Aperture 3.1 and Flickr – what?!?

Aperture 3.1 is here, and it has a few speed improvements. The thing which caught me by surprise is how it handles Flickr and FaceBook uploads. In previous incarnations of Aperture 3, you only got a list of sets/albums which you have created and uploaded from Aperture. That’s fine – I can handle that.

However, 3.1 grabs all your picture information from Flickr, and when you look at a set (I’ll use Flickr terminology from now on) it downloads them. Here’s the headache. I don’t really mind that that is what it does (though some warning would have been nice), but what I do mind is that the downloaded images are orphans within the Aperture library.

To explain: say I have a few photos in Aperture. I can bunch them together as a set and upload to Flickr. This becomes an album within Aperture, and the thumbnails in the set are proxies for the original image, which are stored elsewhere in a project library. If I edit that image in Aperture and resync with Flickr, that image will be uploaded and replaces the previous version. I like this – it is Good and is how it should be.

However, these downloaded non-proxy images are pretty meaningless within the library. I can’t edit them (and what’s the point – they are “web sized” – 1024 pixels at the longest dimension?), and even though they are based on originals in the Aperture library which were uploaded using other software or a plug-in, they have been disconnected from the originals. Ideally, Aperture should be able to guess or recommend matches for images (and given Apple’s attempts to recognise faces, this may or may not be a good idea). At the very least it should allow me to swap a proxy for an original – thus giving me full editorial control over the image. Unless this feature is buried somewhere in the UI, this functionality is not available.

So, at the moment, I have a two-class Flicker library. There are a few sets which are Aperture 3.1 derived, so the link between Aperture and Flickr is preserved. However, the vast majority of sets are pretty much useless. Yes, it’s nice to see what I have in Flickr, and I believe that I can drop new images into existing proxy-laden sets, but that would further compound the problem. I have no way of knowing what kind of images the sets contain without clicking on them to open them, and waiting for Aperture to complete the sync (which appears to involve a download of the images). I’d rather have kept is as it was before the 3.1 update. Let me control new sets and their content in Aperture, and keep the previous ones out, or at the very least label folders so I know what is what.