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Want to sync existing Classic and Cloudy Libraries....best approach?

Joined
Jul 11, 2008
Messages
133
Lightroom Version
9.2.1 (Classic) 3.2.1 (Cloudy)
Operating System
macOS 10.15 Catalina, iOS
I currently have all my photos in both Lightroom Cloudy and Classic libraries, but not syncing. I would like to get them syncing. I would be very grateful for any comments and advice on what I think are the three possible approaches. I am prepared to research the detail implementation myself but am looking for guidance about the best major option I should use…..if I any! I may yet decide to stay where I am.

The three major options ( I think) are:

1. Dump the current Cloudy Library and create new one by syncing from Classic.

2. Dump the current Classic
Library and create a new one by syncing from Cloudy.

3. Don't dump either: just turn on sync.


STARTING POINT
-1TB Photography Plan.
-Lightroom Cloudy with 79,000pics/600GB working well on two Macs and four iDevices.
-Lightroom Classic on both Macs with the catalog and masters on a portable Samsung T5 SSD which can be connected to either Mac. For many years this was my main personal working photo library. Sync is not turned on in Classic.
-When I started with Cloudy nearly two years ago I created the Cloudy library by manually exporting year based catalogs and importing them to Cloudy in turn to preserve the Classic structure in Cloudy, creating folders in Cloudy as I went.
-Since then Cloudy has been my main working library because it automatically collects all the photos my wife takes as well as mine in one place and syncs everything to all devices.
-I have kept Classic up to date with monthly manual exports of “original+ settings” from Cloudy and manually importing them to Classic. I have not really made any proper use of Classic, treating it as a kind of backup and thinking I would one day do what I am now asking about.
-The Classic Library has 76,000 photos. The discrepancy with Cloudy is due to duplicates in Cloudy caused by I believe by some initial problems with the auto import settings in Cloudy.

DESIRED END POINT
-Cloudy Library with 76,000 pics automatically syncing to all devices. No duplicates.
-Classic Library with same 76,000 syncing with Cloudy.
-No monthly manual export and imports
-Ability to use the printing and editing tools in Classic for all photos.
-Ability to do culling and rating on iPad, syncing through to Classic.

MORE ABOUT THE OPTIONS:

1. Dump the current Cloudy Library. Assume I would have to clear all existing photos from the account for the fresh start. Then I would create year collections in Classic and turn on sync so these appear in Cloudy. This would have Cloudy using Smart Previews, for the existing pics, and originals for on going, since I expect Cloudy to be my main user tool.

2. Dump the current Classic Library (save it in a drawer). I would create a new Classic library by turning on sync to populate it from the Cloudy. This would have the 3000 dupes in but there are tools to remove dupes in Classic but not for Cloudy. Hopefully deleting the dupes in Classic would propagate to Cloudy? Would all the Cloudy photos appear in Classic with any folder, album or collection structure?

3. Don’t dump either Library, just turn on sync in current Classic. Not sure what the result would be. Probably nothing initially as there are no collections in Classic. Assume I would need to put all 76000 into a whole lot of collections in Classic so that sync would occur? Would it create or eliminate dupes?

Thanks very much for any comment.

PS This thread reminds me of the joke about a local being asked for directions by a tourist, replying "If I wanted to go there I wouldn't have started from here". :)
 
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1. Dump the current Cloudy Library. Assume I would have to clear all existing photos from the account for the fresh start. Then I would create year collections in Classic and turn on sync so these appear in Cloudy. This would have Cloudy using Smart Previews, for the existing pics, and originals for on going, since I expect Cloudy to be my main user tool.
This is a good approach if you want to save space in the cloud, but has the disadvantage of losing any of the organisational work that you may have already done in Cloudy.

2. Dump the current Classic Library (save it in a drawer). I would create a new Classic library by turning on sync to populate it from the Cloudy. This would have the 3000 dupes in but there are tools to remove dupes in Classic but not for Cloudy. Hopefully deleting the dupes in Classic would propagate to Cloudy? Would all the Cloudy photos appear in Classic with any folder, album or collection structure?
Probably my preferred approach if you intend to maintain Cloudy as the preferred main base. Yes, deleting the duplicates from Classic will also delete them from the cloud. Existing albums in Cloudy would sync and appear as collections in Classic, but any existing folders in Cloudy would not sync as Collection Sets in Classic, you would have to create these in Classic manually.

