Aperture Vs. Lightroom: Day 7 - River Rotations

by Micah Walter


This morning I woke up to make an 8 a.m. bus ride to a couple of Dominica's waterfalls. First on the list was a nature hike along a river and up a mountain to the Sari Sari Falls. The waterfall is about 75 feet tall (I would guess by looking at it) and it empties into a pretty nice pool where you can swim and enjoy the views.

I'm not sure how I managed to do it, but I made it through the entire day without dumping my camera in the river. My boots didn't fair so well, and they are currently drying on the porch.

For the trip, I packed light, carrying my Canon 20D, 10-22mm, and 70-200 IS. I packed all the gear and a water bottle into a day pack, and usually had the SLR strung around my shoulder and neck while hiking. The next time I go, I will probably pack/bring my tripod. I have one of the older steel Gitzo tripods and while it is pretty much an indestructible beast of a tripod, it is pretty heavy, so I left it home this time.

We spent the day climbing up muddy rocks and wading through rivers. Man, I really love my job! In the end I shot a couple hundred frames, and got to swim under two waterfalls.


I rarely have to rotate images anymore. Usually, my camera is smart enough to detect its orientation and automatically rotates my images for me. When Nikon and Canon started implementing this technology into their DSLRs I jumped for joy. What a timesaver! However, there are times when the auto-rotate function doesn't quite work. For instance, today I thought it would be cool to get some low angle shots while standing in the river. Instead of submerging my battery pack and frying my camera, I decided to turn the camera upside-own to get as close to the water as possible.

When I got back to my apartment, I began importing cards and cleaning my gear. As I started sorting through my images in Lightroom, I began to notice a few details about the user interface. Let me preface this by saying that most of the problems with the interface are just things I need to learn, but as I have been saying all along, I think that intuitiveness is an important component of an intelligently designed and useful user interface.

For example, to rotate those upside-own images all at once I have to be in Lightroom's Library module and in Grid view. If you are in any other module, or looking in another view mode in the Library module, you can only rotate images one at a time. On top of this, the rotate arrows that are present in the Grid view thumbnails aren't present in the film strip or anywhere else. So, you have to use either the keyboard shortcut, or a menu option to rotate anything at all outside the Grid view. In Aperture there is always a rotate left or right button on the bottom bar, and it can be used to rotate a single image or a set of images, regardless of where you are in the program. I suppose it might sound like I'm really nitpicking here, but I have to say, it just reinforces my main problem with Lightroom: the modules.

I really don't like having to think about where I am in a program in order to do something as simple as rotating a set of images. I will save most of my opinions about the modules for my upcoming summary article, but in a nutshell, I really think the whole concept of a step by step workflow is a tired and linear way of thinking. Am I alone here?

To see a small set of images from today's trip, check out the link here.


Frank Gregorek
2007-02-26 15:36:29
Micah: I'm with you on LR's modules. Aperture's flexibility through the use of HUD's, etc. is one of its biggest selling points for me.
2007-02-26 15:52:00
Micah, I know what you mean. There is something about Lightroom that just feels disjointed. I want to like it, (mainly so I can run it on my older G5 iMac) but every time I close the program I walk away liking Aperture that much more. Using the organizational interface with Lightroom doesn't seem coherent now that I am used to Apertures layout. Aperture has everything right there TOGETHER so my albums, web galleries and everything else is in a handy package to call up at any time. And Smart Albums, well need I say more...
Frank Gregorek
2007-02-26 16:46:37
Paul: As to Aperture's Smart Albums, couldn't one claim that the LR "Keywords Panel" menu and "Metadata Browser" act as at least limited Smart Albums for the items they are intended to collect? For example, select "Paris" in the LR Keywords Panel and all your Paris images are displayed.

The difference is that Aperture Smart Albums allow greater user definition so that, for example, only Paris images with a certain rating could be set to display, if that's what the user wanted.

