Aperture / ApertureExporter in Beta 3

ApertureExporter is an automated tool to convert your Aperture library to Lightroom and is its Beta 3 release . It's not Apple or Adobe. It's "7822383 Canada Ltd." Ok. Not the best corporation name. Nevertheless, the tool looks interesting.

As I have explained before, I'm not migrating from Aperture yet. There's no urgency. However, like many other Aperture users, I'm keeping informed about the migration options. The migration day will come and keeping abreast of the options is prudent. I've read up on ApertureExporter and here's my initial thoughts.

Disclaimer: I have not tried out this software. Heck, I haven't downloaded Lightroom either.

There is no mention about what versions of Aperture and Lightroom are supported. I must assume Aperture 3.5.1 and Lightroom 5.

There's not much to share about the tool itself. It makes the process about as simple as it can be. Select an Aperture library, set a few options, and let the tool grind away. The website has the basic details. Going through my checklist of items I care about for migrating (to Lightroom or Photos), ApertureExporter will satisfy many all my needs.

Metadata is handled. GPS data should be taken care of via the XMP sidecar. Items like flags and color labels are converted to keywords before the migration. There's no specific information I found on the ApertureExporter website about nested keywords. Although others report if the keywords are moved into Lightroom first, then all keyword groups move seamlessly. I'm assuming ApertureExporter operates this way.

Custom metadata fields are not discussed and I assume these are not exported. I did give feedback to ApertureExporter via their website that support for custom metadata fields should be added in. I think they can be handled like flags and color labels. Convert custom metadata fields to a set of keyword groups such as Custom Metadata > "Name" > "Value 1..n". Once in Lightroom, mark "Custom Metadata" as a private keyword so they are not exported to images. 

Update: Within 24 hours of my suggestions, Beta 4 is out and includes custom metadata to keyword conversion. Talk about turnaround time!

Details are light on how albums and smart albums are handled. Their website says ApertureExporter "Exports images contained in your albums and smart albums". This is not the same as maintaining your albums and smart albums. The FAQ states "A folder is created for each album with copies of the images that are in the album within the folder." This suggests maintaining albums from Aperture will result in duplicate images on your hard drive.

The FAQ also states there's no "legitimate" way for ApertureExporter to determine if adjustments are applied to a photo. I disagree. There must be some way that's expressible in the Aperture database, even if it's an SQL query. The Filter HUD offers this capability – the data must be in the Aperture DB somewhere.

If you're a Faces user... you're out of luck for now. There's no support for that.

A final thought... "7822383 Canada Ltd." has written several Aperture-centric utilities that suggest strong knowledge of the inner workings of the Aperture database and APIs. That's promising. That fact suggests they have prior experience working at the ApDB level.

If you have tried out ApertureExporter, please leave a comment and let me and others know your experience with it.