Aperture is about viewing and managing your images and as such your primary workspace is going to be the viewer. As we mentioned in the last tutorial, Aperture’s main window can be used in three basic modes, Browser, Split View and Viewer and in this tutorial I will discuss some of the details of each mode. You can switch modes using the icons on the right side of the tool bar but you can also change modes from the top menu using the View option. One further way to switch the mode is to use the V key, this will cycle through the three modes.
This is the mode that you would use to view all images within a Project, Folder or Album. You can select these from your Inspector window on the left. So in this mode, at the top left of the Browser screen, the Projects button will show you a thumbnail of each of the projects in Library. A little known feature here is that if you skim you mouse pointer, horizontally across a particular thumbnail, it will cycle through thumbnails of all the images within that Project.
Lets return to a specific album by selecting it in the Library. To the right of the Projects button there is a drop-down box. This allows you to arrange the images according to various criteria, including file name, size, rating and orientation. You can choose to have this order ascending or descending. To the right of this button are two small icons these allow you to switch between the icon (thumbnail) view and a list view, the latter is useful for looking at specific information about files.
To the top right of the Browser screen, the small magnify icon is part of Aperture’s powerful search engine, clicking on this reveals a window with a large range of search options, from specific words to ratings and more. To the right of this, is a search box that allows you to search images using specific keywords. The magnifying glass to the left of this box has a little drop-down triangle that allows you to make searches using Aperture’s rating system.
To the bottom left of the browser, the arrow button is a standard select tool. If you use this in combination with the command key you can select multiple images. To the right is a quick rotate tool, each click will rotate an image 90 degrees anti-clockwise.
The next button will allow you to lift the metadata and/or image adjustments from a selected image and next tool to the right allow you to stamp that information either in it’s entirety or selectively into another image.
To the bottom right of the browser, the first tool from the left allows you to define which metadata you wish to see at the bottom of each thumbnail image. Selecting the button with the number 1 inside means any adjustments will be made only to the primary image among a selection of images. Next is the quick preview button, when this is selected the browser will show only preview images rather than a full version. This is useful if you have a slower system.
Lastly the slider bottom right allows you to change the size of the thumbnails displayed in the browser window.
Each image in browser mode will have specific information around it, depending on how you have set up Aperture. At the bottom of the image you can have a range of metadata ranging from a simple file name to keywords and captions. These are adjusted using the metadata tool discussed above. In the bottom left of an image you may see a star rating, this will be discussed in the next tutorial. The little icon on the bottom left is called a badge and there are a number of different badges that shows information about the state of the image for example whether adjustments have been made or whether the file is a version of a master file.
The Split View Mode
This mode displays a large version of selected images at the top and a film strip browser at the bottom. Below the main image view, the first four icons from the left, in the top row, are the same as from the browser mode. The next four are adjustment tools that we will discuss in the viewer section. To the right there is one new icon, the zoom view which will instantly zoom the selected images to 100% of the image size.
The lower row of tools, above the film strip browser are duplicates of tools we saw in the browser mode.
The Viewer Mode
The viewer mode displays the selected images as large versions. The buttons at the bottom are generally ones we have already discussed except the four quick adjustment tools that we saw in the split mode. The first of these is the horizon leveler, to use this select the tool and click and drag vertically within the image. You will see a grid appears and the image will be turned in the direction of your drag. When happy, release the mouse button.
The next button is the crop tool. Selecting this allows you to crop the image to either a predefined ratio or your own custom setting. Set the image crop you require, then click and drag the mouse across the image. The outside of the crop area will go darker giving you a good indication of the effect of the crop.
Next we have the red eye reducer. select this tool and click it over the offending red eyes to eliminate them.
The last tool, the brush tool, is actually a drop-down menu containing many variations of brushes allowing you to make selective corrections to specific parts of the image.
So that is a brief introduction to the Viewing modes within Aperture. I want to leave you with one last very important piece of information about Aperture (and indeed Lightroom). Both these programs use what’s known as non destructive editing. What this means is that when you apply an adjustment to an image the changes are actually being made to a small information file about the image, not to the actual image itself. This makes both these programs very powerful image adjustment programs as well as management software.
In the next tutorial we will take a brief look at the metadata and ratings system.
Jason Row is a British born travel photographer now living in Ukraine. You can follow him on Facebook or visit his site, The Odessa Files. He also maintains a blog chronicling his exploits as an Expat in the former Soviet Union
Thanks Jason! I like these short bits. Easy to read/digest/use in one sitting. I appreciate this so much!
this is awesome! thank you for putting this together. You have certainly encouraged me to make better use of Aperture. Now, I have been trying to figure out how one can move a folder from one library to another as I sort and file – ??
Nice- I noticed in a previous article that you prefer Aperture. But you also use Photoshop? Where do you draw the line on using which tool? I tend to use Aperture (and NIK plug-ins) for most editing, and only use Photoshop for really heavy-lifting. How about you?