2007-02-26 16:57:11
Thanks again Micah !!! Great article and great pics !!! One thing I did not hear from you : what do you think of the bluring effect n LR when doing modification ? Could it be why LR is faster in devel module ?
2007-02-26 17:30:38
NO! You're not alone. That is why I love Ap. And there is absolutely nothing wrong being nitpicky if you're gonna spend $200 - $300 and use the thing (almost) every day. And intuitiveness is very important, even for a geek.

In the interface, in Ap, not only are the no modules to worry about, but I can each piece of the interface there or not there or in a special place.

Also how does Ap run on your MB? And how many megabytes are your images?
Oh and Great shots! - Now how to sell my own crappy ones, and get more RAM.

2007-02-26 17:39:35
Yes, Frank I agree with you that someone could set up the search criteria in Lightroom when needed. But having the Smart Albums is like having a search "Preset" for those times when you need to find the same information over and over again. Also, those Presets can be easily tailored to a particular situation without recreating an entire filter scenario from scratch. It is a big time saver for me, plus it is another feather in my cap in front of clients when I can snap up the info or images they ask for in a moments notice. I have spent a good bit of time exploring both programs and believe me I have had my share of frustrations with Aperture, especially "playing dumb" and losing Referenced files, but at the moment it just seems to fit more comfortably into my style of working. This is a good place to be for all of us to be with Apple and Adobe competing for every photographer's business.
2007-02-26 17:50:09
You're not at all nitpicking about the modules. It's the major design/paradigm flaw of Lightroom, and why I dropped it in Beta testing to go with Aperture. To make adjustments to images anytime, anywhere in any layout in Aperture without leaving that layout is the most natural, intuitive way to work.

I found Lightroom to be too rigid in it's modular thinking. Almost remedial in its hand-holding approach of "First you go here, do this, then go there and do that....on down the line", with the inevitable back-and-forths of module switching very annoying and unnatural. Aperture flows beautifully, like water (falls) ;~)

Enjoy your wonderful job!

David Medina
2007-02-26 18:20:33
Smart albums are just plain great. Keywording in LR is not the same. smart albums are something that stays with thr project. If you want to keep the keyword sorting from LR you must convert it to a collection.

There is no doubt that there are work-a-arounds in LR for most of what aperture can do in organizing the images, and I am sure there will be a whole industry of tutorial and books to teach LR users to do thise things we can do in Aperture.

What I think LR lack...
(1) True Integration: LR feels at time like 5 separate applications join only by a film strip. (2) Better and more fluid organizational tools on the library.
(3) The history is great but it should have independent undo to each corrections.
(4) Instead ot the metadata browser (I still can find a true use for that feature that should have such a preeminent position on a panel) should have a way to integrate the collections under folder so every shoot is kept together. I think the "shoot" metaphor was better than folders.

I don't know how Apple worked to build Aperture, but listening the LR podcast ones get the feeling of a very disjointed LR team with different and conflicting visions at times of how LR should work and look. It seems that they were more concerned about the "looks" and "personality" of LR than really making something truly unified.

So for me, the greatest LR turn off is its modular approach and lack of sophiticated organizational tools on the Library module.

2007-02-26 18:27:39
I have tried to like LR so much. It has garnered so much attention on the web since it's beta debut, I had to see what it was about (at least 3 times thus far). And each time I D/L and try it, thinking how marvelous it looks, and even though the develop module has some nifty features, I always, ALWAYS walk away glad I put my money on Aperture.

The only real constant good about LR I can think of is that every time I use it, I go back and try different things in AP and learn new tricks. Maybe not the best selling point that their product makes Aperture that much more useful for me.... But hey, I'm just a hobbyist anyways.

George OJ
2007-02-26 19:04:29
Micah, thanks for a really great comparison series, and posting some great photos!

A few things about your most recent blog post. I couldn't agree more about the awkward nature of the "MODULAR" structure of LR: not only do you need to be in a specific module to perform some tasks, but even the behavior of the SAME UI elements changes drastically from one module to another.

