In Other Pro App News...

by Charlie Miller

There was some exciting Pro App news from Apple this week: after almost 3 years, Logic Pro has been updated to version 8. Among the feature updates in this version is what Apple calls a “Next Generation Interface”. This is a welcome update, as ever since Logic was acquired by Apple back in 2002, its interface was never updated to match the slick polish of the rest of Apple’s Pro Apps. The biggest change in the new interface is that its formerly jumbled series of floating windows have now been combined into a single window separated into panels. Each panel allows you to interact with your media in a different way, whether it’s browsing, editing, or composing. Sounds familiar, right? Check out these screenshots:

Logic Pro 8

Aperture 1.5

Logic’s new interface looks like it was crafted by the same UI artists that created Aperture’s look and feel. The two applications feel like brothers: from the very concept of a paneled, single-window workspace, to the visual execution of that concept with rounded edged panels, flat grey colors, and a subtle 3D feel to the tabs and buttons. They even share some of the same toolbar icons. This is in contrast to Final Cut Studio’s applications, which have a different look to them, but still feel like they belong together in their own family.

I think it’s worth thinking about how Aperture’s UI affects the experience of working with your photos. For me, an admitted design aesthete, one of the reasons I like Apple hardware and software is the pleasure I get from both looking at and interacting with my Macs. And I appreciate the thoughtful craftsmanship put into Aperture’s UI just as much I enjoy the industrial design touches of my MacBook Pro. From a usability standpoint, Aperture does what I need and it “gets the job done”. But there’s more to it than that: the actual experience of working in Aperture is also a big part of why I enjoy the application so much.

We now know that Aperture’s interface has influenced other applications coming from Apple. It will be exciting to see how Aperture matures and whether future Pro App revisions will borrow from Aperture’s look and feel.

Time to go experiment in Logic…


random bob, a.r.c.
2007-09-14 19:00:02
I'm really really waiting to see what AP2.0 brings to the table. Reason being, is I am finding more & more that I work in a "Modal" fashion to begin with (think Lightroom). In Aperture, I have to click like two or three different things to create the workspace I want when browsing, then get to my "edit" workspace is two or three clicks again, then vice versa....

I mean, it's nice that Aperture lets you edit from anywhere, yeah, but... How often do you want to edit from a thumbnail image anyway? I'm hoping AP2.0 keeps me throwing money apple's direction, because as you say, the UI is top-notch, and it's really such a powerful organizational tool on top of all the editing it's capable of, and I'd hate to give that up.

Any semi-inside word on when we might see version 2.0?

2007-09-16 02:39:46
As someone who favours Lightroom (cross platform, productivity, xmp metadata) and a mainly Windows user who likes programs designed first for the Mac, I still love some aspects of Aperture's design. The Loupe tool is wonderful, and I generally prefer the flexibility of its panel layout to Lightroom's more wooden layout.

However, Apple really need to make the whole thing a lot less fiddly. Unless you switch to Full Screen mode (hey, Aperture's modal too!) Aperture really looks like an SQL database management console with at least 4 different styles of button scattered all around the screen, some at the top, others dangling off palettes. And you really shouldn't have the feeling of entering a Full Screen mode, with its completely different palettes. From a usability standpoint, small buttons and the two modes are something I really hope they'll clean up.

random bob, a.r.c.
2007-09-17 11:00:07
I'm beginning to prefer LR, too. The adjustments make more sense and are easier to manage. I find I can bring out detail in lost highlights & shadows without farcing up the color gradients like AP seems to do, which always forced me to leave a photo either a little darker than I'd like or lighter than I'd like to cover that up; basically, forcing me to keep it closer to how I shot it (over or under exposed).

I think LR is allowing me for room for error (or creative license) in-camera.

Still NOWHERE near as powerful a data management tool as AP, though. AP's library management is the standard against which all other apps should be measured as far as I'm concerned.

I'm really hoping that AP2.0 comes soon and takes lessons from LR.