Aperture and Digital Asset Management

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MiniD3, Jun 6, 2013.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    Hi Guys
    Soon to be a new switcher here, (from dead windows to iMac)
    I currently use Nikon Capture NX2 for all my image processing

    I only shoot raw and only convert to jpeg when I need to export to the net or send off for printing

    As a lot of you would be aware, after some years slip by, the management of large numbers of files starts to be an enormous task,

    So, have been doing a lot research on Aperture for cataloging

    My research has raised some concerns with retaining how my images will look after import to Aperture

    Apparently, after I import images into Aperture, the images will not look the same as I had viewed in Capture NX2 or ViewNX 2 either

    This is not the end of the world I guess as I now have a cataloging program managing my image files

    Now the questions:)
    If I have trouble using the presets and adjustments in Aperture to get the "look" I want, can I just export out of aperture to do adjustments in CaptureNX2 ?

    Apparently, I can do this but If I re-import the edited file back to Aperture, I will not "see" the edits as Aperture cannot read all the Nikon edits?

    The other question here is that if I import this CNX2 edited file back into Aperture, will all the CNX2 edits in this NEF file remain the same? If so, I'm happy with that, at least I can export back to CNX2 if I want to view the Nikon edits and perhaps send it off as a jpeg that I know will print OK

    Finally, I guess the aim is to establish presets that work eventually,
    At least if I can just have the Aperture management and still be able to access my "original" NEF files for CNX2, that would be good
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    #2
    Since my post is not specific to Aperture, they also hold for similar software such as Adobe's Lightroom and Bibble, I will keep it general.

    All of these pieces of software use their own RAW converter, so a RAW file developed with CNX will look different from what you get from Aperture, Lightroom (which uses Adobe Camera RAW) and Bibble. Usually, you cannot say that one RAW converter is better than another, especially if you are processing photos taken under relatively normal settings (not very high ISO, etc.). Which you prefer is often just a matter of taste. What makes a comparison even more difficult is that people don't usually just use the default presets, but they tweak the image. That means, you can always obtain a very, very similar look. I guarantee you that you won't be able to spot the differences in a blind test. Once you get used to the workings of Aperture's or Lightroom's RAW converter, I very much doubt you'll continue to use CNX.

    What is more, you can apply a set of settings at import. So if you find new default settings that mimic the results from CNX, you can apply them to photos automatically upon import -- or at any point in the future.

    The other big difference between CNX and Aperture-like software is that the latter is optimized for handling many, many photos. That means a few things: first of all, they never, ever, ever touch your original RAW file (in most cases, you can't do that anyway, more on that later). All the photos that appear are renderings, i. e. the app saves the »slider settings« of the image editing part in a small text file or in the database and applies them to the original RAW file. That means, you can make versions of photos at essentially no cost in hard drive space (each version takes only a few kB of space -- all you change are slider settings for the most part). That means, even if you elect to manage files manually, Aperture and Lightroom will not produce additional jpg files in your folders unless you export photos. This is by design. However, if you use Aperture, I suggest you start with a managed library where Aperture does everything automatically. You can change this at any point in the future, so there is zero risk involved. Aperture allows you to switch between a managed and referenced mode on a per-photo basis if need be.

    Once you get used to this, this will be a godsend. For instance, copying and pasting settings such as white balance consistently across tens or hundreds of photos makes your life a lot, easier.

    On the other hand, that also means that switching from one RAW converter to another (e. g. from CNX to Aperture or from Lightroom to Aperture), there is no way to transfer these settings (the apps have »different sliders«), you will always have to import a rendered jpg or tiff file as there is no other way to consistently get the same look. Even an update of the RAW engine from the same company leads to different results. In Aperture, the user has to manually reprocess an image if the user wants to use the new RAW converter.

    I've noticed that you write »... will all the CNX2 edits in this NEF file remain the same?«, suggesting that you think CNX saves anything in .nef files. If CNX works the same way as the Sigma RAW converter I have to use, it only saves the slider settings as metadata, and thus, other RAW converters won't know how to interpret them for the most part.

    Also the workflow you have in mind is not the way you should work: Aperture and Lightroom allow you to send files from their database to an external editor (e. g. Photoshop, but you can also use another RAW converter). If you use Photoshop, for instance, Aperture will automatically render the file, send the .tif/.jpg/.psd file to Photoshop, and once you save in Photoshop, the changes are reflected automatically in Aperture without the need to re-import. Lightroom does this similarly.

