Aperture on a PowerBook, Pt. 5 - The Big Misconception

by Derrick Story

There's always a moment during the process of learning an application where the light goes on and you say to yourself, "Ah ha!" As I've been preparing for my Inside Aperture Power Tools workshop, I've had my share of "Ah ha"s. But I want to tell you about the most important one, because it's at the root of so many misconceptions about this product.

I've interviewed photographers and read plenty of reviews and blog posts about Aperture's limitations. About how Apple makes you do things its way instead of the way you want to work. Most of the time, this just isn't true. And much of the confusion comes from one area: Presets.

I'll use the simple slideshow as an example, because I fell prey to this one myself, originally complaining that you couldn't add music to the presentations. Wrong. When I chose the slideshow command, I saw this option on the screen.

Slideshow Preset

What I didn't realize at the moment, but know now, is that those few measly options are just a few convenient presets that Apple has provided me. If I go to the bottom of that popup up menu, I can choose Edit, and get this.

Edit Presets

Now I have all sorts of options, including music, that I can configure and save as my own preset with the + button in the lower left corner of the screen. If I want to remove any of Apple's presets, just highlight it and click on the - button.

You'll see these options over and over again throughout Aperture. Take a look at "Export Version..." for example. There's some powerful stuff there. So the key is to look for that edit option at the bottom of your popup windows. By doing so, it will change your Aperture experience greatly.

More in this series...


2006-01-07 18:59:46
A message to all the Aperture users out there: RTFM! :-)

Most people don't read the documentation anymore, we're are not talking about iPhoto, iCal or AddressBook, we're talking about freaking Aperture here, a huge app packed with tons of features and zillions of keyboard shortcuts. I can't believe how many people out there are blogging/complaining about some lacking features in Aperture, while they could have simply opened the damned pdf doc files, search for their feature...and boom.

Example: I recently read that Aperture didn't allow to easily "pan" an image when zoomed in Actual Size (full res) and that the only way was to either use the scrollwheel or the little red rectangle....grrrrrrrrrr: in the Getting Started PDF is clearly stated that YOU CAN HOLD DOWN THE SPACE BAR AND DRAG THE IMAGE to achieve that.

Apple pro apps always come with great user manuals, it is probably a good idea to give them a look instead of blogging about bs that disinform the users.

2006-01-08 07:07:05
Great example, Derrick
Nice post, Derrick. This is a great example of how Apple software appears very simple to use for beginners, yet has an incredible depth for experts.

Sure, Aperture has problems. And Apple definitely needs to fix them (raw conversions, number of supported raw formats, speed, a few extra tools like Curves) but I think it will.

There are two main problems I see in reviews and postings in forums and blogs:

1. People expect perfection from a version 1.0 app. Yes, being 1.0 does not excuse Apple from fixing problems, but you simply can't expect perfection in a version 1.0 app from anybody.

2. People just don't get what Aperture is for. They whine about it not doing what Photoshop does (it's not supposed to!). Hello? Aperture is a workflow app.

If people would step back and take a look at other groundbreaking version 1.0 apps--such as Adobe's InDesign or Apple's Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro--they would see that all version 1.0 programs suffer from incomplete feature sets and technical problems.

But each of those apps developed into world-beating applications. Aperture is in that league.

And now that AppleInsider.com has noted that Adobe will be releasing a competing app named LightRoom at MacWorld, well things just got a lot more interesting. :-)

Keep up the good work, Derrick.