Aperture Stories November 5, 2015

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Several months ago, I wrote a three-part guide to making amazing wall art from your Mac’s photos (part 1part 2part 3) — a popular series that readers told me they’d really enjoyed. The premise: as photography has gone digital, most of the pictures we take have become trapped on our computers, rarely seeing the light of day. Turning your favorite photos into large-format wall art is a great way to decorate your home or office, and with the recent introduction of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus, higher-resolution photos and ultra-high-res panoramas are possible, increasing the image quality of even your everyday snaps.

Even though Apple’s OS X Photos app focuses on making small prints, photo books, and calendars, there are some great third-party photo-to-wall art services out there. Previously, I looked at how to turn your photos into large-sized metal, acrylic, and canvas wall art. This brand new part 4 explores three additional services, looking for the first time at photo prints on wood, as well as spotlighting several nice variations on prior themes…

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Aperture Stories July 20, 2015

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History will remember the early 21st Century as a turning point for photography — the point at which mainstream photos transitioned from chemical to digital, thereby becoming “print optional” for the first time. Although digital photography has taken small annual steps for 20 years, those steps have collectively evolved early, uselessly low-resolution digital cameras into superior alternatives to their film-based predecessors. Even the tiny cameras built into iPhones take much better-quality photos than Kodaks and Polaroids, and more of them, too: the days of 12-, 24-, or 36-exposure film cartridges and fading exposures are long gone, replaced by all but infinite burst-mode photos that can live on your computer forever.

But some photos deserve a more prominent display in your home than a vault in your computer’s photo library. Apple has known this since the dawn of digital photography. Since iPhoto launched in 2002, Apple has offered photo and book printing services, a feature later added to Aperture and OS X Photos. Yet even though CanonSony, and Nikon have introduced high- and ultra-high-resolution cameras capable of creating huge prints, Apple hasn’t updated its apps with new large-format print options. That’s where this How-To series comes in.

It’s possible to use Photos to create large paper prints, but there’s a lot of exciting large-format photo printing work being done now with other materials, including metal, glass, and canvas. Part 1 of this How-To guide looked at large-format metal prints, and Part 2 looked at canvas and glass prints, with tips on composing large-format images. This third and final part looks at several additional options: turning your photos into hand-painted art, printing on brushed silver aluminum, and large-format “behind acrylic glass” photo printing. Each is different from the prior prints we covered, and one is the most beautiful large photo-to-wall art process I’ve yet seen…

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Aperture Stories July 4, 2015

I manually cropped the image on Mpix's web site for the 30" x 20" print
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Apple knew it had something special to share with the world when it released iPhoto in 2002: in addition to printing 20″ by 30″ poster-sized photos, the original iPhoto’s “most stunning feature” (according to Apple) was a page layout tool that quickly turned digital photo collections into printed hardcover books. These were Apple’s acknowledgements that tangible photos still had value in a digital era, and it subsequently added calendars, greeting cards, softcover books, and letterpress cards to iPhoto. Apple’s newer app Photos for Mac hides these options under the File menu at the top of the screen, and hasn’t expanded on them, a shame considering how nice the results look.

But apart from including the poster options in 2002, Apple never added “large-format art” to the list of things its photo apps could produce. Back in 2002, digital cameras were so low-resolution that they struggled to produce pixel-free 4″ by 6″ photos, so it’s no surprise that Apple wasn’t trying to build a market for large prints. Thankfully, a lot has changed since then. Canon currently sells two 50-Megapixel cameras, Sony has one 42-Megapixel camera, and Nikon offers four 36-Megapixel cameras. iPhones and iPads can create up to 43-Megapixel ultra-wide panoramas. A large, properly-composed print from any of these cameras (or even the more common 20- to 25-Megapixel cameras people are using today) will look amazing hanging on the wall of your home or office… if you know how to do it.