Take the FILM STRIP: in the library module you can click on a thumbnail in the filmstrip and select it; if you do SHIFT+arrow key, you will select a few adjacent images; now, if you let go of the SHIFT, and click any arrow key, it de-selects the previous selection; so far, so good. Now, try the same thing in the DEVELOP module - not working - now, clicking on an arrow key alone does not deselect the previously selected images - now it cycles through them; you need to do CTL/CMD-D to de-select the current selection (btw: I tried it, since it works in Photoshop for de-selecting - you won't find the info in the manual, though); SHIFT+arrow, however, will not work for selecting in the PRINT module filmstrip, where you have to use your mouse (as far as I can tell) to select filmstrip images, since the arrow keys do not work at all with the film strip in PRINT... Which means that now you have to learn several different, rather counterintuitive behaviors of the same UI element, and you have to remember where you are to make them work... BTW: The ROTATE funtion you mention is a great illustration of that quirkiness: you CAN use the drop down menu to add the ROTATE arrows to your toolbar in the LIBRARY module, so you can rotate multiple selected images there, with just one click; but move to DEVELOP, and the ROTATE buttons disappear from the toolbar (and from the menu of options for the toolbar), although other elements (such as rating, color coding) remain unchanged... :O

As much as I like some aspects of LR (and love the power and intuitiveness of the DEVELOP module sliders), the lack of UI consistency between different modules is quite exasperating, all the more, that most of this is NOT well documented at all in the PDF manual that comes w/ LR... Oh yes, and there is no contextual, traditional HELP file either...

2007-02-26 19:44:37
No, you're not alone. And you're not nit-picking either. I am frankly a bit surprised about how LR fans take all these modes in stride.

Personally, I think it shows Adobe's inability to get out of their existing mind set. Import here, organize and categorize here, edit here, and so on. With LR Adobe believes they've eliminated this by not having you launch these as separate apps. But if I'm just as restricted by the individual modules then the only thing I've really gained is not having to stare at an Adobe splash screen between each mode switch.

I have run the beta and the 1.0 trial of LR, and it's nice, but it's disruptive to the work flow that you have to go back to a specific module to do certain things. Bottom line is it's the same old flow albeit it in one application. In practice that's not as nice a solution as it may appear to be on paper.

I think LR was dusted off and pushed out to meet the Aperture "threat" without Adobe actually determining _why_ Aperture was deemed a threat in the first place (hint: it isn't just because it's a single app).

2007-02-26 21:22:38
Definitely not alone. There are a bunch of things I like in Lightroom, but it's the big thing, the modules, that keeps me away. The modules themselves are great, but I really dislike the switching around. I think Lightroom's more rigid workflow will really work for some people, but for me, Aperture's workflow is much more effective.

I commented on Michael Clark's blog that I don't think Lightroom and Aperture are as similar as people think. In terms of workflow (which is the whole point) they're very different.

2007-02-26 21:36:56
Not keen on the modules either and would have preferred floating palettes - even with buttons as fiddly and scattered as in Aperture. Where they may come in handy is in permitting rapid expansion with 3rd party modules - however, that's the sort of jam tomorrow argument I don't let Mac-brand loyalists use! For all the module hopping, the job's still done faster. Which pays the bills?
2007-02-27 02:58:49
Another user not in favor of modules. However, the one huge advantage to me with LR is it's use on small laptop screens. Using Aperture on my Macbook is just plain hard. All the floating palettes end up overlapping my image every time I bring them up and I'm constantly moving them and trying to resize the image to make them all fit. Granted these problems would go away if I had say a Mac Pro and a 30" display...

The instant thing I noticed about LR is that using TAB and SHIFT+TAB make different screen elements disappear and the image miraculously expands to fill the available space. It then shrinks again when I bring these elements back. Much easier then trying to use the trackpad to drag things around -- much less of a benefit when I have my mouse connected.

Keep the great comparison going! I've always enjoyed critical thinking from others!

2007-02-27 03:21:45
"Granted these problems would go away if I had say a Mac Pro"
...wanna bet? They are lessened though :)

"and a 30" display..."
...just disperses the fiddly buttons even more widely.

