VSCO Film Presets for Aperture 3 Getting Some User Love

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 15, 2012 - 3:00pm

Two readers almost simultaneously posted User Tips on a preset pack called the VSCO Film Pack for Aperture 3. At $79 these presets aren’t cheap, but they include actual high resolution scans of real negative stock for their textures. I have asked the company what resolution the scans are, because as many of you know who’ve used my textured presets, there are hard limits to every preset.


ApertureExpert Live Training Session 019 Books Available Now

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 14, 2012 - 3:28am

This was the first official Live Training done over Google+. For those there live, the echo problem has been solved! Which also will hopefully solve the sync issue in the recording. Don’t worry, it’s only in the Q&A, but it’s annoying nonetheless.

This session on Aperture Books is 45 minutes before even getting to the Q&A, then another 20 minutes of questions.



Live Training Session 019

This session covers what you need to know to create and edit a book in Aperture 3.

Duration: 01:05 hr

Auto-Stack on Import in Aperture 3

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 11, 2012 - 3:00pm

Stacking was designed with two uses in mind (which I believe is what led to the confusion among users and the eventual deemphasis of the feature in Aperture). The first is to collect similar images shot in sequence where only one will prevail (i.e. the photos leading up to the perfect touchdown frame), and the second is to collect multiple versions of the same photo (i.e. a black and white version, a square cropped version, etc.).

Stacking, for those who aren’t familiar with it, is when you create a mini collection of photos in Aperture that can be “stacked” into a pile, with the “select” image (the best one) sitting on top. This lets you hide the inferior shots while only viewing the favorite one. I wrote an extensive overview of Stacks last year, in “Aperture 3 Stacks, Picks and Album Picks”

I talked about auto-stacking in that article, and even on import which is what this is about, however there’s a use for it I didn’t mention there that just came up for me, so I wanted to share.

Stacking auto-bracketed shots

On Monday I drove from Portland, OR to Ashland, by way of Bend, Mt. Bachelor, what was supposed to be a trip through the Cascade Lakes but the road was closed (top travel tip: when driving through areas known for winter snow, even though it’s 85˚ and sunny in the city, be sure to check with local officials to see if the mountain roads are actually open yet — my expected path doesn’t open until Memorial Day weekend. D’oh!!) and finally to Crater Lake. I was specifically shooting for a gallery show I have coming up this fall, and decided to auto-bracket my shots to get a little pseudo-HDRness for the B&W images I intend to produce.

Back home at time of import, I realized that I really wanted to stack these auto-bracketed collections. The auto-stack controls were removed from the Import window in Aperture 3, however they are still available — you just have to open them from the menu Stacks > Auto Stack.

The Aperture Auto-Stack control

Once open, sliding them to just 0:01 seconds (that’s the time between shots) should have stacked all the bracketed photos. For some reason it doesn’t though; I had to go to 0:02 to get them to stack. Which also meant that a couple of groups shot in rapid succession also stacked together. No bother though; they can be easily split apart (again, see the aforementioned article for details on all that).



Don’t Forget to Write IPTC Metadata to Masters

Thomas Boyd's picture
May 8, 2012 - 3:00pm

When using Aperture to manage your photos, your IPTC metadata is NOT in the master image file unless you have, at some point, told Aperture to Write IPTC Metadata to Master.

In my experience, many users are not aware of this. They have put a lot of time and energy into adding this information to images in their Aperture library and are shocked to realize it’s not in the file info of their images.

Apple made the decision in early versions of Aperture to maintain a completely non-destructive workflow. This means they didn’t want Aperture to alter the original camera-generated image file in any way and this included adding IPTC metadata.

However, many photographers believe in creating an archive that’s as forward compatible as possible. No one knows what the future holds when it comes to digital asset management. Sometimes we just want to look at a folder full of images and see what’s there without importing into Aperture. Sometimes we want to do a Spotlight search and look at images in the finder with Quick Look. Or, maybe we want to open it in an image browser and email it out without having to go to Aperture.

For me, these are rare instances, but I still want my images to contain IPTC metadata. While I appreciate the idea that master image files are best kept in their pristine condition, I think the risk is low enough and the reward high enough to proceed with adding IPTC metadata. In all my years of handling digital image files with a variety of software, I have never had IPTC metadata corrupt an image. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen. I’m saying I’m willing to suffer the consequences of that happening for the trade off of having all my files contain this very valuable data.

