Seeing The Light

Lightroom 5.7 & Aperture Import

A long time ago I bought into the Apple ecosystem with the primary driver being no conflict of interest with my company’s software library. Along with that came the early years of Aperture and as a techy I like the mechanics behind the scene. Aperture had a slick way of managing projects import / export from its main library. This worked well for field work via laptop and consolidation into the main system later with easy backup across multiple volumes including external.

Apple is apparently going in a different direction with Aperture and moving more toward (supposedly) a simple photo editor – iPhoto meets iOS Photo app. With that in mind I decided to look at Lightroom as part of my Creative Cloud subscription. After the last few months of getting used to the keyboard shortcuts and general workflow I thought it time to test out the Aperture import.

Adobe offered their migration tool as a plugin until this release of 5.7 where the import is integrated into the app itself under the File / Plug-In Extras menu option. When selected you are presented with a very basic screen. Essentially which Aperture library (defaults to last opened) and what location (defaults to a new folder “LibraryMasters” – at least in my case. Regardless, it is all pretty straightforward.

The migration ran very smoothly and keywords and other imported as I hoped and everything was golden, until I looked at the “Folders” section of the Interface. Normally my folder listing in a structured hierarchy with the year at the root (e.g, 2014 / 2013 / 2012, etc..), and the months under each respective year. The imported folder were not organized by year but each month was off the root. In other words, quite a mess. It’s work noting, this is cosmetic and the best practice is the use of Collections and in fact your Aperture projects become collections in Lightroom. However, OCD being what it is, I like organization.

Thankfully, with a bit of dragging and dropping I moved the imported folders under their respective years, and Lightroom physically moved the files from LibraryMasters into its normal directory structure. All relative links to the images, such as collections, remained in place. Yaay Lightroom.

As you would expect this entire process is disk intensive so if you want to do a bit of cleanup on your Aperture library that is to your advantage. For me I duplicated my Aperture library and removed all but the last six months worth of projects and a few key past projects such as my work with the Dallas International Film festival that I occasionally return to for images. I used the trimmed library for import and retained the full library for use with Aperture when I need it. Eventually I will have to do something with the main library, depending on where Apple take their photo management but at least I am moving in the Adobe direction which, hopefully, will be around for a while.

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