Aperture: Stuff I’ve Learned

After a few days playing with a trial version of Aperture I’ve learned a few things. I’m a long time user of iPhoto and Picasa. More recently I’ve been testing Lightroom and Aperture and I’m starting to consider a full-time switch to Aperture. Here are some of the things I’ve needed to learn.

Deleting Photos

Sometimes you want to delete a photo–not just remove it from the Aperture library. In Picasa, you hit the Delete key and the photo is gone for real. It’s slightly more complicated in Aperture, which also offers more flexibility.

In Aperture, you can rate a photo as a “Reject” by taping the “/” key. Then, one you’ve selected all the Rejects from your project, go into the browser mode and hit Ctrl-8 to show all the rejected photos. Then, you can delete them by selecting them all and trash them with Cmd-Delete (or from the main menu File->Delete Master Image and All Versions.)

Almost done. To remove them for real, select the Trash project in the Library and either use the keyboard shortcut or the right mouse button over the Trash to empty the trash.

Aperture will prompt you about whether you want to move the referenced files to the trash–in my case I use a referenced library so this is important to keep checked if you want the files on disk actually deleted.

The final step would be to empty the System Trash to recover your disk space. Or leave it there in case you change your mind.

Making it go fast

My first impression of Aperture’s speed was not good at all. Importing my library of photos was slow. Waiting for them to “process” was much slower (20+ hours). Then, I dared to quit the program and was greeted by this message which got stuck here and never went away:

A Force Quit was my only resolution and Aperture handled that with grace. I do have 65,000+ images in my library and I did some tests importing a hundred images at a time and Aperture seemed to perform fast enough on those imports given a couple of tricks:

  1. Time Machine likes to back up the Aperture library while Aperture is using it. This is very slow. While I’m testing, I’ve simply asked Time Machine not to backup my Aperture library. Not ideal, but much faster.

  2. Browsing between images would sometimes take up to 2-4 seconds. This was similar to my experience with Lightroom–but Picasa is almost always instant. I wrote to Apple’s Aperture Support not expecting much response, but what surprised when they quickly directed me to this little gem:

That’s the Fast Preview button. When it is down, you can browse through your library instantly, you just can’t color correct an image. A marked improvement. There must be some real good reason they don’t automatically turn that button on and off for you in the background depending on whether you’re doing a color correction in the software, but I can’t think of why.