Lightroom: Migration from Apple Aperture

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  • Updated 4 years ago
There should be a feature to convert and migrate a Apple Aperture library into an Adobe Lightroom catalog.

This should convert and translate the adjustments from Aperture into Lightroom adjustments.

The migration should work in the long term. I should work in a way that I really can work with my "old" photos from Aperture in Lightroom, and not just get a static copy of the adjusted images.

I would also dislike just some kind of plug-in which emulates the Aperture adjustments, because there will be the risk that the development of this plug-in will be stopped after some years, and the old migrated photos from Aperture were lost.

Photos migrated from Aperture should behave as regular "developed" photos imported into Lightroom.
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Ope Gato Cedo

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Posted 4 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Good idea, but note: it would take *A LOT* of work for exact emulation, a fair amount of work for a half-decent stab at it, and only a little work to do some core/basic minimal/global adjustments.

So, it may be worth mentioning what you'd be willing to give up for this feature.

Seriously: I predict the odds of a very-close "emulation" (translation) are slim-to-none, so it may be worth contemplating: if you STILL have to edit manually afterward, how much is a step-in-the-right-direction worth to you?

PS - As much as I hate to say it, since you probably don't want to hear it, it's more likely that a feature such as this will be implemented in a plugin. That said, I don't understand your objection - you're only gonna use it one time, right? - why would you care what happens to the plugin after that.. (it'll be forever uninstalled after first use, or am I missing something?). I think you misunderstand: once conversion is done, the settings would be "permanently" applied (until you change them), no doubt to a virtual copy of the photo - NO old-migrated photos from Aperture would ever be "lost", assuming you migrate everything when migrating, and why wouldn't you? - it's the only thing that makes good sense to me, i.e.

* Move everything from Aperture to Lightroom
* Run a develop settings translation plugin, if it exists.
* Remove Aperture from computer.
* Remove plugin from Lightroom.
Done.

OK, if you plan to continue editing in Aperture, and Lightroom, then you'd need ongoing support.. - is that what you had in mind?

(granted, if the translator were being actively improved, you may want to keep installed and re-run improved versions again on unedited photos.., but that's like the opposite of what you're worried about..).

What have I missed??
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Ope Gato Cedo

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I believe Adobe should have the manpower to create an import workflow for a perfect migration from Aperture to Lightroom. But Sure, I could agree on some compromises:

A migration could for example create 99% perfect conversion from the Aperture adjustments, but store a copy of the processed image from Aperture.


  • This way you keep an exact copy of your processed image (for print, export).

  • If you plan to "touch" an old photo, you have to check the parameters anyway and it seems bearable to recheck all settings.



I have to clarify what I mean with a plug-in used for the migration:

A such plug-in would add filters which aren't supported by the RAW processor from Adobe. For example there is a blur adjustment in Aperture which works different from the way how the Adobe RAW processor works.

Adobe would also develop a plug-in which extends the RAW processor with some filters and adjustments which simulate the behaviour from Aperture.

If you migrate a photo from Aperture, Lightroom will convert all equal parameters to the native parameters from Lightroom. But the special parameters like the mentioned blur filter are emulated using this plug-in.

This would raise this problems:

  • Migrated photos from Aperture can only be edited and adjusted if this special plug-in is installed.

  • You could not easily exchange such photos, because the other user needs to install this plug-in as well.

  • There is a huge risk if you archive photos which are using a such plug-in. Probably Adobe decides to stop development of this plug-in for Lightroom 6. And later in Lightroom 7 the plug-in isn't compatible anymore — which renders all old archived photos useless. Unless you are using an old version of Lightroom to access them.

  • Also even for small adjustments you probably have first reset the special "Aperture" parameter exposure and then use the "Lightroom" exposure parameter.

  • If you want to ensure future compatibility, in case of a such plug-in, you would need to manually convert and edit all photos and convert any emulated Aperture adjustments to native filters and adjustments. For a large photo base this is impossible to do.



For all this reasons, the only practical way for a migration would be a 100% or a 99% perfect conversion of the adjustments from Aperture to Adobe RAW adjustments.
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Rob Cole

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|> Ope Gato Cedo wrote:
"I believe Adobe should have the manpower to create an import workflow for a perfect migration from Aperture to Lightroom."

If it were a priority, yes, I spose they could pull it off. I'm just saying: "don't get your hopes up..".

My prediction is: there is only a very small chance, at best, that such emulation will be done. I hope, for your sake, my prediction is wrong - but if I were you.. - just sayin'.

Maybe they would come up with a perfect "Import from Aperture" feature, or a plugin would, but emulation of Aperture develop settings, in a thorough fashion, is highly unlikely.

