Aperture

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Darren Lewis, Sep 10, 2007.

  1. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Are any Mac owners here using Aperture? If so, what do you think about it?

    As I'm getting ready to switch to Mac, I'm starting to look at what software I might need. I'm not a pro photographer, but I am a reasonably serious amateur.

    On my old Windows setup I used a combination of Breeze Downloader Pro and Breeze Browser Pro to download (and auto rename including directory distribution) my photos, process the RAW files and proof them. I would then use Photoshop Elements to do any touch-up and I was starting to look at iMatch for photo cataloguing and archiving.

    Unfortunately, only PS Elements is avaialble for the Mac (and even then only at v4.0 and not in Universal format yet), so I'm starting to think again about my photo workflow.

    I'm quite fussy about my naming and storage. I rename them as YYYYMMDD_Number.jpg, and I want a cataloguing app that will allow photos to be stored in more than one "collection" or "album" with the ability to store photos off my main drive (eg on a DVD). I'm not sure iPhoto will be powerful enough for my needs.

    I had a play with the demo of Adobe Lightroom but it looks and feels horrible to me, and it's renaming feature didn't seem to work properly.

    The demo videos for Aperture make it look good, but then again I suppose they would do!

    Any thoughts?
     
  2. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    You'll probably want to look at iPhoto first. Aperture is great for several things, and if you do any of them you'll want to look seriously at Aperture:

    - working with RAW -- it's really, really easy in Aperture

    - batch processing image changes -- applying the same colour correction to a very large group of pictures

    - making multiple variations from a RAW file without taking up much disk space

    - stacking images -- putting together a pile of pictures that are all variations on the same thing and putting your selection on top of the pile

    iPhoto allows for easily putting an image in many different albums at the same time. It also allows your library to not be on your boot drive -- just pick a drive for it and it'll work fine. It won't allow your library to be on DVDs, but you can create archives directly from iPhoto onto DVDs that will retain all of your arrangement and alterations to the image. Then these discs appear just like a shared library in iPhoto when you put the disc back in the computer.

    You can't have your Aperture library on DVDs either (since these libraries are supposed to be live -- quick changes on the fly aren't so easy on DVDs), but you can keep parts of your Aperture library offline.

    iPhoto has a deceptively simple interface -- if you have an Apple Store nearby, I'd recommend going in for one of the free workshops on iPhoto (and also one on Aperture -- compare them!).

    What's your workflow like now?
     
  3. ErichH

    ErichH Screenwriter

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  4. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Thanks guys. Eric, that link looks like a good one. Aaron, I currently use Breeze software to download from my memory card onto my PC and process any RAW files and make quick proofs. I store any edits by adding a suffix onto the filename of the original. Unfortunately Breeze don't make their products for Mac users which is a real shame.
    I was looking around for a good photo management and cataloguing app so hadn't decided on one particular one.
    I'm going to wait for my new iMac to arrive before making a final decision. It may be that I like the way iPhoto handles things. If I don't, then I'm pretty sure I'd prefer to go with Aperture than Adobe Lightroom.
     
  5. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I'd bet you really want Lightroom not Aperture. I'm sure Aperture has a lot of really cool features, but unless you are running a Mac Pro and have a bajillion years to learn aperture, Lr seems to be the way to go.
    Check out how easy AND powerful it is with the free videos at:
    http://www.whibalhost.com/_Tutorials.../01/index.html
    iPhoto? Just doesnt have the depth of capabilities that Lr does. If you are taking a couple hundred shots a year maybe, but if your image collection is over 1k or more you might need a heavy duty tool.
    Sam
     
  6. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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  7. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    Note that you can download a 30-day trial of Aperture from Apple. I believe you can do the same with Lightroom. Both programs have received good reviews, but reviewers agree the workflow on each is very different and some folks are going to prefer one and some the other on that basis.
    Here's Apple's Aperture site:
    http://www.apple.com/aperture
    The free trial is there, and there are tons of demo & tutorial vids.
    I'm about 10 days in to my eval period on Aperture right now.
     
