A few specific AP and LR functional questions (NOT which is better!)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by bking1000, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. bking1000 macrumors 65816

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    #1
    I'm using DPP and iPhoto right now, but trying to decide if there's a better approach. My wife (non-technical) likes to have access to photos, so iPhoto is great, BUT I don't really want to duplicate my libraries, which seems like it would be required if I wanted both iPhoto and LR/Ap (or, can I reference photos from within the iPhoto library by Ap or LR). So, if I get LR or Ap, it would be to replace iPhoto. It could also replace DPP, I suppose, though many say DPP has better RAW developing tools than ACR (not sure what Ap uses).

    My workflows are non-pro and simple, and I've moved to DSLR and RAW just to get better quality photos. In general, I'm shooting a lot of photos in RAW. Drop them into DPP to review. Purge what I don't want, do exposure and some basic developing in DPP, export into jpg to put them into iPhoto, and then move the RAW off-line. Then, from within iPhoto I share them on the web with the g'parents, print books and prints, and make slide show movies. That's about it. I only have about 4500 photos, though my rate of taking pictures is picking up speed.

    Here's a couple of questions:

    1) Picture Version support: I need different versions of the same photo -- (e.g. one for printing, one for web, with different color space profiles, levels of sharpening and crops.) In iPhoto, that means duplication, and too many photos in an event/album. There's also questions about whether sharpening and other adjustments "stick" in iPhoto if you export. I haven't verified these concerns, but I've read a lot of internet chatter.

    Is it different in Ap and LR? Can I have "versions" in stacks, but the versions are database-driven changes, rather than actual copies? Can each of those versions have their own metadata, so I can keyword them (let's say using key word "print version" if I want to assemble pics to export for a book)?

    2) Managing files: I saw in a LR tutorial that if I reference libraries from LR, and move the folders (even from outside LR) within the defined library, LR finds them. Or, if I accidentally move them to another HDD or off to storage, I can reset the pointer easily with just navigating to the new location. Does Ap work the same way? I know I can reference pics for Ap outside of it's library, but is it OK if I accidentally move them, or does it go nuts like iPhoto?

    [I realize that iPhoto and Ap both use a vault approach to file management. I fully understand the philosophy, but frankly am not sure I agree with it for long-term use. I did for a while but, if I can be frank, I don't like the direction iMacs are headed in with shared memory video and glossy screens, and I am not sure I'll be on a Mac forever. Heresy, I know, but there it is]

    3) Slideshows: I like the ability to make family stuff like books and slides shows. iPhoto is great, because I can make slide shows and create a .mov from within iPhoto. It seems Ap's solution is integration with iMovie, which I could survive with, or I could open Ap's db from iPhoto, and just use iPhoto for certain project creation. Does LR have similar solutions? I see LR has some pretty advanced web page creation tools, but I'm not into that. The LR tutorial seemed to indicate that slideshows are either LR-viewable or I can save as pdfs. I would think the maker of Flash would at least support Flash video for slide show movies. Did I miss something?

    4) Dodge and Burn: I noticed Ap now has a dodge and burn tool, like LR's localized brush. I realize it's a separate application, but I don't that. However, the Ap video said it creates a tiff to reflect the changes, which doesn't excite me much. Does LR work differently? I suppose, though, that it may just be a matter of time before Ap embeds it as database changes.

    5) DNG: In general, can both Ap and LR work w/DNG files (import and export)? I'm thinking of converting all my RAW to DNG just for future "proofing" (if there is such a thing).

    6) Search: Final question -- I found I could search by camera/lens/ISO/FL, etc. in LR. Can you do the same in Ap?

    Again, not trying to elicit opinions on which product is better. Just trying to get some specific answers on some specific points.

    Thanks for any help.

    [edit] addendum question: Lens Corrections: I'm assuming Ap and LR both have plug ins for lens correction, keystoning, etc. much like DxO, which I've contemplated purchasing, but it doesn't solve any of my photo management needs.
     
  2. rost12 macrumors member

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    #2
    I'll answer what I can. Aperture user here.

    1) I can't tell if Aperture creates a separate file from the original for any changes or not, it does have stacks though, and the original is never modified. And yes, metadata is separate for each photo (including modified "versions"), I just tried and had different keywords and caption for an original and one of its versions.

    2) Don't know, I import straight into Aperture and keep the vault updated on an external HD.

    3 and 4 - no clue, sorry.