First off, I have to say I do not like how Aperture handles this task. It’s needlessly slow when a lot of files are involved. I don’t like that it’s something I have to do after the import and it’s something I have to remember to do. I would like for it be an option on import. Granted, this would slow down the import process dramatically, it would still be something I would use for certain imports. I don’t like that it doesn’t do this task in the background. You can’t do anything in Aperture until the task is complete.

Writing IPTC Metadata to Masters is Easy to do

  1. Select the images you want to write IPTC metadata to. I recommend selecting a ton of images and then starting before going to bed.

Secondary Display Views in Aperture 3

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 4, 2012 - 3:00pm

If you own a second display, or have ever thought of adding one, this post will explain the different ways to take advantage of it while editing in Aperture 3. When a second display is connected, the Secondary Viewer menu becomes active.

The Secondary Viewer options in Aperture 3

Advantages and performance

Some users have dual large displays on their desk, and others may have a desktop display to plug their laptop into while at home. Those with laptops can run in “lid down” mode, meaning the big display is the only display, or in “lid up” mode, so the smaller laptop screen is simultaneously usable. The advantages of two screens are pretty obvious; more space to put your stuff. I remember years ago having a one good display and one old crappy one, and relegating the crappy one to Photoshop palettes. Today, with two good displays, the dual monitor setup just depends on what I’m doing. I’ll usually keep iCal, a web browser with live stats on this website, Twitter, and iTunes running on the secondary display, while the primary gets Mail, my main browser windows, and whatever other apps I’m actively working on (Pages, Numbers, etc.). I’ll even put Aperture on the second display if I’m working on something with photos, but not actually working on photos (i.e. a book in iBooks Author). When I go into full-on Aperture mode, then the Aperture window will get moved to the primary display, using secondary screen in the various ways outlined below.


Alternate Main Viewer Views in Aperture 3

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 3, 2012 - 3:00pm

The Aperture Viewer is the part of the Aperture interface where you view your photos large. I think most users leave this in the standard “Multi” view the vast majority of the time, and many may not even be aware that there are multiple modes for the Viewer. This post is all about those various views, and how to use them.


Customizing the Aperture Full Screen Interface

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 2, 2012 - 3:00pm

Following up on yesterday’s article “Customizing the Aperture Interface”, today we’ll dive into the Full Screen mode. There aren’t nearly as many options here, but that’s somewhat the point… Full Screen is a stripped-down, only-what-you-need view of your photos.

To prove the point of simplicity, here’s what you get when you hide everything. I’ve left metadata on just to show that it’s actually the Aperture UI; otherwise it’d just look like a photo!

Full Screen Aperture, all UI hidden except the Metadata (tap to view larger)

Toolbar, Filmstrip and HUD

On the other extreme, here’s everything turned on. This screenshot is at 1280 × 720 which is smaller than most of you would work, so you’ll likely see smaller interface elements and larger images. The Toolbar, the Filmstrip, and the HUD (heads up display) are all enabled here.


Customizing the Aperture Interface

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
May 1, 2012 - 3:00pm

Aperture’s standard layout works just fine for most people, however there may be times when you’d like to tweak things a little bit for your own workflow. It could be that you want to hide panes to maximize screen real estate, or maybe the image you’re currently working on gets bigger when you move the Browser, or perhaps it just makes more sense to you to see Inspector on the right.

The most common and well-known UI (User Interface) customization would be the Browser / Split View / Viewer toggle. These three views, rotated through by simply tapping the V key, allow you to see just the Browser (thumbnails or list view), both the Browser and the Viewer in Split View, or just the Viewer. I say these are the most well known simply because there are buttons in the toolbar to flip through these, so chances are high you’ve figured this one out.

But there’s much more you can do.

Rotate and swap the Browser

There are four different places the Browser can live. On the bottom, the left, the top, or the right of the Viewer. There are two commands to control this; View > Browser > Swap Position (⌥W)  and View > Browser > Rotate Position (⇧W). Through a combination of these, here are the four possible layouts:

The four positions of the Browser (tap to view larger)

You can resize the Browser by grabbing the bar between the Browser and the Viewer as well. Depending on which Browser view you are in (Filmstrip, Grid or List), the thumbnails will resize or you’ll see more photos at once.

