Posts tagged with Aperture

Saving the (animal) farm?

I've said before that O'Reilly's Inside Aperture and Inside Lightroom blogs have been getting a bit tired lately. Folk evangelize about how their chosen program has revolutionized some aspect of their work, when either program - or indeed earlier DAM programs - would have done so. This is just one where you could just as well swap over the product names - “You need to present your photos. With a multimedia projector, and with your Mac and Aperture, you can create a quick showcase.” Hey, with a multimedia projector, and with your PC or Mac and Lightroom, you can create a quick showcase. It's all rather like “Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!”

But one of the better writers there is James Duncan Davidson, on the Lightroom side but who had switched from Aperture, and his latest post The Economics of Online Backup looks more…

50 ways to leave your lover

This post isn't really about Extensis Portfolio, iView or Lightroom - it's really another of my despairing rants - but today I was asked about getting metadata out of Portfolio and into something like iView or Lightroom.

The direct answer is that Portfolio lets you sync the metadata into jpeg and tif files, but for other file types your options are limited to using Portfolio's text file export. If your new program has a text import feature, then you can export all your data out of Portfolio and import it into the other program. Unfortunately, neither iView nor Lightroom has text file import - silly because migration inwards might make it easier to win new customers….

The other main route is via scripting, and this can be done in a number of ways:

A Portfolio script might generate xmp sidecars, which iView or Lightroom can read. This won't work if you want more…

Search trends

I never claim to be an early adopter, and only recently discovered the value of Google Alerts. Now Matthew Campagna shows me the use of Google Trends by charting searches for Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture:

One thing to consider, however, is that Aperture remains exclusive [JB: in the sense of “limited”] to Apple computers, while Lightroom enjoys searches from users of both Mac and Windows platforms. Clearly, Lightroom holds an advantage in this regard, but the disparity is nonetheless impressively in favor of Lightroom.

I'm unconvinced that one needs to be so kind to Apple - it's not as if the results are skewed by including all photographers - but it's also interesting to see how searches for both applications compare to those including Photoshop:

DNG from Aperture

Although some developers of raw converters might have you think otherwise, the DNG format isn't just for Adobe. Photographer and Aperture user Micah Walters has written a DNG Export Plugin for Aperture which uses the Adobe DNG Converter's command line interface to generate DNGs from raw file.

Right now it creates a bare DNG with no metadata, but wouldn't it be neat if you could write metadata into the freshly-minted DNG? For example, one might create an xmp sidecar file from Aperture metadata, use it to get the metadata into the DNG, and kill it afterwards. I'm just thinking of IPTC initially, but one might even pass Aperture's adjustment details to the DNG. On the one hand this might allow you to create the DNG with approximate ACR adjustments, starting with some of the most important like exposure or white balance. But it might also be a way of backing up more…

Lightroom v Aperture

John Nack reports a comparison of Lightroom and Aperture pro market shares:

InfoTrends recently surveyed 1,026 professional photographers in North America to determine which software they used for raw file processing. Here's what folks reported:

66.5% using the Photoshop Camera Raw plug-in
23.6% using Lightroom
5.5% using Aperture

To be fair to Aperture, it might be helpful to remove Windows users from the equation for a moment. Even after doing so, Lightroom's usage among Mac-based pros is still nearly double that of Aperture (26.6% vs. 14.3%).

Hold on, to be fair - include Windows users. To skew the story, then exclude them.

Data migration

In my former life I did a lot of data migration, moving finance and other business information between old and new systems. Moving metadata between cataloguing systems isn't very much different and I've moved quite a number of photographers' metadata into iView (now Expression Media) using an Excel application as a bridge (from there it's an easy enough jump to Lightroom or Aperture).

I've now packaged this Excel spreadsheet up as a more generic tool that clients can use to run their own data migration. While it is for Windows users, there's an alternative route for Mac users. For more info, read this pdf file. According to the client who used the initial version to update 50000 items, “does the job beautifully“.

