The gloves are off?

The photo workflow part of the net seems to be abuzz with experts on the demise of Lightroom with the introduction of Aperture 3. Fellow Irish based photographer Marco Davi make his case for Aperture. And of course he’s welcome to that opinion, and he does have some valid points. And one bizzare one.

First up he calls Lightroom’s UI clunky. Personally I’ve stated for years that I find Aperture cluttered. And Aperture 3 certainly has done nothing to change that perception. His statement that he constantly has to click on scroll bars shows that maybe he’s not the expert he thinks he is. There are certainly times when scrolling is necessary, but with simple modifiers like Control/Command clicking on a panel to collapse all, and Alt/Option to invoke solo mode, it’s not an all the time thing. Personally I can find pretty much most tools under my fingertips. That’s because I learned the single key shortcuts that cover the bulk of the getting around in Lightroom. G,E and D, being key to getting about (pardon the pun). Having collections in Develop with LR3Beta means that the library disconnect is gone. In truth, I don’t work that way. I do my file management, get my selected images, and then develop those selects. Then back out as needed for export etc. Of course, if you have all the Adjustment options selected in Aperture, then you have to scroll too.

Next up Marco states that brushes work better. Well, yes and no. The mask options do allow the emulation of blending modes in Photoshop, along with mask inversion. These are an excellent addition this type of tool, and Lightroom should have them. Lightroom does allow you to build individual masks with a mix of settings. Mixing Flow and Density, you can easily build quite complex masks. These can be used with the Graduated Filter, which I don’t see in Aperture as yet. No doubt it’ll be on the must copy list also. With Lightroom brushes, even if you paint with a full setting, you can start a new brush in the same spot and double the amount. Another thing is that if you hover over a brush pin in Lightroom, you can click drag to change the overall setting for that mask, similar to using layer opacity (so if clarity was -100 and sharpening 50, dragging clarity to -50 would force sharpening to 25 for example). For me, there isn’t a clear winner, but I’d like to see the improved mask options go into Lightroom.

Presets. No different than Lightroom, so I’m sure this is a reason to switch?

Loupe. If you’re on a single monitor system, open the 2nd monitor window. Make it loupe sized, zoom in to 1:1, click Live Loupe. Viola. No charge.

Light Table. Can’t deny this is nice, but you can emulate it a fair bit using Custom Package in Print. Again it’s not the same, but while I really wanted this feature way back, I rarely need it. When I do need to see many images, I just use Survey Mode.

Full Screen? If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know my favourite shortcut: Shift Control/Command F.

Competition. I’m all for competition. It drives technology forward. But buying two products and into 2 upgrade paths? That’s not competition, that’s bad finances. Bizzare.

Lightroom 3 Beta has new demosaicing and improved noise reduction that make the image quality outstanding. And as a photographer, this is what truly matters. Everything else is a distraction.

And as a Web plugin developer? Web in Aperture sucks, unless you want to make your own full pages from scratch using tokens. There’s no way to make something that can offer the level of customisability that you can get in a Lightroom Web plugin. My website plugins couldn’t happen in Aperture.

There’s still great stuff in AP3. Video import, video inside slideshows. Timeline is a great feature. But, there’s very little customisability for the user, same as Web. Places is excellent, but to me faces is more consumer oriented and not really beneficial to my workflow. Maybe if I shot more events?

I’m not the only one commenting on this, Matt Kloskowski has a post over on Lightroom Killer Tips too.

About Sean McCormack