    Honestly, I don't think you'll ever find yourself developing a RAW file in CNX, but even if you do, it's probably 1 picture in 100, if that.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #3
    Wow,

    Thank you so much for such a detailed and informative reply,
    Very much appreciated,
    Now I have a handle on what's happening, although I have spent many hours of research, I just did not understand the relationship between raw processing and how they differ
    You have now allayed my fears:)
    Just bought two 3TB drives for the task ahead
    If it wasn't for the "cloud", I would also be looking at LR5, looks like it has a lot of new tricks
    I guess I could always get it later and export to LR

    Thanks again for all your help,
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  4. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    #4
    You're welcome :)
    When it comes to Aperture vs. Lightroom, many of the debates take a religious character. In the end, it's a tool and some tools may be better suited than others. I vastly prefer Aperture to Lightroom for reasons that are similar to those why I prefer Nikon dslrs over Canons, it's a matter of personal preference: I love Aperture's UI and its limitations bother me less than Lightroom's UI and limitations. I hate, hate Lightroom's UI with a vengeance (I prefer Aperture's free-flowing UI to Adobe's idea of modules), but I would never presume that this is true for everyone, and I'm sure there are plenty of people whose feelings for Aperture and Lightroom are reversed. (I also would never are Nikons are better than Canon dslrs per se, both make very good cameras and lenses.)

    But one thing most people can agree on is that the UI of the camera manufacturer's RAW converter usually sucks big time. The only reason I put up with Sigma's RAW converter is because Apple does not support the RAW files of my old Sigma camera out of the box. That will be fixed very soon when I update to a Fuji X100s ;) I haven't even touched Nikon's RAW converter (I also own a D7000).

    Oh, and since you're considering Aperture, I also recommend you have a look at the plug-in collection from Nik software. Note that you'll automatically purchase the plug-ins for Aperture, Lightroom and Photoshop simultaneously. :)
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #5
    Before deciding Aperture vs LR, be sure to try the LR 5 beta. There are several new features (radial filter, healing brush that you can now paint with (instead of just a circle on a dust bunny),....etc.

    When I import in LR I convert from Canon CR2 raw file format to Adobe DNG format. Why? Thanks for asking. As mentioned able when you edit a raw file most programs put those edits into a separate file (side card file). So to see the edited file, you have to have the original raw file plus the related side car file. If those two files get separated....no editted raw file.

    With the Adoble DNG format, the edits are stored within the DNG file....no side car file to lose. Adobe gives you the choice of using original raw file plus side cars or use the DNG for that can be used between various Adobe products (LR, PSCS6...etc.)
     
  6. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    Thank you for the heads-up,
    And yes! I have had a look at the tutorials on the Nik software package,
    A must have!
    From what you are saying, if I eventually add LR to the list, the Nik plug-in work work OK with that as well
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    Hi there,
    I had a good look at the promo of the LR Beta 5 on YouTube,
    Very impressive tools, in particular, they way it could straighten buildings was amazing

    To be quite honest, I have most probably stretched the budget way too far already;
    27" iMac_32GB ram_768GB SSD_ and any other up-grade that is on the list:)
    Aperture 3 price is a very good deal right now and I think I could stretch for a Nik plug-in with that
    Not sure what to do about Nikon Capture NX2 as yet but the ever increasing list has got too long :)
    LR may come later but for now Aperture and CNX2 is doable
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    MCAsan

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2012
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    You could do far worse that Aperture. ;)

    Best of luck with the new machine and your photography!!!
     
  9. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    Thank you, will be good to learn something new,
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Fukuoka, Japan
    #10
    PS The machine you bought sounds pretty sweet, congrats ;)
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #11
    Thank you,
    Hope the extra will future proof for a number of years,
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  12. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #12
    You may want to hold off on buying Aperture until the middle of next week.

    It's only speculation, but I think some users are hoping for a significant Aperture announcement at the WWDC keynote. If there's no announcement then you can still get the awesome aperture 3 at the same cheap price on Tuesday.

    I'm certainly not trying to start another thread about Aperture updates here, but I know I'd be kicking myself if I bought something on a Friday and a new one came out on the Monday!?

    Best of luck with all your new toys - I'm sure you'll find them all to be worth the switch!
     
  13. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #13
    I do not think I could have said this better than you have. I have a vast preference for Aperture's UI. I am also a strong advocate of Nik Software Suite.

    In order of "use"... approximate use of tools is as follows:

    • Aperture DAM: 100%
    • Aperture editing: 100% of photos used for slide shows, books, etc (<10% of all photos taken)
    • Nik SW: 100% of my "selects" and ~80% of anything in a photo book (~5% of all photos). Nearly all of my best work has been through Nik.
    • Photoshop: Fewer than 1 out of every 1000 photos. Mostly for photo manipulation.

