Questions about using aperture

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by snerkler, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. snerkler macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    I've been using Lightroom 5 and really like it and get on with the interface. However, I've had numerous export issues in that it won't always include certain adjustments on export, most commonly noise and/or sharpness, but can be saturation, clarity etc etc. I've tried changing all export criteria suh as image quality, image size, sharpening for screen etc etc, and nothing seems to resolve it. I've been on the adobe help section with no look.

    So I have decided to give Aperture another go, and have a number of questions.

    1. Normally I find apple and apple software very intuitive and logical, but not aperture. Also there are a number of tools lacking in aperture that I use a lot in Lightroom, such as graduation and radial filters, and the vertical/horizontal tool which can straighten objects within the image, and not just rotating the image. Can you get similar things (such as plug-ins) for aperture, without costing a lot of money?

    2. With the highlight and shadows adjustments they start on zero and there doesn't seem to be any way to go into negative values. What this means is with highlights you can reduce them, but not increase them. Is there a way to bump up the highlights if you choose to? In LR you can independently adjust just the highlights and shadows using the slider, but you can go in both directions so you can increase/accent the highlights, or decrease the highlights as shown below. In Aperture you only seem to be able to decrease the highlights or shadows, ie the slider starts all the way on the left so you can only start at the value dictated by aperture and then move it one way. As you'll see, changing the highlights is very different to simply changing the exposure values.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    3. Noise reduction is severely lacking in Aperture imo, and I'm not willing to buy expensive plug-ins to improve this, is there any improvement with noise reduction on the horizon with an update, or are there cheap alternatives? I use the Sony A77 and unfortunately it's very difficult to get a noiseless image

    4. Is there a quick way to show which adjustment has done what with brushes? The only way I've found is to click on each adjustment, go to brush in then the settings on the pop up and then click show colour, which highlights the areas you've used this brush on. So it's a 4 step process compared to a 2 step one of LR.What I mean by this is that in LR if you go to the brushes it shows up as dots on the image, if you click on these it highlights in red the areas the brush is applied to, and also on the right it shows which adjustments have been made, such as exposure, saturation etc. I also like the way that you can apply many changes with one brush, eg you can choose to change sharpening, saturation, clarity etc all with the same brush so you don't have to have so many brushes (see pic below) With Aperture you have to have a brush for each one therefore you can end up with a zillion adjustment boxes/bricks in the adjustment panel

    [​IMG]

    5. Is there a way to show the history of your changes so you can go back and see what you've done? For example in LR you can look at the history bar on the left (See below) and it'll say things like "saturation +10" and then give you the value it's now at. I find this very useful. You can also click anywhere in the history and see what the image looked like before a specific change. Again, I find this very useful and wondered if there was something like this in Aperture?
    [​IMG]


    I hope this all makes sense :confused: Any help greatly appreciated
     
  2. swordio777 macrumors 6502

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    #2
    Firstly, do you have access to photoshop?? If so, it is a FAR better tool to do everything you ask than either lightroom or aperture.

    If you don’t have photoshop, then my advice would definitely be to stick with lightroom for now. The current version of Aperture simply doesn’t offer some of the features you want. And even for the things it can do, it’ll mean changing your way of working.

    Aperture is a fantastic tool for many (myself included), however it does not sound like the right tool for you.

    I can’t answer all your questions fully, but I’ll try as best I can:

    1) Sorry, can’t help with this bit at all as I don’t use any plugins in Aperture, however I suspect any solutions that can do these things will probably cost you.

    2) The highlights & shadows adjustment sliders in aperture are not for boosting - they work more like lightroom’s recovery and fill light sliders. You said that changing highlights is different to just changing exposure - this is because if you boost highlights without lightening the shadows you’re adding contrast. Increasing exposure then adding contrast would be the closest alternative.

    3) There is no official update on the horizon - Apple are very secretive about their new products. With that said, some users strongly believe that we will see a new version of aperture released later this month alongside the new mac pro. We have to assume that noise reduction tools are one of aperture’s most requested features, so if a new version does come out it’ll most likely contain them. That’s a big IF though.

    4) Nope. As far as I know, the 4-step process you described is the way to do it.

    5) No - you can only turn bricks on & off. In some ways it’s easier because you do not have to compromise other adjustments to quickly turn on/off the change you made 10 steps ago, but there’s no way to see the order you made your changes.

    Hope that helps.
     
