This one’s a two-parter – first, Apple unveiled and made available Aperture 3 today, with a TON of new features. Secondly, for those of you who might be in a similar position to me with a bursting iPhoto library of 75,000 images, is it time to Move It On Up To The East Side with Aperture 3? I go over some of the questions and concerns I have about moving 10 years worth of personal pictures and videos from its safe but slow home in iPhoto over to the more professional Aperture 3.
UPDATE Feb 15 – don’t update yet – memory leak problems with 3.0 –
“What a lot of those Pro users got, unfortunately, was a frozen computer and an “out of disk space” warning.
Apple’s support forums are filling up with users with similar problems: When they leave Aperture 3 to import their photo libraries, their page file balloons until they run out of disk space. The system then becomes unstable. Some users start seeing their swap disk file size baloon almost immediately after launching the app.”
OK, for those somewhat familiar, start here:
Faces & Places (from iPhoto tech) – purportedly improved – dunno if the engine is any better, but definitely has new features for sifting/finding/sorting. Places like iPhoto ’09, but can now drag the pin defining location anywhere you want it.
Non destructive, edge-aware brushes, including brushable special effects. Quick Brushes for touchup and common stuff. Detect Edges does what it sounds like, painting/brushing/effecting only where you want it to go when you brush – avoid the mountain when painting the sky, for instance.
Adjustment Presets for quick fixes – personally, when I shoot ISO 200 on my D300S in iPhoto ’09, I like to pull back the exposure a stop or two, push up the Shadow detail, increase saturation a touch, and apply a bit of Definition. Seems like I should be able to dial all that in and save it. Can I ignore color temp while I’m doing that on my RAW shots? Be interesting to see.
Full screen browser, iPhoto ’09 slideshow themes, support for still camera video modes (hooray!), layered soundtracks (!!), pressing Return to pace the in/out of slideshow images, titles/borders/colors, and more.
All kinds of book, printing, sharing, publishing, and other options too.
Other links of interest:
Apple – Aperture – Make great shots spectacular.
Apple – Aperture – See how the pros use Aperture.
Apple – Aperture – How To (includes a How To on iPhoto importing, I’ll be watching that carefully)
Apple – Aperture – Resources
Apple – Aperture – Technical Specifications – does NOT run on G5s or earlier! Intel only!
OK – so I’ve got kind of a biggish digital image collection – currently about 75,000 images, just under 800GB of data, not including the bajillion shots I’ve taken for timelapse and HDR timelapse (more on that in a forthcoming article).
Is it time to move it over to Aperture 3?
iPhoto is definitely getting sluggish, even on an 8 core 3.0 GHz Mac Pro (one of the early ones, not a newer Nehalem). I’ve got 5GB of RAM (a bit low, but I don’t multi-task the way I used to), a 30″ display, the best GPU available at the time, and the library is on a fast modern 1.5TB drive. But it is still poky getting around the interface, probably because it is just so big – so many individual items, and overall it is just under 800GB (just checked) (goes back 10 years, and I’ve shot 2/3 of those images as RAW on D90 or D300S in the last year and a half).
Questions I have about migrating to Aperture 3 from iPhoto ’09:
-will Faces carry over as I’ve set them up? YES they say
-will Places carry over as I’ve set them up, and customized on many images, with my own names etc? YES – They say Places come over, but don’t know all the details
-will my Events hold as established? SORT OF – they become Projects
-will my Albums carry over as I’ve set them up, including Smart Albums, MobileMe galleries, Flickr galleries, etc? YES….I think – Albums, Smart Albums, and Slide Shows come over – no mention of MobileMe, Flickr, etc – although you can publish to those, the albums you’ve set up? Dunno, will test.
-will all my metadata that I’ve added in Description fields etc carry over? UNANSWERED
-and here’s a biggie – I’ve spent I don’t want to know how many dozens or hundreds of hours on using the Adjustment panel on thousands of images – will those Adjustments carry over and look the same in Aperture 3? Or will I lose those changes or have them look different? This is probably the biggest dealbreaker if it doesn’t work as I hope.