I wanted to see what the best options were for large-format photography, so I reached out to a collection of excellent art print services to see how digital photos would look on metal, glass, and canvas — materials Photos doesn’t offer. In Part 1 of this How-To guide, I’m looking at large-format metal prints that apply dyes and gloss directly onto aluminum surfaces, with results as saturated as Apple’s famous “nanochromatic” iPod nanos. A new Part 2 looks at large-format canvas and glass prints. Read on for all the details…

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Aperture Stories May 9, 2015

lightroom6-1Until this year, Mac owners had three major options for organizing large digital photo collections: Apple’s mainstream iPhoto, Apple’s “pro” app Aperture, and Adobe’s similarly professional-grade Lightroom. When Apple discontinued iPhoto and Aperture in favor of an even more basic app called Photos, many people —amateur photographers and professionals alike — had to decide whether to downgrade to Photos or switch to Lightroom. Apple understood that it was ceding at least the professional market to Lightroom, and even helped Adobe to develop Aperture and iPhoto to Lightroom importers. With the writing on the wall, some people switched to Lightroom 5 well before Photos officially debuted last month.

I didn’t; since Lightroom 5 was almost three years old, I wanted to see what Adobe would deliver in its much-anticipated sequel. On April 21, Adobe released Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC (2015) as standalone and cloud-linked versions of the same app. Both promise major speed improvements over Lightroom 5, new tools and brushes, a new facial recognition feature, automatic HDR and panoramic photo creation, and new slideshow options. As part of Adobe’s “Creative Cloud,” Lightroom CC comes bundled with Adobe’s latest version of Photoshop, plus cloud photo synchronization services, for $9.99 per month. Alternately, Lightroom 6 can be purchased by itself for $149 as a standalone download, minus Photoshop and cloud functionality.

Below, I’m going to focus on the key questions Aperture users have been asking: what it’s like to transition from Aperture to Lightroom — including new details added after initial publication of this article — plus which version of Lightroom to buy, and whether transitioning is a good (and safe) idea. The answers may surprise you…

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Aperture Stories May 7, 2015

I’ve focused a lot over the last few months on helping readers to speed up and optimize Apple’s Macs — everything from adding RAM to recovering hard drive space and upgrading old hard drives to faster SSDs. Today’s How-To is focused on something very specific but with a lot of optimization potential: trimming down your Mac’s photo library.

Particularly after installing OS X 10.10.3 with Apple’s new Photos app, you might be surprised to learn that you’ve lost a lot of hard drive space, and that there are suddenly tons of duplicate photos on your Mac. After installing OS X 10.10.3, the new Photos app converted my 90GB Aperture library into a 126GB Photos library, and left both on my hard drive. That’s an incredible amount of wasted space attributable to duplicates, so it’s no surprise that a $1 utility called Duplicate Photos Fixer Pro has recently become the #1 paid Mac App Store app, while a superior alternative called PhotoSweeper ($10) is in the top 50. I’ve used both apps, as well as many others, and can help you choose the one that’s best for your needs…

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Aperture Stories April 21, 2015

Following months of rumors, Adobe is today announcing Photoshop Lightroom 6 and Lightroom CC, the latest versions of its popular photo editing and organization software. Sharing the same code, design, and much of the same functionality, the two Lightroom releases are separated into purchasable (Lightroom 6) or subscription (Lightroom CC) versions, only the latter of which can sync with Adobe’s mobile applications. Apple notably recommended Lightroom as a replacement for its recently-discontinued Aperture professional photo application, and worked with Adobe to build an Aperture library importing tool to aid users during the transition.

Lightroom manages large photo libraries, while offering photographers powerful tools for RAW and JPEG image adjustment. Now solely a 64-bit application, Lightroom 6/CC promises huge speed improvements when applying prior effects to images, as well as newly added tools and brushes. As shown in the embedded video, facial recognition has been added, enabling functionality similar to Apple’s Faces feature from Aperture and iPhoto. A new HDR (high dynamic range) tool uses two images to create a composite photo with more vivid colors and detail, while brushes such as radial and graduated filters have been added. The app has also gained new slideshow options, automatic panorama stitching, video slide shows, and many other features.

