pixelmixture

a blog mostly about photography....

Why aperture 3 is a real game changer

I used to be an Aperture 2 user.

As apple didn’t handle LX3 RAW files at that time ( and for a shameful long period) i was forced to switch to the brand new LightRoom 2. We have to admit that adobe is very good at keeping its products compatible with the latest cameras.
(How can Apple, a company that big, leave in the dust owners of LX3 and a few other cameras for that long)

LightRoom 2 non destructive editing with brush and gradient masking was clearly the way to go. On the other hand Aperture 2 used TIFF files to apply a simple Dodge and Burn adjustments … what a strange and silly move !!! Photographers want the workflow chain to be non destructive as long as possible. Period.

Now, with aperture 3, ones can apply an adjustment and brush it In or Out the Image in a non destructive way. (alas still no gradient tool)
As the Aperture graphical user interface is much more appealing to me, i decided to switch back to Aperture (against all my friends advices).

Reviews of Aperture 3 flourish on the web and i warmly recommend the reading of Aperture 3: The Ars Review by Dave Girard for an in depth and clever overview. The Aperture section of Mac Create is also a great source of information. Steve Huff has also a few interesting articles on aperture.

With this new version of Aperture, i quickly realized that i was able to get rid of photoshop in 90% of the cases. I just want in this post to highlight the functions that make this possible

But First a little parenthesis about my use of photoshop:
I’m a great fan of Chromasia photoshop tutorials by talented David J Nightingale. David approach is brilliant. More than these tips and tricks flourishing on the web likes pancake recipes, he taught me to analyze and understand light and colors. David provides a deep and clever analysis of the multiple color and light modes.
Once these tutorials digested and practiced i realized that David arsenal to achieve its masterpiece was technically simple: No use of the latest fancy features of Photoshop CS5 …. Most of the time he can reach its goal using mostly Curves and Channel mixer adjustment layers, using them multiple times with different and clever masks and with different blending modes.

A screen capture from @chromasia Photoshop Tutorials

This is where Aperture 3 shines ! This is where Aperture 3 is ahead of its competitors ! Aperture 3 can apply multiple adjustment layers !!!

Aperture 3 introduces the ability to apply multiple times the same adjustment brick (curves or highlight&sadows or levels etc…) the same way it’s possible to add multiple times the same adjustment layers in photoshop.

We can clearly see 2 adjustment brick. The upper one is applied globaly. The other one is applied with a mask (pencil icon at the top right corner of the brick). This technic allowed me to enhance these images in no time, without the need of photoshop :

Naughty Diane (by pixelmixture)
In your eyes (by pixelmixture)
Nell Alt Take (by pixelmixture)
Nell (by pixelmixture)
Milky Way
Green Eyes

In most of these images, a curve was applied to the skin, an other curve applied to the eyes region, an other curve applied to the background, most of the time a sharpen brick applied to hairs etc etc …. Aperture 3 literally allows me to paint my images the way i imagine them. Aperture 3 makes me feel i have the image in my hands.

Aperture 3 lacks a few things to really became a photoshop killer for photographers:

  1. Blending mode : each enhancement brick should have it’s blending mode drop down menu.
  2. A quick brush size modifier
  3. A gradient tool ala LightRoom
  4. A way to make a mask from a selection (with a magic wand of color range selection)
  5. Strokes with a Wacom tablet are not accumulative right now !!! it prevents me to apply an effect with a bunch of little strokes … to achieve the desire effet i have to nail the EXACT pressure on the stylus for the first stroke…. a bummer

I hope these enhancement will be there with 3.x or with 4.0 version of aperture. I hope Apple will understand that pros needs regular updates of their software (new camera support mostly)

(My Flickr Stream)
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