Getting Started with Avalanche for Lightroom

Getting Started with Avalanche for Lightroom

Avalanche for Lightroom

Avalanche for Lightroom has been designed to make the transition to Adobe Lightroom as smooth as possible if you are an  Apple Aperture® user.

Avalanche will :
  1. identify all the catalogs that can be converted by scanning your disks using Apple Spotlight search. If some of your disks are not indexed by Spotlight, you can ask Avalanche to do a deep scan of all files on those disks to find catalogs. If you know where your catalog(s) is(are), simply drag and drop them onto the Avalanche main window
  2. maintain that list of catalogs that have been detected, analyzed and converted, so it is very easy to keep track of your migrations, the location of the source and the location of the destination. Avalanche lets you even launch the catalogs directly from its user interface. 
  3. run conversion and monitor progress
Here is a step by step guide of the workflow

Preliminary note on compatibility

Avalanche is compatible with Aperture catalogs from version 3.6, and Lightroom catalogs from version 7. 
Avalanche requires macOS Mojave (10.14) or newer and runs fine on Catalina. You need around 145 MB of free space, 4Gb of memory (8Gb recommended) and enough space to accommodate the converted libraries.
Avalanche for Lightroom exports catalogs compatible with Adobe Lightroom v8 and v9. 

Select a Volume

Use the  Volume Browser to select the Volume on which your catalogs live. 
Volume Browser (top)

Avalanche will retrieve all catalogs on that volume and add them to the list. 
Alternatively, if you know exactly the location of your catalog, use the ‘Open Catalog…’ button at the bottom left or  drag your catalog directly to the user interface.
Drag and drop

Select the catalog

Select the catalog in the list. Avalanche has already retrieved some basic info like the number of photos and videos. 

Catalog Browser

Click on the ‘Analyze…’ button to get more info about the catalog content. Alternatively, if you know exactly the location of your catalog, use the ‘Open Catalog…’ button at the bottom left.

Each catalog in the list is represented as a row. Depending on the catalog conversion status, different information is displayed.
When a catalog is first discovered, only its name, version and basic size are displayed. Hit the Analysis button to find out more.

After a catalog has been analyzed, additional info is displayed. The icons on the far right indicate whether the catalog has already been converted (colored icon) or not (black and white icon). 

Clicking on the icon for an already converted catalog, displays shorcuts to important actions to :
  1. reveal the converted catalog in the Finder,
  2. open the catalog in the destination app 
  3. redo the conversion
Here are the actions available once a conversion to a destination catalog has been made:
Actions on a catalog that was previously converted

Here are the actions once a conversion to files and folders has been performed:
Actions on a catalog that was previously converted to Files and Folders

Analyzing your Content

When you select a specific catalog, you will presented with the conversion window.
Conversion Screen

This window shows some important details about the catalog. To keep the analysis of all catalogs fast, Avalanche does scan all the catalog images but only retrieve some key indicators such as :
  1. the start and end date of photos in the catalog,
  2. a timeline of photo counts between those dates
  3. the number of masters, versions, albums, faces,.... in the source catalog.
  4. the size of the catalog on disk
  5. some estimators such as the time needed to convert, and the required disk space (more on that later)

Converting a project

Once a project has been analyzed, you can proceed to converting it. Avalanche for Lightroom lets you export :
- for Lightroom v8 or v9,
- as files and folders
  1. Choose the options that are the more appropriate for your needs. Detailed information about the various output options is available in the following article:  Understanding the output options (from version 1.0.5)
  2. Click on the Next button
  3. Choose the destination folder for your converted catalog
  4. Click on the Convert button
The conversion will start and a progress indicator will inform you about the phases of the conversion.

Converting to Adobe Lightroom

When converting to Adobe Lightroom, Avalanche will create a complete Lightroom Library (v8 or v9) inside your destination folder. This library can then be directly opened using  Lightroom Classic.
Avalanche supports many of the great features of Lightroom: masters, versions, albums, collections, stacks, keywords, faces, IPTC metadata, color tags, etc... Depending on the source catalog, Avalanche will ensure that as much as possible of the original data gets translated into Lightroom. Since Lightroom is a very complete solution with lots of features, chances are that many of the features of the original catalog will have an equivalent in Adobe Lightroom.
Depending on the source catalog (Aperture, ...) and on your options, the masters will be copied or not to the destination folder. If you are curious on how Avalanche manages referenced and managed files, please read the following article: 

Convert to Files and folders

When converting to Files and Folders, Avalanche will copy all masters from the source catalog into the destination folder. 
The folder hierarchy of the destination can be adjusted using the options,

Understanding the export options

A detailed description of the Avalanche export option is available in this article:

Review the conversion results

When the conversion is finished, you will be presented with the following screen :

Review the conversion details

Open the migrated catalog in the destination app

The catalog can be opened very easily in Lightroom by choosing the  Open Catalog... option from the Quick Actions in the Review screen (above).

Please allow some time for the destination app to generate the thumbnails of all the images in the catalog. Since some images are imported with adjustments, itwill take longer to compute thumbnails for those images as it does for unedited images.

Review the possible errors

All errors are recorded in a CSV file (tab separated) that is exported alongside the catalog and can be accessed using the  Open Build Logs... quick action.

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