Photoshop Lightroom CC can be downloaded now as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud Photography subscription service for $9.99 per month; a prepaid year of CC Photography access is normally $119.88, and currently on sale at B&H Photo Video for $99.88. Photoshop Lightroom 6 can be ordered for $149 as a standalone download. Adobe has also released version 1.4 updates to its mobile apps Lightroom for iPad and Lightroom for iPhone with support for Lightroom CC, improved cropping, and TIFF file support. Both iOS apps are now available for free from the App Store, but require Creative Cloud subscriptions.

Aperture Stories April 10, 2015

Photos MacApple’s latest app Photos is now available for free as part of OS X 10.10.3 for Mac. The new app is the future of photo management from Apple with support for iCloud Photo Library, burst photos, slow-mo and time lapse videos, and more. Here’s how to migrate your photo library to the new Photos app from iPhoto or Aperture, both of which will no longer receive support for software updates going forward:

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Aperture Stories April 8, 2015

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An Associated Press review of the new Photos app for the Mac suggests that OS X 10.10.3 will be available for general download later today. The first pre-release seed of the latest version of Yosemite was made available to developers and testers back in February, with the first public beta following at the beginning of March.

Apple’s new Photos app for Mac computers, available Wednesday as a free software update, makes it easy to organize and edit your pictures.

AP’s Anick Jesdanun was impressed with Photos, Apple’s replacement for iPhoto and Aperture, saying that the auto-fix features were particularly impressive …  expand full story

Aperture Stories March 5, 2015

Apple promoting new Photos app to Aperture customers in email blast

Apple has began promoting the new Photos app to Aperture users in an email blast to past customers. Photos replaces iPhoto with new iCloud features built in, but the app does not carry over the same advanced editing features as Aperture.

Photos was first announced at WWDC last June with a release date targeted for sometime this year. The developer betas of OS X 10.10.3 included the new app for testers, and earlier this week the first public beta for non-developers was released.

Aperture, which is still being sold for $79.99, is no longer being updated and will be removed from the Mac App Store when the new Photos app is released with OS X 10.10.3 this spring. Adobe has developed an Aperture-to-Lightroom migration tool for professional photographers looking for software alternatives.

The email can be read in full below:

Aperture Stories March 2, 2015

Apple today released the first Public Beta of the upcoming OS X Yosemite 10.10.3. The new release includes the iCloud-based Photos application for the Mac, new Emojis across the system, and simpler login to Google accounts for profiles with two-factor authentication enabled. This beta is labeled as build 14D87, which is the same as the second 10.10.3 beta for developers, which was released a week ago. The Public Beta is available in the Mac App Store Software Update tab for registered beta users. Apple plans to release the first Public Beta of iOS 8.3 in mid-March, according to sources. Thanks, DJ!

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Aperture Stories February 6, 2015

Photos for Mac

Apple yesterday released a preview of its upcoming all-new Photos app for Mac, which replaces iPhoto and Aperture with a simpler all-in-one photo editor and library manager. Most of the discussion of Photos focused on the huge number of changes from iPhoto and Aperture, burying one very important detail: Apple is changing the way it handles cloud-based photo storage.

Before Photos, Apple offered free storage of photos with limitations in a feature called Photo Stream, which didn’t count against iCloud storage. But the new Photos app uses Apple’s beta iCloud Photo Library feature, which was recently added in iOS 8.1. iCloud Photo Library promises to let you synchronize your entire photo collection including edits and albums across all of your devices… but you have to share your iCloud storage with photos, and album syncing and edits don’t apply to the free 1,000 – 25,000 image storage of Photo Stream.

As most long-time iOS users know, the free 5GB of iCloud storage Apple offers is often not enough to store much more than a single device backup, and for many that will mean no spare room for a photo collection. Consequently, Apple is suggesting that users should buy additional iCloud storage, paying monthly fees to store and sync their photos. As the Photos app is rolling out, Apple is allowing users to stick with the old Photo Stream feature and continue using the new Photos app without turning on the iCloud Photo Library. But it remains to be seen if that will be an option long-term once Photos is released publicly and how users will respond when they find out their free 5GB iCloud storage isn’t cutting it for their photo collection…

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Aperture Stories November 19, 2014

Adobe streamlines transition from Aperture to Lightroom with built-in migration tool

Aperture users worried about transitioning to Lightroom following Apple’s decision to cease support for its full-featured photo editing software will now find life a little easier. The latest version of Lightroom includes a built-in migration tool to import both photos and associated metadata from both Aperture and iPhoto.

