Aperture 3 or Pixelmator?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by guklein, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. guklein macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2008
    I am a domestic user and I am thinking to buy my first photography app. I don't know to use any of them. I'll have to learn about it. :)

    I read Aperture 3 and Pixelmator are great apps and their prices are so good on Mac App Store.

    Both have the same feature for begginers? Considering the price ($79 x $29), does it make sense for me as a relative novice to start with Aperture 3 as my first management and editing program?

  2. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    Aperture 3 is for photo management, and photo manipulation. Pixelmator is more akin to a buffed up MS Paint... two totally different uses.

    I'd recommend using Aperture 3 for your photo management and manipulation, as it's the only one you mentioned that does that ;)
  3. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    No they don't.
    Aperture is a DAM (Digital Asset Management) application where as Pixelmator is an image editing application. Aperture has some editing capabilities, but its strength lies in its ability to organize and categorize images. It's ability to work with a photographers workflow to manage and maintain images is where it shines.

    If you're a photographer, then I suggest you start with AP3, and if you need a more robust editing application then try pixelmator.
  4. Vantage Point macrumors 65816

    Mar 1, 2010
    New Jersey
    Think of the future!!! Assuming you get into this, then eventually you will have to invest in a more powerful program. That means that after you master the tools of one program you will have to relearn how to use something else - and pay twice. That means no savings in time or money. Of course if you just dabble in the occasional picture edit then go with the less expensive solution that fills your needs
  5. RELOAD911 macrumors member

    Dec 12, 2009
    Make no mistake - Aperture 3 is a high-end professional photo editing and management application. If you are a domestic user - use iPhoto. It has great editing and management capabilities. Unless you are pro or at least prosumer photographer, you don't need Aperture.

    Also, it's wrong to compare Aperture and Pixelmator - they're different kinds of apps. It's like comparing Lightroom with Photoshop, although example is not entirely accurate since Pixelmator is targeted at casual users.
  6. Paleomac macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2010
    I use both of them.

    I've used Pixelmator for close to 2 years, when I couldn't afford Photoshop anymore (I do some image editing for scientific publications that iPhoto couldn't handle). But I never liked iPhoto's basic editing tools, so I also set up Pixelmator to be the default editor in iPhoto.

    I didn't like the sound of the changes to iPhoto 11, so I didn't upgrade even though iPhoto was starting to struggle with the level of organization and search abilities I needed. With iPhoto 11 being an apparent dud, I downloaded the free Aperture trial to test it out. It turns out that Aperture's file management and search capabilities are far far above iPhoto's.

    About a week later Apple lowered the price on Aperture and that was enough for me to go ahead and purchase it.

    I'm still playing around with Aperture. Given it's different method of recording modifications (compared to iPhoto) I may begin using it for basic editing, and just use Pixelmator for higher-end stuff.
  7. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

    Jul 30, 2008
    Generally agreed with RELOAD911. For photo management start with iPhoto and explore alternatives (like Aperture 3—a steal at its price considering the only comparable product is LightRoom) only if the additional features and capabilities warrant the price. :)
  8. guklein thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2008
    Then for begginers can I assume a good option is iPhoto (management) plus Pixelmator (editing)?

  9. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    Might want to consider investing in a spell check application first. :)

    It's beginners, not begginers.
  10. Alvesang macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2010
    I beg to differ. It's nice for quick fixes but the magic happens in Photoshop, which by the way actually is "a high-end professional photo editing application".
  11. guklein thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2008
    I don't want to know about english classes...it doesn't matter for me!

    I want to know...if I buy just Aperture 3, is it enough for me (domestic user) to make some editing? Or I buy Pixelmator and keep iPhoto for management?
  12. Alvesang macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2010
    How about downloading the Aperture 3 30-day-trial and decide upon personal experiences? Personally, I like it, and it can be seriously enhanced with plug-ins, which I wouldn't recommend for beginners.

    Even though it's not high-end, Aperture is able to improve your pictures drastically. Remember however that you always need a good photo to turn it into something great. ;)
  13. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    i used iPhoto for 5 years. I upgraded to Aperture only because my library is now 56GB and has 12ooo pics. Aperture helps there because it does not duplicate pictures when you edit/rotate or change them, so the library stays smaller in gigabytes over time.

    There seem to be a few editing programs for free out there but Pixelmator for $29 with the upgrade to Pixelmator 2 later this year included is the best bang for the buck in my opinion.

    I would work with iPhoto for the next month and then decide if you need to heavily edit your photos a lot. Then I would buy Pixelmator for $29.

    Once you work with a lot of Raw files or if you see that you have thousands of pics that you want to keep I would switch to Aperture. Aperture is less intuitive to use so I would only switch if I had a good reason.
  14. iPhone1 macrumors 65816


    Apr 2, 2010
    San Diego, CA
    Unless you need photo management software, I think you'll find Pixelmator more than adequate when it comes to the occasional crop/filter/resize.
  15. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Not quite. No offense but its often beginners who think Photoshop is the be all end all in photo editing. The better you are at photography the less and less Photoshop you will use.