  3. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #3
    Thanks very much for your help, much appreciated. Unfortunately I cannot stick with LR for the reasons above, I just cannot get any decent exported images.
    I don't have photoshop and do not like Adobe's new subscription based service tbh, rip off. Also, I did download the trial and it's more for adjusting one of images, I couldn't find any way of importing and organising libraries like you can in LR and Aperture, which is very important for me.

    I'll stick with aperture for now and work around some of the things it doesn't have. If I really need to use a grad filter etc then I can always export the image from aperture and open it in LR to do a couple of adjustments, hopefully that'll still export OK from LR.

    Is there a way to mimic a grad filter, i.e. somehow fade a brush out (without laying several brushes)?
     
  4. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #4
    I know you don't want to spend much, if anything, on plugins, but I'd encourage thinking about the Nik suite. Personally, I find Nik Dfine for handling noise wipes the floor with either of LR's or Aperture's implementations. There are filter options in Color Efex, and their control point implementation means you have fined grained control on how/where you want to implement a given function in any of their plugins. Silver Efex Pro is hands down the best BW tool I have used outside of Photoshop, and much more intuitive (to me).

    My 2 cents.
     
  5. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    Thanks. I may end up having to go down the plug-in route, but obviously I'm trying to avoid it if possible to keep costs down. I had a quick look at the Nik software, is it $149 for the whole suite, or is it $149 each part e.g. dFine, colour efex etc? Either way, $149 is a lot to me, I only paid half that for the full Lightroom software :eek:

    TBH I'm not entirely sure how plug-ins work with aperture. Do they just show as extra adjustment options, or do you have to export the image and the re-import it?
     
  6. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #6
    The price is for the whole suite. And it's the same sort of export/import concept as LR has with plugins. In Aperture you do an "Edit in..." for a given plugin (export to) and when you save, it re-imports into a copy of the image. Like LR, it doesn't alter the RAW file.
     
  7. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Thanks for the help :) TBH I've never used a plug-in with LR either so don't really know how they work either ;) I did trial photoshop for a while and exported into there so assume it's a fairly similar process, although I can't really remember how I did this either :eek:
     
  8. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #8
    Happy to be of some small assistance :). I'm particularly curious though about the issue which is driving you to even consider moving to a different tool, and what would be causing that. I'm assuming that it's a visual inspection of the output image that's telling you the settings aren't being output? In other words, there's no obvious sharpening being applied (as an example)? What's your Image Format under File Settings?
     
  9. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #9
    Can I take a quick stab at maybe helping with the export issues?

    I assume you are using Lr's export functionality, in the Library?

    What happens when you export a full sized TIFF? So no resizing?
    What happens when you export a full sized JPG? (so no resizing and no compression - and please reconfirm each operation and if there is a quality issue.)
    Does this issue happen with images that get round-tripped to Photoshop, but not to images that you edit solely in Lr?
    I assume you are shooting RAW with your Sony?
    I assume you have an up to date ACR engine (Adobe Camera Raw)?

    I'm not at my Lr computer at the moment - but I'll check more things. If you have a link to the discussion you had on the Adobe Forums I'd be happy to read that and save you the work of recapping that discussion.

    Obviously the best solution is to see if the Lr export function can be fixed, rather than you going to another piece of SW just for the work around.
     
  10. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    When you say file settings, do you mean the file type on export? I usually use jpeg, but have tried TIFF as well, and they have the same look.

    I posted a similar discussion on AV forums, link here, I can't find the Adobe one :rolleyes:

    As you'll see from the AVF link first of all when discussing the car pics I thought it wasn't applying noise reduction, then thought it was applying too much sharpening giving the appearance that of increased noise, then thought it was the file size and resolution issue.

    The I tried to export some pics of my wife's wedding dress and these came out with no sharpening added regardless of file type, size etc etc, and regardless of all other settings.

    In the past I've had some flower shots that haven't exported vibrance adjustments, and some some that haven't exported saturation. By far and away the most common problem is either with noise reduction or sharpening, I've only had the saturation/vibrance issue once with one set of images.

    ----------

    Thanks for the help, I've answered your questions in bold in the quote.
     
  11. r.harris1 macrumors 6502a

    r.harris1

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    #11
    Very weird - it's almost like the export image type is set to "Original", except it seems like some of the settings are getting through, sometimes (if I understand correctly). Seems a shame to need to move to a whole new system.
     
  12. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #12
    Tbh it's a far cry from the original, there's more adjustments applied than not on export, but often there's at least one adjustment not included in the export.