Star ratings, keywords, color labels, face tags, GPS data, stacks, hidden files and rejects are all transferred into Lightroom to make the transition as painless as possible.

Apple announced back in June that it was ceasing development on Aperture in favor of a more basic Photos app launching next year – leaving pros and enthusiasts out in the cold. Adobe responded initially with a transition guide followed by a plugin migration tool. With Lightroom 5.7 (a free update for existing users), the migration tool is built-in.

Adobe also release DNG Converter 8.7, with support for 24 new cameras.

Aperture Stories October 16, 2014

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When Apple announced earlier this year that it would be discontinuing iPhoto and Aperture in favor of the upcoming Photos app for OS X, Adobe announced that it would be releasing a tool that would allow users to transfer their libraries into Lightroom.

That plugin has been released today on Adobe’s website and allows users to import photos, flags, ratings, keywords, and much more from the two outgoing apps into Adobe’s own offering. If you’d like to transfer your data to Lightroom, you can grab the importer for free from Adobe.

The full description of the plugin is below: expand full story

Aperture Stories August 4, 2014

Adobe developing Aperture to Lightroom migration tool, releases step-by-step transition guide

Approximately a month after Apple announced it is discontinuing Aperture and iPhoto in favor of the new Photos app on OS X Yosemite and iOS 8, Adobe is today taking advantage of the Apple shift with a couple of key announcements. First, Adobe has published a new website detailing the advantages of Lightroom over Aperture. More importantly, Adobe has released a comprehensive, step-by-step transition guide for moving from Aperture to Lightroom. The guide also includes some answers to frequently asked questions.

It can be accessed here. Adobe has also announced that it working on software to bring a more automated transition experience:

At Adobe, we’re working on a migration tool to help you bring your photos into Adobe® Photoshop® Lightroom® from Aperture, but if you’re eager to switch before the tool is ready, this guide can help ease your transition. We recognize that this migration may be a challenging process and offer the following resources and methodology to help get you up to speed with Lightroom and provide a road map for successfully migrating your photos.

The first challenge is that the terminology, layout, and controls of the two applications are different. It’s a good idea to start processing photos in Lightroom and become familiar with it before you migrate your photos from Aperture. You can do so by taking some new photos, importing them into Lightroom, and then using Lightroom.

The new Photos app for OS X launches in early 2015, but despite Apple’s claims of significant functionality, a look at what Apple has shown about the app reveals that the functionality mostly mirrors what iOS 8 will gain in September. Adobe has also previously detailed some future Lightroom plans in order to appease professional photo editors.

Aperture Stories July 14, 2014

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Apple is seeking employees from its own retail stores who have shown an enthusiasm for photography to test the upcoming OS X Photos application and iCloud Photos feature. Apple, last week, reached out to retail employees offering such a “career experience,” and here is the message to retail staff as provided by multiple retail employees:

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Aperture Stories June 27, 2014

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Apple has told 9to5Mac that that the company will be ceasing development of Aperture and iPhoto, offering Photos for OS X as a replacement, which was first shown at WWDC.

With the introduction of the new Photos app and iCloud Photo Library, enabling you to safely store all of your photos in iCloud and access them from anywhere, there will be no new development of Aperture. When Photos for OS X ships next year, users will be able to migrate their existing Aperture libraries to Photos for OS X.

Apple says libraries will be able to migrate across to the new application when the application ships. Apple is working with Adobe to offer a upgrade path to Lightroom. As noted by TechCrunch, Apple will offer a Yosemite compatibility update for Aperture, but otherwise development has ended.

