Move File Return to Original Folder?

Ok Total Newbie first post. At its most basic

If I have four folders A,B,C,D each with one file inside A1,B1,C1,D1 I want to move each file to folder E where I will edit the files held within and then return each file back to its original folder?

In Reality I have 50 folders in which contain 1000 files of which I have selected 100 files these 100 files I want to move to a single folder where I they will be edited and then I want the 100 files to return to their original folders.

The files that are held within the folders are Digital Negatives I have found that by using a program called Photo Mechanic I can add a unique name to each file inside its metadata, spotlight can find this unique name and create a selection for me, ok I have my files moving them is no problem with Automator but as of yet returning each file to its original correct folder, location eludes me.

My first problem has been trying to explain this to others and even harder trying to put this into a search?

I use a Imac G5 os x 10.4.11 I :smiley:

Model: iMac
Browser: Safari 525.27.1
Operating System: Mac OS X (10.4)

When the files are moved, are the filenames changed? Can the names be used to find the original source?

If not, Automator is not going to work for you, but it would not be difficult to set up an AppleScript to save a file during the first transfer that could be used to note where each file came from in the first place.

Another approach would to be re-configure the initial file moving to preserve the original location in the actual filename, thus preserving that for the return trip.

Thanks Craig very exciting was beginning to wonder if it were not going to be possible.

The file names will not be changed just the contents of the file will be edited.

The main point to this is the fact I do want to preserve the file names as they are all filed in sequence which I want to preserve. My problem comes with the fact that the editing program NX2 only can run a batch process on a single file. I do believe the developers are working on this problem.

So as long as the file its self is not re written and the original file name can be preserved any suggestions would be great. Would a sample file help?

please let me know

A sample structure would be better. If the filenames are preserved, I can only assume that the names themselves have no information that would connect them to the original folder, correct? Am I also correct in assuming that the files are in fact MOVED, not just copied? You then tweak the metadata, and want them moved back to their original locations, correct?

If my assumptions are accurate, there may be an even simpler solution. How about if instead of MOVING the necessary files, we set it up to create links in the folder wherein your metadata is going to be manipulated TO the original files? That way, you can have the files (via a link) in your destination folder, do the work, and then simply delete the links. The original files would be modified without all the disk moving activity.

Let me know what you think of that.

The file names are preserved and contain no information in which can connect them to the original folder correct.

Yes they are moved not copied and yes then the content of the image is edited ie color, contrast, excetra and then moved back to their original locations correct.

Setting up links is a great idea, I have tried using Alias and NX2 was not able to read the alis and comes up with

“No Images found in path: /Users/cheynisaville/Desktop/HotFolder”

A sample file path and naming

Macintosh HD > Users > cheynisaville > Pictures > 2008 > December_08 > 2008_12_09_Nature_01 > RainForest_A0011.NEF

The Destination folder could be anywhere as above /Users/cheynisaville/Desktop/HotFolder

Thanks for the info. Are you using just the Move Finder Items action? Have you tried it with the New Aliases action?

There is nifty little Unix command (ln) that creates what are termed hard links. These are one step above so called Mac alias files, and should work where your aliases did not. You can only get that functionality using the Run Shell Script action, so if you could please outline your Action Workflow, I will be happy to write the Run Shell Script action, and we can see how that works for you.

I May become a little bit vague here. I have never spent much time with actions. So far I have been using the spotlight action first to find my images. This is working well as long as the search is unique. The search criteria could be “JanuaryToPrint” this is placed inside the images IPTC field which so far has yielded 100% results. I then was using the “Move Finder Items” I have been trying to set this up from Automator?. Not sure that answered your questions and when it comes to shell scripts I am now in the dark. Is there a correct way to outline your “Action Workflow”?

What I meant by outline your Action Workflow was to simply list the actions (in order) that you are using in Automator to move the files to your HotFolder. It is this Move Finder Items action that we need to replace with the Run Shell Script action, so that original files never leaves the original location. Instead, we will use the Run Shell Script action to create the hard links within the HotFolder, that way you can still use Photo Mechanic to alter the metadata, and the original file will receive the changes. Once you are finished, you can delete the files from the HotFolder. This is a huge advantage, in that it uses up no extra disk space, and eliminates the need for moving files all over the place.

So, just list out the actions you are using already in Automator to move the files, and I will help you to change it over. Write your list like this:

Ask for Finder Items
Move Finder Items

Ok at present, sounds simple but is

Move Finder Items

These two actions finds the 100 images out of the 1000 without any excess baggage, All I have to do is enter the unique name which each image is tagged with and spotlight finds them. So I assume all that is needed is Spotlight followed by your script?

Sorry if I sound a little bit newbie with this, its something long over due in me learning.

Yes, delete the Move Finder Items action, and add the Run Shell Script action. Inside the Run Shell Script window, delete whatever is already there, and enter this:

ln "$@" "/Users/cheynisaville/Desktop/HotFolder"

Over toward the top right of the Run Shell Script window, you will see a pop up list entitled Pass Input: - Be sure that you select the as arguments option.

That should do it, so long as the HotFolder is present on your desktop, all the files will be linked inside the HotFolder, and once you are finished with your metadata work, just delete them; the originals should be altered as you desire.

Let me know if you have any difficulties.

Hi sorry for the long reply not near the computer for a while.

Ok the script created a new file which I was able to edit but the edits did not transfer to the original file? any thoughts.

Dang. Have you checked the preferences for the manipulation software? You said that it would not work on alias files, perhaps there is something in there about linked files as well.

If your product will not work, we perhaps could try another. I have used ExifTool, and it works well, although I have not tried it on linked files. It is installed on my system, and I could give it a try first, if you would explain in a bit more detail exactly which parameter(s) you are updating.

Maybe I’m thinking a bit off here but, if you’re changing the original file, why not simply use a Smart folder?

If you’re worried about saving to a wrong location make an Automator Action or Applescript to place the original path of the file into the Spotlight Comments.