Posts tagged with Aperture

Aperture to Lightroom

Even before yesterday’s announcement  Apple To Cease Development Of Aperture, consistently the most-visited page on my Lightroom site was Moving from Aperture to Lightroom. Since the devil is always in the detail, I would encourage any Aperture refugees to read the comments as well as the article itself – there’s a lot of little insights from different people.

 

 

So it’s not quite dead?

You know those moments of calm near the end of the movie? You finally relax. Christine the psychopathic car has been fed into the crusher and is just a harmless cube of scrap metal, or the Balrog is tumbling down into the abyss, and the hobbits are safe. While the credits haven’t yet begun to roll, you’re already thinking about the best way back to the car, maybe so you can nip into Bar Italia or back past that interesting-looking pub you noticed earlier in the evening. Maybe you will be allowed that pint after all? A nice cosy feeling, isn’t it? And then, all of a sudden the beast springs back to life. Well, with Apple barely able to give Aperture away at half price, its market share evaporating with the deafening silence about its future, suddenly it’s on your tail, growling furiously. Did you spill your popcorn?

I was a bit surprised, certainly by the timing, but only the week before it was released I had been mentally drafting a post asking where – if anywhere – Aperture 3 . . .

What has Aperture done to my x@%king metadata?

I'll be posting some of my own thoughts on Aperture 3 soon, maybe tomorrow. But I just noticed David Riecks has some issues with how Apple Aperture 3 writes metadata and I recommend you read his article very carefully indeed:

Apple has made some significant changes to how Aperture handles metadata with this latest release. However, the ways in which this has been done should be of great concern to professional photographers that work with other programs, or hand off their metadata-rich files to others who need to be able to access the full range of that information.

You shouldn't be concerned if you use Aperture 3 on your own Mac, don't typically use embedded metadata, and don't share your images with others, or work with other programs such as Adobe Photoshop. Even if you do use metadata to describe your images, and only need to find them on your local computer, you should be fine.

You should be concerned if you use Aperture to write metadata to files you use with other programs, share with others or share on the Internet. For . . .

Enough rope?

Audioboo seems to be a Twitter for podcasts, but at least on the latter a poor choice of words can easily be forgiven and it seems to take more than a single 140 character tweet to eliminate any ambiguity and clarify the true stupidity of a point. By contrast, listen to the unbelievably shortsighted recommendation in this 3 minute Lightroom & Aperture Tip podcast. The presenter, who should really have remained anonymous, only “sees nothing wrong” in lots of small catalogues because he hasn't looked too deeply and doesn't see it as fragmenting control of his pictures. I'm not against having more than one catalogue, and a “work in progress” catalogue can be a good workflow providing you consistently move its contents over to your master catalogue when they're finished. But setting an arbitrary number like 10,000 items on a catalogue (evidence, please), or even having a new one for each shoot, and worse still, leaving the catalogues in this way? To take this BridgeThink to an extreme, maybe we should have one catalogue per picture, and then there'd be . . .

A late winner

I imagine this will interest a very small crowd, but here's a year-old presentation to a Mac developers conference by Adobe's Troy Gaul on how Lightroom is coded. He shows the development environment they needed to build because they were using Lua rather than a more widely-used language. One thing (as well as a new term) that I picked up was that there was a “stretch goal” to produce a development tool for plug-in authors as (hot news folks) “it might get a little tedious” to use a text editor to write code. No sign of it yet, but here's hoping (after all, Ryan Giggs just hit a 5th).

Also read John Nack's post on Lightroom beating Aperture 6-1 - more for the comments from the crowd.

The grass is always greener?

Rob Boyer's All Things Photography blog includes Aperture tips and has also ventured into the dangerous waters of direct Aperture versus Lightroom comparisons. While overall Rob's about as fair and balanced in advocating Aperture as I am in preferring Lightroom, some judgements fall in Lightroom's favour. For instance, see his comparison of Aperture and Lightroom keywording:

[In Aperture] you can do crazy stuff like running scripts that smash the entire hierarchy into each of your images based on the specific keywords but that sort of defeats the purpose. Lightroom on the other hand will export the entire hierarchy for each specific keyword, but wait there's more, for each and every keyword Lightroom let's [sic] you specify whether or not to include the parent keywords and… whether to export it at all.

