06 Can you change your mind later?
Yes you can, and here’s how…
• Make referenced files managed: First, select all the referenced images you want to import, then Use the File > Consolidate Originals command. Aperture will then import all these referenced files into its own internal library. The pictures you import can be from different albums, smart albums, projects and folders, and you don’t have to specify an import project. It’s a straight replacement – your image will stay in the same albums and projects they were in before, except now they’re managed not referenced.
• Make managed files referenced: You use this if you want files currently managed in the Aperture library to become referenced files in another location. Remember, one of the points about referenced files is that it means other programs can see and use them too. For this you need the File > Relocate Originals command. You can relocate all the images you’ve chosen to a single folder, which is a bit clumsy, or choose to have them separated into folders based on the current project or the image dates, which is rather clever. Don’t forget that Aperture’s Projects do not reflect real-world folder locations, so even after you’ve relocated your images, their location in your Aperture library is unchanged – they’ll stay in the same projects, folders and albums.
07 There must be an easier way to get individual pics out of Aperture?
There is. Use the File > Export > Versions if you want the Aperture-edited version of your picture, or File > Export > Originals if you want the original files. So let’s say you want to batch convert some images in DxO Optics Pro: you just export the RAW files to an external folder, carry out the conversions in DxO then import the converted images back into Aperture – you don’t need the exported RAW files any more, so you can delete them. Aperture exports copies of the original files, not the originals themselves.
08 So which is best?
This depends on how many images you have, how much internal storage on your computer and how fast you want Aperture to run.
• Managed library pros and cons: You have just a single library file which you can copy or move wholesale to different volumes, and you know exactly where all your pictures are. It’s beautifully simple. But managed libraries become huge, too large for the average internal HD and certainly for today’s much faster but smaller SSDs. They also ring-fence your images so that the only way to view or edit them with other apps is to manually export them on an ad hoc basis.
• Reference library pros and cons: Your Aperture library is much smaller and can be stored on a super-fast SSD in a MacBook, for example, while your master images are stored on an external drive – and as your library gets larger, you can simply invest in larger drives. You can carry out all your organising, keywording and previewing without the masters being present, and your masters are also visible to other applications. However, there is always the possibility that your referenced files may be lost, moved or renamed and become disconnected from your Aperture library. And if you use Photo Stream your iOS images will be managed by default – so you could end up with a mix of managed and referenced files.
On balance, the referenced approach is messier, but for those with large libraries who use other applications too, referencing is the only sensible option – until the day, maybe, when 1Tb or 2Tb internal SSDs become a practical proposition.
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