Wednesday, May 23, 2007
A Look Through Aperture
Developed quietly and unveiled dramatically, the new image workflow software from Apple is a professional application that handles RAW files in a novel way to put some speed in your digital work
Integration With Photoshop
Contrary to many of the rumors and postings about Aperture that hit the Web immediately after the software's announcement, Aperture isn't designed as a replacement for Photoshop. Sure, there's plenty of overlap with the RAW processing and common editing tools such as color correction, exposure control and image cleanup, but Aperture makes no attempt at more industrial-strength editing tasks like adjustment layers, compositing and color separations. Aperture will export your image file directly to Photoshop for fine-tuning.
Most of us would be at a loss without Photoshop's Actions and scripting features to automate common and repetitive tasks. Aperture works well with Automator and AppleScript to reduce the amount of time and effort needed to collect and process large numbers of files. There's currently a set of Automator workflows that can be downloaded from www.automator .us/aperture/example-01.html to give you an idea of what can be accomplished. As Aperture users gain experience, count on more workflows being created and shared.
Aperture is a power-hungry application that will have many potential users upgrading or replacing their current systems in order to make the most of it. This is hardly surprising since Apple's primary business is selling computers. While Aperture will run on the high-end PowerBook, it really wants a G5 as a minimum processor, and even then you'll be much better off with a dual-processor Power Mac and plenty of memory (count on 2 GB as a minimum) if you plan on doing much more than basic work with Aperture. Apple is setting the minimum requirements as a PowerBook G4 1.25 GHz or better, iMac G5 with 1.8 GHz or better, or Power Mac G5 with 1.8 GHz or better processor, OS X 10.4.3 or later, and 1 GB of RAM.
The recommended system is a dual 2 GHz Power Mac G5 with 2 GB of RAM. Given the functionality of Aperture, it's a safe assumption that more will be better, and if you plan on running Photoshop along with Aperture, you'll quickly appreciate the new Power Mac G5 Quad with as much memory as you can afford. With dual 30-inch Cinema displays, Aperture has plenty of space for stacks, tools and large image windows.
For a version 1.0 product, Aperture is surprisingly full featured and highly useful. Apple has paid attention to the needs of pro photographers and has provided a tool that promises to give us more time behind our cameras and less behind our keyboards. If you've been waiting for an excuse to upgrade your Mac, or if you're a Windows user who has been thinking about making the switch, Aperture is all the incentive you need.