    5) Aperture does work with DNG (my Leica M8 makes DNG files, imported straight into Aperture).

    6) Just tried, and yeah, you can search by metadata (and stuff you listed is included in metadata for each file).
     
  3. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Thanks for responding.

    For clarification on #6 -- In Ap, can I ask to see all my photos shot on my Canon XTi at focal length 50mm? I liked that in LR when I ran the trial, as I could easily see my shooting patterns.
     
  4. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #4
    I'll let someone else talk about Aperture as I am not experienced with it.

    Lightroom has collections and collection sets which can be defined from the Library menu or the Collections tree in the library navigator panel. I would be inclined to use those to do the grouping you desire. Collection sets can contain other collection sets, or collections. Collections are always at the lowest level in the tree and can only contain images. The collection set might be screen or book, and it would reference the individual galleries or books defined as collections that in turn have images directly associated with them.

    Cropping affects the actual image, while size or color space is a function of exporting the image with a particular target in mind. Create a virtual copy of an image that needs different edits performed on it for a specific target. It would be worth using metadata tags to identify those images where the actual content of the image was altered to support an output target. An image can belong to multiple collections, so don't create copies of images where the export activity will handle whatever changes are required.

    I think Adobe wants you to buy Flash if you need Flash. I believe there are other 3rd party presentation tools as well as someone asked about this recently. This is not a format I have needed to explore, so maybe someone else will have real suggestions here.

    I would leave your files as raw files. Converting them to DNG alters them and prevents you from going back at some point and editing them with some other raw conversion tool that might produce better or different results. Adobe would like DNG to become a standard, but until the camera manufacturers sign on, it remains wishful thinking on their part.
     
  5. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    Thanks. This is very helpful. I'll see if I can find a LR tutorial on collections and collection sets, to see if I can understand them better. (my trial period has already expired, so I'm currently reduced to just viewing the tutorial videos)

    I think I understand what you mean by exporting. I'll have to find a tutorial on export process, and see what's included in that process (e.g. if you define color space) and then I know I won't need to define it on an image copy.

    Thanks for the thoughts on DNG. Maybe I should just convert to DNG as a back-up. I'm just afraid that Canon could drop/change it's RAW formats, and I'm left in the cold. Of course, they may have so many images out there in crw, that they can't drop support at this point. As with all tech companies, I'm sure they are hoping their market dominance will create a "defacto" standard, and then they don't have to play the open standards game (e.g. Microsoft .doc, .xls and .ppt formats - designed as proprietary, but now defacto standards)
     
  6. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #6
    There is a video tutorial on collections and keywords linked to on this page: http://www.adobe.com/support/photoshoplightroom/ You can define color space, image size, file name templates, file type, and sharpening options among other things, on the export screen.

    In terms of raw file formats, I think they're pretty closely linked to the underlying hardware/firmware of the camera, and that aspect of cameras will always remain proprietary. It would be nice to have a universal interface layer in the form of a digital negative, but I don't see that becoming a reality any time soon.
     
  7. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    Hi Cliff,

    Thanks for your helps. I've added one more question. Not sure if you can help at all:

    [edit] addendum question: Lens Corrections: I'm assuming Ap and LR both have plug ins for lens correction, keystoning, etc. much like DxO, which I've contemplated purchasing, but it doesn't solve any of my photo management needs.
     
  8. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #8
    I'm giving you answers regarding Aperture only:
    Those are called versions in Aperture and they're only text files that contain the settings. Your images are rendered each time you view them.

    Photos are only rendered if you (1) export them (obviously) or (2) if you choose to edit them in a plug-in (e. g. noise ninja) or another application (e. g. Pixelmator or Photoshop).
    Aperture has two models for file management that can be mixed on a per-file basis:
    (1) Managed library: here, Aperture does everything for you. Your images are saved in a bundle that you can easily navigate, but you should never ever move something inside the bundle. If you want to access image files, you have to export or drag & drop from Aperture.