  8. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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  9. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Sam, while they're different tools I'd bet that you'd be really surprised at the things you can do with iPhoto -- it's not the joke it was three or four years ago.
    What it doesn't do fantastically is handle RAW -- I mean, it makes it easy in the workflow, but it's converting to 16 bit TIFF pretty much immediately. You can get a better radical alteration to the file by working directly with the RAW data in a program like Aperture or Lightroom, but if you're not making radical changes you actually won't see much or any difference to the final image.
    Darren -- you can use iPhoto to do the import, and changes are non-destructive. What iPhoto does when you make a change is duplicate the image and store the original in a different file in the library (which you don't go into -- file management and organization is all in iPhoto's main window), allowing you to revert to the original at any point in the future. You can also hit the shift key to see the original when viewing a changed file.
    iPhoto also does this when using Photoshop as an external editor -- it makes a new copy and sends that to Photoshop. After working on it, you just hit Save in Photoshop and iPhoto updates its thumbnails to reflect the change. You can now also use the shift key to see before and after and revert back to the original at any time in the future.
    Where Aperture used to kill it was keyword tagging and batch changes, but both are remarkably improved in iPhoto '08 -- you can even lift and stamp colour and contrast corrections from one photo onto another.
     
  10. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Does iPhoto (or Aperture) have good file renaming (incl batch renaming) features, especially when importing from a memory card?
    On my PC I store photos as /YYYY/YYYY-MM-DD/YYYYMMDD_seqnum.ext largely based on the techniques described here. This way every photo file has a unique name and there are no clashes. It's the only way I can handle thousands of photos and a growing collection. I've already got several thousand digital photos and will be getting more as I'm scanning in lots of old family slides and negs.
    The sequence number is picked up from the EXIF data stored by my Canon D-SLR. If it's a scan, I can add a random number.
    I looked at the file renaming features in Light Room which didn't seem to be that good as it kept resetting its sequence number to zero and ending up with sequences like 0001-1.jpg
     
  11. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Both can do a batch rename with ascending numbers, Darren -- but both will also let you happily have multiple files in the library with the same file name without a problem. You're better off to spend that time keyword tagging so you can search the photos.
    And with both Aperture and iPhoto, if you export two files with the same name to the same location, they'll automatically rename one of them for you to avoid a conflict.
     
  12. Darren Lewis

    Darren Lewis Supporting Actor

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    Ok, thanks. I think I'll have to get used to managing and versioning my photos from the photo management software rather than a hybrid of the filesystem and a photo manager.
     
  13. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    For better or worse, iPhoto is easiest to use when you stop thinking (and worrying) about file-based organization and instead work with photo-based organization in iPhoto. iPhoto is fundamentally a photo management tool with some decent casual-user photo-editing and printing tools.
    iPhoto can import photos from folders and leave the organizing to you. Until you make a modification, and then it copies the modified version into its little universe of file management and your organization schemes are for naught. And my experience is that it's clumsy pre-importing files, organizing them manually, and then doing a manual import with iPhoto.
    That said, if all you care about is file naming, you could import, rename, and then import into iPhoto. It doesn't muck with names per se.
    iPhoto is an excellent organizer, again back on par with Picasa. (I love the new Events system.) But you have to accept its user goals to have the best experience. (I gave up my manual photo organization system and let iPhoto do what it does.)
     
  14. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Anyone do any recent comparisons of Aperture vs Lightroom? I need RAW support, and am looking to buy Aperture. Before I plunk down $80, I want to check I'm not off in the weeds.
     
  15. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I have both. I use Aperture to manage my iPhone pictures and I use Lr for all my mirrorless and DSLR shots. It's not even close IMO, in how much better Lr is than Aperture.

    Rumor is that Aperture is to get an upgrade similar to what FCPX did in the fall timeframe tho...
     
  16. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    I ended up with Aperture because I desperately needed to merge three different iPhoto libraries. I don't have much of a problem with its feature set, and PhotoStream integration is huge, but I haven't tried Lightroom so I don't know what I am missing. I do have do a HUGE complaint: performance (on my 2009 MacPro with 8GB memory), working in JPEG, is just awful. Beachball city. I do have a very large library, but still. Also, no easy (or indeed one which I have gotten to work) way to watermark photos. If a hugely improved Aperture X doesn't appear by the end of the year, I am jumping to Lightroom. In the meantime I am going to stick a fast SSD in the MacPro figuring it the single most effective way to up performance.
     
  17. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

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    Ted, in Aperture's preferences, ask it to generate previews when quitting. It'll take longer to quit but should gain you a lot of performance while editing.
     
  18. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

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    Thanks, Aaron! Will try as soon as I get home.
     
  19. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Hmmmm....still may need it sooner than later, for RAW images. But iPhoto is getting bogged down on my wife's 2009 iMac and I thought aperture would fix that. Her library is maybe 5000+ photos.
     
  20. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    Been using Aperture for years and it has no problem handling large RAW libraries. Mine is probably closer to 50,000.
     

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