Sunday, October 14, 2012

iCloud Photo Stream To Folder (skip iPhoto)

I'll be honest with you: since I have my iMac, I tried hard but just could not get used to how iPhoto arranges photos (using events instead of folders). Thus I started using Picasa for Mac that I was really pleased with. However, the only way I can import photos in Picasa is to plug in my iPhone.

To make use of iCloud's Photo Stream feature where photos taken on your iPhone get uploaded to iCloud automatically over the air and so can be displayed immediately on your Mac or PC, without the need to wire connect your iPhone to it, I was looking for a way to either find the Photo Stream folder location on the iMac, or for Picasa to connect with iCloud directly. Well, as it came out, the combination of the two can be made possible with Automator!

I basically cut and pasted my script from several different forum topics, articles, as follows:

1. Location of Photo Stream photos (just do a search on ["photo stream" location mac], that should do the trick): Accessing your iCloud Photostream on a Mac.

2. The script to order photos per creation date into folders named as dates: Relocating files based on creation date.

3. Finally, a couple of tricks, recommendations: in the above script, you'll find the following line:
(click in the box to highlight the code for copy)

If you want to avoid the script to ask for the destination folder, you will have to set the folder path here. I wanted it to be copied into my Pictures folder, but for it to work, I also needed to add 'POSIX file' in front, otherwise it wouldn't accept the path I specified.

The code ended up looking like this, and worked as a charm:
(click in the box to highlight the code for copy)

Of course, you will have to replace the [your_user_name] part with your user name on your Mac.

I also removed the warning for SkippedItems as it did not provide any useful information and I knew the only thing it's skipping are already copied files. To do this, just remove the following bits of the script:
(click in the box to highlight the code for copy)

Additionally the 'Find Finder Items' Action that I added in front to provide the input, did not work if I chose 'Kind - Images'. I worked around this by selecting 'File extension - is - jpg' (photos), 'File extension - is - jpeg' (might never be needed, but wanted to be sure) and 'File extension - is - png' (for screen shots taken on the iPhone). Make sure you select 'Any - of the following are true' on the top of the statement within this action.

Also, to make sure the script runs every time I take a photo on my iPhone, I just had to save this as a Folder Action. You will not be able to select the 'sub' folder on top if doing it from Automator, you'll have to locate the folder in Finder (follow the instructions about this in the link in point #1 above) and drag it to the folder selection drop-down on top, next to the text 'Folder Action receives files and folders added to'.

And finally, you just have to add the main folder (in my case the Pictures folder) to Picasa for it to scan it automatically every time, and there you go, your Photo Stream photos get into Picasa, just like if you would use iPhoto.

EDITED: My fellow reader, Kris Lord gave me an excellent idea: if you, at the end of your Automator script, add a 'Launch Application' action and select, then, say, you replace your Picasa icon with the icon of your Automator app, your script would run and then Picasa opened, so it's almost like if Picasa would trigger the script to run. Pretty smart, isn't it? ;)

Note #1: I now have Mountain Lion installed, MAC OS X 10.8.2, the script might be acting differently on a different system.

Note #2: There is a quite good forum topic with several other suggestions (I took the save as Folder Action from here for example) here: 10.7: Auto-copy Photo Stream images to a folder.

If you have questions (I know, it looks a bit complicated), or would like me to send you the complete Automator script, feel free to comment or AskMe.

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