-when is it safe to migrate over? I certainly want to hold onto the existing setup in case anything goes wrong, and I’ll need at least as much space to move it over. Should I wait for the inevitable 3.0.1? When’s that due?
-how are altered images saved – and how much control do I have over it? I save modified images in iPhoto as JPEG on the theory that is fine for export but not archive if I want to change it later
-will my star ratings carry over?
-if I import my iPhoto library over, does it maintain the source unaltered RAW as well as the altered?
-are the source images still directly accessible via Finder etc – what if I want to pull an image sequence into After Effects, for instance? I don’t want to have to export new files to do so.
-are styles from my camera’s RAW presets respected? I’ve noticed that D300S RAW images are reported at an exagerated size (4304 instead of 4288 pixels wide, similarly overtall), and if I set the camera to black and white, iPhoto recognizes them as color images. I suspect this has something to do with D300S RAW support at an OS level, but will Aperture 3 do any better?
To answer these, I’ll be digging through here:
Random Notes (things I found interesting, not at all fully inclusive of cool features):
-importing options look pretty sweet and granular – definitely more professional level of control than iPhoto – as expected. Just reading this over makes me want to migrate from iPhoto. I don’t shoot professionally (as in paid for), but I do shoot a LOT – and want a lot of organizational control over it.
-LOTS of metadata control, support, and options here
-support for pressure sensitive tablets like Wacom
-curves adjustments can work in linear or gamma corrected mode – handy for when dealing with RAW with >100% brightness to be retrieved and worked with – nice! I’m all about this-
“Because the Curves tool supports the “extended range” data sometimes available in RAW images, you can set the Range control in Curves to Extended in order to see the “out of range” highlight data that you may be able to recover. You can then use controls in the Curves tool to pull blown highlights back in and improve detail in highlight areas. Alternatively, you can set the range to Shadows and focus on the lower-left quadrant of the tone curve to make extremely precise Shadow adjustments.”
Faces has a Show Unnamed Faces option – handy.
-why have Detect Missing Faces – why WOULD it miss faces the first scan?
-limit names to a project – I like this, since I don’t need to be asked “Is this your girlfriend from 8 years ago you never see anymore” when scanning new Faces in new pictures
-Show Unplaced Photos – nice
DNG files must be generated by the Adobe DNG Converter with the “Convert to Linear Image” option turned off. – I can envision high en workflows where this fact is a bummer
-support for iPhone GPS data – and linking it to other pictures. Nice! Got an iPhone but not a GPS enabled DSLR? Snap a pic with the iPhone, and Aperture will time correlate locations – your iPhone is your GPS dongle, effectively
-good video support for your VDSLR HDSLR cameras.
-for slideshows, strong support of audio & editing capabilities, clearly imported from iMovie ’09 tech (I dug deep on this for a review the other year)
-Photo Books – up to 10×13 inches from their own store, as well as Photo Book plugins for other vendors (Couture, Graphistudio, Leather Craftsmen, and Queensberry listed, possibly more to follow). I just made an iPhoto book for my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day (don’t worry, she doesn’t ready this), and just got the results back – a little dark (I calibrate my screen for G2.2, D6500 for Rec 709 video work) but pretty damn impressive
-all kinds of Applescript support
-tethered capture for supported Nikon/Canon cameras (See? Those are your only REAL choices these days!)
-when importing iPhoto library, you can choose to leave pics where they are – interesting – does that mean the two can play nice together? What are the long term ramifications of doing this, if I want to integrate it all into one place later?
-Events become Projects – is that going to be a hindrance in any way? Should I clean up my Events first before bringing it all over?
-extensive RAW Support (including the Canon S90’s tricky format, unsupported until now with Aperture v3)
-OOH! DOWNLOADABLE 30-day trial of Aperture 3 – here I come!
My gut says that this is the one they get out the door on time – PMA show (big photography gear convention) is in a couple of weeks (around the 20th), and they probably wanted it ready for that I’d guess. It seems inevitable that there is a fixit version of Apple software some weeks after the intial release – every time I’d start a review of Final Cut Pro or Studio for MacWorld on a .0 version, I’d have to go back and retest for .01 before the article was published, fixing some glitches. So I’m betting it’ll be advisable to wait a little bit before making the big jump.