While I dislike the LR modules, the panels work well and you can shove them away quickly. I just wish they'd left them all in one module, Photoshop style.

Thomas Fitzgerald
2007-02-27 04:26:14
I have to agree with you about the modules. I think the tool based approach of Aperture is far more flexible. I think the inability to reset individual sections of the develop module is a major pain too.
2007-02-27 05:33:49
Thanks for the insightful comparisons between LR and Aperture so far.

What really amazes me when looking at test/reviews of these two applications is the total lack of recognition of Apertures' ability to fully utilize dual monitor setups in contrast to LR's single monitor GUI. It seems that the Apple designers never even remotely thought about anybody running Aperture on less than two displays, while Adobe at the same time never even remotely thought about anybody running LR on anything more than a 15" Laptop in the field.

At least for me this keeps me away from even thinking about LR as an alternative to Aperture, no matter how good some elements may be in comparison.

David Medina
2007-02-27 06:06:13
I had no problems with Aperture GUI. I think it is awesome and flexible. For me it is one of the best feature that I can move the HUD around ... as close or as far I want it or even turn it on and off as needed.

The fact that LR panels hide is more of a pain in the neck than a useful feature for me. If I hide every panel, including the fil strip, if I go to look for one of the tools at bottom of the panel it keeps popping up the film strip and at time it makes very difficult to select because of that. It makes me waste time.

According to Adobe people, they choose this type of layout for LR because they wanted to get away from PS style palletes. LR reminds me how Flash and Dreamweaver use to be long ago.

And the double display issue... Adobe have no excuse... they spent over two years in development... they had the benefits of working with Aperture and listening to their users experience... They knew everyone was screaming for it... They apparently listened on stacking and versioning, so why they left out the multiple display feature? They had the time and the user's feedback but choose to leave it out. This is a bad of a decision as when Apple left out reference libraries in Ap. 1.0. I know several people that they didn;t even try LR because of this issue.

But even where they listened, stacking and versioning only have half of the usefulness they have in Aperture and all becasue the way they choose to manage their library and becasue of their modular approach.

no sir, Aperture flexibility wins over LR apparent speed on making ones workflow efficient, flexible and less frustrating.

Frank Gregorek
2007-02-27 07:38:20
David: I'm wondering about LR's "apparent speed". There a lost of posts on the LR forum since the LR V 1.0 release about LR slowness once you get images into it.
2007-02-27 07:53:33
People buy big screens now - dual monitor support can wait. More potential customers demanded control of physical file locations and no repetition of the hideous Aperture 1.0 packages.

I agree about the Macromedia influence - and DW has always been a class leading program and a joy to work with. But DW and Flash were single modules - IOW modules bad, panels good. I do like Aperture's adjustment floating palette, but in practice LR panels are as easy to hide as the project and metadata panels and don't get in anyone's way. You learn a few shortcuts and you're flying.

After a year of working almost every day with Aperture, I'd happily put up with its two interfaces and dispersal of buttons and controls - if it got revenue-earning work out of the door anywhere near as quickly. I don't get paid for UI flexibilty.

2007-02-27 08:05:37

A few users who don't know it's building its previews.... We have both programs on identical MPs and I see for myself. One example - I need 300 images treated identically. With LR I'm in AutoSync and my adjustments are quietly written to the rest. With Aperture I lift, remove the iptc, then stamp. It waits a while, then gets on writing - OK, it's a mild exaggeration, but LR has almost finished by then. Another example, I fire off some web contacts, then get on with some printing, and export some tifs. All background processing in LR - my job's done faster.

Frank Gregorek
2007-02-27 10:35:11
Gio: I see more than a few users on the Lightroom forums raising the slowness complaint as their Library builds and it's not just about the preview building.
2007-02-27 11:02:01
Yes, just a few - I can see 2 threads. Check out Aperture's forum too after a year of tinkering and making users upgrade their hardware. We've never had critical problems with Aperture speed, but side by side comparison tells the story.

