Apple Aperture 3 review

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

  • Price When Reviewed: 144 . 67

  • Pros: Vastly improved slideshows; impressive new brushes; multi-touch aware; ability to split and merge libraries; easy export to Flickr and Facebook

  • Cons: Sporadic reports of potential problems when upgrading older libraries; web page creation hasn’t been overhauled; need a powerful Mac and lots of RAM to run well

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Aperture is often referred to as iPhoto on steroids, yet anyone who’s used it will have noticed that although it’s more powerful than iPhoto, it lacks many of the features that make iPhoto fun to use.

Well, many of those absent features make a welcome appearance in the recently released version 3. A lot has changed in fact, even down to the toolbar’s icons. Cosmetic changes like this illustrate how thorough the redesign has been – Apple claims Aperture 3 boasts over 200 new features. Let’s take a look at the most important of them.

One of the most obvious changes can be found in the Library: just like in iPhoto ’09, you can now catalogue your photos by the people in them and where they were taken, thanks to Faces and Places. iPhoto has had these abilities for over a year and it’s nice to see them finally migrating to the professional equivalent. As a bonus, Aperture will recognise any Faces and Places data you’ve added in iPhoto when importing that library.

This feature could be seen to blur the line between professional and casual photography, but it’s good to know they exist and they could end up saving you time and effort in one of your projects. For example, you might want to find Johnny Depp in one of the many crowd shots you took. Faces could help you achieve that goal in seconds.

Finding the right photo is extremely important, and the bigger your library gets, the harder this becomes. Aperture 3 makes this much easier: you can now label your shots, just like you can folders and files in the Finder. You can also flag important photos and find them in a snap with the new improved search features.

Aperture 3 finally has a Trash folder where any shots you deleted are stored until you empty it, making it easy to recover accidentally deleted images. Ctrl-clicking on a photo in the Trash will also reveal a ‘Put Back’ command.

Now with added motion

Since many digital SLR cameras can now record video, the fact that you can finally store those clips within the Aperture library is a huge bonus. Impressively, Aperture also enables you to watch those videos from within the interface without having to launch QuickTime Player. iMovie ’09 is even aware of the clips’ presence and will include an Aperture icon just above the iPhoto one, in its Event Library section should you need to use them in a project.

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