    To the OP, Aperture is a raw workflow and asset management program. If you are shooting in raw, Aperture would probably be the way to go. Also if you are doing a lot of studio shooting where your lighting is consistent you can batch process a lot of your raw workflow.

    If you have no clue what I just said then I would suggest going with Pixelmator. Its a great program. Just strive to get the best shots you can out of the camera so that only basic adjustments are needed when the image gets to Pixelmator.

    Generally for a photography workflow this is what you will see:

    Photoshoot -> Batch processing (or regular processing) in Aperture to correct lighting, noise, color, etc etc -> Photoshop or Pixelmator for touching up, skin smoothing, etc.

    When you get real good at photography, unless you are shooting portraits that require touching up or some commercial work, you will find yourself using less and less of Photoshop or Pixelmator.
  16. Alvesang macrumors regular


    Sep 4, 2010
    That is true and is not true at the same time. Of course, the better your material the less you have to improve. Yet even the smaller adjustments are being done in Photoshop because it offers the most control over what you're trying to accomplish.

    Furthermore, it depends on what you want your photo to be, and this is where the philosophies of photography drift apart. Some say, getting an almost perfect picture (just a metaphor, I know it doesn't exist) "out of cam" is the art of photography. Others compare shooting photos to shopping for ingredients and the editing and composing are the cooking. Let's just say Photoshop is one hell of a kitchen (if you know the recipies). ;)
  17. Resist macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    Well spelling should matter to everyone.
  18. gnomeisland macrumors 6502a

    Jul 30, 2008
    New York, NY
    Ha! This is my set up exactly. I think there's a growing number of people with this workflow now that Apeture and Px are selling for such a discount on the Mac App store. I haven't used the workflow enough yet to really say one way or the other but so far it seems great.
  19. akdj macrumors 65816


    Mar 10, 2008
    This! Such an important part of the process! Learning the craft of photography FIRST! Obviously, post production is a craft in and of itself...and an important part of today's digital photography workflow...however, if one learns to white balance, focus, and correctly meter the moment he/she hits that shutter button, time spent IN PP can be greatly reduced if not eliminated.

    Once again, well said...and I couldn't agree more. I've been in the audio production side of the creative business for the last 20 years...and the recent switch to MIDI instruments, and virtual instruments/"plug-ins", etc...as well as bundled loops and synths on iPhones, et al...I'm truly concerned there will be NO such thing as a musician in 20-30 years. Children these days have NO patience to sit down and learn an instrument and the craft of musical creation..when all they have to do is plug in to their X-Box and match the blue, red and green buttons with the AC/DC on the LCD!

    I still believe youngsters in photography should HAVE to shoot film and a single lens for the first year at LEAST, while learning aperture, DOF, how to manually focus;)....white balance and metering for light...etc. I understand the future is digital...but one will be amazed at the difference of shooting with one of the new Uber-Bodies when you know what the hell you're doing:) It really does make a difference when you leave the "Auto" setting and move to the "Manual" mark to make your own adjustments....so your SOOC shots need little if any post production. Chimping is fine! Easy way to learn from your mistakes and bad settings....and it's one of the greatest attributes of shooting digitally...no cost with either time/money for development! The dark room becomes your image editor...and when I spent time in the development process in the 80s, I didn't spend hours on EACH shot cropping, stretching curves, adjusting white balance, and removing noise!!! It was three dips in three solutions and a clothes pin:)

    No one needs one HELL of a kitchen when someone just invented the microwave!!! PhotoShop is becoming old hat! Adobe needs to drop the price, and soon!!! There are way too many competing platforms...all of which you could buy collectively and STILL be dollars ahead of buying the latest version of Adobe! I've been an avid PS user for 10 years....Illustrator and Audition, as well as Premier and After Effects are other programs I utilize from Adobe...however, CS4 was the LAST version of PS I will EVER purchase. I'm floored by the abilities of PS Elements. I bought it for my wife's computer and now use it solely with Aperture on my MBP for round trip editing when needed (and it's rare!). No granted, I'm not a graphic illustrator....so vector and graphic creation (Illustrator and PS) are unnecessary to me and I can see how they would be mandatory for others....just seems to me Adobe could make SO much more money by dropping the price significantly and selling quantity vs. being only affordable to the truly "working pro"....or those with stupid amounts of money to blow on a program that can be mostly matched by much cheaper softwares, that'll easily do the trick IF they aren't making money from their images.

    I've never used Pixelmator...but am seriously considering it for our new MBAir 11". Seems to fit the bill size-wise and I'm excited to give it a try!

  20. anandrajk macrumors newbie

    Jan 26, 2011
    I am a beginner too. I just downloaded the aperture trial yesterday. I have used iphoto for 2 years now. aperture seems complicated and not intuitive. Definitely has a learning curve.

    Can the experts here tell me the main differences in layman terms between iphoto and aperture.

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