2007-02-27 12:36:43
You're not alone. I bought Aperture about four months ago and when Lightroom came out I read the reviews thinking I was going to have regretted my decision, but when I was reminded of that "fatal" flaw, I was glad I'd gone with Aperture. I just can't not be able to make a quick correction anywhere. I'm not saying Aperture is better, but I'll accept many other flaws to stay away from modularity.
Seb Payne
2007-02-27 14:10:44
Sorry this may be a bit off topic but I was looking for some advice. How does Aperture perform on a MacBook Core 2 Duo and are there any strong reasons not use for one ameteur work? Really enjoying these posts on Lightroom but I don't think I'll be using it :)
David Medina
2007-02-27 16:23:48
"A few users who don't know it's building its previews.... We have both programs on identical MPs and I see for myself. One example - I need 300 images treated identically. With LR I'm in AutoSync and my adjustments are quietly written to the rest. With Aperture I lift, remove the iptc, then stamp. It waits a while, then gets on writing - OK, it's a mild exaggeration, but LR has almost finished by then. Another example, I fire off some web contacts, then get on with some printing, and export some tifs. All background processing in LR - my job's done faster."

Gio, unless you are doing product shots on the same background and similar products I don't see too many people doing same exact adjustments on 300 shots.

If you see LR as a mass production tool, yes, it is faster processing images than Aperture. But, if you give TLC to each image, Auto Sync is an irrelevant tool.

So, I guess, it all depends on the user.

Also, I think you are mistaken about dual display. It seems that that is the number one gripe about LR everywhere. So, for a lot of people is a big issue. It is cheaper to buy two 20 or 22 inch monitor than is to buy Apple 30" monitor.

I actually have two 21" monitors and Aperture Full Screen mode is sweet. If I am in that mode and I want to pcik and choose, with two display I can still have the full image on one and be choosing between two images in full screen in the 2nd monitor. Same if I have the browser in oen and pick and choose on a second full screen.

You cannot do any of that with LR. So, I have better tools to pick and choose on Aperture and two BIG, FULL display to do it on.

Seb... That is one of the computer I run it and it is sweet. Go for the 2mg memory.

Daveed V.
2007-02-27 18:21:44
I'll second Gio's observation that Lightroom is noticably snappier than Aperture. (My libraries have about 15000 pictures in them.)

Lightroom tends to make more decisions than Aperture wrt. workflow. If those decision work for you (I cannot imagine them not working, but I've only looked over the shoulders of a few serious photographers), the modularity and other decisions aren't a problem and the decisions Lightroom makes contribute to productivity (through features like survey mode, the pick/reject workflow, automatic keyword cache, etc. or through the more effective use of screen real estate for certain tasks like printing or developing).

Aperture is generally more "free form", although it makes a few decisions too (e.g., encouraging the concept of projects or the strict difference between the full-screen and "normal" interface).

I agree that it's disappointing that Lightroom's only option for dual displays are what Aperture calls "span" and "desktop", neither of which are very exciting. Aperture's "alternate" option is better, but still disappointing for my uses. I like to use Aperture in full screen mode (same for Lightroom), and while the secondary viewer is set to "alternate" I mostly use it to hold the HUDs so they're out of my image. I do find the secondary viewer useful when the main viewer is in 3-up mode, but I don't use 3-up that much.

What I'd really like is for two displays to be able to handle one of Lightroom's modules each. I'd be happy even if one of those two had to be the library module. I find the filmstrip interface of both Aperture and Lightroom a disappointing compromise. In Lightroom I set it up to disappear. Frustratingly, I cannot even do that in Aperture (nor, surprisingly, can I move it to the secondary viewer, which would have been nice and intuitive since other controls can go there).

