Taking Shortcuts; A Good Thing?

by Steve Simon

The timing was perfect. I was in the middle of post processing a commercial job with Aperture, when the courier shows up with a brand new, USB connecting white Aperture Keyboard from LogicKeyboard ($99USD), which they sent me to test out.

Great, I can get to work right away to see how life changes with this new device, and I can tap out my blog-post on its pristine, soon to be dirty keys.

Aperture is pretty self-contained, and there are not a lot of accessories that will change your life with the software short of new faster machines, giant monitors and expensive graphics cards. It's a good idea to invest in books and courses, but what about a keyboard designed to make life easier with Aperture?

Well, it's just a keyboard, an actual Apple keyboard exactly like the one I had plugged into my monitor before, so there's nothing unfamiliar about it. It just has some of the keyboard shortcuts for Aperture, clearly marked on 39 of the 109 keys.

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Will the Aperture Keyboard have you blazing through Aperture like this Taxi flying through the streets of Buenos Aries? Couldn't hurt, and it gets better gas mileage. ┬ęSteve Simon

I'm loving Aperture, but I am sometimes frustrated with the speed at which it works on my "not-the-latest-greatest" machine. But I know how to remedy this problem and I will, in time. With any new software program there is a learning curve, and my process involves a combination of popular keyboard shortcuts, a customized tool palette, and the usual trial and error along with my electronic manual and the Long/Luna Aperture 1.5 book.

So, the bottom line after playing with my new tool for a half-hour? Yes, I like it. For those of us not on the Aperture engineering team who probably see the world in keyboard shortcuts, I think we can benefit by having it, at least until we memorize them all.

I speak some French and the experience with this keyboard reminds me of the difference between thinking in a language or translating words from one to another. I know the 3-key gives me three stars, but when I see it, somehow that works better. I guess it's a visual thing. The same holds true with one of only two color keys on the board ("E key" for Red Eye Tool is the other); the dreaded big red X, living on the "9 key". Reject!! It shouts out typographically.

Aside from the ratings keys my top five Aperture shortcut keys in no real order are:

1. The "`" or loupe key.
2. "F"- for Full Screen.
3. "V"- which shows and hides the viewer.
4. "H" - for Adjustments HUD
5. "Z" - which zooms to 100 per cent.

I will no doubt be using a few more since they are now right in my face.

You will spot me decreasing and increasing the ratings using the "dash" and "plus" keys.
If you watch me closely you will notice I press down on the "O" key to activate the Lift.
I have been playing with the Straighten Tool (G Key) and Selection Tool (A Key) and though I don't generally crop my personal work, I do often hit the C Key when making my shots for clients just right.

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The Aperture White Keyboard is kind of classy looking.

This Aperture Keyboard does seem to have a positive affect on my workflow and I'm looking forward to taking more shortcuts in the immediate future. There are still some lonely keys yet to be honored with an Aperture Shortcut. I just hope these fast keys don't change too much in future versions of Aperture, but I'll be ready.

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The keyboard-inspired "Shortcut Key Of The Week" is "H", to activate the Adjustments Hud.

3 Comments

Dmitry
2007-03-15 07:28:18
Something interesting to compare: http://community.livejournal.com/optimus_project/23885.html
D.Forzano
2007-03-20 17:25:49
the photo shows an ISO (European) keyboard. There are some subtle differances on key position, shape and mapping (the return key is a dead-give-away). Did you get a U.S. keyboard, or is one availble? I looked at hte web site and it shows only ISO keyboards in the photos.
Steve Simon
2007-03-21 21:06:21
The one I have is an American one, which is what they are selling in North America. SS