Friday, December 31, 2010

Badges Overlay

Aperture places a small badge overlay in the lower right hand corner whenever an image has adjustments, keywords, or other changes applied. I really only remember what a couple of them are. I'll convert this into pdf, but for now here's the link to all of their meanings in the manual.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

30 Questions and Answers about Aperture 3.0

Over at PhotoFocus Scott Bourne answers some questions about Aperture 3.0. All the questions are pretty basic. The people asking the questions seem like either beginners or have never used Aperture 3.0 before. Either way, it's worth a quick skim.

On an unrelated topic, I'm currently working on exporting old or delivered projects out into Libraries and then burning them to disc. I'll write up my experiences about that later once I've gotten it to the point where I want it to be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Free Aperture 3 Training

Guess I should have mentioned this earlier... CreativeLive started a FREE 3 week online course on Aperture 3. There are three sessions:
  1. What's New with Aperture 3
  2. Working with Aperture 3
  3. Scott Bourne's Aperture Work Flow
Unfortunately these classes are only free if you watch them live -- which is on Mondays at 3PM Pacific time. It's not exactly convenient for me to spend two hours during my work day so I haven't been able to give a review of the class. But hey, free education is free education. So I figured I should spread the word.

If watching live isn't your thing, you can buy the full six hours of videos for $39 until next Monday. After that, the price goes up to $79.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rate Your Photos

Step 1 right after I import in my images after a shoot is I rate my photos. I try and keep a consistent rating scale when I go through my photos (see below). I'll go into Full Screen Mode (F) and keep my fingers on the number keys. They correspond to the ratings (1-5).

★★★★★ : This photo is perfect out of the camera. It absolutely needs to be delivered.
★★★★ : This photo is pretty good. It might need some post-processing, but it most likely will be delivered.
★★★ : This photo is ok. It's on the line. I'll need to look at it a few times before I decide whether or not to deliver it. It will most likely need some post-processing before being delivered.
★★ : This photo is not that good, but it might be good to somebody else. I'm keeping it in the library in case I need filler.
★ : This photo is not good. I will most likely delete this photo after I've delivered the shoot.

As I go through the pictures, I'm also not shy about hitting the 9 key to reject a photo. These are the blurry, out of focus, random photos that I wouldn't show anybody. I'll use reject instead of delete at this point because delete takes longer. It's faster to just reject and then batch delete all the files at a later date.

I wouldn't recommend only selectively rating your photos. When you do that, you are basically saying that all the photos that you are NOT rating are not worthy to be rated. In that case, you might as well reject them since you don't plan on using them. By rating all of your photos, you are also making sure that you've gone through and at least looked at all of your photos.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Aperture 3 is a Big Fat Bloated Pig

I didn't want to make my blog just full of complaints about Aperture 3, but lately it's just so cumbersome that I can't help but complain about it. I had tried to stay away from this particular topic thinking that maybe it's was just because I was running a large library, but no. I've come to the conclusion that Aperture 3 is a big fat bloated pig. (Extra points if you know where the "big fat bloated pig" comment comes from, btw.)

I am running a MacBook Pro with 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4 GB 1057 MHz DDR3. For some reason, it really doesn't seem like that's enough for Aperture 3. Granted my machine isn't the latest and greatest, but it's no slouch either. I spend the majority of my time in Aperture 3 waiting for it to process or generate thumbnails. The skin smoothing brush is near useless if I can't see what it's doing. I am literally writing this blog post in between brush strokes. Do you remember Doogie Howser? At the end of every episode, Doogie types a journal entry? But he types pretty darn slow. Well, it's basically like that for me when I use Aperture and blog at the same time. I'll make a brush adjustment. Flip back to Safari and start typing in the text box. Aperture 3 so totally consumes my CPU that it's even causing a text box to be slow in rendering. Seriously big fat bloated pig time.

There is some hope in the land of Aperture 3 with its promises of advanced editing tools. I have it on good knowledge that one of the engineers that I absolutely respect is now joining the iPhoto/Aperture team to focus on performance improvements. The team really needs help because right now it's near impossible to use. There are many days when I wish I can just go back to Aperture 2. (This cycle feels similar to Adobe Illustrator. They used to release a version with a bunch of new features. The subsequent version would be an incremental improvement but drastic speed improvements. Next version: features. Version after: speed.)

