I have never been too satisfied with the Aperture Import panel. Although I think it was well thought out in some regard, it seems to lack in others. First of all, I think they have given way too much space to the thumbnails. Now, while I think it is important to be able to see your thumbnails before you import them (so that you can pick the ones you want) I think they could have used this space a little more efficiently. The problem is the emphasis is on the thumbnails and I have a hard time looking at the important stuff on the right side, especially the metadata area way down at the bottom right.
I do like the way Aperture lets you line up the import with a particular project simply by clicking the desired project, but I wish I could more clearly see all that metadata and import option stuff a little more clearly. I guess this is just a pet peeve of mine.
But, the real problem with the import panel is that I can’t create a metadata preset on the fly. I have to actually select an existing image, and use it as a template. It is true, I can go in and edit the template once it is saved, but this seems to be totally backwards in terms of workflow. It would make more sense for me to create that preset while importing the first card for a project. Lightroom allows for creating a preset on import, PhotoMechanic surely does, why can’t Aperture?
Okay, on to the good stuff about Aperture. One of my favorite Aperture features is the way it handles Versions and Masters. Though I am sure most of you already know this, I will explain for the novices, and Lightroom users. Aperture calls anything that is an actual file on your hard drive a Master. This Master is used to create as many Versions as you would like. Aperture’s Versions are nothing more than database instructions telling Aperture how to render your image. There is usually only one Master, and many Versions–it’s that simple. What is really nice about Aperture is that you can have as many Version as you like. Say for instance you want to crop an image to an extreme panoramic for a website banner. Just create a new version and make your crop. You can go back to this Version at any time and it’s right there where you left it, Stacked up with the Master and all the other Versions you may have already made.
This way of organizing things in Aperture really works for me. I never lose things anymore, and I can always go back to an old Version, or the actual original Master if I like. In addition, if I open the Preferences panel in Aperture, I can set the program to automatically make a new version whenever I start making changes to the Master.
With Lightroom, there is essentially one Version for every Master. Now, it is true, I can always go back to re-edit anything I want. I can change a crop, and I can re-adjust color balance, and I am never actually touching the original file, but I can’t seem to make multiple Versions without making a duplicate Master file.
I am glad to see that Lightroom has Stacks available as a feature. Stacks have always been one of my favorite features in Aperture and I really think they can be a powerful editing tool on a number of different levels. So, it is great to see them present in Lightroom. But in Aperture, the Stacks, combined with the ability to have multiple versions of the same file, is a wonderful thing.
Today’s shooting was pretty much a bust (aside from another rainbow shot). The early morning boat ride to the “Secret Beach” got cancelled at the last minute. I guess the lesson learned there is to never hire a guy to take you in a boat at 8 a.m. the day after Carnival. In the afternoon I walked over to Portsmouth again to look for more Carnival action, but found an empty town. All the shops were closed today and there was little going on except a bunch of Norwegians tourists cruising through the streets on bicycles.
So, I will have to wait until tomorrow to post my next gallery. In the morning I am going to the capital city, Roseau, and in the afternoon, if all goes well, I will be shooting some food setups and the interior of one of the local restaurants. It should be pretty fun, as I have become a regular at the place and the owners are eager to get some photos for their website.
So check back tomorrow when we get deep into the Develop module in Lightroom and how it compares to Aperture’s Adjustments HUD. So far Lightroom looks really impressive on this front.
Also, I just wanted to thank everyone for all the comments. Discussion is what this project is all about, so keep them coming. That last comment about Lightroom’s RAW processing capabilities is really interesting, and sounds like a call for some side-by-side comparisons, so stay tuned!