Aperture Tricks – All About Apple Aperture

October 17, 2006

Three New Features In Aperture 1.5 You May Not Know About

Filed under: Announcements, Reviews — Scott @ 1:04 pm

1) The Lift and Stamp tool can now crop and rotate images. Perfect for batch processing a group of images that have the same defect.

2) You now have the opportunity to set DPI print resolution.

3) The Color Meter can now be set to display Hue, Saturation & Brightness or Hue, Saturation and Luminance.


October 3, 2006

Aperture 1.5 First Impressions

Filed under: Articles, Reviews — Scott @ 2:52 pm

Now that the dust has settled, and I’ve had a few days to use Aperture 1.5, I must say I am impressed. This is a major upgrade to an already good program.

Apple has added more than 20 new features and improved performance. On my MacBookPro, 2GHZ with two gigabytes of RAM, I rarely see the spinning beach ball. I don’t have any fancy test equipment but I can tell you, it’s faster and smoother. This alone will be news that propels the application onto the desks of many photographers.

Other than the basic performance enhancement, Aperture has made great gains in file management, metadata and image adjustments.

One of the first things 1.5 users will have to decide is whether or not they want to use the new image previews. These are not required if you don’t plan to do offline library management, if you don’t want to make slide shows, if you don’t want drag and drop jpeg support and if you don’t care about sharing images with iLife and iWork.

Beware that creating previews takes time. If you automatically create previews for all your new images, you’ll certainly spend some time waiting before you can access a large group of photos that you’re importing. I turned off the automatic previews, deciding that I will apply this feature selectively after I have made my pics.

Aperture makes this easy to do on a project-by-project basis or on an image-by-image basis.

Another cool new feature is the Centered Loupe. Open up the Loupe tool as you normally would. Then press Command-Shift-Tilde and you’ll see the Centered Loupe. You can drag this around the image as you would expect and now expand the Loupe all the way to 1600 percent. There’s a neat pixel map option as well.

The new Edge Sharpen adjustment adds improved luminance-based sharpening with precise control. In earlier versions of Aperture, I was rarely satisfied with the Sharpen took because it sharpened everything. Now, I can use the Edge Sharpen adjustment to sharpen where I need it.

This new tool has three basic controls: intensity, edges and falloff. Intensity controls how much sharpening is applied. Edges controls the area over which the sharpening effect is applied in two percent increments. Falloff is a new concept. Aperture applies edge sharpening in three passes. Falloff is the control that relates to how much sharpening is applied during the multiple application process.

There are too many new features to cover in one post so I’ll continue to update as I go through.

Apple has stepped up big time with Aperture 1.5. The fact that it works faster and smoother, offers new features, now works with any Intel Mac and was provided free of charge, is sufficient to warrant forgiveness for the marketing mistakes Apple made when it announced Aperture last November.

September 28, 2006

New Camera RAW Formats Supported in Aperture 1.5

Filed under: Announcements, Reviews — Scott @ 2:14 pm

Apple has updated it’s list of cameras with RAW support in Aperture. It appears that 1.5 adds at least three models:

Fuji S2/S3 and the Sony A100

Adobe supports more cameras in Lightroom. Aperture is designed for professional use so many of the point and shoot cameras are not supported. Apple still doesn’t have support for some of the really high end digital backs.

September 26, 2006

More On Aperture 1.5

Filed under: Articles, Reviews — Scott @ 2:32 pm

Over the next several weeks I’ll be adding information about Aperture 1.5. Today I want to talk more in-depth about a few of the lesser-known new features.

API & Plug-Ins 

One thing that I was concerned about early on was whether or not Apple would open up Aperture to outside developers. Early discussions with Aperture Project Lead Joe Schorr were not encouraging. But it looks like Apple has decided to open up part of the program. They have released a new API- plug-in architecture that allows third-party developers to connect their products or services to an Aperture workflow.

At Photokina in Germany yesterday, apple was showing off plug-ins from Digital FusionPhotoShelter, Pictage, Connected Flow/Flickr and several of the large photo stock agencies. Unfortunately, there were no announcements of plug-ins that increase Aperture’s editing or manipulating functionality. But the notion that Apple will open up any part of Aperture to third-party development is exciting. It means that there may be the kind of extensibility we see in products like Photoshop through third-party plug-ins.

Window Layouts

The Window Layouts are no more. While I am sure that this will be good news to some, I will miss them. I got very used to the layouts as part of my workflow. You can still reconfigure the windows using  three choices:

1) maximize browser

2) maximize viewer

3) standard

This is going to take some getting used to for me. It also means that I will have to change my training tactics since I often had students switch their layouts based on the old buttons. Maybe I’ll like it after I get used to it but when you’ve used an Application every day for 10 months one way and all of a sudden you have to change, it’s hard.

Lift & Stamp

You can now copy cropping and straightening data from one image to another. Yes! I have been waiting for this feature. When you shoot events and you want to do a basic crop of the background this will speed things up a bunch.

Next week I will cover the changes to the Library. They are significant. They address some of the biggest complaints about Aperture’s file management practices.

September 19, 2006

A Review Of The ShuttlePro V2 for Aperture

Filed under: Reviews — Scott @ 4:56 pm

In May, I talked about Contour Design’s ShuttlePRO. At the time, I didn’t have access to the unit. Now I have my very own ShuttlePRO V2 and I spent the last three days using it. I must say I am impressed.

