Apple has always prided itself on being the platform for designers and those who need quick and easy-to-use art packages and Aperture has been the photo management of choice for professional photographers.
While there have been updates for the software, this is the first major overhaul since 2005 and it’s a vast improvement, offering a more stable work environment and an interface that is even easier to use. What we found the most impressive about this suite was the improved speed.
The interface has also been streamlined and you’ll now find three tabs on the left-hand side; Projects helps organise your library of images, Metadata is used for tagging and batch-editing the metadata of images, while Adjustments is used for editing and filtering your images. We liked it that many of the features you’re likely to use at the same time have been grouped together, so if you regularly need to batch edit files, you’ll find this easier to perform than previously.
Keyboard shortcuts have proved tricky in the past, but there are now also improved controls for re-setting these to the way you work best, which help speed up the main tasks considerably.
Aperture has never been the application you would choose by choice for editing and correcting your images, as the tools built in to it are a little on the basic side. Where this software excels is in taking a batch of images and given them overall corrections.
By default, it would rather work with your RAW files than standard JPEG or TIFF files. This is because you can do a lot more with RAW, correcting the overall balance and tone of an image without degrading the file itself. Apple has worked hard on this aspect, improving the highlight and shadow features and has even included a new Recover and Black Point tool, which easily helps restore blown or over complicated shadows, for instance.
There is now a Quick Preview pane that uses a JPEG instead of a RAW file, so fewer resources are taken up when simply searching through files. Exporting your end results is also quicker. You’ll still need a dual-core processor to make the most of this but we found the process handled itself well.
Also new are the Color Vibrancy and Definition sliders, which work simply but effectively. Vibrancy handles the saturation of an image, while definition adds colour to an image exactly where you want it. Apple has done a great job with these tools, as they can quickly add warmth to images without spoiling the overall effect. Something that can so easily be done with saturation tools.
Previous upgrades allowed for the change in hardware, such as Apple’s switch to Intel processors, and as a result the previous version suffered from being slow. This is no longer the case as we found the software to be a slimmer install and to run a lot smoother. Those thinking of upgrading will really see the difference in performance.
The changes made to Apple Aperture 2.0 make this a great addition to any Mac user’s machine. The range of upgrades and the streamlining of the interface make it a logical upgrade that current users will instantly see the benefit of owning.