…Score a big win for Adobe Lightroom 2 versus Apple Aperture 2 when it comes to keyword functionality.

While I think his conclusion is right in this case, it shows a couple of dangers of such comparisons.

One is that it's easy to have misconceptions about how people actually use “the other” program's . . .

Trojan horses

Not long ago I almost linked to Micah Walter's Inside Aperture article Seeing RED. He's now doing more video and is having problems managing the new file types:

What would save my day would be Aperture. If only Aperture supported AVCHD (and many of the other tapeless formats) I could import my AVCHD card just like I do with my DSLR. It could import any stills from my HD camera, as well as all of my native clips. It could allow me to preview my clips, maybe even set in and out markers and I could select a batch of clips and still frames to send off to Final Cut Pro for production. Final Cut could be responsible for converting the clips to QuickTime format (or not) and everything would just be in one place in an Aperture project.

Can't recall why I didn't link to it - probably because he is explicitly talking about "proper" digital video - but now it's worth comparing with Sean MacCormack's post Video and Lightroom:

In these days . . .

Strange (and missing) words

Over at the McCreate site (which first adorned the web as Aperture Professional Users Network, soon dropped the word “Professional”, and then dropped the rest) John Omvik does a lengthy comparison of Aperture 2.1 vs Lightroom 2.0 – Different Approaches to Local Image Corrections:

So Which Method is Best?

Both methods offer advantages and disadvantages for local corrections. After working with both I have to say that I am very impressed with the speed and flexibility the Adobe solution offers. I like the open plug-in concept from Apple, but feel that the implementation leaves much to be desired, especially as it relates to the rest of the non-destructive workflow.

My ideal solution would be a plug-in architecture that would allow for 3rd party plug-ins to be integrated in the processing pipeline offering the extensibility of Aperture with the speed and non-destructive functionality of Lightroom.

Pravda extolling the virtues of capitalism? But these are days when the Russkies are oil rich capitalists and the Yanks are merrily nationalizing the banking system….

Plug-ins (Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy)

It's easy to see real positives in Aperture's announcement of plug-in architecture. Taking advantage of existing third party tools can quickly flesh out its features, while positioning it at the centre of a viable “ecosystem”. Meanwhile third party developers can be working on fully-integrated solutions.

On the other hand, it's a long way short of the original concept of the one ring to rule them all, and might even be seen as defining limits on what's going to appear in the core product.

In any case, even if that fear's untrue, it seems pretty obvious that people don't really want to pay for a range of plug-ins for essential tasks like noise reduction or lens distortion - they will do so, but reluctantly, as a distress purchase. Then there's the hassle each time the host or the plug-in upgrades, or the palaver of tracking down licence numbers when you get a new computer (I'd love to know how many Mac users actually use the automated transfer processes). And when your chosen plug-in developer vanishes? Hopefully the plug-in works in the host's next . . .

Aperture versus Lightroom

Ian Wood ( here too) has written an interesting and lengthy Aperture versus Lightroom 2 beta comparison.

He admits “Obviously I'm pretty biased towards Aperture (contributing to an Aperture blog, writing Aperture-related software, top-rated poster on the Apple discussion forum, posting on pretty well every Aperture-related forum on the net etc.), but I like to think I can put together a reasonably balanced list of pros and cons. The comments on those pros and cons, on the other hand, will be strictly personal… ;-)”

Fair enough - both in terms of sufficient knowledge and admitting up front to being an Aperture enthusiast. It's therefore hardly surprising that the choice of language supposedly describes the opposition's strengths yet carries a barb (it all reminds me of hearing Bill O'Reilly on Fox commend Kerry not for being more eloquent than Bush but as “more glib”). So I don't think I would have spun Lightroom's clear advantage in non-destructive local adjustments quite as “assuming you're happy using beta software and a warning that rendering of your images will probably change when the final version . . .