    I highly suggest to a noob to use a managed library.
    (2) Referenced library: Yes, you can do that, but you should do it from within Aperture: choose relocated master and then move the file(s) from one folder to another. You can also automate some things if you want, e. g. by letting Aperture create subdirectories based on certain rules or you can choose to rename your image files. You should not move things in the Finder.
    Aperture's vaults have nothing to do with a managed library. Aperture's vaults are backups of your library onto other harddrives. Lightroom, by the way, does not have vaults.
    I have never made movies from slideshows, so I can't comment.
    It's not a separate application, dodge & burn is a plug-in.
    In fact, unlike Lightroom, Aperture has a plug-in architecture with quite a few plug-ins at your disposal (Noise Ninja, Viveza, etc.).
    Lightroom does these edits non-destructively while Aperture does not. IMO it's the biggest plus point for Lightroom. It stands to reason that this is probably the most-requested feature for Aperture 3, though.
    Yes.
    Note that you may lose some camera-specific settings when you convert RAW files to DNG.
    Yes.
    Lightroom does not have a plug-in architecture. (I suppose Adobe does this to sell more copies of Photoshop; they'd have a really big plus if they allowed people to use Photoshop plug-ins. For marchitectural reasons, I don't think this is going to happen.)

    You can devignette and Aperture right away.
    For Aperture, quite a few such plug-ins are available: FixLens, PTlens and LensFix, for instance. You also have the choice of at least three de-noise apps, Noise Ninja being one of them.
     
  9. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #9
    Refer to the screencap I've attached.

    I will concede that LR plug-ins do seem to be somewhat limited, but then this feature was added with version 2 released late last July. I would imagine it's a matter of time before more plug-ins appear.

    LR does permit chromatic aberration and vignetting corrections. Perspective adjustments need to be handled by PS and it's one of the few activities that will send me into PS.
     

    Attached Files:

  10. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #10
    I stand corrected. Huh, strange, I still have this post in mind by one of Adobe's engineers.* Perhaps they're like pre-Aperture 2 plug-ins, basically only export/import plug-ins, not image editing plug-ins?


    * For those of you too lazy to read the post, the link leads to an official Adobe blog. John Nack claims that `you don't need image editing plug-ins,' because (a) it's easier to open it in Photoshop and (b) it's just as if you'd start an external application (standard round tripping).
     
  11. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #11
    My two main issues are: good noise reduction software and the occasional keystoning or other perspective/geometry corrections. I suppose for the latter I could go w/PSE as it's pretty infrequent (if PSE even supports it), but for noise reduction, I'd like to explore NN or NW, though maybe I'd find LR's NR sufficient. I don't find iPhoto's NR up to the level I'd like. I'm assuming Ap's is better than iPhoto, too.

    Thanks for all the replies. This is really helping me to understand the applications better. I ran the trials too early in my learning curve, so now I'm stuck with questions I can't try out...
     
  12. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #12
    Yes, you can. Select the folders/projects you want to search in, select Edit > Find from the menu and add two EXIF search fields, one with the focal length, the other with the camera model.
     
  13. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Lightroom licensing

    THanks for all your answers. One question that just occurred to me that might make a difference -- Lightroom licensing. It seems to indicate on the web site that I can use a LR license on both my iMac AND my PC laptop. http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshoplightroom/faq/

    That would be really cool, because then I could bring my pictures with me.

    Is it easy to synchronize photos with LR somehow if I have photos on two computers (and not just use a single external drive, which wouldn't really fit what i need to do)?

    (although if I put LR on my laptop, I'd have to color balance that one too, and I've no idea the quality of the screen ...)
     
  14. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #14
    I'm shooting with a D700 these days. What is this noise of which you speak? ;) I've only got one lens with substantial keystoning effects, and that's a 14-24 f2.8 at the 14mm end. And I mean substantial. Photoshop can barely adjust for the perspective distortions at that focal length. I'm careful with how I use that lens.

    If you find yourself doing a lot of PP of that nature, it might just be worth your while to bite the bullet and invest in Photoshop. It is certainly the gold standard when it comes to image editing.

    edit: Out of curiosity I installed the PSE 6 trial and it includes the same (or at least similar) camera distortion correction tool as PS.
     
  15. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #15
    i can say that Aperture's noise reduction sucks. lens correction (beyond vignetting) has to be done in a plugin or exported to Photoshop.
     
  16. rost12 macrumors member

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    #16
    Yup. I bought Noise Ninja plugin.
     
  17. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #17
    No, because most of the data (e. g. the edits to the files) is contained in Lightrooms SQLite database. Of course you can extract these, but there is no simple way to keep both databases on different platforms up to date.

    Keep in mind that in all likelihood, most of your work is contained in the database and not reflected in the file structure.
     