The ShuttlePRO V2 is a multimedia controller capable of working with Aperture (as well as many other Mac/PC applications.) It contains a jog wheel and 15 programmable buttons. It connects to your Mac via USB cable. The ergonomic shape of the device was both attractive and useful. My hand immediately felt comfortable using the ShuttlePRO and I didn’t tire of it, even while stuck in long editing sessions. The controller is symmetrical so it works for either left or right handed Aperture users.

I really like the non-slip surface on the underside of the wheel. In the past, I have tried other controllers and they often slipped, making them unreliable. I also enjoyed the smooth jog knob and shuttle ring.

While the ShuttlePRO comes pre-configured for use with many applications, you need to download the driver for use with Aperture. An Intel/Mac driver is available. I installed the free driver on my MacBookPro with no problem and enjoyed using the map that came with the documentation to learn how each button performed.

It does take some time to get used to using the controller. But I found that time to be well spent. Once I mastered the controller, I found myself able to navigate through my images much more quickly than I could using a mouse or keyboard commands.

I had to sort through a large collection of images. I was very happy with the response of the inner and outer ring of the jog wheel and used both to navigate through and preview images. If this is all the ShuttlePRO offered to Aperture users, it would be worth it’s $109.95 MSRP.

But you can program the buttons on the controller or use the pre-assigned Aperture buttons to do lots of other things. I found it very easy to rate images using the buttons. I have to confess, I am addicted.

The only problem with 15 buttons is remembering what they all do. You can label nine of the buttons using paper cut-outs supplied by Contour Designs. They even have a blank template on their website you can use to make more buttons.

There are few products at the $100 price point which perform as well as the ShuttlePRO V2. I would highly recommend it to any serious Aperture user with the only caution being that not everyone adapts well to media controllers. You might want to try one at the store before you buy just to make sure you can get used to it. I did and won’t go back to my mouse or keyboard shortcuts ever again.

June 3, 2006

Book Review – Aperture (Apple Pro Training Series) By Orlando Luna & Ben Long

Filed under: Reviews — Scott @ 8:58 pm



Orlando and Ben know their stuff. Orlando was my Apple T3 trainer and I had the pleasure of seeing parts of this book early. It's very well organized and takes a project approach to teaching this deep application. The 12 master lessons are the same ones used in the T3 training. There is a companion disc that contains training files that I found helpful. If you've been waiting for an Aperture book before diving into this new program, this one won't dissapoint you.

The layout and illustration are top notch and the material even includes some of the 1.1 Aperture improvements.

Even though I have my own Aperture training title coming up from lynda.com and I served as technical editor on another great upcoming Aperture book by Ellen and Josh Anon called "Aperture Exposed," I can highly recommend the Apple pro training title.

In fact, I recommend you buy all three…my title, Ellen's and the Pro Training series. Then you'll know everything there is to know about Aperture.

May 14, 2006

Ars Technica

Filed under: Articles, Reviews — Scott @ 9:26 pm

Several of you contacted me to see if I'd read Dave Girard's updated Aperture review. I did glance at it. But I rarely visit that site any more. Since the flawed 1.0 review that Dave wrote appeared, Ars Technica has no credibility with me. 

You see I learned early on that any fool can burn down a barn but it takes some hard work to build one. I predicted early on that the Aperture-bashers would change their tune and a quick read of Girard's review proves my point.

The bottom line is this. The guy didn't understand the program when he wrote his first review and rather than admit it, he slammed what he didn't understand. Now that time has passed, and Apple has responded to a few of the legitimate critiques Aperture did receive, the Girards of the world will jump on the bandwagon.

And here's my favorite part, when Aperture 8.0 is released, the Girards of the world will be bragging how from the start, they used and loved the program.

Yeah right. 

April 19, 2006

Review Of Aperture 1.1

Filed under: Reviews — Scott @ 3:16 am

MacDevCenter has posted my review of Aperture 1.1 for your reading enjoyment.

March 7, 2006

MacBookPro Update #2

Filed under: Reviews — Scott @ 11:49 am

I’ve had a few more days with the new laptop and have a couple of additional observations.

Start up from a dead stop is wicked fast. You hit the power button and it seems like almost instantly, you’re ready for business. It’s really impressive.

The mag safe power cord has already saved my bacon once. But it does come out with very little effort so you need to double check that you haven’t unhooked yourself from AC power from time-to-time.

The backlit keyboard actually works on this computer. I remember when I bought my first PowerBook with this feature and I never could get it to illuminate the keys. It works well on the MacBookPro and since I often type in dim light, I have grown to really appreciate it.

I also want to note that MacWorld Magazine says some of the laptops they tested make an occasional odd noise. My machine is the quietest computer I have ever owned. It makes almost no noise at all.

GarageBand works as well on my new laptop as it does on my desktop. That’s remarkable since my desktop comes with four gigs of RAM (compared to my MacBookPro’s two gigs) and DualCore 2.3 PowerMac G5 processors (compared to the DualCore 2.0 Intel) processors.

March 2, 2006

MacBookPro Update

Filed under: Reviews — Scott @ 6:45 pm

I’ve had a few days with the new laptop and I can’t report anything on how it works with Aperture but I can tell you a few things about the computer that you might want to know. Battery life is about three hours with steady use. That’s enough for most plane rides. And the screen is beautiful. I sat it right next to one of my Apple Cinema Displays and it’s just as nice. I did run Photoshop on it and it seems a little slow because of Rosetta but it still works well enough to be enjoyable. And the images look 100% better than they ever did on my PowerBook. The magsafe power cord is cool as is the built-in camera. I think it’s a remarkable machine and can’t wait for the 17-inch version 🙂

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