3. Don’t dump either Library, just turn on sync in current Classic. Not sure what the result would be. Probably nothing initially as there are no collections in Classic. Assume I would need to put all 76000 into a whole lot of collections in Classic so that sync would occur? Would it create or eliminate dupes?
Definitely my least favoured method, as chaos could easily result. It's likely that some at least of the images in Cloudy would appear as Virtual Copies in Classic (maybe all of them, maybe none of them!), so that would throw out the number syncronicity between cloud and Classic. Even worse, the VCs would be the images that would be shown as synced in Classic, not the originals. It'll probably be a mess, so probably best not to risk it.
 
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Messages
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Thanks very much Jim.

I will forget about option 3 (dumping both).

Your favoured Option 2 (create new Classic from existing Cloudy) has the big advantage that it if I don't like the end result I can dump the new Classic and revert to my old unsync'd Classic, or try again. Is this correct? Is there any danger that it could mess up my existing Cloudy? Some renaming of albums in Cloudy might make it easy to create Collection sets in Classic that match my folders in Cloudy.

With option 1 (new Cloudy from existing Classic), would I be able to recreate the Classic structure in the new Cloudy by turning on Collection sets one at a time and moving the newly sync'd albums into a folder in Cloudy before turning on the next Collection set, and so on.
 
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I can't think of any way that Option 2 could mess up the existing Cloudy, basically nothing is changing there, you'd just be creating a new Classic catalog from the contents of the cloud.

Re the last question, I assume you mean sync the collections in Collection Set A, then create Folder A in the cloud and put the associated Albums into it before moving on to Collection Set B? Yes, that's probably the tidiest way of matching your Collection Sets to Folders.
 
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Messages
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I can't think of any way that Option 2 could mess up the existing Cloudy, basically nothing is changing there, you'd just be creating a new Classic catalog from the contents of the cloud.

Re the last question, I assume you mean sync the collections in Collection Set A, then create Folder A in the cloud and put the associated Albums into it before moving on to Collection Set B? Yes, that's probably the tidiest way of matching your Collection Sets to Folders.
Excellent! Thanks very much. Will go with Option 2 after a night or two sleep.
 
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Excellent! Thanks very much. Will go with Option 2 after a night or two sleep.
Some next morning thoughts for which I would be very grateful for comment.

With Option 2 (new Classic library from existing Cloudy), when I turn on sync in the new Classic library it will download the originals from my cloud to create a set of 79000 local referenced masters. I understand that by default it puts them in a package called 'Mobile Downloads.lrdata', which appears as a separate disk in the list in Folders. Do these files go physically on the same disk as the new library?

Would this be 79,000 files in a single folder with no structure? I understand I can move files to create a structure and that Classic could create date based subfolders. This is like the Originals in Cloudy. One of the things I like about my current set up is that my Classic masters are organised by subject and date. (my file dates often don't correspond with the actual date due to scans, copies, photos from family etc). I like that my structure does not only exist in the proprietary library. I think I would lose this with option 2?

This thought is pushing me back towards Option 1 (new Cloudy library from existing Classic) where I would keep my Classic masters structure and could recreate the folders in Cloudy by progressively turning on collections as above. (This is similar to how I created my current Cloudy two years ago, except I did it then by exporting catalogs from Classic and importing to Cloudy).

Is there a simple way of clearing out Cloudy to start afresh if I go with Option 1?

Thanks you very much.
 
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A further thought on the above:

I can re-create my existing Cloudy folder and album structure as Collections and Sets in the new Classic, but the masters structure will not be the same. Would it be feasible to change the Collections sets into folders such that the structure is transferred to the masters?
 
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Some next morning thoughts for which I would be very grateful for comment.

With Option 2 (new Classic library from existing Cloudy), when I turn on sync in the new Classic library it will download the originals from my cloud to create a set of 79000 local referenced masters. I understand that by default it puts them in a package called 'Mobile Downloads.lrdata', which appears as a separate disk in the list in Folders. Do these files go physically on the same disk as the new library?