Swap the Inspector

The Inspector, which is the pane normally on the left that houses the Library, Metadata and Adjustments tabs, can be moved from left to right by choosing View > Inspector > Swap Position (⇧I). This won’t free up any space but it may make more sense to you visually.


Making It Pop in Aperture with the Mid Contrast Slider

Thomas Boyd's picture
April 29, 2012 - 3:00pm

I’ll bet many users don’t even know this adjustment slider exists, and if they do, they may not appreciate it’s powerful capabilities.

The Mid Contrast slider is buried in the Advanced drop down menu inside the Highlights and Shadows adjustment brick. Moreover, it’s one of five seldom used sliders. I think it’s fair so to say this a “hidden” feature of Aperture. Well folks, you get it here first for the low low price of free!

Okay, you’re not really hearing it here first because Joseph talks about it in his Live Training videos [Session 009] and I’ve written about it elsewhere… but it is free!

The best I can describe what it does is to say it adds contrast back into an image while still maintaining a degree of shadow detail that lost contrast after the Shadows slider was applied. Essentially, it makes an otherwise flat image pop while still retaining shadow detail.

In typical user manual fashion, the only thing it says about Mid Contrast is this: “Sets the amount of contrast in the midtones”. That’s not very descriptive and is one of the reasons it’s not well known. That’s also one of the reasons this site exists!

Using the Mid Contrast slider

First make sure you have an appropriate image. It’s not going be something you want to apply to every photo in your library, but it does help many different kinds of images.

Make sure you can see your Highlights and Shadows adjustment brick, then click the drop-down arrow that says Advanced. That reveals five more adjustment sliders; Radius, Color Correction, High Tonal Width, Mid Contrast and Low Tonal Width. We are going to concern ourselves with the Mid Contrast slider — the others don’t make much of a difference.

Highlights & Shadows adjustment brick with Advanced adjustment sliders exposedFirst, slide the Shadow slider to the right. Don’t go too far; just enough to open up the shadows a bit. You don’t want them turning “chalky”.


Adding EXIF Data to Scans or PhotoCD Files

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
April 28, 2012 - 3:00pm

Check out this piece of ancient history I found in my office…

Hey grandpa, what is this thing?

An old Kodak Photo CD. Chrome scans from 1995. Wow. When I inserted the CD, iPhoto automatically launched and offered to import. I quit it and launched Aperture, but guess what… Aperture doesn’t import these things. So if you have any laying around, import ‘em quick using iPhoto!

So I imported the lot into iPhoto, and chose Reveal in Finder to locate the originals, which surprisingly opened the iPhoto Library package to show me the files. Interesting. So I copied those out to import into Aperture.

As you probably know by now, my file naming convention contains the yyyy-mm-dd_hh-mm-ss of the image capture, but as it goes without saying, these photos don’t have valid date and time stamps. In fact the stamp they have is from the moment of import off the Photo CD. But that’s OK, I have a nice little workaround for changing the dates on photos and building it into the file name. It’s my double-import trick.

Double-import to correct date & time stamps

Here’s what you can do in a situation where you have images with known incorrect time stamps that you want to correct prior to import, so ultimately the file names can have accurate date info in them.

  1. Import the photos to Aperture as Referenced. Leave them in the original location, and don’t change the names. This import goes extremely quick since Aperture is just making a reference to the file, and not moving or copying it. In fact the fastest way to do this is to simply command-option drag the photos into an empty Project. This imports as referenced and leaves them where they are (same key-combo to drag-create an alias in the Finder).

DPHOTO: 10% Discount and iframe Embed Techniques

Joseph @PhotoApps.Expert's picture
April 27, 2012 - 3:00pm

More good stuff from the world of DPHOTO

10% discount

The fine folks at DPHOTO are offering a 10% discount for new accounts for ApertureExpert readers! Also if you created a new account since we posted the original article on Sunday (DPHOTO: A Viable Alternative to MobileMe?”), just contact them at support@dphoto.com and be sure to give them your user name, and they will apply that to your account.

Also if you sign up for the free trial using the discount code, you’ll get the Pro account for 30 days instead of the more limited trial account, so you can really get a taste of all the features.

Use the code AE201204 on the signup page to get your discount.

iframe embedding

There currently isn’t a simple “grab code to embed” to post your photos elsewhere, but you can embed the gallery in an iframe. Just drop this code in and you should be good to go. (click the source icon to open a window with plain text):



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