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Aperture Stories April 3, 2014

Lensbaby planning to bring its DSLR selective focus lens to the iPhone

Lensbaby is planning to make an iPhone version of its popular selective focus lens range. The company’s existing lenses for DSLRs allow a small focal point to be positioned in a scene, creating some whacky burred effects in the rest of the image. I’ve used one on my DSLR, and it’s fun to play around with.

A magnetic attachment system means that you’ll be able to combine the Lensbaby with any existing magnetic iPhone lenses you already own.

It’s currently just a Kickstarter project, but with half of the modest $20,000 goal already reached just one day in, it seems pretty certain to make it into production. As of the time of writing, you can reserve one for $50, a $20 saving on the planned retail price.

Sample images below.

 

Aperture Stories November 14, 2013

Aperture 3.5.1 released with bug fixes for face-detection overlays, stability improvements, and more

Apple has published an update for Aperture that fixes a few issues with the app. Version 3.5.1 includes fixes for issues with Temperature & Tint White Balance, face-detection overlays, and the metadata field when switching between photos with the arrow keys. The update also fixes stability issues.

Aperture 3.5.1 is available now on the Mac App Store.

What’s New in Version 3.5.1

• Temperature & Tint White Balance now works correctly • Fixes an issue related to face detection overlays • Addresses an issue with metadata field entry when arrowing between photos • Includes stability improvements

Aperture Stories October 22, 2013

Aperture updated to version 3.5 with support for iCloud photo sharing, SmugMug integration, and more

Along with a slew of other updates today, Apple has just released version 3.5 of Aperture, with notable support for iCloud photo sharing, multiple contributors to Photo Streams, and the ability to post videos to shared streams. The “Places” feature inside of Aperture has also switched to use Apple Maps, instead of relying on Google’s mapping data like it did previously. SmugMug integration has also been added, allowing those who use the service to publish and sync galleries of their photos. A full change log for Aperture is listed below. You can grab the app for $79.99 in the App Store.

Aperture Stories October 2, 2013

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With Apple’s rumored next-generation iPads expected to be launching as early as this month, often reliable KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is sharing some new details on the expected iPad 5 and second generation iPad mini. Kuo is still expecting both products to launch later this year sometime in 4Q13, but in his latest report claims that Apple is prepping a camera upgrade for the new iPads that would include a bump up from the current 5 megapixel iSight camera to 8 megapixels along with other improvements:

Apple could upgrade the camera as a selling point for the new iPad in a bid to increase competitiveness.

We expect the upgrade will include 8MP rear camera, up from 5MP, and larger aperture. Lens module ASP will rise 10-20% on this optics spec upgrade.

As a reminder, the new iPhone 5s includes a new five-element lens designed by Apple that also includes a larger a F2.2 aperture with an 8 megapixel sensor. The device also brings a sensor with a 15 percent larger active area, auto stabilization, and bigger 1.5 micron pixels.

That would indeed be a nice camera to put on iPads. expand full story

Aperture Stories May 31, 2013

Aperture and iPhoto add Raw file support for 13 more cameras

Apple has added support for Raw files from 13 more cameras in Camera Raw 4.06. The update  is compatible with Aperture 3 and iPhoto 11, and is available by selecting Software Update from your Apple menu.

Aperture Stories April 16, 2013

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Today, Apple has released software updates for the Mac version of iPhoto and for Aperture. The updates both focus on bug fixes and improvements.

Notably, both apps were given improvements and fixes for Photo Stream integration. iPhoto now has easier image deleting and exporting from Photo Stream, while Aperture has a bug fix related to Shared Photo Streams.

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Safari and Java were also updated with improved security (release notes below). Notably, the new update introduces controls to specify which websites can use Java – something that should help prevent malicious websites from exploiting the never-ending stream of Java exploits.

