Aperture Tidbits

Some assorted Aperture tidbits:

  • The Library entry in the Projects Pane is really a folder called ” Built-in Smart Albums”. Adding a new folder with a name ahead of this entry, such as ” An Album Ahead” does not place it above in Projects, however.
  • The Light Table feature is a little buggy. I arranged my portfolio images in the same manner as we did in Paperture. It is easy to accidentally rearrange the icons in the light table in an unwanted manner, from which you cannot undo. For instance, to better organize my piles, I placed the icons in the Light Table into stacks. This caused the book that I was preparing to freak out, since the pick of a stack is used for each photo in a book. Since the photos in the book were originally not in stacks, each book image was replaced by the pick! Thus, instead of a book with 81 different images, I had a book with 81 images of the nine stack picks! When I unstacked the images to fix the book, the images on the light table were unstacked right on top of each order, losing my making my carefully ordered piles disappear. In the end, I rearranged my wedding picks three times before I gave up using the Light Table. As I learn more about, I’m eager to learn how to lock the photos in the light table so they don’t move.
  • Versions are great. For my portfolio, we created small square thumbnails for each image. Versions make it easy to consolidate all the different changes and permutations for an image. If you set versions opened in external editors to be in PSD format, you can even saved layered images with Aperture. Of course, you can’t modify the RAW file after the fact, but at least you can have your projects files consolidated into one place.
  • Lift and Stamp. There are times when I want to lift and stamp certain adjustments made to an image. For example, noise reduction but not white balance or exposure. It does not appear that you can uncheck individual entries under adjustments. I expect this to be fixed in the next point release for Aperture. Update: Looks like you are able to do this in Aperture. See the comments by Kev below.
  • Adjustment sliders. I find that the adjustment sliders are really easy to adjust in fine increments. This might sound good for the marketing people (high-precision float architecture), but in practice it’s a little cumbersome. I typically want to adjust exposure in tenths of a stop. Having jump-to spots in half stop increments for the sliders would be very useful.
  • Aperture also has a non-standard text field if you want to edit the value. When you hover the mouse over the field, the cursor changes to this strange insert text icon. Click and you can change the value. However, tabbing, which works in Camera RAW and Capture One switches panes and does not go to the next adjustment (i.e. Exposure to Saturation to Brightness). To adjust those values using the keyboard, you have to hover the mouse over the text field, click, and start typing. You have to be careful using the minus key, because that’s used to rate images; it’s easy to accidently mark an item as a reject and have it disappear from your workspace!
  • The crop tool does not automatically check the contstrain proportions checkbox. You have to check it for each and every image. Since I typically maintain the 3:2 aspect ratio on my images, this is very time consuming.
  • A possible way to span your Library across multiple disk volumes
  • Dust and Patch tool need work. Unless the dust spot you’re removing is on a featureless background, it’s not very accurate. It’s takes a lot of fiddling with the settings to use the tool effectively. It might be easier to set everything the way you like it, open the image in Photoshop, and resave the processed version back into Aperture.

4 thoughts on “Aperture Tidbits

  1. Kev

    Thanks for your continued thoughts. I also have been playign with the lightbox and find it fun but not necessarily practical for real projects. I haven’t been able to figure out how to shrink the lightbox area again if I’ve accidentally dragged a picture out to the border thus expanding the whole lightbox to several times the original area.

    Regarding individual adjustments in lift and stamp, you *can* choose exactly what you want to stamp:
    For specific adjustments underneath the main categories (without the check box) simply select the ones you don’t want and press the delete key. Command-clicking allows you to delete more than one attribute at a time.

  2. How does Aperture compare to iView and iPhoto then Adam? Has it been a worthwhile upgrade. I always enjoy reading your blog :-)


  3. Kev – Thanks for the tip about the lift and stamp tool! For some reason, when I was testing the feature the first time, I wasn’t able to select the individual items. When I tried it again after reading your post, I was able to. Very strange!

  4. Seb – A full post about comparing iView and Aperture are forthcoming! Since I don’t use iPhoto, there won’t be much to say on that application.

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