Frank Gregorek
2007-02-27 20:12:09
Daveed: LR does not have "Span mode" as that term applies to Aperture's use of dual displays. In Aperture "Span" mode, the selection of images contained in Aperture's view panel is distributed across both monitors, so that all images can be viewed at a larger size. In LR, the best you can do is leave the right hand panel on the right hand monitor. In Aperture, Span mode it is very useful to have three possibilities on one screen and the current pick in full screen on the second monitor. In LR, it is an attempt to claim a semblance of dual monitor support.
David Medina
2007-02-27 20:48:26
I fully agree with Frank.

Daveed... I can see the usefulness of having the library in one screen and the develop module in another. That would a most welcome attribute for LT, but that would break Adobe modular concept. By the way, Aperture does that already.

As Frank indicated, the secondary screen is very useful for pick and select while mantaining the browser of full screen mode in the other one.

Also, you can have the browser in one, invocate the HUD and use the full image in the other screen to do your adjustments.

I think that if we can re-name the Aperture-vs-Lightroom debate, it would be Versatilty-vs-Modular. What we have is two different approaches to the same problem based on different working philosophies and vision. Each one made decisions based on what they though their users may want. And that is very good.

We will always have the dilema of LR users wanting some of the Aperture features and Aperture users wanting some of the LR features.

I think there is no doubt we are in the begining of something radical in the way we work. And I suspect that we will see each software stealing features away from PS and becoming more robust and flexible.

I suspect some kind of masking feature...

Frank Gregorek
2007-02-27 22:55:12
David: My understanding from listening to one of the LR podcasts is that the "some kind of masking feature" you mention is already incorporated into the "Fill" feature of LR's Develop module. I would hope that Aperture follows.
2007-02-28 00:47:49
David, I'm referring to processing the same shoot as a test with my Aperture-loving partner, in practice we agreed on what gets the job done fastest. My points about volume are because it's important to compare these tools starting with the assumption of working on a number of shots and steering clear of "I'm a fine art photographers, what's the better one for me" comparisons here. Obviously you drop out of Auto Sync as and when you need, but the right questions are how easily/well can I process x b&w's, y high noise shots. That might be 10 or 20, or hundreds a day.

My attitude to LR having twin screen is that I'd have liked it too. I don't like jam tomorrow vapourware, but dual's so certain it feels in the bag. Adobe rightly met demand for control over their file locations first - not doing so would have killed sales, single screen doesn't.

Selective control is inevitable. LightZone and Capture NX both have it already. To a very limited extent, so does LR - I love burning in corners by misusing its vignetting slider.

2007-02-28 01:31:20
Since modularity is dominating the conversation I have to ask, is pressing D and E to pop between Develop and Library that much different than toggling F for full screen mode. It's nice that I can fine tune an image at any point in Aperture but I don't see the modularity of Lightroom as much of a show stopper as its library functionality. After spending a much shorter amount of time with Lightroom I found I could move around very quickly and really liked the screen efficiencies.

I'm sticking with Aperture for its organizational strengths and hope Apple can keep pace with Adobe's develop module. I'm really not happy with the Apertures monochrome mixer after playing with Lightrooms greyscale mixer.

2007-02-28 03:13:50
I'm still confused as to why modularity is a problem. To me, Aperture seems to be great for someone with a short attention span. Let me explain...

In LR, I use the Library to determine which images from the last batch of photos I wish to keep. I keyword them, tag them and rate them. I then switch to the LR Develop mode and begin tweaking my images. I start with the highest rated and work my way down. Therefore, if some of the higher rated images capture the scene better, I don't have to mess with the lesser images which may require more correction. Seems fine to me.

Now Aperture seems strange doing the same thing. I find myself sorting my images, adding keywords and then thinking hmm... what happens if I make this adjustment, or that adjustment. Meanwhile, I've stopped sorting images and started playing with them. LR eliminates this temptation and forces me to make critical decisions where they need to be made.

In my mind, the real difference between the two is that I prefer the LR develop tools over Apertures. I prefer the organization of Aperture. I'd stick with Aperture if it didn't mess with my file structure on disk and stash all my files in a library and out of sight.