Would this be 79,000 files in a single folder with no structure? I understand I can move files to create a structure and that Classic could create date based subfolders. This is like the Originals in Cloudy. One of the things I like about my current set up is that my Classic masters are organised by subject and date. (my file dates often don't correspond with the actual date due to scans, copies, photos from family etc). I like that my structure does not only exist in the proprietary library. I think I would lose this with option 2?
Before turning on sync on the new Classic caatlog you would first go to the Preferences>Lightroom Sync tab. There you can change the sync download location to whatever location you want (I suggest you first create a parent folder on the desired drive using the file system, then select that parent folder as the target for the downloads in the preferences). Additionally, you can select one of Lightroom's dated-folder structures so that when you turn on sync all the downloaded images will be neatly stored in folders/sub-folders by capture date, all under the one parent folder.

Is there a simple way of clearing out Cloudy to start afresh if I go with Option 1?
Yes, go to the Lr Web app in your browser, click on your avatar top right, select "Account Info" and you'll see a big "Delete Lightroom Library" button.
 
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A further thought on the above:

I can re-create my existing Cloudy folder and album structure as Collections and Sets in the new Classic, but the masters structure will not be the same. Would it be feasible to change the Collections sets into folders such that the structure is transferred to the masters?
Do you mean the disk folder structure? Correct, it wouldn't be the same....but why would you want it to be the same? My Classic folder structure is date-based (as that's by far the simplest way to store them on import), my Collections/Collection Sets structure is organised by subject matter....and of course many images appear in more than one collection, so trying to keep folders and collections "the same" would become an exercise in futility.
 
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Thanks again. I realise my thinking about retaining an originals structure is old school and contrary to the way DAMs work. They can't be the same, but my 79,000 being only date based files feels like a significant step back for me because my photos are a hotch-potch with many file dates not corresponding to the event dates.

In the 20 odd years I have been involved in digital photography I have used Bridge, Lightroom Classic, Aperture, Photos and Lightoom Cloudy as my main tool. I feel that having some kind of structure to the masters has facilitated moving between these and would again if I had to start afresh.

It may be time to let that go. I can't have it all ways, Something has to give!
 
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Cloudy doesn't store the images either in the cloud or on your local hard drive in anything but date-based folders, and you've presumably been coping well with the album organisation model for the past couple of years. If you stick with Cloudy, but re-introduce Classic back into the ecosystem, you'd just work the same way in Classic as you do in Cloudy. Get your Classic Collection Sets and Cloudy Folders into line, and just hide the Folders Panel. You need folders in Classic simply as a place to store the images, but all categorisation/organisation takes place within Lightroom using more efficient methods.

I understand that some users will always want to keep their carefully crafted folder structure, just in case they ever decide to leave Lightroom for some other DAM. Personally, I long ago decided that I would not continue with what I considered to be a less efficient organising system "just in case" I eventually decide to exit Lightroom for something better. If that day comes, I'll deal with in then.....especially as I have no idea today what that "something better" might be, and what would be needed for migration.
 
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Thanks again Jim.

As you say the carefully crafted originals structure is only important if one decides to move to something new. When that doesn't apply (as during the two years I have been on Cloudy) the originals structure is irrelevant and I haven't used it. However it still exists in my manually updated Classic as insurance.

I may be overstating the mismatch date factor so I am going to do option 2 (new Classic from existing Cloudy) and then take stock. It is easy to do and easy to revert from. I am just doing some album renaming in Cloudy to make creating Collection sets in Classic easier.

Thanks for all your help. I have learned a lot.
 
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So far so good but some small questions have arisen please:

1. My Cloudy albums have appeared in my new Classic as expected. They are all in the "From Lightroom" collection set, also as expected. When I create new collection sets to organise my collections do they need to be within the "From Lightroom" collection set or not?

2. In Cloudy I have an album "ALL PHOTOS" which makes it very easy to have smart previews of all pics in my iDevices. That was a trick you told me about a while back. But there doesn't seem much point in syncing it as a collection to Classic so I have turned off sync for that.

3. About 4000 of my photos have no date, so these appear at the top level in the new masters folder along with the date name folders. I guess there is no great harm in this as discussed above but it would be 'tidy' to create a folder "undated", but then they would lose their connection with the library, and would need reconnecting individually....or is there a trick? Do I just need to accept this?

Thanks very much.
 
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So far so good but some small questions have arisen please:

1. My Cloudy albums have appeared in my new Classic as expected. They are all in the "From Lightroom" collection set, also as expected. When I create new collection sets to organise my collections do they need to be within the "From Lightroom" collection set or not?

