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    When Aperture first arrived as a workflow solution for photographers it seemed to complement Photoshop. Aperture eased the process of rating and … Read More
    When Aperture first arrived as a workflow solution for photographers it seemed to complement Photoshop. Aperture eased the process of rating and cataloging images; it made making photo–books and printing easier; it also had a rather good set of enhancement and retouching tools, but left all the really heavy image processing to Photoshop. The game changed. Recreational photographers wanted a step up from iPhoto and professional users didn’t want to skip out of Aperture to edit in other software, and demanded ways to contain their workflow in single application. Aperture 3 addresses these issues. The headlines from Apple speak to users who want to move on from iPhoto. What can be less clear is how to use Aperture as total professional imaging solution. Aperture’s interface provides commands and adjustments via a three tabbed Inspector, and right–click (Control–Click) to invoke contextual menus. In this tutorial, we’ll work in Full Screen Mode with the Inspector displayed in heads-up mode; this gives an uncluttered interface with few elements to explain. Action Menus are also used. They look like a gear or cog. As well as describing the mechanics of how to use Brushes, this tutorial also suggests a creative workflow; using Versions to make snap-shots of a work in progress. Photoshop users may be familiar with working in Layers, Adjustment Layers and Masks, finding that these things are conspicuous by their absence in Aperture, but similar functions can be found by using Brushes. The challenge is to see the simplicity of the process and embrace it. Read Less
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With the inclusion of non-destructive brushes, Aperture became a one-stop shop for photographers.
 
Introduction
When Aperture first arrived as a workflow solution for photographers it seemed to complement Photoshop. Aperture eased the process of rating and cataloging images; it made making photo–books and printing easier; it also had a rather good set of enhancement and retouching tools, but left all the really heavy image processing to Photoshop.
The game changed. Recreational photographers wanted a step up from iPhoto and professional users didn’t want to skip out of Aperture to edit in other software, and demanded ways to contain their workflow in single application. Aperture 3 addresses these issues. The headlines from Apple speak to users who want to move on from iPhoto. What can be less clear is how to use Aperture as total professional imaging solution.
Aperture’s interface provides commands and adjustments via a three tabbed Inspector, and right–click (Control–Click) to invoke contextual menus. In this tutorial, we’ll work in Full Screen Mode with the Inspector displayed in heads-up mode; this gives an uncluttered interface with few elements to explain. Action Menus are also used. They look like a gear or cog.
As well as describing the mechanics of how to use Brushes, this tutorial also suggests a creative workflow; using Versions to make snap-shots of a work in progress. Photoshop users may be familiar with working in Layers, Adjustment Layers and Masks, finding that these things are conspicuous by their absence in Aperture, but similar functions can be found by using Brushes. The challenge is to see the simplicity of the process and embrace it.
Start with the selection of a reasonable photograph. As my chosen image was imported into an earlier version of Aperture, the photograph has to be Reprocessed to order to access Brushes. Pressing F takes us to Full Screen and pressing H invokes the Inspector. At the top of the Adjustments Tab click Reprocess. (Please note this step can only be undone using UNDO, so work on copied versions of images.)
Here Global Adjustments are made sliding the Exposure and Recovery Parameters to the right. Try holding down the SHIFT key when adjusting parameters and you’ll see all but the selected parameter disappear. These adjustments opened up the darker tones, but stop the Highlights burning out. Vibrancy was then used to punch in some colour. This is more effective than using Saturation. The sky needs extra punch so a Quick Brush is used.
The Brush Parameters are: Brush Size, this can be changed using the scroll wheel of a mouse. Softness, which feathers the brush giving it a hard or soft edge; a soft brush will have a dotted concentric circle within a solid circle, the greater the distance between the two circles the softer the brush. Strength is the opacity of the brush. And, Detect Edges can restrict where brush strokes are applied.
Either Vibrancy or Intensify Contrast work well on skies. Detect Edges has been ticked and the largest and strongest options set in the Brush HUD. After making a few strokes it can be difficult to see what has been retouched. Select the Action Menu and chose Color Overlay. Other options include show Brush Strokes and the Brush Range; restricting the Brush to only work in Shadows, Midtones or Highlights. Here All tones are selected.
At this point the photograph lacks drama as it was always intended to be Black & White. To make the image monochrome a Preset can be used. In the Adjustments Tab in the Inspector choose Preset, and from Black & White experiment a little. Here a Red Filter was used. However this was just a starting point; adjusting Contrast, Definition, Highlights and Shadows, as well as changing the RGB values of the Black & White will further enhance the photograph.
The Adjustment Inspector is divided into sections called Bricks. Here a Black & White Brick is sitting on a Vignette Brick. The tick box can be unchecked to switch off an adjustment. Just to the left of the Action Menu is a return arrow. This can be used to reset a brick to its default. A brush icon means brushes have been applied and clicking it will invoke the Brush Heads Up Display (HUD). To add new bricks, click on the Adjustments menu at the top of the Inspector.
To complete the monochrome version of this image a subtle Sepia Tone (Intensity 0.06) was added along with a Vignette. By default the maximum Vignette value is 1.0  but by clicking and dragging in the number value a setting of 3.25 was made. This heavy vignette affects too much of the photograph so from the Vignette Action Menu, Brush Vignette Away was selected (Detect Edges off works best here).
Having achieved a strong image, it would be good to preserve the work done so far before going on to make more changes. Making a new version of the photograph will do this and only requires a few hundred kilobytes of storage; as you’re not saving a complete set of new pixels. So, Right Click or Control Click the image and from the contextual menu choose Duplicate Version.
Although something of a cliché, simulating a hand–tinted look is an interesting way to further explore Brushes. From the Action Menu in the Black & White Brick choose Brush Black & White Away, switch on Detect Edges and set the Brush Size and Softness to maximum and set the Strength to 0.80; that’s 80% opacity. But before brushing away, (from the Brush HUD Action Menu) select Apply To Entire Photo.
This Action can be used to mix the Black & White and Colour values together. Then from the Brush HUD click the Eraser Icon and set the Brush Strength to 0.4 to paint away to reveal more colour. To complete the second version of this photograph a square crop has been applied. Adjustments > Crop in the Inspector. Notice that Vignettes redraw to scale to the crop. Brushes may be needed to clean things up.
In the rock image Aperture’s Detect Edges function works very well because there are clear changes of contrast between the rock and the sky; edge detection works by looking for contrast change. In the second image, the red hat is very similar in tone and colour to the carriages of the train. From Presets, the Infrared Black & White Preset was chosen, then the Highlight parameter adjusted to recover burnt out highlights.
With Brush Black & White Away selected, Detect Edges on (from the Action Menu), the colour is revealed. The scroll wheel on the mouse was used to adjust the size of the brush. The smaller the Brush, the tighter the edge detection. Once the colour has been cut out, Detect Edges can be toggled on and off as the image is cleaned up. The Z key zooms in, and left–click–dragging whilst holding down the Spacebar navigates round the zoomed view.