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Sunday
Mar062011

Aperture A Closer Look: Part 1, By Jeremy Warnock, Perth Wedding Photographer

One of the biggest changes digital photography has brought around is the death of the darkroom.  Instead of being locked in a pitch black room we now found ourselves locked behind computers.  Luckily for photographers software companies are trying to find ways to shorten the length of time we spend at our post processing by producing better software.  The 2 main companies fighting over the digital work-flow crown are Adobe as we would expect and Apple.  In this series of posts I am not going to get into the debate over which product is better, however I will be giving an overview of Aperture its in workings and how I use it day to day.

Released in 2005 roughly 18 months before its biggest competitor Adobes Lightroom, Aperture changed the way many Photographers worked.  Being not only a RAW editor but also a image management tool Aperture gave Photographers a place where we could to basic adjustments, cataloguing and organising with simple yet powerful structure.  It was arguably the first re-defined work-flow for Photographers.  Since Apertures release it has seen 2 major overhauls, now on Version 3, after a few stumbles, Aperture is a place where many of us get to do 90% of our work and place where I spend most of my post processing time.

When Apple released Aperture 3 last year it brought with it some 200 Plus new features.  But the very first adopters where stung with constantly crashing software, spinning beach balls and incredibly slow performance.  So much so that even with my 8 Core Mac Pro with 16Gigs of ram I was staring lose faith and looked at Adobe for a solution.  No solution was found, Adobe’s Lightroom is a very good piece of software but its just not for me. Luckily however a few weeks bought a few updates and finally with bugs fixed Apple had a winning piece of software.

The top key features Aperture brought to version 3, I wont go through the full 200 of course, were
  • faces
  • Places
  • Brushes
  • Presets
  • Full Screen Browser
  • Slide shows

In addition to these features, Aperture had been rewritten using 64Bit code to harness the true power of the new hardware we all lust after.  Like with any new additions to software some features have their fans and haters.  I for one love geotagging with Places but have no use for Faces.  But lets not get bogged down in features we do and do not use, lets jump in and have look.
Apples standard application interface
When you open Aperture you are presented with the typical Apple type of interface. To the left is the Inspector plane.  Here you can switch views from Library to Metadata to Adjustments.  The keyboard short to switch views in the Inspector is W.
 The Inspector: Use W to switch between the viewsIn the main window next to the inspector we have the viewer this can be cycled though 3 options of Browser - showing you images in the current project or your projects,  The Viewer which will so just the image you are currently working with and finally a spit view which shows you the browser plus the image you are working with.  The keyboard short for switching between the view types is V.
Browser View
Split ViewEditor View
Then finally we have the typical tool bar towards the top of the application.  This can of course be customised to show the most useful tools for you by simply right clicking on the toolbar itself.  It is also note worthy that if you use 2 monitors and who doesn't these days? you can set Aperture to display what you want on the secondary screen, it will mirror the primary screen, show a full version of the image your working on, show the desktop or just left the screen blank to reduce distraction.
 With 2 monitors you can see your library plus the image your working on at the same timeOne of my major loves with Aperture is Full Screen view.  With a simple strike of the F key all the normal toolbars and menus disappear to show a clean black background with your image or library displayed.  This is a great feature, removing all distractions and allowing you to see whats important to you, the image.  Strike the H key and the HUD is displayed, which will again allow you to scroll between the inspector options with the W key. Striking the F kay again will return you to normal viewing mode.
 Full screen mode show the libraryPressing H in full screen mode will display the HUDSo putting what we know together we get full screen, showing the HUD displayed over 2 monitors, reducing distractions letting you get your work done.Well that should just about do us for our introduction to Aperture.  At the end of each of these post I plan to leave you with a Pro Tip something that may save you searching the web for.  Well for our first Aperture Pro Tip lets talk how you can get a hold of Aperture.  Apple offers a free 30 day of Aperture which can be obtained here http://www.apple.com/aperture/trial/.  Now if you walk into an Apple Retail Store or buy on line you will be paying $249 for Aperture but here's the real tip use the new Mac App store, here the same product that is on Apples online store and in the retail stores for $249 is just $99.99.  It a bargain price for this quality product.

Next time we will looking at importing images into Aperture.

You can see more of my work at www.warnockimagery.com, you can read about my latest antics at www.warnockimagery.com/blog or friend me on facebook at www.facebook.com/warnockimagery

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