The personal blog of Sven Seebeck

My Switch to Aperture: Second Impressions

Recently I posted a blog here about my switch Aperture and wrote a little about my first impressions. After spending a lot more time with it I would like to share my second and third impressions with it.

First of all my enthusiasm about the software has not decreased, in fact, the more I use it the more I like it. After first mainly playing with it, I now have started to do some more serious work with it and the ease of use, the flexibility simply are great. It just feels fresh and inspires me to have some fun working and processing.

To get a little more into details I would like to share my personal highlights in no particular order:

Image editing and Brushes

The image editing possibilities cover most of my needs, and from my recently processed images, actually none had to go over to Photoshop at all. Have to admit though, that in my landscape photography I usually don’t need to do some heavy processing. The possibility to apply selectively and multiple curves and levels to the images is most of the time enough. Also the shadow/highlights tool for some minor lifting or recovering has become a welcome addition. Interestingly I rarely have used this tool in Photoshop. The possibility to brush-in or out an adjustment is just fantastic.

Vaults

Naturally I had a backup-stragedy already before, and with Aperture this has not significantly changed, but integration of vaults within the app just makes my backup easier. I now have my library on one 1TB external RAID drive, which is also backup’d via Time-Machine on another external hard-drive. After a new import I can quickly start a backup to the vault within the app or have that automated. So there’s three copies, which makes me sleep better.

UI and integration

The UI is simple and as one might expect from Apple well thought. Friendly, simple and effective. No confusing menus, buttons, tabs or something like that. To get used to the interface and knowing how to start working on my images took roughly the length of one small cup of coffee. The interface is pretty much self-explaining. Of course I occasionally had a look at the manual. Usually only to figure out some keyboard shortcut, of which there are a lot, and useful ones.

And there’s fullscreen mode… Sounds not so exciting but working in fullscreen mode is plain fun and feels very effective to me.

Also I like that the app, or better the library is integrated so well into the whole OS. The images are easily accessible in any other app, which comes in very handy for emailing (I use Mail.app for most of my blogging), writing and working in Pages and so on.

Books

The inclusion of Books is a huge thing for me. I like to have my images printed and the ease of use to create a book effectively has made a not-so-freshly married couple very happy. I have made books before in iPhoto but all the extra design and workflow options and the possibility to save them as a PDF are very good.

Places

I never thought I could be interested into geo-tagging my images, but with Aperture it just makes sense. Seeing images on the map is good for organizational tasks, but also brings back nice memories from time to time.

I know, this all sounds like a lame commercial, but I’m very excited about this software as it’s a) fun to use and b) helps me to get things done the way I want to.