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Friday, 26 February 2010

Tips On Upgrading To Aperture 3

The biggest part of upgrading from Aperture 2 to Aperture 3 is that your library will need to be upgraded. The library file can hold many thousands of images (mine has around 350,000 referenced files) and all the data needed for showing edits, adjustments and metadata. All of this data, which is pretty complex, needs to go through the upgrade to use the superb new features in Aperture 3.

You can take a couple of steps to ensure a smooth upgrade. First and foremost, make sure you have a good and current backup of your work; regular readers, colleagues and friends will know my feelings on having a good backup regime. Secondly, this is not a rush job. If you have a very large library, this can take a couple of days, so try and time it for a weekend.

Whilst still in Aperture 2, start up the application holding down the 'alt' and 'cmd' keys. This allows you to then choose to rebuild your library. This will fix any issues your library has and in my opinion is a must for anyone upgrading, especially if they have an old library.

Once this is done, you can install Aperture 3. However, don't start it just yet! I would recommend you start it by holding down the 'alt' key. This will let you start with a new library. Once you have done this, go into the preferences and for the time being, switch of Faces; this is the useful facial recognition facility. If you have a large library, this feature can take many hours, sometimes overnight, to go through all the many tens of thousands of faces; so switch it off for now.

Now quit Aperture and start it up again. Then run Software Update and install any updates available. After you have started up again, choose to quit. Lastly, start up again whilst holding down the 'alt' key and choose your library from Aperture 2. This will now begin the upgrade process. Depending on how many images you have, this could take a while. My archive goes back a couple of decades and as it's rather large took almost four days to upgrade.

Once your upgrade has happened, the images are upgraded within the program. You can check on it's activity by looking in Window / Show Activity. Once this is done, I suggest you quit the program, maybe even restart your Mac. Launch Aperture 3 and begin to explore. Now's the time to switch on Faces again. As I mentioned though, this is pretty computer intensive the first time you run it, as its cataloguing a huge number of faces; I'd recommend you leave it to do it's thing and only use the computer once it's finished.

My last piece of advice would be to upgrade to 4Gb of RAM. Aperture 3 is not only the best imaging program in my opinion, it also becomes your multimedia hub, allowing not only storage and cataloguing of clips, but also basic editing of video and audio. More RAM will mean a smoother and more enjoyable experience.

As mentioned before, for this upgrade, it's best to just leave the computer running overnight and over the weekend to allow it to work without distraction. The new library of Aperture 3 is faster and has a huge number of excellent features like the non-destructive brushes, so it's well worth showing some patience. You're going to love it!

Addendum: Thanks to Carlo with his comment below which reminds me:

1- Aperture will need twice the space of your current Library for it's upgrade; the reason for this is simply that in case your upgrade fails, you still have your original Library file intact. It's a great safety feature.
2- As drives get fragmented over time, to have the absolute smoothest upgrade, get a new drive (internal SATA or external FW800 ideally) and format this. Then drag over you Library file. This allows it to to copy across and keeps all the data continuously and not in a fragmented way.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Aperture 3 - Quick Performance Tips

No doubt most Mac users have been trying out Aperture 3.0. On Twitter and some forums, there has been the occasional users who have upgraded to version 3 reporting slower performance to what they expected. The majority of what I've read though is reporting faster performance, which is something I totally agree with.

I have two tips to help out those who may be experiencing slow systems; before that though, you should ideally upgrade to 4Gb of RAM. Being a 64-bit program it can manage extra RAM extremely well, so the more loaded your system, the more obvious speed gains you will see.

Tip 1: In Preferences go to the Previews tab and only tick "Use embedded jpeg from camera when possible" and if you don't need it, choose to 'Never' share previews with iLife and iWork.

Tip 2: Aperture 3.0 now has the Faces feature. It has to be seen to be believed; it still amazes me how it can pick out faces throughout my Library and start to recognise people after they have been tagged a few times. Whilst this feature will be of great use to some, you need to realise that it's a very computer intensive process the first time it runs after an upgrade, or if you are using a trial and have imported many thousands of images. My suggestion would be to switch off the feature when you're using the program and then switch it on to run over night. Once it has catalogued the many thousands of faces, you won't notice a performance hit.

During my beta testing period, I used a 15" MacBook Pro with 2.53GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4Gb of RAM. It's definitely not the fastest in Apple's line-up but by following the above suggestions, runs extremely fast with Aperture 3.0.

Lastly, check out Mac Create for some great information on Aperture 3.0.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Apple Launch Aperture 3.0

Regular readers will know that by far my favourite imaging program is Aperture; well, the best just got better.
I've been very fortunate in having been included in the beta testing for Aperture 3.0 and I must say that the past few months have been an absolute joy. Version 3 brings a huge number of new features with it and It's even much faster and snappy, being 64-bit.

