Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Apple Aperture: iPhoto replacement?

I've been wating for Apple's new Aperture photo software for a few years now. At $250 (educational, I teach) I'll likely buy it -- unless it's unbearably slow. (Hardware requirements are immense, either Aperture is a fundamentally stupid piece of software or the requirements are for working with tens of thousands of 30MB raw images.) DPReview has a good summary.

The key specs are here:
Photo Management

* Work with thousands of projects
* High-performance database
* Organize photos into projects and albums
* Include up to 10,000 “master” images per Project with as many “versions” as needed
* Create albums from any combination of images
* Combing photos from multiple projects into albums
* Search using Smart Albums based on metadata queries
* One-click archival and backup
* Backup to multiple drives concurrently
* Aperture tracks backup status and location of all images
So albums can span projects. If there are thousands of projects, with up to 10,000 master images per project, that's at least 10 million images per database. Now we're talking.

If it does the above, and it can capture most of my iPhoto metadata, and the performance demands are really about RAW workflow, then it's bye-bye iPhoto for me.

PS. What the heck does this mean? "Create alternate versions without using extra disk space". Somehow it stores a 'diff' for derivative images?! Now that would be seriously impressive.

Update: Ok, I just saw this. I am going to own this software.

Works Flawlessly with iPhoto
Aperture works seamlessly with iPhoto. You can browse your iPhoto library without leaving Aperture, and you can choose to import:
  • Individual photos
  • Albums
  • Folders
  • Film rolls
  • Your entire iPhoto library (complete with keywords, titles and other metadata)
PS. Odd note today. I was scanning the O'Reilly Mac blogs and I read this reprinted there ars a part of an Aperture "blog roundup".

Update 12/2/05: Now that Aperture is out, the manual is available. Aperture doesn't import iPhoto smart albums. The manual doesn't say how iPhoto handles the original vs. changed image in iPhoto.
Importing Your iPhoto Library

When you open Aperture,a dialog appears that enables you to import photos from
your iPhoto Library. The organization of your iPhoto images and albums is maintained, as well as each image’s name, EXIF information, keywords,ratings, and any adjustments applied to images.

You cannot import slideshows, books, and Smart Albums from your iPhoto Library.

Note:You must upgrade to iPhoto version 5 or later before you can import photos
from your iPhoto Library into Aperture.

If you choose not to import photos from your iPhoto Library right away,you can import them later.

1 comment:

Kiwali said...

Go to Quick Tours and click on "Non-destructive Image Editing."

Basically, versions are not copies of the original RAW image. A version is simply a set of instructions that tell Aperture how to modify the RAW image to produce the output that you want. That way, you can have one version that is B&W, another one that is sepia, another one that is super-saturated, and to Aperature, it's just 1 original source file and three small version instruction files.

This is only possible because the version instructions are processed in real-time on the graphics card.

Think of a photorealistic scene from Doom 3 and how you can tweak the environmental effects like lighting, fog, shadows, etc by changing a few variables in a text file. The Doom 3 engine simply reads those parameters and applies the changes to the source file that contains the basic description of the scene dynamically.

Aperture does the same thing for photographs. You really get a sense of how powerful this is by watching the Quick Tour movie, especially when you see how Aperture's versions work in Stacks.

This is one REALLY cool piece of software. :-)