    Strangely, on the odd occasion it exports fine :-/
     
  13. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #13
    Well, I don't have much to add. I've read the AV Forum thread. I would really like to be there looking over your shoulder. As you've pointed out - comparing side-by-side photos is not showing the differences as much as you'd like.

    What kind of computer and monitor are you using?

    You say you are using Lightroom 5. Go to the "About" screen. Which version of Lightroom 5? (should be 5.2 for the latest). Right below that is the Camera Raw Version… mine is 8.2.

    It sounds suspiciously like something specific to your installation. I'm seeing no issues similar to what you describe, and I'm not reading about other people having them. It could be the installation itself, or something you are doing. You might (eventually - but not yet) try doing complete deletion of Lightroom. I have no experience with this.. but someone somewhere will have posted good instructions on making sure you have removed every last trace. Then a fresh installation will ensure everything is where it's supposed to be. Have you Fixed Permissions? Probably not going to do anything… but I had a weird problem with Photoshop where it would stop saving files until I Fixed Permissions. It was eventually fixed, of course. Probably won't do anything … but it's a painless thing to try.

    I note in the AV forum you are exporting as sRGB. Try taking one of your more extreme examples and see if AdobeRGB or even ProPhoto RGB makes a difference.

    Are you importing and converting to DNG? What happens if you change that setting for an import?
     
  14. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Thanks for your help. I'm using a MacBook Pro 15.4", early 2012 hi-res (non retina). I'm definitely using 5.2, but not sure what RAW version as not on the computer at the moment.

    I've tried uninstalling and reinstalling on numerous occasions removing every trace I can find, including going to system files and searching "are included". I've even restored my mac using time machine back to a date when LR appeared to work and this didn't sort it either.

    I'll try the RGB, but thought this was just colour balance?

    I'm not familiar with DNG files, I don't know what they are and how to use them, other than I know LR and aperture can use them :eek:
     
  15. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #15
    I've just been reading up on the ACR. Photoshop uses it, but Lr has it built in. You may not see anything - but check anyways.
    OK, good… at this point we're just trying to eliminate likely candidates for the seed of the problem. I doubt there is any point in re-installing. Except - - - if you have noticed that the problem goes away after a reinstallation and then reappears.
    Not colour balance, but colour space. In very simple terms the colour space dictates the range of colours in an image… and managing the colour space/colour profile workflow ranks way up the frustration causing list. The sRGB space is the most limited one (of the commonly used spaces). It is designed to limit the colours in an image to just those colours that an average consumer level monitor is capable of displaying (again this is just in simple terms). It shifts and/or eliminates colours that don't fit into that space (i.e blues that are too blue, reds that are too red, etc. One of the ways that a system smooths out curves and angled lines in an image is to fill in jaggedly edges with pixels that are toned between the dark and the light. I'm hypothesizing here, but I wonder if those interpolated tones are falling outside the colour space. That is they are getting shifted to match the dark or lighter content and therefore aren't working to fill in the jagged edge? The AdobeRGB space is a bigger space. Try exporting a problem photo using that setting, and also at the same time export using the sRGB - all other settings the same. Is there a difference? ProPhoto is the biggest space, but your display can't show it… so don't use it. It can lead to unexpected results in the final results.
    DNG files are Adobe's proprietary RAW files. They are in the process of trying to make them an Open Standard, though. It may be that Lightroom's Raw Engine is just not handling the Sony RAW file very well. Try converting to DNG on import, and see if that makes any difference. I'm guessing - but I wouldn't put much money on a bet - that this may clear things up for you. Statistically speaking, unless you have been mucking about under the SW hood of your system then it's unlikely you have a unique problem. Equally, it is unlikely that this is a widespread problem that you have uniquely uncovered… this should be a rather common forum issue seeing as what you are doing is fairly common. However, I think (but correct me if I'm wrong) that there aren't a lot of people using this Sony camera… so the numbers using it and Lightroom, and importing and exporting in a way similar to your workflow, is going to be limited. It is statistically much more likely that it is a widespread problem within a small group of users. So… if we can change your workflow just enough to get you outside this small group of users, then your problem should disappear. In theory at least.

    Which means… you should head over to the Sony camera support forums. If my theory is correct, you should find a thread or two from folks having the same issue - since you will all share a common denominator - the Sony camera.

    Luck.
     
  16. CaptainZero macrumors newbie

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    Jun 14, 2013
    #16
    Possible help for question number 2

    On #2. Some of the adjustments in Aperture can go further than the sliders in either direction. Just click on the number to the right, and type in the number you're looking for. I don't know if it works on all of them, but could help you with this problem.
     