Full release notes below:

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Aperture Stories June 21, 2012

Drobo announces 5D and Mini Thunderbolt/USB3 Storage devices with mSATA built-in

I’m not going to lie: I’ve heard enough Drobo horror stories to steer clear of its products for a while now. However, it seems to be doing well with its “Bring your own storage” model, and the products are rated well on Amazon, so the company must be doing something right. Today, Drobo announced a new Thunderbolt product, the 5D, with some serious specs:

Drobo 5D is equipped with dual Thunderbolt ports for daisy chaining. Connect up to six Thunderbolt devices and/or a non-Thunderbolt monitor at the end of the chain. With six Drobo 5D arrays in a chain, you can have up to 96 TB of usable capacity. And, the bi-directional 10 Gbps performance of Thunderbolt allows all devices in the chain to achieve maximum throughput.

Interestingly, the 5D and Mini have a battery backup to safely shutdown the device and an mSATA add-on that purports to increase performance:

Data-Aware Tiering technology, usually reserved for business-class storage solutions, is also available in this desktop Drobo. It intelligently uses the high-performance flash in SSDs to accelerate performance of the storage array, allowing applications such as Adobe Premiere and Apple Aperture fast access to data. To keep capacity of the Drobo at a maximum, the Drobo Accelerator Bay accepts an industry-standard mSATA SSD, leaving all five 3.5” drives bays available for high-capacity HDDs.

If getting the fastest performance possible is your thing, you can also load up every drive bay with SSDs. Drobo gives you the flexibility to choose.

For my money, I much prefer Network Attached Storage, which admittedly moves at a slower 1Gbps. Drobo offers solutions in this area but I am currently using and loving my Synology Diskstation that resides in my closet instead of my desk. It has not been anything but reliable for months (expect a review soon).

Drobo also announced a Drobo Mini Product that holds four 2.5-inch HDDs or SSDs.

Aperture Stories June 11, 2012

Apple updates Final Cut Pro, Aperture, and iPhoto with enhancements for Retina MacBooks

Click image for Retina display resolution

Several of Apple’s popular Mac apps received updates today after the opening keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Many of the updates help apps take full advantage of the new 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro’s display. The details for Final Cut Pro, Aperture, and iPhoto are below.

Final Cut Pro: Final Cut Pro received a small update today that included enhancements for the MacBook Pro’s Retina display and improvements to overall stability. Version 10.0.5 of Final Cut Pro is available from the Mac App Store now.

iPhoto: Version 9.3 of iPhoto was released on the Mac App Store today with a number of new features and improvements, including: iPhoto libraries are now accessible in Aperture 3.3, support for AVCHD video, and new Export options that auto-organize images into event subfolders.

Aperture: The biggest update of all apps today is version 3.3 of Aperture. Other than being “fully optimized for the Retina display on the new MacBook Pro,” the update includes the following new features and fixes:

What’s New in Version 3.3

• New unified photo library for both iPhoto (v 9.3 or later) and Aperture; no import/export required; Faces, Places, slideshows, albums and web sharing work across both applications •Support for AVCHD video has been added • Aperture now lets you use camera-generated previews for faster browsing of RAW files immediately after import • Highlights & Shadows tool has been updated to deliver higher-quality results and work with extended range data • A new Auto Enhance button has been added to the Adjustments panel • White Balance tool now includes Skin Tone and Natural Gray modes to simplify color balance • Auto button has been added to the White Balance tool for one-click color balancing • Set Desktop command has been added to Share menu so you can set a desktop background from within Aperture • A new Manual option allows you to drag and drop projects to customize sort order in the Projects view • New preference allows you to set the background brightness of the full screen browser • Facebook, Flickr, and MobileMe albums are now displayed as thumbnails in the main window when accounts are selected in the source list • Minor terminology changes, including “Original” instead of “Master” and “Info” instead of “Metadata” • Source list includes a new “Recent” section, showing Last Import and recently-viewed projects •Raw Fine Tuning is no longer displayed in the Adjustments panel by default • Faces can now be named by dragging them from the Unnamed Faces browser to existing snapshots on the corkboard • The Faces corkboard now includes a menu that allows you to set the order of face snapshots • Newly designed monochrome source list and toolbar icons • Addresses numerous issues related to overall performance and stability

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