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apHUB—the Aperture HUB

Pete's picture
By Pete
July 28, 2015 - 12:00pm

The good ol’ days…

For a decade Aperture was my all-in-one photos app for storing and editing all of my pictures. And when it got local adjustments (brushes), the unified library and private/public photo-streams, Apple's media ecosystem was close to perfect.

The community here was great. Lots of great people with great tips. And working with Aperture was always a pleasure. Well, lets not talk about missing noise reduction and lens correction. ;-)

The cut

I was shocked when Apple killed Aperture. As did many of you, I had the immediate wish to find a replacement. I had tried Lightroom before — more than once — but always quickly returned to Aperture. This time I even bought books and video tutorials in the hope that I might like the program, if only I knew it better. And I tried hard to like it. Sorry, but it didn't work. For me, working with Lightroom is a pain. I'd rather shoot JPEG-only and stop doing any post-processing than have to it with Lightroom!

Capture One was a different experience. While still different than Aperture, the UI has some kind of elegance other than the plain, ugly UI of Lightroom. The quality of the RAW converter is superb. A lot of the editing tools are well balanced and effective. I started to like it, until I tried to import 70,000 photos into its database. It didn't work.

I've also looked in to DxO OpticsPro, though it has no DAM functionality at all. As a sole editor, it's very tempting. The noise reduction is probably best-in-class. And the Smart Lighting usually gives me better results with a single click than fiddling with Highlights and Shadows in Aperture.

The dilemma

I went back to Aperture, once again. It was very clear that it is the only program the works for me, at least concerning the DAM part of the all the apps. But I've tasted blood while evaluating all the other apps, with their advanced editing capabilities.

Aperture still is working as it was before its demise, but I'm no longer as happy and satisfied with it as I was before I'd started looking outside the box.

If only I could get an app with the DAM functionality of Aperture, plus the editing capabilities of Capture One and DxO OpticsPro. That would be a dream.

Well, that's unlikely to happen.

At that point an idea started to form in my brain, which several weeks later became shape as apHUB.

apHUB to my rescue

What is apHUB? It is a suite of Applescripts, that allow me to send RAW or JPEG files (or whatever format Aperture/the external editor can handle) to an external editor and back with a single keystroke. It saves the adjustment files and masks from the external editor transparently behind the scenes so the whole process is always fully non-destructive.

apHUB currently works with Capture One. A version for DxO OpticPro is in development. I'm evaluating others as well; suggestions are welcome.

Doesn't sound too impressive for you? Well, take a 10 minutes break, get some coffee and watch the demo of apHUB that I've recorded for you. Maybe you'll change your mind afterwards. ;-) [NOTE: the video is silent]

 
apHUB is not released yet, but it will be soon. Currently I'm looking for people to test the suite.

I've been using apHUB already for a couple of weeks and it works fast and reliably on my system. Using a dual monitor setup, the whole external editing process is almost as seamless for me as doing my edits in Aperture alone. 

The last thing I want to see are frustrated people bashing apHUB for choking on their system. Thus I'm currently looking for beta-testers to test apHUB on a broader range of systems, especially with different localization, and report any bugs they encounter so I can iron them out. If you are interested in participating, head over to www.aphub.de, register in the forum and ask for a beta-tester account.

By the way, there are other videos to watch on www.aphub.de as well.

What will apHUB cost?

Nothing, it will be free for all you stiff-necked, defiant, loyal Aperture users.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is an exciting solution, however do keep in mind that it uses Aperture, which we don't know if will continue to work beyond OS X 10.10

Level:
Advanced
App:
Apple Aperture Capture One Pro DxO OpticsPro
Platform:
macOS
Author:
Pete

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is an exciting solution, however do keep in mind that it uses Aperture, which we don’t know if will continue to work beyond OS X 10.10”

So far it is working with Beta OS x 10.11 (El Capitan)  It is definitely an improvement over 10.10

A quick note to all who want to test the suite:
I'm currently on a vacation trip till midth of August with crappy or no internet access. So please be patient. I'll reply / approve your requests, when I am back.

Pete

— comment from Vidpixarts —

Thanks, Pete. The work-flow you have developed with “scripts” is very impressive. What happens when a future operating system “obsoletes” Aperture and users can’t afford a 2nd computer to use for Aperture? Your work-flow does require an Operating System that does not finally “obsolete” Aperture–is that right? In other words, your work flow requires Aperture to be able to run?

———


Currently yes.

apHUB uses Aperture for the DAM part. But it could be easily adopted to any other DAM system in case that system is scriptable.

More critical than Aperture no more functioning would be, if the external editor you are using (C1, DxO, etc.) would stop working. Then you would be at the same point your are now if you want to switch to let's say Lightroom. All your prior edits have to be burnt into Jpegs or Tiffs or they are lost.

Pete

Thank you, Pete. The point about burning in edits is so chilling.

I thought I posted this so I’ll try again. Aside from using an unsupported app for your primary database, you’re also using an app that’s hardly a testament to stable data management.