  17. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    Thanks very much. I'll try the convert to DNG and see how I get on. How does this effect the original RAW file, does it change this or does it create a new file and so taking up more storage space? If it's the second option where are the DNG files stored?

    I'll try the RGB too, and also the Sony forum, never thought about it being a Sony issue :eek:

    ----------

    Thanks, I'll give this a go :)
     
  18. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #18
    In my case, the relevant import option is to "Copy and Convert to DNG" which means it leaves the original in place, and makes a new copy of the file. But I'm importing from memory cards - and so I'll be deleting the original in a few days to a week … so no issues around space. I think, but don't quote me, that DNGs take up less space than most RAWs. If you are importing directly from your camera, then that is the same thing as importing from a memory card.

    DNGs are stored in the same way as you are doing now.

    But… before you do anything else, check Sony support. That is the least destruction route to take (in the sense that it will change nothing on your system - and therefore there is no risk to your images, barring the very unlikely scenario that the Sony support site has been infected with the first OS X virus in the wild - and that you catch it before it's noticed and eliminated … statistically unlikely, in other words…..)
     
  19. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #19
    Bit of an update. I've spoken to a guy who also uses a Sony A77 and lightroom and he's not had issues, so would appear that it's not across the board on Sony or my specific model.

    I've tried importing as DNG, and exporting as ProPhoto RGB and Adobe RGB, as well as sRGB and it makes no difference :(

    It appears to me there's a glitch somewhere but I just don't know where :confused:
     
  20. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #20
    Well, cr*p, eh!? I don't know where else to go. Without being able to look over your shoulder....

    Have you changed the colour profile of your monitor? That is ... have you ever recalibrated it? Maybe try the advanced calibration. Settings > Display > Colour > Calibration

    Name your new profile something other than the default name. That way you can go back if you have to. This is along shot, but if it's something specific to your system, well - this is one of those things that can affect what you see. But I wouldn't hold my breath that this will fix it.

    Can you take it to genius bar? Ask for a photo specialist. If you are lucky you will get someone who has a lot of personal interest in this (over and above the usual training). Of course now may not be the right season to be able to tie up a genius....
     
  21. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #21
    Thanks for all your help, I'm out of ideas too. I've been using Aperture over the apst couple of days and getting some decent results so will stick with this for now until I can show someone the issue.

    I'll keep an eye out for a deal on the Google Nik Collection as dFine is supposed to be pretty good, and there's some filters too so may have a grad filter.

    I have calibrated the screen so don't think that's the issue either. But surely the screen calibration wouldn't make one image look different to the other would it? All it would do would be look different to other computers :confused:
     
  22. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #22
    If the calibration worked, it shouldn't matter. But if the calibration is corrupted - and I'm just hypothesizing here without any real basis - then it's possible (maybe?) that individual pixels that are created (interpolated) to be that in-between tone to smooth out the jaggedlys are being pushed to a tone they screen can't display. So, smooth curves become jagged.

    I am no expert in this area.. but I did spend a number years as tech support in the days of DOS. And the big lesson I learned is that only rarely do you 'find' the problem, unless it is a known issue. You have to eliminate every single possibility until all you are left with is the one factor that you can't eliminate as the culprit. You start with all the easy candidates, and work your way down the more list. You do the easy things first - and then the more difficult, and then the ones that risk data corruption. This means you have to eliminate some pretty weird possibilities though... like a corrupted monitor profile. It may be enough for you to just revert back to the factory profile - and then test. It's easy enough to do. I'll keep thinking possible candidates... but I'm running out of ideas.

    Did you talk to just the one Sony guy? Or did you check the Sony boards? One camera used by a guy who may not be particularly attuned to image issues does not eliminate it as a Sony issue. There may be a camera firmware update... perhaps the Sony RAW file is creating issues for Lightroom?
     
  23. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Thanks again, I appreciate the help. I've tried the 'factory' calibration and my own, and the problem persists.

    I will post it on the Sony site, although the gentleman I spoke of is very clued up, plus we are both running the same software.

    Thanks again. If I solve it I'll be sure to post the solution.
     
  24. snberk103 macrumors 603

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    #24
    He may be knowledgeable, but he'll be using different firmware, different OS versions, etc etc.

    Is there anything unorthodox, or non-plain-vanilla about your setup?
     
  25. snerkler thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #25
    No, I don't mess a lot. I don't do torrents, I don't mess with terminal etc, it's pretty much a bog standard Macbook pro. The only thing is that I've put a crucial SSD and crucial RAM in.
     

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