The Faces Feature

As a news photographer, the biggest things for me are speed and quality. The new import dialogue, which is pure genius, allows me to begin my edit of the entire shoot even before the card has downloaded. It also can automatically split two assignments into different Projects by setting the time gap between each job. Also included are a host of brushes, so having to export into another imaging program is a thing of the past. The adjustments presets are also extremely handy and beautiful in their execution. They now have "Quick Fixes" and white balance presets too.
Multimedia journalists will love the video editing and audio slideshow generating features - these really work a treat in deadline situations. It's alls o quick and easy to put these quick packages together now. Transitions, titles and even fading audio on slideshows - brilliant!
Faces and Places are also extremely neat. You can now add GPS data to your images by dropping a pin on a map. Faces is also very neat as it goes through your library of images picking out faces. After a few are tagged, it begins to tag the rest itself.
To top it off for Curves users, it also now has Curves alongside Levels (which is what I use).

The Places Feature

Aperture 3.0's even more elegant and flowing than version 2; it allows you to do what you want, when you want and in the way that suits you.

Don't just take my word for it though, grab the trial of Aperture 3.0.

Addendum: There's a lot of good information here on Mac Create.
Press Release:

Apple Releases Aperture 3

New Features Include Faces, Places & Brushes

CUPERTINO, California—February 9, 2010—Apple® today introduced Aperture™ 3, the next major release of its powerful photo editing and management software, with over 200 new features including Faces, Places and Brushes. Building on the innovative Faces and Places features introduced in iPhoto® ’09, Aperture 3 makes it even easier and faster to organise large photo libraries. Aperture 3 introduces new tools to refine your photos including Brushes for painting image adjustments onto parts of your photo, and Adjustment Presets for applying professional photo effects with just one click. Stunning new slideshows let you share your work by weaving together photos, audio, text and HD video.

“Millions of people love using iPhoto to organise, edit and share their digital photos,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “Aperture 3 is designed for both professionals who edit and manage massive libraries of photos and iPhoto users who want to take their photos further with easy-to-use tools such as Brushes and Adjustment Presets.”

“Aperture 3 gets it right,” said National Geographic photographer, Jim Richardson. “The image editing tools are exactly what I have been asking for, they’re so easy to use and give me a level of control that I never even thought possible.”

“I chose Aperture because it was the most powerful archiving application around, but it’s now an unbelievable imaging tool as well,” said Bill Frakes, Sports Illustrated staff photographer. “I am beyond impressed with the massive changes made in Aperture 3.”

Aperture 3 allows you to organise large photo libraries with even more flexibility using Projects and the new Faces and Places. Faces uses face detection and recognition to find and organise your photos by the people in them. You can view faces across your entire photo library or view just the faces that appear in selected projects. In a new view that speeds up the organisation process, Aperture 3 displays faces that have been detected but haven’t yet been named. Places lets you explore your photos based on where they were taken, and like in iPhoto, Places automatically reverse geocodes GPS data into user-friendly locations. In Aperture 3, you can assign locations by dragging-and-dropping photos onto a map or by using location information from GPS enabled cameras, tracking devices or your iPhone® photos.

The new Brushes feature allows you to add professional touches to your photos by simply painting effects onto the image. Aperture 3 includes 15 Quick Brushes that perform the most popular tasks like Dodge, Burn, Polarize and Blur, without the complexity of layers or masks. Brushes can automatically detect edges in your images to let you apply or remove effects exactly where you want them. Aperture 3 includes dozens of Adjustment Presets that apply a specific style or look to the entire image with just a click. You can create your own custom presets or explore the techniques of other photographers by importing theirs.

Aperture 3 makes it easy to share your work with stunning slideshows that weave together photos, audio, text and HD video. You can select one of six Apple designed themes or choose your own transitions, background, borders and titles, and even add your own soundtrack. You can export your slideshows directly to iTunes® to take with you on your iPhone or iPod touch®. You can also share photographs as beautiful prints, create custom-designed hardcover books and publish to online photo sharing sites like Facebook and Flickr, right from Aperture 3.

Pricing & Availability
Aperture 3 is available through the Apple Store® (, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers for a suggested retail price of £169 (inc VAT) and existing Aperture users can upgrade for a suggested retail price of £79 (inc VAT). A downloadable 30-day trial version is available at Aperture 3 runs as a 64-bit application on Mac OS® X Snow Leopard® on Macs with Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Full system requirements, online tutorials and more information on Aperture 3 can be found at