While working these last few days with Lightroom and Aperture side by side I’ve been playing with Stacking as well as Versions (in Aperture), which are called Virtual Copies (in Lightroom). The Virtual Copy tool in Lightroom is a very welcome addition and really helps with my newfound black and white addiction. To create a Virtual Copy in Lightroom go to Photo > Create Virtual Copy in the Library Module. Or you can also right click on any image and choose Create Virtual Copy. Pretty simple. In Aperture it is simple as well and they both perform about the same way. Both applications create copies of the original or master image without taking up but a few kilobytes of hard drive space. And you can create as many versions as you want in both programs. So now we can have the original color image, a sepia tone, and a black and white all right next to each other without chomping into our hard drive space. I don’t see any huge differences between the applications on this front.
In the above image I have selected both the original image and the virtual copy in the survery mode.
Now in terms of Stacking, I was never one who stacked selects on my light table so this function seems a little strange to me but I know of a few Aperture users who swear by it. After playing with stacking in both Lightroom and Aperture, I have to say that it is much better done in Aperture because of the visual separation between stacks and the control you have as to how the stacks are made. Lightroom has similar controls to adjust and automatically form stacks but with the images all lined up right next to each other it isn’t visually easy to delineate where one stack starts and another ends. For my workflow, I don’t use Stacking so I’m not too worried about it. I tend to sequester my images by their star ranking and it works fine for me.
Above is a comparison of Aperture and Lightroom with the images stacked automatically.
In regards to some other observations on these two applications, Aperture only works on my 15″ MacBook Pro at the moment. It will not load onto my G5 tower since the video card on the tower is not up to snuff - though it seems fine for all of my other imaging applications. That in it’s own right is a pain since Lightroom will run on pretty much any computer working with Apple OS 10.4.
Aside from that problem though, I have quickly come to the conclusion that Aperture isn’t really in its element unless you are working on dual monitors. I like the full screen mode in Aperture and actually prefer it to the normal user interface. But I don’t like my image being covered up by the HUD for horizontal images. And I can see that the image editing process would be much nicer in Aperture if I were using dual monitors. I’ll try to put my monitors together this week to see how it works. I am not surprised that in most of the Aperture videos on the Apple website they show Aperture being used with dual monitors. I can imagine it would be really sweet to have Aperture running on dual 23″ or 30″ monitors with one monitor as an image browser and the other as the image preview.
By comparison, Lightroom seems fine on any size monitor - even my 15″ laptop which is great since I will be using it in the field and have quite extensively. I have also worked with Lightroom on a 30″ monitor and it is incredible. On a 30″ monitor forget about clicking off the panels - there is plenty of room to see your image at near 50% or larger with all of the panels open. I was drooling…
That’s it for now. Thank you for all of your comments - keep them coming and I’ll respond when I can.
Adios, Michael Clark