Stay free

Until a year a two ago, mySQL seemed to be the open source database to back, but barely a week goes by without SQLite popping up behind the scenes of some program I use - it powers both Aperture and Lightroom. Today's Guardian carries an interview with SQLite's creator:

It's very clear to me that if I'd had any business sense whatsoever I could have made a lot of money, but I don't. I like to tell people that we make enough to live fine in Charlotte, North Carolina. We don't make nearly enough money to live in London or San Francisco, but we don't live there so that's OK.

The masterplan

PHPture is an interesting plug in for Aperture which, if I understand correctly, uses a web server on your Mac and the PHP language to run a web site which looks like Aperture. It accesses Aperture's database and shows stacks, thumbnails, and a project listing, and makes your image versions available over a network or via the web.

Don't worry if you don't have Aperture or a Mac - once things settle down, it won't be long before such a thing is practical for Lightroom. It's possible already.

Via Micah Walter's Aperture Plugged In.

If things were perfect

I don't run Aperture seriously, more out of curiosity, but it's frustrating that metadata is stuck inside its library until you export the masters, duplicating your files. That is especially annoying because I often go through new pictures on the laptop while watching TV, like United's annihilation of Roma last night, and the same master files are often catalogued by Lightroom and iView. Why shouldn't I be able to add keywords or captions to files in Aperture, then read that metadata elsewhere?

A partial solution is Lightbox XMP, an Aperture export plug in that lets you export sidecar files. Currently you have to specify a single export folder - it really needs an option that outputs the sidecars in the same folders as the originals. And it should merge with existing sidecars. Rather like Lightroom does….


Achilles last stand

Not sure when he wrote this, other than in the last 6 months, but Robert Edwards looks at Aperture or Lightroom = Neither:

I'm not suggesting there isn't a use or market for Aperture and Lightroom. Certainly their sales figures suggest otherwise. What I am stating is neither Aperture or Lightroom is the panacea digital photographers want them to be. At present no single application is going to successfully do it all for you. There is no Swiss Army Knife software for photographers. By the way have you ever tried using a Swiss Army Knife in preference of a real tool?

A suppository from Down Under?

She’s lost control

In this post I wrote about using Lightroom's Collections to record virtual copies or versions. My thinking has changed a little since I wrote that piece, though I do still use Collections, and the key point remains that you must mark the virtual copies immediately after they are created and while LR still has them selected. Otherwise you've a big problem if you're a heavy shooter with versioning requirements.

Where you mark the virtual copies is more open to personal choice, and there's a problem if you use more than one computer - Collections aren't included in the XMP data, so you can't easily move your work across. Then again, neither is any data relating to Virtual Copies. But portability aside, Collections do have organisational benefits in that you can for example set up a Collection for a wedding shoot and then gather sub Collections for its b&w or other aspects more…

Round and round

O'Reilly's Lightroom vs Aperture has some interesting articles and even more interesting threads such as this discussion of Aperture's flexibility vs Lightroom's modularity. While I prefer a palette-based interface, as in Aperture, I don't think Lightroom's modular approach slows me down, and one commenter put it really well:

I'm still confused as to why modularity is a problem. To me, Aperture seems to be great for someone with a short attention span. Let me explain…

In LR, I use the Library to determine which images from the last batch of photos I wish to keep. I keyword them, tag them and rate them. I then switch to the LR Develop mode and begin tweaking my images. I start with the highest rated and work my way down. Therefore, if some of the higher rated images capture the scene better, I don't have to mess with the lesser images which may require more more…

Don’t fence me in

Having both programs, I wouldn't underestimate the difficulty of a Lightroom user comparing it with Aperture, and an Aperture user coming at it from the other direction, but that's exactly what Michael Clark on O'Reilly's Lightroom Blog and Micah Walter at O'Reilly's Aperture Blog are attempting (though Micah does seem to be writing mainly about Aperture). Already there are plenty of moments when I've thought “oh yes it does” at some comment about a feature's absence.

