Saturday, June 16, 2007

Aperture's bizarre lift and stamp UI

I'm still using Aperture in trial mode. I refuse to buy until Apple adds the ability to edit image date information (like every other image management software ever produced). In the meantime I'm slowly slogging through one of the most cryptic and sluggish pieces of software I've every seen. The Aperture Quick Reference is worth printing btw.

The worst part of a generally disappointing product is Aperture's bizarre "lift and stamp" UI. My guess is that some Apple engineer tried to hack an awful interface and made it both worse and out of sync with the documentation. I suspect there are some bugs in there as well.

In Aperture 1.5.3 both 'o' and 'shift-o' seem to do exactly the same thing. Some web sites claim the option key will change the lift/stamp button, but that doesn't work for me. Regardless of what I do, it always says 'stamp'.

After much labor I finally found a sequence of actions that allowed by to take image settings from one image and apply them to multiple images. Nothing else I tried worked for "stamping" multiple images. Here's what I posted to Apple's Discussion group.
Apple - Support - Discussions - Re: Lift and Stamp - one image only ...

1. Adjust settings on the reference image.
2. Select image.
3. Type 'o' to bring up the L&S HUD (or use either the lift or stamp toolbar buttons, they seem to do the same thing). If you leave the lower left select box set to 'add' a "stamp" operation will add to existing edit metadata, if you choose 'replace' it replaces existing edit metadata
4. Look at the settings, confirm that the HUD is showing the right settings to apply. Unselect any you don't want to apply.
5. HOLD the command key to change the cursor to a select cursor. Select all images desired. Click stamp.
Aperture is disappointing. iPhoto hasn't been updated for eons and is falling behind the (free) Picasa app -- and it can't handle multiple image Libraries. (Doesn't anyone travel any more? Get married? Divorced? Anything?). OS X 10.5 is late (I don't believe it will be ready for the fall).

There are no OS X blogging applications even remotely comparable to Microsoft's free Vista/XP Writer.

Apple is not doing very well right now. I'm ready for the iPhone to be a pretty impressive flop.

Update: Primary Only. If you type the letter S when using Aperture, Aperture will, without warning, change its operating mode to "primary only". There's no warning, Aperture just changes mode. In this mode it doesn't matter what you do when you select, the operations will apply only to the image with the thick white "select border" (the "primary"). Lift and Stamp away, Aperture won't give you a warning, but only one image will be stamped. I was in Primary mode and didn't know it.

I realized something was truly bizarre when I couldn't apply ratings to multiple selected images simultaneously. I poked around the menus until I saw the "Primary" option. Selected.

Who the heck wants this? Why does it have a quick key? Why doesn't Aperture display "Primary mode" in the chrome to warn users what mode they're in?

Anyway, when you're in standard mode, Lift & Stamp works this way:
  1. Select images you want to Stamp.
  2. Type o to bring up the Lift & Stamp HUD.
  3. Click on an image you like (this does the lift). Note settings
  4. Clicks stamp, this applies changes to the images you selected in step 1.
That's so weird.

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