Your catalog is compatible on both Windows and Mac computers. I don't understand your question about smart previews. Smart previews are used when access to the master images is unavailable, i.e. the hard drive containing the master images is not connected. So if you are switching the external hard drive between the two computers you wouldn't be needing smart previews.
Thank you for your quick response...let me see if I can explain what I am thinking about.
1. My photos would be stored on an external Raid 1 system next to my Windows desktop at home.
2. I want to be able to work on them away from home using my laptop which I want to purchase as a Mac.
3. I thought I could do this if I created Smart Previews (smaller file size to have on a travel drive)?
4. Wouldn't I need to have the catalog mobile too so that when I reconnect the mobile drive back to my Windows computer it will see all the changes I made while I was working on Mac laptop.
5. I also wanted to use the mobile external drive along with my Mac laptop with me when I traveled (which I do often) and once back home to move those and any changes onto my external drives sitting next tom Windows desktop computer.
Does this help explain what I want to do?
If the catalog is on the external hard drive along with the master images, then smart previews won't be used. Smart previews come into play only when the master images are not available. So what you would want to do is export the images you want to work on as a catalog and include smart previews but not the negative files. You should also include available previews. Then you could work on the smart previews on the external hard drive. When you connect the external hard drive to your Windows computer upon returning, the adjustments would be transferred to the master images and you could discard everything the EHD. Just be aware that when working with smart previews you cannot round-trip to Photoshop.
Thank you so much. I really wanted to be able to buy this new Mac coming out. I currently own a fairly new Windows desktop with a very large monitor so I really needed these to be able to talk to one another.
Let me make sure I have this.
1. My actual raw files and their catalog are stored on my external drive at home.
2. When I want to work on some I just need to export them as a catalog to my external mobile drive, plug that into my Mac and I can work on them from there.
3. When traveling I can download pictures from my camera to my mobile external drive and work on them while away and once home import them and my desktop will recognize the external catalog or I'll have to import as a catalog into my master catalog. Ps I only want to keep one catalog for all my photos.
A simple yes or no to know if my thoughts are straight.
I really appreciate your time I have not been able to find this information anywhere.
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It seems maybe you are talking about two different scenarios here. First you have indicated that the master files are on an external hard drive connected to your Windows computer. If you export images as a catalog and just include smart previews (not include the master files) then you can work on those smart previews on the Mac if you export the catalog to an external hard drive. The smart previews will be included in that export.
If you import real images into that catalog then they will have to be exported as a catalog and include the master images. Then you can move the hard drive back to your Windows computer. The smart previews will update the relevant master files and you'll have to drag/drop the new images from the mobile external hard drive to the one connected to your Windows computer.
It might be easier to create a new catalog on the mobile external hard drive for your new images. Then all you have to do is import from that catalog to you are Windows catalog when you return home.
Thank you thank you thank you!!
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