Competition

It's not a secret that I find Lightroom the best application for reviewing, adjusting and applying initial metadata - I'd pretty well finished processing last weekend's 2,100+ raw files by Wednesday morning. Equally obviously, it's not the only program that aspires to manage and process large numbers of pictures. I'm immediately referring to the Mac-limited Aperture, but it's interesting to see others moving into this database+processing arena. There are hints of a SmartFlow from Microsoft, and Robert Edwards pointed out some of the features that are going to be in Bibble 5. Click one screen grab and you'll see the cataloguing system, click the other and there's local adjustment within the application (ie not via some pixel rendering plugin or Photoshop).

I can't shake off the feeling that right now there's no Manchester United that wins the DAM+P market with style - man, yesterday was so tense - but just a bunch of functional Chelseas (without the kleptocratic funding of course). Eventually a winner will emerge, but let's hope that there's plenty of competition between at least four teams.

Aperture to Lightroom (update)

Last year I posted a note on how to move master pictures from Aperture to Lightroom and transfer any metadata that you had entered. Essentially you used the Export Masters command and told Aperture to put the metadata in XMP sidecars. This worked fine for raw files, but not for originals whose file formats were publicly documented such as DNGs, TIFs or JPEGs. Adobe (rightly) expects metadata to be embedded in the file and not in a sidecar, so Lightroom or Photoshop wouldn't read any Aperture captions or keywords in those files. There was a workaround, but it required you to keep your head screwed on.

Shush

Take a look at Jeff Schewe's teasing post in a thread about Aperture 2.1 and its dodge and burn utility:

what are you gonna be doing next Wed, April 2nd? (I actually already know what you'll be doing but I can't really tell ya)

Rendering out the raw file to run a Photoshop type plug-in on the gamma encoded file (making a tiff) is NOT the way I want to be dealing with raw files. Dodge/Burn, and optimal output sharpening can/should/will all be done right in the raw workflow. That would be the Lightroom way…

iDrive

What a lousy week. Sunday's high - United going 5 points clear against the Scousers - was sorely dented the following afternoon when a Mac user drove his Volvo into the side of my car, which had been parked in front of the house. As if I've not said some nice things about Aperture recently! Another whole day then went down the drain trying to unblock a panicking friend's email before finding that it wasn't the free antivirus or firewall that someone had installed, or some problem at the recipient's end, but her ISP blocking an innocuous letter combination in a single plain text, attachment-free message. It was one of those weeks when you never even start one of the things you'd planned to finish.

But at least the week's ending nicely, with news of a private re-enactment event down in Hampshire this weekend, and this afternoon I picked up a courtesy car so I can get down there tomorrow for the dawn assault with muskets and cannon. That should rudely awaken the locals. And though I don't use Aperture seriously, . . .

XMP madness

Of course, you’ve got to be sceptical of a PC-using Lightroom author’s opinions on Aperture, even if he also uses a Mac and pretends to know a little bit about using it to manage and process his pictures. After all, would you listen to his view on driving a BMW once you know he’s driven Audi for 15 years? Or when he tells you what’s wrong with Liverpool when his loyalties lie firmly at the other end of the East Lancs Road? Perhaps you would.

I particularly rate James Duncan Davidson’s posts because he’s an Apple-using switcher, moving from Aperture to Lightroom – the decisive issue being working speed, not brand loyalty. His Aperture 2 quick impressions picks up on many of the points I keep banging on about. He likes preview mode and the belated addition of background processing, but he also picks up on one of Aperture’s strangest failings:

The lack of support for XMP sidecar files on import is puzzling. You can export XMP sidecar files, but not import. This little issue is going to cause a bit of . . .

Progress chasing

Looking over the fence as one does, and no doubt breaking a couple of biblical commandments, one Aperture feature that I've always liked is Smart Albums. Partly for me it's a very simple principle - any database-driven application should let users save any queries and search criteria. Modern business systems also help control and drive the workflow, so that call centre guy in India escalates your issue to his supervisor, who logs on in California and sees a task on her action list, while her manager reviews exception reports and overall clear-up rates, and no doubt wishes he'd never heard of outsourcing and offshoring. Data already present in the system is leveraged (forgive me) to drive the process forward and exceed customer expectations.