In the end, both tools get the same job done. Which one fits a persons workflow is really the question.

Mark Levison
2007-02-28 08:37:51
Micah - I'm really enjoying the series and I've learned alot from the comments. Especially the discussion around Lightroom's Modules vs. Aperture's HUD. However I was hoping to see more coverage around the differences in their development tools. Hopefully you will have more soon.

Thanks again.

2007-02-28 10:50:45

You mention that: "filmstrip interface of both Aperture and Lightroom a disappointing compromise. In Lightroom I set it up to disappear. Frustratingly, I cannot even do that in Aperture".

Actually, I think if you are using Aperture full screen mode you can set the "filmstrip" to disappear and only re-appear when the cursor is passed over it.

Micah: thanks for all your work on this series. Like Mark, I would also be interested in your views on the development tools.

Daveed V.
2007-02-28 12:01:32
Anonymous: Do you happen to know how to achieve that auto-hiding of the filmstrip?

Frank G.: Yes, you're right, Aperture's span mode is (a little) more effective than Lightroom's survey mode spread over two screens.

David M.: You're right that I can get a screenful of tumbnails on one screen and a large view on another screen in Aperture, but I only know how to do that in normal mode; not full-screen mode. Unfortunately, my dual-screen setup is really a MacBook Pro hooked up to a Cinema Display. The Cinema display is the main viewer (the one with the menu bar): What I'd like is the flexibility to have the main and secondary viewer interchangable (i.e., I want the big screen dedicated to the image I'm working on).

Regarding having the Library module on one screen and the develop module on another: I'm fine with it breaking LR's module concept ;-) I don't care about concepts that hinder my work. Seeing the evolution of the LR betas, I'm guessing the LR developers aren't religious about it either. (And similarly, I think Apple is going to respond to whatever the market demands, as e.g. their move to allow by-reference management in 1.5 shows.)

David Medina
2007-02-28 12:10:18
"David: My understanding from listening to one of the LR podcasts is that the "some kind of masking feature" you mention is already incorporated into the "Fill" feature of LR's Develop module. I would hope that Aperture follows."

Yes, it does. but it is under the hood and not something you actually use to select or control. What I expect is some kind of selection tool that allows you to create mask to do local corrections. Who knows, may be the "under the hood" approach is better.

According to the Adobe people the problem they (or Aperture) have is how to do it while keeping the non-destructive workflow. One of the biggest selling point is that the "correction" in both of this programs are kept in small sidecar files and do not make the file bigger. Adding features and keeping them non destructive increases the size of this files. And they want to be careful there.

"I'd stick with Aperture if it didn't mess with my file structure on disk and stash all my files in a library and out of sight."

Mark, I think you may be mistaken. It is not that Aperture messes with your file structure but that it requires a different approach to file structure. LR keeps the "traditional" way of thinking about file structures... ie "Folders". Yet, Aperture does allows you to keep your file structure. Just do reference structure instead of importing the files into Aperture Library.

But look at the benefits of Aperture approach. It allows you to have a more efficient backup system.

2007-02-28 12:54:58

That's why I mention LightZone (especially) and Capture NX. Both already have non-destructive selective adjustments stored as metadata - LightZone holding vector coordinates in sidecars. I really recommend you look at it, just out of interest.

Neither Aperture nor Lightroom will have a big problem when they want to have selective editing. Dust spotting and (in LR) vignetting is already handled in metadata.


Frank Gregorek
2007-02-28 19:33:38
Daveed: In Aperture, to automatically hide the filmstrip, choose "auto" from from the Viewer Mode pop up window or press Contol-period. (Manual p.168) Hope that helps.

Thought I had signed my earlier post but apparently left the name field blank,

David Medina
2007-02-28 20:02:18
Maybe you can help me here. LR says tha it does automatic backups (as setup in the preferences). What does it back up? I just did a test and does not seems that it backs up any images. What does LR back up do?


David Medina
2007-02-28 20:26:50
One way to deal with the modular ways of LR is to learn the shortcut keys. I think that if you do that, working within the modules can be as easy as in Aperture.