  18. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #18
    Easy? It's doable. You would use export as catalog and import catalog to synchronize catalogs between multiple machines. The usage model Adobe is trying to support is that of a laptop being used in the field, then being synced up with the primary machine. I would imagine you'd be asking for trouble if you do a lot of editing on the same images found on both machines, then try to merge the changes in the two catalogs. If you take the approach that only one machine owns a particular photo between catalog merges, then you should be ok.
     
  19. Winni macrumors 68030

    Winni

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    #19
    Why don't you just download a trial version of each program and try everything for yourself?

    Functionally, both programs are more or less on par and have their individual strengths and weaknesses. I doubt that there is anything that one can do but the other can't.

    But they are very different in their philosophy, so I think it will be more important for you to find out which one will be more compatible with YOU and the way that YOU work and think. Ultimately, this is more important than a simple feature list comparison.

    And sooner or later, you will add Photoshop to your set of tools anyway for the things that neither Lightroom nor Aperture can do.
     
  20. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #20
    The OP did run the LR trial (which was mentioned in a couple of their previous posts in this thread), and apparently needs additional input from experienced users. No idea on the Aperture trial.
     
  21. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #21
    I ran a trial of both before I knew what I was doing, so I know have specific questions, and I appreciate everyone's input. I may call the vendors and ask them to give me just one more eval period.

    I do have PSE6, so the PS angle is kind of covered for right now. I use DPP PSE and iPhoto, and am also currently trialing DxO, but I'm thinking Ap or LR is an important base application for me to use.
     
  22. Cliff3 macrumors 65816

    Cliff3

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    #22
    Out of curiosity I DL'd PSE 6 earlier this morning and it has the ability to adjust perspective distortion, so between LR handling CA, vignetting and noise reduction and PSE dealing with perspective distortion, you'd be covered on those concerns of yours.
     
  23. bking1000 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #23
    Aperture and DPP

    Thanks for everyone's help (esp Cliff and OreoCookie)

    After a lot of thought, etc. I think I'm learning towards Ap, just because of the DAM and some consumer-level stuff (making books, integration w/my iLife apps, and also vault). BUT I think I'd prefer to use DPP to do the initial developing of my photos.

    Which is a preferred workflow in Ap? (if either):

    Import RAW into Aperture, and then use DPP as the "external editor" to develop a jpg for XYZ use (let's say making a book). Would I need to re-import the jpg and affiliate it with the RAW file in a stack (which is how I think I'd like to organize that type of photo).

    OR

    Develop in DPP, and import both the RAW and the jpg into Ap. Then use that jpg to tweak in versions as needed (dodge and burn, rotate, version control, aspect ratio, etc.)

    Or am I nuts to think I'd use DPP and Ap together?
     
  24. toxic macrumors 68000

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    #24
    i would just process the RAW files in DPP and import the tiffs into Aperture... either way, Aperture is the more powerful photo editor and an organizational tool.
     
  25. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

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    #25
    (1) Import pictures from your camera/USB stick/wherever directly into Aperture. Make sure to create a new project. (It's advisable to keep projects under 500-1000 RAWs, preferably a lot smaller.) Use the metaphor of project to organize your photos.

    The master can only belong to one project! But it can belong to arbitrarily many albums, web galleries, books, etc. The project is the `home' of the image.
    (2) Switch to preview mode (by pressing P, for instance) and quickly weed out the pictures that you don't like. You can press 9 to reject them. Rejects will disappear from normal view, but they are not deleted. Do not waste time to adjust pictures, resist the urge.
    (3) Update your vault -- before deleting the rejected pictures.
    (4) Filter the rejected pictures, select all and delete them.
    (5) Update your vault again. Even if you empty your trash, you can still recover accidentally deleted pictures from your vault.
    (6) Switch off preview mode (press P again) and start editing.
    (7) Now you can edit your pictures or use them. Aperture does not have a modal interface like Lightroom, there is no Develop module. You can change your pictures whenever you like. You want to change the saturation of an image you use in a book to make it fit better with the image next to it? No problem, you can select the picture, hit H and adjust your image. You see the changes live. (Although I would suggest you create a new version first.)

    If you are really, really, really picky about quality and you insist on using a different RAW converter, you can pick your favorites, export the master, develop them and import the jpg/tiff file you've created.
    Unless you're a professional, I doubt you need to use a separate RAW developer. (Like everything, different RAW engines have different advantages, some depend crucially on your taste, e. g. how highlights or skin tones are handled.)
     

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