Here's a slight update to my workflow. I've separated all of my stuff out into two Libraries. One is my archive; the other is my working library. I import into my working library under a new project. Once I've delivered the photos, I'll export the project and then import it into my archive. My archive gets backed up to multiple hard drives and locations. Now when I'm working on files, I'm working on a pretty lean library.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Flickr Synchronization Woes

Aperture 3 inherited the ability to synchronize with Flickr from iPhoto 09. I was pretty excited to use this feature but after dealing Aperture's native synchronization, I think I'm going back to the Flickr Export Tool for Aperture. Creating a Flickr album is as simple as creating any other album so I won't go into the how. I'd rather get into what's wrong with this feature.
  • It deletes then uploads. Flickr allows its Pro users to replace a photo so it retains its comments and view count. With Aperture sync, the photo is deleted then uploaded AND it's tagged that it's been replaced. So now I fear tweaking any of my photos after I've uploaded because I don't want to lose my count and comments if I accidentally hit the sync button. This is my #1 peeve and my deal breaker.
  • No individual picture permission controls. While 99% of the pictures I upload are available to anyone, I like to upload the occasional pre-processed image. Then I link to it within the comments so people can compare without having the picture show up in my stream. Example.
  • It's slow. Aperture and Flickr initially syncs a bunch of metadata before the actual picture uploading. As the album grows, that sync gets longer and longer. I would edit photos, add to album, upload, and repeat. Now I'm adding a bunch of sync time every time I add some photos to upload. I would have been better off creating a local photo album, process all the photos, then create the Flickr album. It really doesn't save me any time. If anything it's just extra processing.
  • There's no synching of existing albums. It would have been nice to be able to pull all or some of my old photos in from Flickr, but there's no ability to do that. Aperture only has access to the albums that were created within Aperture. I deleted my Flickr login from Aperture, entered it back in, then lost the connection for that album between Aperture and Flickr.
It's not all bad. There are some nice features. It has two-way sync similar to MobileMe albums. If you add photos to a sync'd album, then Aperture can pull that picture in. GPS coordinates are also shared between Flickr and Aperture.

The tool can be useful as long as you are aware of its limitations and are willing to work within its confines. For me, it's just too restrictive.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Brushes and Adjustments

Fallen HydrantOne of the most exciting features in Aperture 3 is the ability to apply a mask on any of your adjustments by "brushing" them in/out. Having multiple adjustments and brushes feels very similar to layers with masking. In any adjustment panel, click on the gear and select "brush adjustment in/out." In the picture to the left, I made an enhancement adjustment, dropped the saturation and ran the contrast up. Then I used the brushed the adjustment off of the hydrant. The process was further expedited through the use of the "detect edges" feature. This first came out in Aperture 2's repair tool. I'm glad that this technology made it over to the brushes because on something like this photo with all hard edges I was able to do this in about 2 minutes.

Not quite content with the color, I then added another Enhancement adjustment panel by clicking on the gear and selecting "Add New Enhancement adjustment." On that adjustment, I bumped up my saturation and vibrance. This made the hydrant pop even further. Neat. So remember that localize color post I had a while back? Yeah, this makes it way easier and all native and non-destructive.

One of the side effects of having multiple adjustment panels is that you no longer have any limits to the max value of an adjustment. For example, the max value for saturation is 4.0. Well, if you want to go beyond that, then add another Enhancement adjustment. Now run that saturation up to 4.0. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

There's some really exciting effects you can create natively within Aperture now. For example, you can touch up the sky without affecting the rest of the image. I'm pretty excited about this and hopefully I'll do something cool enough to share on here.

On a completely unrelated note, explored some interesting spots to shoot in Seattle. Only problem is that they are best with morning light. Any volunteers feel like being my model at the crack of dawn?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Software Update

I'm now back to running Aperture 3 at 64-bit after the last update. I also recommend running the ProKit update as well. It seems to have fixed some issues around crashing when using the new brush feature. So far so good.

Aperture 3 seems a little more adept at switching between libraries. So I might take some time and retire/archive some of my old projects and just keep a library offline. It'll reduce the weight of the library that I carry around with me on my laptop and hopefully it'll also improve performance.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Back to 32-bit?

My time with Aperture thus far has been less than stable. I've turned off the Faces feature because it was causing my machine to hang as it tries to identify people. It's mostly wrong anyways (no, we don't all look the same) so no real loss there. But a quick search into some of my woes today I discovered that a lot of other people are also having problems. Apparently the frequency of crashes drop dramatically when you switch to 32-bit mode. Seriously? Back to 32? You really know how to make it hurt, Apple.

To make Aperture open in 32-bit mode, select the application in Finder. Select File > Get Info (or just ⌘I). You should see a checkbox for "Open in 32-bit mode." Close the window and then restart Aperture.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still waiting to use Aperture 3

It's been 4 days since I've installed Aperture 3. I'm still reprocessing and identifying faces. Granted, this is my primary machine so I've had to pause the processing during the day but seriously? I've basically been locked out of using my machine since the processing takes so much memory. I have about 35k photos in my library. I really don't think it's that large, but I guess Aperture 3 is having an issue with that.

On another note, Faces is terrible. When it works, it's like magic. But when it doesn't, it sure makes Apple like dumb. Some of the mistakes that it makes are best described as comical. I normally would post a screenshot, but to protect the identities of the people who have been gracious enough to allow me to photograph, I'm skipping it this time. Somebody should make Aperture take the "All look same" test. Cuz I'm pretty sure it'll fail. Badly.