OK - and before I career off into a Scott Adams mission statement filled world - principle and analogy are all very well and good, but where does this help the photographer? Well, Aperture's smart albums are even better in v2.0 and you can now find pictures based on the adjustments you've applied, as well as on . . .

Aperture and tethered shooting

I don't do much tethered shooting and don't have much feel for how common a requirement it is. But for some it obviously matters a lot, and it's no surprise to see that Aperture 2.0 has introduced a tethered mode.

This morning I tried it out with a Nikon D200 (it's worth noting you have to set its USB connection to peer to peer mode). After choosing a project, you then begin a tethered session by setting where the files should be written. You're not forced to select its black hole (OK the managed folder) but can send them to a regular “referenced” folder, and can set filenaming options and add some descriptive metadata like your copyright. You then see this little palette, which you can move out of the way, and then fire the shutter with its Capture button. Once the new image arrives on your computer, it is immediately selected, on a second monitor if you like. It's basic but works just fine.

Because of the way Aperture's adjustment presets are granular (comparison with Lightroom here) you can't . . .

Aperture 2.0 speed

There's little doubt that Aperture has been harmed by being slower than Lightroom on equivalent Apple hardware - as well as by being worse than glacial on non-Apple computers. For myself, I never found version 1.56 was too bad on my MacBookPro with 2Gb RAM - slower though not impossibly so was my feeling. But I was very interested to see if 2.0 would be any quicker than the previous version, let alone a match for Lightroom

Overall, in my view 2.0's performance is definitely no worse than before, and Apple aren't strong-arming users into upgrading their hardware again (further evidence it's a 1.7?). And it is pretty clear that plenty of effort has indeed gone into making the program appear faster. So it quickly announces it has finished importing new pictures, even though to do anything useful with them you still have to wait while it quietly builds thumbnails and previews. Of course, speed that is apparent-only is no bad thing for the user, and helps the fanboys get away with blanket claims. But even when you define speed more . . .

Aperture's DNG support

One thing that always puzzled me about Aperture was that it treated DNGs as raw files, and wouldn't read them if they had originally been shot on a camera it didn't support. Reading DNGs as DNGs would, at a stroke, have extended the range of cameras the program supported. And that is what Apple now seem to have done, as AUPN writes:

Once files [from unsupported cameras] are imported as DNG, a new option will be available in the “RAW Fine Tuning” section of the Adjustment inspector, which indicates that the file is being adjusted using the DNG decoder. This box reads “2.0 DNG” and changes to the image using the 2.0 DNG converter are made based on the DNG specification of the file.

If the DNG is for a file that Aperture can already support (or if the file is viewed after support for a format is added) there will be the standard choice of processing the image using the Aperture 2.0 conversion, by selecting “2.0” from the drop down menu. The idea here is that the specific Aperture conversion does . . .

Essential gear + Aperture 2

Ever have problems remembering your keyboard shortcuts? Some people just print them out and stick them to the monitor, while I go try use one new shortcut every day, but if you're an Aperture user, what you need is AUPN's long sleeve t shirt.

Update - Aperture 2 has just sneaked out. I suppose I am surprised that it looks so unexciting, as if they've copied a few of Lightroom's adjustments - Recovery, Vibrancy, Definition (ie Lightroom's lousily named Clarity which I always call Punch) - and then done a lot of tidying up to its remarkably fiddly interface.

The detail is here:

Proper DNG support so Aperture will now read files shot on a camera or camera back not natively supported by Mac OS X. If Adobe support it, Aperture will do so too. Given the recent fiasco over supporting new Canon and Nikon pro cameras, that's a very wise move indeed.
There is no mention of importing IPTC-XMP, which would make it a lot easier for new users to migrate their metadata inwards, but it's even easier for people to leave . . .