Nick Carver Photography Blog

Photography Tips, Tutorials, & Videos


Aperture 2, You Win

Alright, I caved and bought the Aperture 2 upgrade. Was I wrong about the things I said in my previous post? No (for the most part). True, proportional spacing in grid view shouldn't have been dropped in this upgrade and, yes, the jumpy scrolling is annoying as all hell, but there are some pretty awesome changes that actually do outweigh my quibbles.

I will admit that I can understand the advantage of unchecking proportional spacing in grid view in Aperture 2. It's hard to explain without a firsthand demo, but having it unchecked makes things more orderly when organizing pictures, splitting up stacks, creating stacks and all that jazz. It should still be an OPTION, though, not a requirement!

And it seems the "ignore stack groupings" option on smart albums has been replaced by the (surprisingly) more useful "include stack picks only." The way smart albums work in Aperture is a little different than in previous Aperture versions. It's almost like it automatically ignores stack groupings, but still lets you know when an image is part of a stack. It indicates, for example, that both of these images are 5-star, but they are 2 of 5 total images in the stack. It just doesn't show those other 3 images.

As for the jumpy scrolling: That's just straight up stupid. I can't for the life of me figure out why they swapped out the intuitive, logical smooth scrolling of Aperture 1.5 for this jerky ridiculousness. I really hope my dozens of complaints get through for the next update.

Now for the reasons TO upgrade:

- Vignette tool: Incredibly handy
- Smoother straightening: This was a major frustration point for me in 1.5
- Metadata and Projects panels in the HUD: Full-screen mode just got useful
- Retouch tool: Surprisingly effective
- Flip tool: FINALLY
- Interface: I can customize this thing until it's unrecognizable and it makes better use of my screen real estate
- Tether: So easy to do
- Customizable hot keys: I love hot keys even more now
- RAW Processing: WAY better results than in 1.5
- Background export: I can keep working? WHILE images are exporting?! Sweet!
- Faster: Don't ask me how, it just is

Here are some images from my first batch using Aperture 2 - an engagement photo shoot for my awesome friends, Bubba and Lisa. The new adjustment tools made my job much quicker and easier. Thanks Aperture! (cue cheesy 80's high five)

Band Shot Style

Cute Couple

Dusk at the Beach


What'd I do?

P.S. You may notice the large majority of my recent work is all portraiture stuff. Don't fret, nature is still my main game. It's just that summers in Southern California for the nature photographer, shall we say, leave something to be desired. The weather is boring, the heat is relentless, the crowds are ridiculous and the vegetation is...crispy. I'm not a sell-out and I'm not money-motivated (but I do need to, you know, eat). I wouldn't be doing this portraiture work if I wasn't loving it.

Aperture 2 Quibbles

I use Aperture for 99% of my digital workflow. I use it to manage, organize, adjust, decode RAW and pretty much everything except resize and sharpen my images (I use Photoshop with Alien Skin Blow-Up to resize and sharpen). I currently use Aperture 1.5 and I really like it. It's a great program that makes my life much easier. So needless to say, I was pretty excited when I heard about the release of Aperture 2. I was mostly excited about the new RAW decoding engine because Aperture 1.5's decoding has some trouble with images that have the sun in the frame (which I shoot a lot). I downloaded the Aperture 2 trial to make sure it was going to be worth the upgrade and I found some disappointing changes in Aperture 2.

First of all, they did away with the preferences option "Use proportional spacing in grid view." This option when toggled on and off changes how thumbnails are spaced.

I always had this option checked "on" because it spaces verticals and horizontals closer together. It saves screen space and makes my editing much easier. Here is the difference between having this option on or off:



As you can see, when this option is checked on, you can fit more thumbnails into a given space. Might not seem like a big deal to some, but why drop this option? Shouldn't I still be able to choose whether I want to use proportional spacing or not?

Secondly, and this is a deal-breaker for me, scrolling in grid view in Aperture 2 is jumpy. When you use your mouse's scroll wheel, the rows of thumbnails "snap" to the next row. In Aperture 1.5, the scrolling is smooth and fluid, just as if you were on a webpage or the like. This is such a downgrade. I hate how jumpy and disconnected this makes browsing images. This crappy method of scrolling is literally enough for me to forego the upgrade.

Lastly, Apple dropped the "Ignore stack groupings" option on Smart Albums.This is a drag. I use Smart Albums like crazy. They are such a brilliant innovation. On nearly every single one of my Smart Albums, I have this feature turned on. I don't really know how Smart Albums are even that valuable without this option. Why would they even drop this feature?!

So there are my reasons for not upgrading. With the exception of what I stated here, Aperture 2 has so many great new features and changes. If these 3 points were addressed, I'd upgrade in a heartbeat.

I've submitted feedback regarding each one of these points at least twice already. The only reason I'm even posting this blog is so that if you, too, are an Aperture user and you are also disappointed with these changes, please send in feedback about it at Aperture Feedback! The more people complain about it, the more likely they are to change. Apple actually does listen to their customers. Also, if you have any other complaints about the upgrade, let me know in the comments.