2007-03-01 03:25:50

Thanks for the info about the file structure in Aperture. I'm really not interested in the vaults as my library is on a Linux RAID server. Two exact copies of every file on two different disks. I'm not a pro photographer, but I'm a computer engineer who can't loose any work. My laptop automatically backs up not only to a Firewire external drive, but also to my file server. Having files hidden in a library isn't beneficial at all to me.

The option you mention really does make Aperture more flexible in my current workflow. I'll have to play a little more!

David Medina
2007-03-01 06:22:05

I think you may mistaken about the "hidden" thing...

Aperture files are NOT "hidden". There are inside a folder that in Apple is call "package". You can easily see the content by selecting "show package". This is this way only if you choose Aperture to do a "manage library".

The main advantage of the "manage library" is that everything is kept in one place and when you use "vault" you do a backup to evertything. You cannot do that in LR were you have to do more work to backup everything. The vault does a progressive update. And if you want extra copy of everuthing just copy the "vault:" into other HD or DVD's.

This is one area where Aperture is definetively superior that what LR has to offer. Yes, you can backup in LR, but must do it in a sort of work-around-way. Now, one good thing LR have is that it allows you to do a double copy of the importing file as a way of backing up your images. Aperture does not need to do that because it has a more complete way of backing up data.

BUT if you choose to do a "Reference library" in Aperture you can have any folder structure you want anywhere.

By the way, in LR, although you can place the photos anywhere it does keep a "manage library" where it stores all the corrections and it is in a "package" as it is in Aperture.

So both products do manage their library to some point and both store that information on a "package".

2007-03-01 07:27:36
I see your point about the packages and understand how they work. It's not that I don't like that, but since I also have a few scripts running in the background under Linux that will move data around via remote web control, I would rather things be organized in a way I specify. Therefore, if I'm in another state and request that my web server retrieve images from January 10, 2006, the script can easily parse that string and know to look in /data/images/public/photos/2006/JAN/10 to grab the images.

I realize that this may be way outside the norm, but LR creates this directory structure automatically. Let me tell you, Packages are great when viewed on a Mac. They are a royal pain when using other operating systems like Linux.

I'm coming at this from a different perspective. I live my life in Linux and up until recently, used Windows/Linux dual boot on my travel machine (a laptop). I recently purchased a Macbook for travel so now my life is in Linux and my access to that is via the Macbook (either via OS X or the underlying BSD command line). I love the Package organization for program installation and deletion, but would prefer my management software (Aperture, iTunes, LR, whatever) to leave my files put! Obviously, for one who is predominately a Mac user, Apertures system is great and the LR system is quite functional. It's all about options!

2007-03-01 07:38:10
You can set Aperture to import your images as referenced files. Aperture then lets you specify where you want to store the images and does a nice job of creating a folder structure.

I use Year/Mnth/Day as the folder structure.


2007-03-01 12:35:08

Just to confirm you are right about LR backup feature only saving the database file. It's a pretty pointless feature - unless you don't do any backups. But you know, I don't trust a graphics company to meet out backup needs....


2007-03-01 13:19:45
Micah, when are you going to post your next blog entry?
Daveed V.
2007-03-01 13:55:22
Thanks Frank! I'd skimmed several times over those sections and somehow missed it every time. Much better...
David Medina
2007-03-01 20:19:22
Thanks, Gio.

Mark, I see what you are saying, but I believe you can have Aperture leave the files "put" as you say. But, I can understand where are you coming from, and as the old saying goes, if it isn't broke, don;t fix it. If LR does exactly what you need, go for it. I assure, it will do a great job in what matter... Adjusting and correcting images.

2007-03-04 14:38:04
Hey Mich..

great blogs...compliments.

Sorry for me asking but do you know a way how to do the same Color monochrome colors of Aperture in Lightroom??

I had to pass to PC so I switched to Lightroom and I really need to figure out how to replicate the Color monochrome sets I has in aperture.