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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


  1. AHHHHHH!!!!!! :)
    The site is not working well, and the trial of the new Aperture is just there, few bytes from my mouse and...

    Well, I will wait! :)

  2. I've been a fan and user of Aperture since it's initial release, upgrading at every occasion. Unfortunately I think they've taken far too long to get this to market, we've been left wanting new features and improvements (e.g. 64bit) for far too long.

    Having switched to Capture One Pro (now version 5) nearly 12 months ago, I'm not sure I will ever change back - a real shame!

  3. Carlo -Stick with it as I'm sure the servers are inundated with people downloading the trial. You won't be disappointed.

    Ian - It's a shame you switched over; I'm pretty sure once you see the program at work and its features, you'll probably be having second thoughts about Capture. Give the trial a go - you won't be disappointed.

  4. UK price is £169 new and £79 for upgrades - the Store has just risen again from it's slumber.

    What's it like speed-wise compared to Lightroom or is it too early to tell? (I use neither yet).

  5. Pleased that they have kept the price down. Will definitely upgrade to this.

  6. Tim - It's very snappy. It takes a while to process Faces if you have a large library on upgrading, but after this is done, it's very fast. I've been testing on a MacBook Pro (first Unibody) with 4Gb RAM and it's been ultra speedy.
    Although I've tried Lightroom, I'm not a user. It was never attractive to me because it doesn't flow like Aperture; it's restrictive and segmented for my personal taste. Aperture's just more elegant and a better solution for me. Also, now that you can see all that Aperture 3 has to offer, Lightroom really doesn't seem that great.
    I did use Lightroom to process Leica M9 files before Aperture 2 supported the camera, and speed wise they seemed to run around the same, with Aperture seeming a tad quicker. With Aperture 3 it'll be a no contest on this issue as it's so much quicker.

  7. A few questions:

    Does the new version of Aperture pull in any of the iPhoto "adjustments" like Blur Edge, etc? Those are nice little things that can add to a portait. Aperture has always had vignette, but not Edge Blur.

    Also, does it have a text took where you can add text into a photo? That is a nice feature that I've been waiting on as well.

  8. Anon - I don't use iPhoto so don't know of the effect but if you're asking if they will be transferred from iPhoto to Aperture if you're moving your library, I'm afraid I don't know the answer.
    As far as text, you can only add it when making a book or an audio slideshow.

  9. Hi there - can you confirm Aperture 3 ships with German and English (Japanese/French) now as standard? Because the German Apple Site only shows "German" as an option, and vaguely states "Aperture is available in those languages"? I only run english software due to much faster and better support etc., so I really don't want to buy it to find out it's "only German".... :-/ thanks!

  10. I have no idea on the localised languages, sorry. I'm guessing the best bet is to call your local Apple Store and ask them.

  11. Some questions:

    - Does Aperture support Video Files like iPhoto now?
    - Does it support lens correction on some cameras like Panasonic LX3 or G1?


  12. Hi Greg,

    I don't use iPhoto and to my knowledge iPhoto doesn't do video. Aperture 3 lets you trim and edit video, place titles and output to the size and purpose you need the video for. It's not as full on as Final Cut (naturally!) but allows for fast, easy and useful video editing when on the road.
    I believe it supports the LX3, but don't know about lens correction embedded in the files.

  13. Cheers, Edmond, for your post.

    To be honest, I've been straddling both iPhoto and Aperture for some time - leaning more towards iPhoto for it's, admittedly, entry-level simplicity (and perhaps, my laziness) being a little intimidated to make the switch over to Aperture fully. I agree with you that it is an elegantly-designed and powerful programme (also evidenced by your use of it!) and I think it's time I made the switch over definitively! I'm sure it would require nothing more than a few keystrokes to import my entire iPhoto library over, no?

  14. What is your experience with 3rd-party plugins. I understand that Nik plugins only work if I force Aperture3 to run as a 32bit application. Does that kill a lot of the speed gain?

  15. Anon - You're absolutely right about that. However, I've heard that Nik are working on 64bit versions. I haven't tried Aperture 3.0 in 32bit so can't comment about the speed, but the good news is that if you have plugins which are critical to your workflow, then you can use Aperture 3.0 in 32bit until the plugin developer brings out their 64bit updates.

  16. Paolo,

    Thanks for your kind words. Aperture 3.0 is a stunningly good application and I really can't recommend it enough. I've never used iPhoto so can't comment, but I've heard that it's a straightforward thing to import your library. I'm sure the Apple website will have your answer so do have a look there :-)

  17. great post. loved reading this. cant wait to install it now

  18. oh!!!! I am a fan of your model.. I am convinced I will check it out :)
    kisses, Dalia

  19. Many thanks Nicholas; much appreciated.

  20. I'll pass on your compliments Dalia!!

  21. Sadly on my new 13" MacBook Pro (4gb ram) it was unusably slow. With only one image in the library any adjustment I made to the photo took 2 seconds or more for the preview image to update. On the same machine the same adjustments in DPP or PS CS3 are pretty much instant. Sorry Apple, I'll stick with iPhoto/PS/DPP. Maybe it's OK on a Mac Pro but for me it was pretty hopeless. Oh well, that's £169 saved!

  22. Tim,
    A little playing around in the prefs will help out a lot. i have Aperture 2 running on a MacBook Air by changing the setting for preview section and only ticking Use embed jpegs. Don't have my MacBook Pro to hand (I have the 15" and it runs super smoothly on it - in fact that's the machine I used to do my three months of beta testing on - it does have better graphics though) to look through the prefs, but you get the idea. Give it a go :-)

  23. can we copy edits from one photo to the other in aperture 3?. I cannot seems to find the option.

  24. Karen - You just use the Lift and Stamp tool; just like in Aperture 2.

  25. I'd imagine that 64bit would only be of benefit if running Snow Leopard.

  26. Artr - Indeed it would. Unless you have a lot of RAM installed, the noticeable difference between 32 and 64-bit according to those in the know isn't particularly noticeable.

  27. You say that it is much faster. I must say, I am not getting the same experience. My i7 iMac is substantially slower on the Aperture 3 than it was a few days ago on Aperture 2. All of the face dectection and previews are all rebuilt. I don't think there is anything else going on in the background. But loading photos at 100%(Z)or using the loop tool takes 2-3 seconds before it becomes focused. The CPU is running at 500-600% just to view pictures. Once loaded, CPU goes back to normal. There is a real lag when trying to even change contrast. Sharpening or straightening cause an spinning wheel. These used to be instantaneous. In fact they still are on my first generation MBP which is still running the 2.0 data base. Any thoughts. Do I need to rebuild the database?


  28. EM,
    Please have a read of the tips article (next one along) and see if this helps at all.
    I've found it much more responsive, and that's only on a MacBook Pro. I'm just installing on my MacPro now, and I know that this is going to take a long time to finish as there are around 350,000 images in there.
    Check the activity monitor because if your library is big, it may still be updating things - my suggestion would be to leave the machine running over night for several days (depending on the size of your library) as it will take time to update to version 3's spec.