But now that I see that 30 day trial, I’m going to start testing.
I’ve posted my list of questions on their support forums, we’ll wait and see if I get any answers.
Yet more links of interest:
Apple – Support – Aperture
Apple – Support – Discussions – Aperture 3 goes green …
Aperture 3: Converting images to Aperture 3 RAW decoding
Aperture 3: Discussion about differences in exposure levels with Aperture 3 RAW decoding – D300 is affected, but D300S isn’t listed – so newer is safer?
Aperture 3: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – useful
Aperture: Tips on tethered shooting-D300 listed, D300S not. Supported? TBD.
and finally, Apple – Aperture – Resources
Apple – Support – Discussions – Importing books (keepsakes) from iPhoto …
Apple – Support – Discussions – Aperture Performance … – uh oh, is it slow?
Apple – Support – Discussions – No support for Panasonic GF1? Why not, …
Apple – Support – Discussions – Aperture 3, iPhoto, and iPad …
Apple – Support – Discussions – Hide pics the same way you can in …
Apple – Support – Discussions – Aperture Installation, Setup and General Usage
Apple – Support – Discussions – Aperture
Background/disclaimer – I have a whompin’ huge iPhoto library. I like the ease and simplicity of it. I especially like the integrated nature of it – I can share pics to my other Macs, I can publish to MobileMe and Flickr for sharing. I have a particular affinity for the Adjust panel’s Exposure and Shadows and Definition controls to make my D300S RAW stills pop. I really like the Faces & Places capabilities to sort travel and family/friend photos quickly and easily. I can use Smart Albums to automatically feed my rotating desktop images, I can do the same to feed my AppleTV for screen saver images, etc etc etc. – it integrates all to hell so very nicely. I’ve been hearing High Praise for Adobe’s Lightroom, but with no Faces & Places, and AFAIK not the same level of integration, unless I’d use it for professional work, it is not what I’m looking for – I’m an advanced hobbyist who wants ease of use and integration for fun photography, not professional. This is not to say I don’t want a ton of control and don’t really care about what I’m doing, just that this is my needs set. For more info on the FREE Lightroom 3 beta, go see my fine friend Stu’s excellent comments and observations. And then read everything else he has to say, too. He rocks. ProLost Blog – Lightroom 3 Public Beta
Other disclaimer – I’m one of Those Guys who has 5 or 6 Macs in the house, a coupla iPods, on my 2nd iPhone, has an AppleTV, ad nauseum infinitum. I also own a fair bit of Apple stock (AAPL), so I like to hope it will go up rather than down. That doesn’t stop me from disparaging their products though – see my iPad coverage:
Apple’s iPad – All the Details, What It Means For Us
iPad Follow-up Thoughts – thoughts on v2 hardware and v1.5 software
On a related tragic note, I hereby nominate the graphic for this article for for Ugliest Artwork Made in 90 Seconds That Says What It Means. Just because I worked in graphic design for all those years doesn’t mean I still respect myself in the morning for the things I’ve done.
UPDATE 1PM PST
Apple Aperture 3 Brings a Little Bit of iPhoto to Pro Photos With Faces and Places – aperture 3 – Gizmodo: “when you import your iPhoto library, it preserves all of your image adjustments, events, places and faces.”
Apple Aperture 3 Brings a Little Bit of iPhoto to Pro Photos With Faces and Places – aperture 3 – Gizmodo: “One of the new things for pros is that they’ve rewritten the way the database works, so you can now sync and merge libraries. Which means you can take a self-contained library out on the road, do a bunch of imaging work, and then merge it back to your master library, and it’ll sync just the changes you made while you were out.”
Gizmodo hopes it is faster as well as I – some complaints in the Forums about sloooooooowwww, so that is concerning.
UPDATE SUNDAY FEBRUARY 21, 2010 – I’ve posted some further notes on the matter, and it boils down to me giving up until version 3.01 comes out. I’ve spent about a day trying to get this to update, reading the forums, trying different things, and waiting loooooooong amounts of time for large libraries to import. Too much trouble. I’m waiting for the update.