An Aspect beginner's first impressions

When creating a new Aspect library I selected a folder containing images taken over many days. After the import, in the left column of the Aspect window I was hoping to see “virtual” folders (collections?) for each date, but I only have “Photo Stream” at the very top and “File Browser” at the bottom. I imagine the collections I manually create will appear on the left, so if I want a collection for each date, I have to manually do this. As a test I organized the images into separate Finder folders for each date, then created a new Aspect library. Again I don’t see the images separated by date.

From the library I selected an image and chose to edit it with DxO PhotoLab 7. After editing, I returned to Aspect and expected to see an updated image thumbnail and preview, but these were not updated with the edits I had made in DxO PhotoLab 7, which are contained in a sidecar file.

I’m not sure how the information in this box helps, all I see in my folder structure is a folder for the Aspect Library containing internal subfolders and files. There also is one file called Aspect Individual Photos File.aspectnode in the root folder that contains my images.

What the left pane shows in addition to the photo stream are the so called “events”, where each event corresponds to a folder on disk. To create those events, there are two main approaches:

  1. Create the folders in finder and use the event selector to convert those to events:

  2. Create events from within Aspect by selecting a bunch of images that belong together and then creating an event through the context menu or the “create” menu. If a whole day is supposed to go in an event, this can also be done by clicking the “paragraph” header of that day:


Conceptually, an event is primarily time/date based (i.e. usually you’d group together photos of a coherent and limited time span) and has an associated time stamp inferred from the photos it contains. It also carries an associated name.

Collections on the other hand carry no inherent concept and, from the point of view of the application, are just a generic grouping of photos — the actual meaning is purely defined by the user and expressed in the collection name. Collections are also not sorted by date, but appear sorted by name on the right side in the collection pane.

We know that there are a lot of people for whom the event concept is not fitting the mental model for their folder structure and we have some ideas how to better support that kind of disk organization. There are mainly three extensions planned:

  1. Events are going to get more (optional) properties in addition to their name — those can then be used as part of the pattern used to define the folder structure
  2. There will be the possibility to show sub folders within events and within the photo stream below each item on the left side, making it possible to fully work with folders in a completely manual fashion
  3. Alternative display modes of the left bar, in particular, listing by day/week/month instead of by event

As to edits contained only in sidecar files, there is not really anything we can do to display them without access to the image processing engine of the particular editing application, or at least access to corresponding thumbnails/previews that are stored somewhere. I’m not sure whether Photo Lab possibly saves such previews somewhere, but if it does I could look into that. It would then be limited to the resolution of those previews, but just for organization purposes that might be okay.