2. In Cloudy I have an album "ALL PHOTOS" which makes it very easy to have smart previews of all pics in my iDevices. That was a trick you told me about a while back. But there doesn't seem much point in syncing it as a collection to Classic so I have turned off sync for that.

3. About 4000 of my photos have no date, so these appear at the top level in the new masters folder along with the date name folders. I guess there is no great harm in this as discussed above but it would be 'tidy' to create a folder "undated", but then they would lose their connection with the library, and would need reconnecting individually....or is there a trick? Do I just need to accept this?

Thanks very much.
1. No, you can move those collections out from the "From Lightroom" collection set to the new Collections Sets tha you create to mirror the Cloudy folders. Going forward, any new album that you create in Cloudy will always initially appear in Classic's "From Lightroom" collection set, but can be moved elsewhere if you wish.

3. Not quite following you....are you saying that the undated photos are not in any sub-folder, and are only "loose" in the Parent Folder? I'm surprised if that's the case, as usually in the absence of a valid capture date Lightroom defaults to the file modification date....so I would still have expected them to be placed into a dated sub-folder.
But if they are indeed actually in the parent folder, you could uncheck the option in the Library menu>Show Photos in Subfolders, which would change the photo count of the Parent Folder to be that of those undated photos, e.g about 4000. Then right-click on the Parent Folder and select "Create Folder inside "parentfoldername", give the new folder an easily identifiable name. That new folder will appear below the Parent Folder, then you can select the Parent Folder and that will populate the grid with those ~4000 images. Cmd+A to select them all, then drag from the centre of one of the selected images (not the border) and drop onto the newly created sub-folder. That will move all those images out from the Parent Folder and put them in the new sub-folder for your later attention.
 
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Relevant to my Q2 in last post I should have said that all my photos in Cloudy are in albums, so all should be sync'd to Classic. The 'ALL PHOTOS' album will not mop any outside albums.
If you unsync that album in Classic, it will be deleted from Cloudy.
 
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Thanks for those clarifications.

About the originals with no date: what seems to be happening is that in the Lightroom interface they are being put in a modification date subfolder, but in Finder they appear as ordinary files at the top level in the Masters folder on the drive, alongside the capture date subfolders. In the spirit of not worrying about masters I am not going to do anything about this, but will try your suggestion if something changes.

It is early days in the download and sync process but at the moment it is difficult to make sense of the numbers in different places, but I won't worry about that until it has finished in a few days. eg the blue "syncing" number above my name plus "All Photographs" do not add up to 79000. And "All Photographs" is different from "All Sync'd Photographs".

The ALL PHOTOS album did indeed disappear from Cloudy but I resync'd it in Classic and it has reappeared in Cloudy. I don't think it affects the short term availability of the smart previews in Cloudy as I think when you delete that album the space they used changes to cached but the SPs stay.

Thanks again.
 
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Sorry to keep pestering with questions which arise with my new Classic library exercise.

1. I am about 30 hours into downloading my 580GB in Adobe cloud to my new Classic Library and have downloaded 105GB. I have 350Mbps download speed which is testing at 380 at the moment, but Lightroom is not using it. What I notice is that if I stop the sync and quit Lightroom for a few minutes, when it restarts it uses up to 250Mbps for a few minutes then slows right down to under 1. This is consistent and repeatable. It occurred to me that it might be Adobe policy to give fast sync for a few minutes, which will satisfy many people's most common usage, and then slow down the long heavy lifting so their servers are not bogged down. If so, is there any way to defeat this!?

2. Can I start organising the collections into collection sets at this stage, or should I wait until it has finished downloading?

3. Is there an obvious reason why "All Photographs" currently at 13275, is greater than "All Synced Photographs" at 13136 ? they should be equal since everything in Classic is coming from the cloud. Maybe it will be the same at the end.

Thanks for all the help in this project!
 
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1. None that I can think of. Doesn't matter how fast your download speed is, you're constrained by how fast the Adobe (Amazon actually) servers and the interweb can get the data to your ISP.

2. In theory, you can start now, though I'd persoanlly wait until the dust has settled on that big download.

3. Videos? Classic doesn't sync videos, though it will download them from the cloud, but on arrival in Classic they are "unsynced"....so they're included in All Photographs, but not All Synced Photographs. One other thing to note....even though they technically aren't synced, they still retain knowledge of their source, so if you delete a video from Classic you'll find it will also be deleted from the cloud (if that was the source).
 
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