Transfering AA libs to Photos or Nitro?

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    Joachim Jundt

    Hi all,
    I’d like to transfer my old AA libs from an old iMac 2009 first into Photos libs and from there working and especially searching them with Nitro. Has anybody of you already experience with such projects?
    My first attempts did show some traps to stumble about and therefore I made some mind maps how to go ahead with loads of questions to clarify before starting. The way Apple Photos deals with Aperture libs is screaming for some prep work. I already made a copy of my main lib to clean up my micro-albums/projects as for a while I created a new project for each import of even few images. What to do with keywords, what to do with tagged faces (Apple Photos is just horrible at using them properly)? Which elements should be used preferably? Projects or albums? I tried to learn Aperture with a book from Scoppettuolo, but reviewing my structures in Aperture today I made a lot of less good decisions leading to hundreds of projects instead of using them to organize albums.
    Back in the day a lot of photographers had reservations against Aperture’s and Lightroom’s concept of “import first into a catalog, then edit”. Seeing how Apple killed Aperture, I have to admit these reservations had good reasons. So I also ask, should I use Apple Photos as “storage container” or better get them into self-defined finder structures? I underestimated that prep work and am not sure if re-organizing the lib structures on an old Mac will lead to a usable result.

    Nik Bhatt

    This is a complicated question with many parts. I doubt I can cover all of the issues comprehensively here.
    A few things I recommend:
    1. Avoid using referenced files with Photos, unless you are absolutely certain that you will NEVER move the files again. Photos has pathetic referenced file support – moving files is a one-at-a-time activity. If you have an Aperture library, consolidate the images before moving to Photos, or moving them all to a giant drive.

    2. Make sure all of your images are online and have full-size previews made for them. That’s important because Photos will not copy your adjustment data over – just the preview. It will try to make a preview for you, but there are bugs in the implementation.

    3. Keywords are copied over. Ratings are turned into keywords.

    4. Photos doesn’t have projects, so you need to make albums. It also doesn’t allow a lot of the complex nesting that Aperture did.

    5. Photos is superior to the Finder if you want to have albums, keywords, smart albums etc. If you have a strict organizational system and can stick with it, then the Finder is good for that.

    Joachim Jundt

    Thank you very much, Nik. That are some answers to questions I have put on a mind map. But the more I think about, the more I tend to “skip the app in the middle” (=Photos). Tidying up my main lib already is plenty of work to invest. So far my images were not referenced, just inside the aplibrary container.

    Disk space is no issue, there’s still 14 TB free space on a 24 TB drive.

    I will try again to find an article about a way to run old apps on a new Mac OS. I know, there will be limits, too. But so far I could not find a well-working way to get library structures and image edits from Aperture into another app. Using Capture One’s “import AA lib” routine would also lead to bad results and at the end, it’s developers were straightforward too stupid or incapable of implementing a decent full text search for album/projects names. So I really don’t want to know how their idea of a DAM materialised. It’s an idea without any proper manual for dummy programmers… Can you imagine? Since the end of Aperture no image managing software calling itself a DAM comes even close to old Aperture’s abilities? It’s really sad.

    Nik Bhatt

    There is an app called Retroactive which can run Aperture on newer OS versions, but in my experience, various Aperture features do not work 100% even with Retroactive.

    There is also an app called Avalanche which people have had good luck with.


    Joachim Jundt

    Thank you, I will have a look into it.

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