Since its release a couple of weeks ago, I’ve spent a bunch of time playing around with Aperture 3. With the exception of one problem, I absolutely love it.
The library import/export/merge functionality is exactly what I need to manage multiple libraries from my desktop and laptop. The selective brushing in and out of any adjustment you can put on an image has allowed me to become a lot more creative with how I edit up my shots. I used to spend about 5 minutes tweaking shots in Aperture 2, playing with colour levels, shadows and highlights, white balance, etc… With the tools Aperture 3 has made available, I now spend considerably longer, not because they’re harder to use, but because it has opened up a whole new level of control for me to exploit
All in all, I am amazed with how good Aperture 3 has been. However, there is one major exception that is just about ruining the experience for me at the moment: the application (or lack there of) of the sharpening adjustment when exporting images.
Selective Sharpening and Aperture 3
I’ve started to make pretty extensive use of the Aperture 3 sharpening adjustment. I like to brush it in over items in an image with a bit of texture or focus. Hair, eyes, that sort of thing. In Aperture 3, the images look fantastic and I’m really happy with them. This happiness quickly disapates when I export the images when preparing to upload them to my Flickr stream.
While all the other adjustments made in AP3 end up reproduced in the exported image, sharpening does not. Let me give you an example.
The follow image is how I see things in Aperture 3. It was obtained by going to full-screen editing mode and then doing a screen capture, thus by-passing any Aperture exporting. (click on images for full size versions to really see the difference)
In this image, I have added some sharpening to parts of the hair, the eyes and hands. All in all I am happy with what I see.
The next image is the result I get from exporting the image using the standard File > Export > Version… method.
Notice how soft it is around the afore mentioned areas where I applied sharpening.
If I go into Aperture and disable the sharpening adjustment, the resulting image is exactly as it appears in the standard exported version. Without knowing anything about the innards of Aperture, it seems as if any sharpening adjustments are not being applied on export.
The same behaviour exists regardless of:
- Image format on export (jpg, tiff, png)
- Image quality level defined in the export presets
- Image resolution (half/full/in-between)
Whenever I export a version, it always comes out WITHOUT sharpening. The only workaround I have at the moment is to go fullscreen and take a screenshot. This gives me something to upload to Flickr, however it does mean I lose all the EXIF data. While OK as a temporary solution for that purpose, I do wish to have some photos printed at some point soon, and in this case, I have no workable solution.
If anyone else using Aperture 3 has seen the same problem, I’d love to hear from them. I’ll be posting a link to this description on the Apple forums, but thus far I have only been able to find one other person describing a similar issue.
I am running Aperture 3.0.1 and OS X 10.6.2 (27″ i7 iMac). The files themselves are Canon CR2 RAW files (from a 5D Mark II) and were imported from the camera through Aperture.Tags: aperture, photography