Anyone who has used Aperture in referenced mode knows it’s constantly losing track of photos. I spent a leisurely 2 years trying out several approaches to DAM (ended up using Lightroom with C1 sessions for some edits). One thing I learned is no matter how pristine I prep’d Aperture for an import to another DAM solution (missing images, reprocess all images, make sure all folders were imported, run all the maintenance scripts), new DAM always sucked in more images than Aperture or iPhoto were reporting. About 1,000 out of a 30,000 referenced library. Looking at the images, yes, they were supposed to be in Aperture, but they were not.

It’s time to put Aperture to rest.

Ray,
apHUB isn't the holy grail for everyone. If you are unsatisfied with Aperture and especially it's DAM part it is definitely not for you. I haven't experienced loss of pictures but propably I just have not spotted the losses. ;-)
I've already answered the question about using an unsupported app for DAM. I'm aware of the risk but for me this is the better way than now fully switching to Lightroom or C1 with all their current shortcomings. When the time comes, that Aperture won't function any more, either a true alternative is available or I'll adopt apHUB to a new DAM.
BTW. if you find a Mac friendly fast and reliable DAM that has good Applescript support, let me know. I might expand apHUB for this. It's always good to have a plan B.

Pete

I wasn’t understanding the point of apHUB so I finally watched the video and now I get it……but to me it has nothing to do with the demise of Aperture other than that triggered the author to look elsewhere and he discovered raw converter/editors that he preferred.

What this really is in fact is a vast improvement on Aperture’s “Edit with xxx”. It does that really well and as long as the DAM part of Aperture continues to work in future OS’s then this is useful. I have started looking at Affinity Photo so scripts to improve the round trip to that program would be good.

For now I’m sticking with Aperture at least until El Capitan comes out. Luckily I’ve never lost any images in Aperture. At least not without operator error :-)

Seems like this would be very useful with Photos.app.  I see it is scriptable.  

I'll have a look on that. Given the SQL database structure of Photos is pretty similar to that of Aperture (which makes it even more silly, that Apple killed Aperture instead of just updating its database format to make it compatble with that of Photos), I assume it would be a trivial task to make apHUB use Photos for the DAM part.

Pete

Have you looked at Affinity Photo?

Thanks for the invite Pete. I’d like to get in touch when you get back and discuss using it. I’ve already downloaded Capture One. Committed - for now - to Aperture.

 

John Merkler

Hi John,

feel free to ask me here or at the apHUB site (www.apHUB.de). 

Just today I've uploaded a new version, that makes it much easier to install the suite. It's almost an one-click installation now.

Pete

Thanks Pete! Will look at it over the holiday. 

John Merkler

Hi Pete,

I’d appreciate it if you could approve me as a beta tester (already applied on apHUB.de). Using C1 and DxO for processing, but  still committed to Aperture - it not possible to change the best DAM to other much far away from it. 

Thanks in advance

Ilya

Wow this is interesting. I wish I had know of this a year ago.

After using Aperture since Ver 1.0,  and then having to burn/export thousands of files after the announcement in 2014, I vowed never to be dependent on one Photography application for my image editing process.  My goal is to have my workflow independent of any brand of software.  It’s easier for editing that for DAM to accomplish that. 

Im not sure I want to go back to Aperture after a year of using LR but I too still prefer Aperture’s DAM features I can find a photo in seconds in my Aperture Legacy library. 

I also prefer C1s rendering for RAW over Adobe’s dull flat color. But C7 won’t render files from my D750.  So for RAW I’m using LR for filing, and Nikon Capture NX-D for processing. It’s painful. 

Are you still beta testing apHUB? I’m running an early 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, with an external  (high gamut) monitor.

A year ago it didn't exist. ;-)

I've sent out the first info about apHUB in July and hoped former Aperture evangelists like Derrick Story or Rob Boyer would give it a try and afterwords enthusiastically tell their audience about it. But instead they totally ignored it, didn't even test it. I have no clue why. :-(

So apHUB is a hidden treasure. Feel lucky you found it. ;-)

Yes, it is still in beta. It is not, because it is still buggy but I currently have no free time to setup a new site and release it. It is a hobby, not a business. I'm happily working with it since June and for me it is the ultimate workflow. The DAM I feel at home, with the best scriptability (and after the development of apHUB I really know how to use it ;-) ) plus seamless access  to the best RAW processors and image editors with a single keystroke. Will be very hard for any future Aperture alternative to convince me to leave that workflow. 

Though it is officially still in beta, give it a try. Costs nothing more than registering on aphub.de ;-)

Pete

Is this still available?

I’ve registered at the apHUB site, but I see no way to retrieve the scripts.

Thanks.

Hi Francis,

give me a week or so and check again on the apHUB site (www.aphub.de). I'm currently updating the scripts for Capture One 10. And I'm going to release the source code to the public domain, so nobody wanting to use apHUB for his workflow must worry if it breaks in future versions of the OS or the editors it works with, even if I loose interest in apHUB or vanish to Mars. Well, at least not if you know how to program in AppleScript. ;-)

Cheers

Peter

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