Although iPhoto does a great job at cataloguing, sorting and sharing digital stills, it lacks many of the tools high-end users need to work with images. Apple released Aperture to offer a greater range of editing and cataloguing tools that should satisfy even the most demanding professional. This series of five tutorials has been designed to introduce you to the many features available in Aperture that aren’t in iPhoto. We will start by showing you how to move up from iPhoto, along with the basics of navigation and organisation.
You can download a 30-day fully functional trial copy of Aperture from Apple’s website at www.apple.com/uk/aperture/trial.
1. The welcome screen Launch Aperture to open its welcome screen. If this is the first time you’ve used the application, you might want to import your iPhoto library, but don’t click on that button just yet: we have to set up a few things first. Make sure Start Using Aperture is selected and click on Continue.
2. Changing locations Go to Aperture➝Preferences (or use the shortcut C-, [comma]). The General tab lets you choose where to locate your photo library. By default, it is saved in your account’s Pictures folder. If you’d rather store it on another drive, for example, click Choose and select another place. Quit and relaunch Aperture.
3. iPhoto import We can now bring our iPhoto library in: go to File➝Import➝iPhoto Library. Aperture locates it for you so all you have to do is click on Import. However, before you do, have a look at the Store Files menu: you can either leave your stills in iPhoto and simply link to them, or copy them into Aperture’s library.
4. Browsing the library If you’d rather not import your photos, click Cancel: you can access your iPhoto library from within Aperture. Go to File➝Show iPhoto Browser to open a new window. You can then see your events and albums and drag just the shots you wish to transfer onto Aperture’s Projects tab.
5. Bringing files in Whether you need to import photos from a camera or a folder on a hard drive, the principle is the same: click on the toolbar’s Import button and find the files using the Column browser. Once found, select the shots you want from the thumbnails view beneath and click on the Import button at the bottom right of the interface.
6. Saving anywhere By default, stills images will be incorporated into Aperture’s library. To locate some shots elsewhere, click on the Store Files menu, at the right of the interface. You can either link to the images from their current location or choose another place on one of your hard drives to save them to.
7. Changing views The main screen displays a preview of the selected image. At the bottom is the Browser, with thumbnails of all shots stored in the selected project or album. You can view them as a grid instead (ctrl-G). Mouse over the divider between the Browser and Viewer section and drag up or down to resize the sections.
8. Browsing metadata You can also view photos as a list (ctrl-L). This lets you see most of the file’s metadata at a glance, like Exposure, Focal Length and Pixel Size. To go back to the default Film Strip view, use ctrl-F. To switch between all three views, use the set of three buttons at the top left of that section.
9. Interface alteration When arranging your shots, the Viewer section can get in the way. Click on the View button in the toolbar (top right) and select Browser Only. You can also select a different layout from the View menu. Hitting the V key lets you cycle between Browser Only, Browser & Viewer and Viewer Only.
10. Mouseless rating To catalogue stills in Aperture, you rate them. Rating shots can be done just with the keyboard: use the arrow keys to select a photo in the Browser and hit the 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 keys to add that many stars to it. 0 removes them, = adds a star, - removes a star, and 9 rejects the shot.
11. Adding metadata You can also add keywords to your shots: select one and click on the Metadata tab to add information in the Keyword field. Alternatively, you can go to Metadata➝Add Keyword and choose an existing one from the list. To create a new keyword, choose Metadata➝New Keyword and type it in.
12. Lift and stamp Each keyworded file has a small tag icon, bottom right of its thumbnail. To add the same keywords to other photos, select the one you just modified and go to Metadata➝
13. Keyword removal To remove keywords, you can use the Metadata tab, or go to Window➝Show Keywords HUD, select an image from the Browser, choose the keywords you no longer need and click on that window’s Remove Keyword button. To delete all keywords, use the shift-alt-9 keyboard shortcut.
14. Smarter than the average album Once your photos have been rated and tagged, you can use Smart Albums to let Aperture organise them for you. Go to File➝New Smart➝Album (shift-C-L). By default, you can filter your selection by rating, date or keywords. Click on the + button to reveal other parameters.