PS - No plugins are likely to emulate settings translation in real time (i.e. only whilst installed/active), nor is any native enhancement to Lr, so forget that - it's wrong thinking..
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drfrogsplat

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Here's my take on a realistic migration tool:

- It'd be something that runs once to migrate, rather than on-going supported access to Aperture's databases
- User sets up their Aperture library with all images as referenced masters
- Lightroom adds the Aperture library's masters where they are (and would ideally discourage the user from moving masters around too)
- The migration tool would replicate the Aperture library's project layout in Lightroom's Collections (folders become Sets of Collections, everything else becomes a Collection — maybe even some smart albums could be converted to Smart Collections too)
- Lightroom imports at LEAST the simple metadata: ratings, flags, keywords, GPS locations, IPTC data, colour labels, names of faces, etc (from Aperture's library not just from masters)
- Stacks, versions, the keyword hierarchy, and maybe even things like saved places in the map could easily be converted over
- Lightroom should also import any of the adjustments that are identical or pretty close between the two apps: crop, straighten, rotate, exposure/recovery/black-point, contrast/definition/saturation/vibrancy, white balance, B&W, levels, highlights/shadows, etc should all be straight forward (even if not identical)
- I wouldn't expect all adjustment tools and RAW processing options to translate well, but anything that doesn't would be tagged with keywords indicating what adjustments were lost

If you didn't use the features that couldn't convert, then you're done (and even if you did you may cut your losses if it's 90% of your work migrated).

If a user really wants the Aperture-only features/adjustments (or if the migration tool doesn't actually migrate m/any adjustments), this setup also lets you keep Aperture around for as long as it works, sharing the masters between the two programs.

Any adjustments that didn't translate would be tagged (perhaps in both Aperture & Lightroom), so you could easily check those files for anything important, and find the Lightroom way to fix it up if it matters to you (or just export the Aperture version). This wouldn't have to be done immediately, so if Aperture continues working for another year or two you'll have a while to go back and clean up what was lost.

I can see this as a plugin that treats the Aperture library as a kind of sidecar for some photos (allowing individual photos to be reset/re-read from the master/Aperture library), or an import plug-in/app that just gets used once.
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drfrogsplat

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And a second take, a much simpler migration tool:

- User exports entire library as originals + XMP sidecars
- Lightroom import plugin that reads the XMP files even for JPEGs and the like
- The plugin would be aware of all the different things Aperture puts in the XMP sidecar (e.g. GPS data set in Aperture will be in the XMP not the JPEG's EXIF)
- The plugin would be aware of any Aperture bugs (e.g. it seems to mess with the Orientation field in originals if you let Aperture modify the original at any point) to fix those

You'd lose ALL adjustments in the migration.

And your library would be duplicated rather than re-using the same masters (it'd be possible but non-trivial to subsequently relocate Aperture's referenced masters to be the ones you just exported for Lightroom).

But it'd be relatively simple to make such a tool.

I guess you could also manually export versions into the same structure (with a slight variation in filename) for any favourites, to ensure you at least have a copy of special edits. But depending on how heavily you process, it may not be worth migrating old photos if this is the limit of migration (e.g. for me I'd say my most used tools are crop & straighten so losing those adjustments would significantly change a lot of shots).
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Rob Cole

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I don't know enough about it to do m'self, not without a lot of work anyway, but maybe somebody will come up with some helper tools, maybe even Adobe.

Have you read John Beardy's article about it?

http://lightroomsolutions.com/article...

(I haven't, I just know it exists).

FWIW - exiftool can bootstrap metadata from Aperture's sidecars into jpeg's embedded xmp, for reading in Lightroom - dunno how fancy you'd have to get..
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drfrogsplat

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I've read John Beardy's post, and it's probably the best guide there is, but there's still a few issues (a bug in Aperture, different processes for JPEG/RAW, external tools to get GPS locations, no adjustments included)

I'd really like to see a simple and more extensive tool from Adobe to get as much as possible from Aperture over to Lightroom. I'm not really sure what I'll switch to next, but the two big considerations are whether it can do most/all the things Aperture could do, and whether I can convert some/all of my old work from Aperture (i really don't want an old and new library system!)
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Rob Cole

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john beardsworth

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You need lots of spare hard drive space for Aperture Exporter as it duplicates your entire picture archive. As explained in my Moving from Aperture to Lightroom article, that can be good or bad.
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Rob Cole

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Adobe's migration plugin is available now.

Dunno how it stacks up against Aperture Exporter, or whether it's better than doing it manually..

http://blogs.adobe.com/lightroomjourn...