Update - This post was the original post from a discussion I had in the Apple support forum a long long time ago. I did put a free PDF together that was downloaded about 10,000 times. I had so many suggestions and questions that I decided to make a much larger more comprehensive version. It covers far far more and provides a ton of useful work-flow tips and examples on how to be extremely efficient. Even if you have been using Aperture for years you will probably find a lot of things in the new Organization eBook that you might not have even thought about. Sadly the new version is not free but I can tell you that I surveyed everything else out there and you will not find a better or more advanced discussion of Aperture's organizational capabilities. Here is the link to the new illustrated more comprehensive Guide to Aperture 2 Organization eBook PDF:
Oh one more thing - just because it is only five bucks doesn't mean it's not better than other way more expensive resources. It is - in most cases you will learn more from this guide than reading everything else out there in print and on the web. This is not a regurgitation of the Aperture documentation and this is not a book for dummies. Consider me an extremely value conscious Robin Hood.
Please leave comments with any feedback or email me here [email protected]
The following is a snip of the original post describing the screen shot above.
Here is a description of a few things going on with this structure that may help clarify how one can use some of the grouping features of Aperture.
Note the blue folders - these can contain projects, other blue folders, and a few items that are usually found inside projects (smart albums etc.) I use these to group related projects and some items that are useful that are associated with the grouped projects.
Looking at the blue folder named "Glamour" you can see that there are a bunch of yellow project boxes in there, they are all individual studio sessions that I shot as promo material for lighting workshops that I do. There is also another blue folder inside of "Glamour" named "Albums". Note that they do not "live" in a project at all. I am using those to group images of the same model that are in more that one project. There is also a purple smart album named "Rated" that lives at the top level of the "Glamour" folder. I am using this smart album to collect all of the images that have a rating of one star or above in all of the different projects under the "Glamour" folder. Since I created the smart album inside of the "Glamour" folder it is only going to collect images in projects under that folder, not everything in the library. This is a great way to limit the context of smart albums etc. with out making ridiculously complex search criteria or going back and redoing a bunch of keywording etc. One other note, There is a project in the "Glamour" folder named "Workshop" this project contains a couple of objects, namely Layout, Prints, and Workshop Book. This Workshop project contains NO image masters or versions but does contain pointers to masters/versions in other projects under "Glamour". I use this project to contain a book and printed promo material that is derived from images that are in the rated smart album. Why is it in a project? So that I can export it as an Aperture project and import it to other Aperture libraries. Why do I have the static albums for each model? So I can keep a static order to the images and run a slideshow preset on them.
Onto another blue folder "Experimental Projects", I am using this to group two projects that I was actually shooting today. If you look at the project "Ghost Ships" you can see yellow folders named "Albums" and "Light Tables". Yellow folders are really simple, they exist only inside projects and are used to group and organize stuff inside projects. Here I am using them in an extremely simple way. One for my albums, one for some layout ideas on how different images play together. After I export the project and import it to my main library on my desktop workstation the population of yellow folders under that project will probably change quite a bit to group a bunch of different but related things together.
This is a very basic example of folders and projects. If anyone is interested at all I would be glad to put an illustrated PDF guide together that explains exactly how all of this stuff works in different contexts and workflows along with some ideas on how each feature from basic to advanced context tricks can be used effectively. Just leave a message here or hit me up on my email.
Finally had a chance to do some editing and corrected some typos and minor phasing.