files Behavior

Thomas Boyd's picture
June 15, 2012 - 3:00am

As I suspected, we would find little undocumented improvements in this update. For some reason, they improve things without listing them in the documentation. Perhaps they are considered too minor to list.

Well, for me, this is huge. I have to Locate Referenced Files often. It’s one of my least favorite photo workflow chores. Like I’ve mentioned before, I generate over 20 Projects a month with over 10,000 images. Most of my work starts on a laptop. I’ve found the fastest way to merge my laptop projects is to use referenced libraries and the locate the referenced files once they are copied over.

That means I spend a lot of time messing around in the Locate Referenced Files window. It drives me crazy. The columns aren’t sticky and still aren’t. Every time I open it I have to readjust the columns to see my folder names. In the past, a user would select a photo from the top list of images that are offline, then navigate manually to find the photo (after adjusting the columns). This is a real pain when a folder has a few thousand images in it. It takes a lot of scrolling to get where you need to be. To make matters worse, the images on top are not in order based on file name, but the ones on the bottom are.

What changed?

With the 3.3 update, Aperture automatically navigates to the corresponding image file when the proper folder is selected. Like I said above, in 3.2 I would have to scroll through all the image in that folder manually. 

In this case I have over a hundred offline images in a project. The image folder is nested in the month folder. So when I click on the proper month folder it goes immediately to the correct image in that project folder. This saves a ton of time and tedious searching in folders with with a lot of images.

It Could Still Be Better

This is one part of Aperture I hope they change. There’s got to be a better way. I wish it would do it’s job with more automation and ease of use.

If they don’t change it significantly, I hope they continue to tweak it. The first thing I would ask for is is sticky columns. All my month folders and file names are roughly the same size. I shouldn’t have to resize those columns every time I open it up. It would be great if we could just tell it what hard drive the images are on we want referenced and it would find them. If it didn’t work, then maybe we could do it manually.

This is the Locate Referenced Files window. If you use a referenced library you end up here eventually.



Apple Aperture
Thomas Boyd

Why is it that Apple is the only company that doesnt like “Monitoring Folders”?

In Picasa, most video or photo viewers then you tell the app what folders you put your files in and it determines whether something is new or if something is deleted and then adjusts the database accordingly. But with iPhoto, Aperture, iTunes etc then if a file is added or removed then you get a vague missing media error and have to manually dig for each one.

It just doesnt make sense to make it so tough for the user when a solution has existed for years.

Thanks Thomas! that is an improvement!

S Urkel I think you can set up a Hot folder using Apple script you’ll have to google it.
Twitter= @davidbmoore
Scottsdale AZ

Thomas. I am trying to understand your workflow better. I spend a lot of time between my laptop and desktop and home and haven’t thought to try to reference the files to make this easier. How does your workflow work best. Do you have a traveling HD between the two with your files? I would just like a clarification on how you utilize both a laptop and desktop efficiently with referenced files.

Every week or two after working remotely on the laptop, I’ll copy the image files over to my hard drive in my office. I’ll then import the mobile library into my main yearly archive library.

I choose to use referenced for this because it ties up my Aperture library. If I start with a managed library, I’ll would need to “Relocate Originals…” and with the volume work I’m dealing with, that would mean tying up my Aperture library for quite some time. “Locate Referenced Files…” is much faster than having Aperture to copying the files. I can copy the files in the Finder in the background with referenced and do other work in Aperture while that’s happening. If you have a small number of images to deal with, say in the 100-500 range, a referenced library might worked better and be more foolproof. If you are are moving 5000-8000 images at time, you will want to go referenced.

I do have a traveling HD but I use that to back up files versus working off of. I have a newer MBP with a 750gb drive so I have no problem with space.

I also have the added burden of having to copy all my images to a hard drive at my newspaper. So it definitely makes sense to referenced library in my workflow.

Thanks Thomas. One point of clarification. I don’t quite do this much volume of work, but this type of workflow might still be helpful. When you copy over the aperture library from the laptop do you just merge in the new items or do you then start with another fresh library again after the import?

Chris, in case this is helpful, here is what I do.

I have 3 Aperture libraries: Home, Work and Websites. Each resides in 2 main locations (as well as backups), my MacBook Air and my iMac. Each contains referenced files so they are not too large (25, 12 and 3Gb approx). The referenced files are on an external hard drive for my Air and the internal drive of the iMac. I synchronise the libraries every week or so, using Folders Synchroniser, with a Thunderbolt connection between Air and iMac; the files I synchronise directly between external hard drive and iMac. Since my work library is normally used with the Air and the Home and Websites their files remain referenced properly on the iMac. Likewise for the Work on the Air. But if I accessed, say, the Home library on my Air I would have to Locate Referenced Files if I wanted to process any of the images.


~~~>--} threeshoes photography

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