Over the last month, I’ve taken a look at a few of Aperture’s comparison features (such as compare mode and stack mode). These features allow you to easily compare images within a project to determine which images you want to tag as your “picks.”
These modes, however, only allow you to compare images contained within a single project. As Scott Bourne discusses here, the project is fundamental Aperture structure that you really need to understand to be able to organize and manage your Aperture library.
Aperture provides no mechanism for comparing images contained in separate projects, and there’s really no need for one. If related images have ended up in different projects, then you might need to re-think how you’ve organized your library. However, there are a few simple workarounds if you want a side-by-side view of images from different projects.
First, you can create an album or smart album at the Library level, rather than in a project. Click on Library at the top of the Library pane, and then create your new album. The album will be created at the Library level, rather than inside any specific project. You can drag and drop images to the album just as you normally would, and because the album sits at the Library level, you can add images from multiple projects.
If you now select your new album, you’ll see that you can easily view images side-by-side. Any rating or stack pick changes that you make in this album will be reflected in your original project because, like an album inside a project, a Library-level album still contains pointers to images kept elsewhere.
If you create a Smart Album at the Library level, it will be populated with images from any project inside your library. This is a great way to create smart porfolios that mine your entire library for highly-rated images.
Finally, one of Aperture’s lesser-known features is the ability to open multiple projects simultaneously. This feature still doesn’t let you view images side by side, but it does make it simpler to easily switch from one project to another. To open multiple projects, click on the project in the Library pane. It will display in the Browser pane, as normal. Next, Command-click to open additional projects. They will appear as tabs in the Browser pane. You can easily switch from project to project by clicking on the relevant tab.