Coming at it from Lightroom too, I couldn't agree more with what Michael says on stacks :

Now in terms of Stacking, I was never one who stacked selects on my light table so this function seems a little strange to me but I know of a few Aperture users who swear by it. After playing with stacking in both Lightroom and Aperture, I have to say that it is much better done in Aperture more…

With God on our side

Now Lightroom is released, there are lots of threads comparing it with its Mac-limited competitor Aperture. See Adobe's forum and this Apple thread where one wanker (you would have had to read the thread but Apple have now deleted it) shouts that Aperture is the one because

…most of all, it's not just the features. It's also the future. Apple are a much more innovative company. Much more! As a company, they've innovated more in the last six months than Adobe have in the last twelve years. If you take a look at Apple's other pro applications, such as Final Cut Pro, they're awesome. Adobe has nothing to touch them. And then realise that Aperture belongs to the same pro family of products.

A frail line of association indeed - makes about as much sense as 9-11 conspiracy theories, the Da Vinci Code, or anyone who thinks Chelsea would have won two more…

Be my number two

With Lightroom about to launch, it's no harm to see what's going on across at its Mac-limited competitor, Aperture. Automator actions and stock library plug ins give you a pretty good idea of the sort of things to expect once Lightroom gets its scripting and SDK released.

Other Aperture resources:

Bagelturf articles “written to be useful, digestible, and memorable”
Aperture forum
Annoture connects iView and Aperture
O'Reilly blog
Apple support, resources, tips, tutorials

All the young dudes

With days left to go before Lightroom is released, Michael Tapes has a series of free videos (with a higher res DVD also available for $10.95). I got to know Michael virtually through the beta testing program and am not at al surprised that the style is professional and common sense - and I learned a few things too.

The streaming video is very impressive - somewhere I know Michael told me what he uses - and it almost makes me want to have a go at doing something similar myself in my Northern rasp. Hey, I could even inflict some background music on the photographic world - Joy Division, anyone?

It's going to be an expensive month too - today I ordered Aperture… as well.

And the gods made love

The other day I posted about being able to examine the Lightroom database using the open source SQLite Database Browser. Well, according to Fazal Majid, Aperture uses the same underlying database….

Find the Aperture library, right click it and select “Show package contents”. The application data seems to be a folder structure with a large number of files, most of which are actually xml. There's also a file called “Library.apdb”, and this is the Aperture database.

Two thoughts:

1) So both Lightroom and Aperture databases are open and accessible via ODBC. Now, while I don't like the look of data blobs, but what's to stop someone figuring out how to pass settings between the two?

2) How long should we make do with cataloguing databases whose underlying databases are closed?

Always look on the bright side of life

There's a new Lightroom podcast at George Jardine's iDisk (look for “1127 Podcast - Phil Clevenger and Mark Hamburg”) which initially focusses on the programs interface design. A little on the bland side - you'd hardly base a design on anything other than a “content is king” mantra - but it's interesting enough as it develops and digresses. Since using Aperture, I like Lightroom even more and the interface is a big part of that. I'm not sure about the designer Phil Clevenger's experience, but I've always felt Lightroom's look and feel is very reminiscent of Macromedia's Dreamweaver. And having used the latter for nearly 10 years, for me that's no bad thing.

“Version 1 is about where you stake your claim, version 2 is where you get it right.”

Hung up

Inside Aperture blog contributor James Duncan Davidson writes on his own blog about Aperture vs Lightroom RAW Conversion:

Does this mean that Aperture is off my system? Heck no. I'm not tossing 31,000+ images at Lightroom anytime soon. Aperture kicks Lightroom's butt at organization and management. And Aperture has done a great job with generating screen-based images for display. But, Lightroom kicks Aperture's butt at rendering RAW for printing at large sizes?at least some images. With others, Aperture holds its own just fine. At least right now with Aperture 1.5.1 and Lightroom Beta 4.1.

Having loaded the Aperture trial on my Mac over the weekend, I'll post my own thoughts soon. And I will be fair to Aperture, honest.

Games people play

Maybe next week I’ll have a bit of time to try out Aperture, Apple’s Mac-limited raw processing and picture management program, but I enjoyed reading this thread Improving Aperture.

Yes, it was me suggesting they make it run on PC, but wouldn’t that be an interesting response to Lightroom when it’s finally released?