    I bought LR4 but I just never enjoyed using it. I can't imagine how people can use more than one DAM... yet I see people all the time say they use both. For me... it seems you may try both... but in the end, you choose one to use. I think the "switching cost" is too high to move back and forth between them.

    I do not think I'll ever buy PhotoShop again. I have CS6, and I'll keep it around as long as it still works... but I'll probably never move to Creative Cloud. I need the capability so infrequently, that Pixelmator would be just fine.

    I love the Aperture and Nik Software combination.

    /Jim
     
  14. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #14
    Yes. I do also. The combination is good.

    But you can do one more thing. Nik is a plug-in suite. Aperture allows you to specify a "default image editor" When you double click the image (I think it's a double click, perhaps a keyboard short cut). the image is sent to the default editor. You have to also specify a file format. So you specify Adobe PS Elements and the PSD file format. Then very quickly Aperture converts the image to PSD and fires up PS Elements. You do you detailed edits like removing a person or a utility pole or some trash on the ground and then when you do the "save" the image goes back into Aperture. Elements has 99.99% of the features a photographer needs from the full PS and it is cheap, or even free.

    Yes free. You are going to need a Wacom tablet. Don't wait just buy one. If you buy the right version of the tablet there will be a copy of Adobe PS Elements inside for "free". It might be the older version but it is upgradable at no cost to current.

    I just can't edit photos with a mouse, I can adjust them and crop them but I can do things like clone out a utility wire or skin blemish.

    I'm left handed so I tend to work with a pen in my left hand and the Aple magic trackpad on the right.

    Aperture allows you to begin work on the first photo while the others are still downloading from the memory card. No waiting. All of this makes for a very fast work flow, pen tablet and working while downloading. You can do 100 frames in a few minutes on high-end iMac.
     
  15. macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #15
    Chris,

    I currently use PhotoShop CS6 as my default image editor using PSD 16-bit. I just don't use it too often. ;)

    Nice feedback on the Wacom tablet. I'll put that on my "to-do" list.

    /Jim
     
  16. MiniD3, Jun 7, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2013

    thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    Thank you for the heads-up,
    Yes, I had thought about elements, had a play with a trial version before my computer died, very handy for that little extra
    What size tablet did you get? I was thinking perhaps medium may be the go
    Regards,
    Gary
     
  17. swordio777, Jun 8, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013

    macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2013
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #17
    Hi Gary,

    Personally I have the Small "Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch" (European name. It appears to be called the "Bamboo Capture" in America and the Bamboo Manga in Australia. It's the small Silver & Black one).
    It's great and I'd definitely recommend it - it certainly meets my needs and while I'd like an intuos, I don't think I'd really notice any difference.

    I'd say that the correct tablet size for you depends on 3 things:
    1) whether a wacom tablet will completely replace your mouse (you'll use the pen for everything, from editing photos to surfing the web)
    2) how fast you like your mouse pointer to be
    3) and possibly, whether you have background as an artist

    The active area on the small tablet I have is about 6" wide by 3.5" tall. Personally I retired my magic mouse and now use my wacom for everything. I like a very fast mouse pointer, so have set up my preferences to make the active area even smaller (closer to 4" wide x 2" high). I find this gives me much finer control only using small movements with my fingers and wrist.

    If you prefer a very slow mouse pointer and are used to using very large movements from your elbow to get the pointer to go anywhere then you may prefer the larger tablet. Similarly, if you're an artist who is used to drawing or painting using an easel then you may prefer the larger active area so you can use large movements painting in photoshop.

    Hope that helps.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #18
    Thank you for the heads-up
    Just might even try the Bamboo for a start, they have them at my local Apple outlet
    The price is a whole cheaper than the Intuous 5 but I guess you get what you pay for with a whole bunch of extra features with the 5
    .........Gary
     
  19. macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #19
    "Elements has what you need to photos. The full up PS CS6 is better for a graphic artist. As for which tablet. Again the lower priced one is good for photos. The graphic artist needs a pen angle sensor to control brush shape but for photos you are not drawing lines people will see so pressure sensitivity is enough.

    About the size. If you get the small one you can zoom the image bigger and work on a smaller part of it. What you care about is how many image pixies per millimeter of pen motion and the zoom controls that. A larger tablet lets you work on a larger part of the image at once.

    That is unless you plan to use the pen n place of a mouse or track pad. then get the bigger tablet.

    But for tracing about objects (for selections) or for "dust busting" film scans the zoom makes the small tablet easy to use. Bigger is always better if you have the money.

    Years ago Elements was very much stripped down. It did not even have layers. But now it has pretty much the same image editing ability as PS.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Location:
    Australia
    #20
    Good to hear, I did think about elements, great for slipping in a moon etc
    Appreciate the heads up about the tablet info
    .....Gary
     

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