Open in Editor or Plug-in… Again

PhotoJoseph's picture
March 6, 2011 - 12:23am

Scroll to the end for a video version of this tip!

A conversation in the User Forum about a complication with 3rd party plug-ins inspired this post. The reader was having troubles opening a photo into a plug-in a second time, and after some back and forth we resolved the issue and it pointed out what could be argued as a bug or a feature in Aperture 3. Which of course makes it great “tip” fodder ;-)

Editing with a plug-in or external application

Aperture has a fantastic plug-in architecture, with loads of developers making some very cool plug-ins for the app. If you’re short on ideas, head on over to Apple’s Plug-ins page and see what’s on offer.

Since these 3rd party tools can’t make adjustments using Aperture’s own adjustment capabilities (and if they could, we wouldn’t need them!), when you want to edit a photo from Aperture in one of these plug-ins, Aperture has to first render any adjustments you may have already made into a new file, and send that over to the plug-in. The format of the new file is determined in your preferences; you can make it a TIF or PSD, at 8-bit or 16-bit. This new TIF or PSD becomes a new “Master” file (so you can still always, always go back to your original photo). Once you are done doing whatever you’re going to do to the photo and it’s sent back to Aperture, it will have a little “target” icon on it, denoting that it’s been opened in an external editor (this could be an actual application like Photoshop, or just a plug-in—they are the same thing as far as Aperture is concerned).

In the following screenshot, we see a photo that’s been opened in Photoshop. I added some horrible color treatment to it to make it obvious to differentiate here. Believe me, it gets harder and harder to figure out what to do with Photoshop with every release of Aperture!

The little “target” logo means the photo has been opened in an external editor

See the slider badge on the bottom right of the first thumbnail? That tells us that some adjustments have been added in Aperture. Then, see the target badge on the second thumbnail—and notice that the slider badge is missing? The target means it’s been externally edited, and the lack of the slider badge means that the adjustments applied in the image on the left were rendered into a new master before being sent to Photoshop.


Watermarks in Aperture 3—Demystified (part 2)

PhotoJoseph's picture
March 3, 2011 - 6:10pm

In yesterday’s post, we took a close look at what happens when you use different size watermark files on different size output, and determined that the Scale Watermark feature is essentially useless. (There has to be a reason for it and a way to make it work, but I can’t figure it out. By all means let me know if you have!)

Today, we’ll discuss what size to make your watermark, what stylings to use (and not to use), we’ll create some using Photoshop — as well as using two FREE solutions — and finally of course we’ll set them up in Aperture.

Oh, and there’s a video podcast of the most relavent bits at the end of this post. Enjoy!

Determining size

What we discovered yesterday was that if you make a watermark larger than the output size (for example a watermark that’s 1000 pixels wide and apply it to an 800 pixel wide image), then it will be scaled down to the 800 size. Alternatively if we use something smaller, say 200 pixels wide, it will never be scaled up. This tells us that we can possibly get away with a single watermark size, assuming that our output are all roughly the same size. For example, if you usually output images at 800 for email, 1000 for web, and 1200 for client review, then you could create one at 1000 or so and never look back. And since a good watermark isn’t some huge glaring ugly thing on your photo, I’d argue that a 1000 wide watermark is plenty big for any size output. And keep in mind when I’m saying 1000 wide, I don’t mean 1000 tall as well… more like 100 tall and 1000 wide—and that’s assuming you have something really long to say! Mine, as you’ll see, are around 600 wide.

What do you put in your watermark?

Do you want to just have text, like this?

That file is only 300 pixels wide, and notice that it has a chunk of blank space to the left of it, so the info isn’t crammed up against the left side of the screen (I like my watermarks in the lower left, but that’s of course up to you).

If you want it to say more, the file just gets wider. What you put in there is entirely up to you; a logo, a name, a signature, whatever you like.

But we still need to figure out how to “decorate” it. The above sample works fine on a bright photos, but not so great on a dark one. Here’s the watermark I’ve used in the past, and although it’s not perfect, it works probably 90% of the time.


Watermarks in Aperture 3—Demystified (part 1)

PhotoJoseph's picture
March 3, 2011 - 3:03am

Did you know that Aperture can watermark your photos on export? Don’t feel bad if you didn’t; a lot of people don’t know it’s there. It’s a feature that has remained essentially unchanged since v.1, and to be honest it’s not that straight forward. It appears simple enough, but can do strange and confusing things on export.

I’ve been using essentially the same watermark for years (I just kept changing the year on it) and probably just got lucky in making one that worked so long ago! So I decided that once and for all, I’d figure out what is and isn’t happening in Aperture when you choose to watermark your images.

Also, one of the frustrations for many is that you need to create the actual watermark file outside of Aperture—and frankly, not everyone owns Photoshop. So part of this adventure was to find a way to create a watermark file for cheap, or even better, for free.

I succeeded.

The Easy Part

To enable watermarking, all you have to do is open the Export presets, and turn on watermarking for one of the presets, and add a PNG or PSD file to it. That’s it. Of course, it’s not really that easy, but here’s where the work is done.

The Image Export settings in Aperture 3 reveal the Watermark options

So really, all you should need to do is choose an image, decide where to put it, and off you go. But notice that little Scale Watermark option? Bizarre behavior. What opacity works best? What kind of file works best? All of this and more is what we’re gonna cover here.

This book was written for the budding photographer, the proud new owner of a Canon dSLR, or the dSLR user who’s never gotten that dial on top of their camera out of the fully automatic, “green square” mode. If you’re ready to step up your game, this book’s for you.

The ApertureExpert Podcast—It’s Here!

PhotoJoseph's picture
February 24, 2011 - 11:00pm

The ApertureExpert Podcast is not a traditional podcast; we’re not on a weekly schedule, nor is it an interview show. It’s simply a visual version of the tips that are posted on the main ApertureExpert Tips page (that’s this one).

These new podcasts allows you to read a tip, watch a tip, or do both—whatever suits your nature. And best of all, it’s all free!


Aligning Zoomed Images in Aperture 3

PhotoJoseph's picture
February 18, 2011 - 7:19pm

(Updated from the original Feb 9 post, as reader John Crosby found the solution to the “unreliability” problem I was having. “In quotes”, because it turned out to be user error!) 

By now most of you have discovered that if you zoom into multiple images simultaneously in Aperture, then hold the shift key while dragging them around, the images stay aligned. This is a perfect way to compare the same area of different photos of the same thing—for example to pan around several shots of a group portrait looking for the one where the fewest people are blinking or making a funny face.

If you hover the mouse over any part of one of the images when you tap the Z key, Aperture will zoom into that point—but only for that image. If you are careful to have the mouse not pointing at any part of any image when you tap the Z key, then all images will zoom to the center. Great.

Aperture 3, four images selected, normal view, before zooming…

Continue reading to see the rest—and watch a video on it!


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