As the digital photo phenomenon continues to expand
like a red dwarf imploding, Apple has added a plethora of new
advanced features to one of their most accessible photo manipulation
software packages, Aperture 3.
And unlike the relatively
simplistic iPhoto '09 or the powerful yet overtly complicated Adobe
Photoshop, Aperture 3 sits neatly in the middle of these
packages but best of all, it's affordably priced at $249 or $119AUD
for the upgrade.
As per all good Apple software, in keeping things accessible to users, Apple have
endeavoured to keep the interface relatively easy to use and if
youíre familiar with iPhoto í09, than the learning curve of this
package will be relatively low. As this software is quite powerful,
we've tried to highlight the best aspects of this software and when
in doubt, why not download the 30-day trial from
With that said, whether you're a novice, amateur or
to some extent a professional digital photographer, this all in one
program offers users a plethora of features from editing photos,
cataloguing and even uploading photos to popular social networking
sites such as FaceBook. For us, the most impressive functionality of
Aperture 3 is the inclusion of over 200 new features that cover a
wide gamut of managing your digital photos such as full screen
support and Faces which allows you to categorise photos based on
particular people. Very impressive indeed.
The installation process of Aperture 3 was a very
pain free experience and once installed, we were ready to jump
straight into the program. However it should be noted that the
minimum system requirements of this program include a Mac Pro or
greater and OS X v10.5.8 and greater. And for those with 64-bit processors, Aperture 3 also supports this.
Faces is a strong addition to this software package
and through the advanced face recognition algorithms, it makes
cataloguing photos of certain people are a breeze. We did experience
some difficulties with certain angles but the majority of the time,
it worked quite well.
This aspect of the program needs to be trained
and by accessing the Faces option in Aperture, it will
display the unnamed photos. Once you assign a name to a photo like
Brooke, it will search through photos for similar faces that you can
assign or reject. For lovers of FaceBook, names are then converted
to name tags when published.
The ability to work as a full-screen
browser is a great tool for the user which allows you to add labels
and sort your photos for example. You can load the photo in this
view too but what we found impressive was the ability to double
click on the photo and it automatically loaded full screen. It was
also lightning fast.
Similar to Faces, Places is another powerful
cataloguing utility that although wonít provide most users with true
functionality but if you own a GPS-enabled camera, it uses these
coordinates to sort your photos such as the Royal Melbourne
Botanical Gardens. Although this may seem like a thing of the
future, the Apple iPhone does support this technology and itís great
to see Apple on the forefront of technology. Thankfully, Places can
still be used to categorise photos without the need for this
technology as well which is done my dragging the photos onto a map.
Slideshows are now integrated into Aperture 3 and
offers some fun and professional looking themes for you to choose.
You can add background colours, text and even special effects to
these themes. These can then be converted to QuickTime and be shared
via a variety of devices. But Aperture 3 is not all about images as
it even supports HD video clips with basic video editing and the
ability to extract still images from clips.
Aperture 3 makes editing photos quote accessible
and whether youíre removing red eye, increasing the
contrast of a photo or even using brushes such as Skin Smoothing to
remove lines. I found the scope of this program a little
intimidating at first but because itís so manageable, these fears
were unfounded. In relation to brushes, the program offers
non-destructible editing which gives a greater amount of freedom to
users. This of course works better on RAW files.
Brushes, brushes and more brushes. Aperture 3 offers
the users a variety of new brushes, including non-destructible
brushes. Brushes are quite easy to use, simply select the brush menu
and select one of the many brushes. Whether youíre trying to make
some surreal images with a brush overlay or smoothing someoneís skin
with blur, the quick brushes are the perfect solution for this
process and are quite easy to use. If someone is intending in
purchasing Aperture 3, make sure you give yourself some time to
explore the program because if youíre only using a fraction of this
software, than youíre not doing your photos some injustice.
Presets are another option as opposed to brushes that
allows you to edit your photos such as creating sepia images or some
other bizarre photo effects, just select the preset and presto.
However, rather than automatically run the preset on the image (like
some other companies), Aperture 3 offers a live preview mode that
appears as a small pop-up window which improves productivity and
give you a great insight into how the photo will look.
These are just some of the highlights we discovered in version 3 of
Aperture which is one of the easiest programs that we had the
pleasure of using.
In conclusion, we could happily recommend Aperture to a variety of
different users of digital cameras from novice to amateur and even
those who occasionally dabble. With some great features such as full
screen and Places, if you're still a little apprehensive as to the
quality of this software package, then why not try the free 30-day
trial at Apple and witness for yourself the abilities of this
- Mac OS X v10.5.8 or v10.6.2
- One of the following
Intel-based Mac computers:
- Mac Pro
- MacBook Pro
- MacBook Air
- Mac mini