Photography | Design | Consulting
APERTURE 3 ORGANIZATIONA g u id e t o A p p le A p e r t u re s e x t e n s iv e org an izat ion al fe at u re s .
ROBERT W BOYERNorth East Md Usa 213.674.4450
w w w. r w b o y e r. c o m
IntroductionAperture workow and organization Two of Apertures greatest strengths are its exibility and organizational features. The exibility that I am praising is also a fairly huge obstacle to new users. Aperture does not force you into a set workow, you can pretty much do anything that Aperture does at any time, anywhere in the application. Want to make some color adjustments while your laying out a book? Go ahead. Want to add a keyword while you are looking at the images in a web gallery? No problem. Want to create a black and white version of an image in a slide show album? So on and so on. This kind of exibility extends to Apertures organizational tools as well. Lets use an arbitrary denition of Apertures organizational features as things that you can create that have no other purpose but to categorize or group related images or other things together. Using this denition those features would be Projects, folders, blue albums (Aperture refers to them as just Albums), and purple albums (Aperture refers to these as Smart Albums). There is one other feature that we will throw in there that is related to organization, that feature is stacks. All of these features can be used in any way in almost any combination with each other that you choose. There is no set way to do things, this makes Aperture amazingly powerful but at the same time somewhat confusing to those just starting out. There are a few other things that I will cover that are built-in to Aperture that fall under image organization as well. By built-in I mean that there is no need to create them - they are there to be used any time you choose to do so. Things like various sorting and ltering functions, as well as those new to Aperture 3 - Faces and Places. I will not specically cover slide shows, books, light tables, web albums, or the like. Those latter features for the most part work just like albums in terms of organization, albums with the twist that they provide functions that portray your images in a different way than just on the screen in front of you. Those features deserve their own separate discussion. This document will focus on how these organizational features work and some examples on how you can use them to manage your images. Please dont take the way that I happen to use the organizational tools as the only way to do it. The great thing about Aperture is that once you understand how the tools work, you can use them in the most effective manner for you. You also can change your mind and organize things differently down the road with not a whole lot of work. Its perfectly alright to have a couple different ways of organizing your images in the same library. None of us are single dimensional, we all make images for a lot of different reasons on different days, maybe even the same day. I travel, I have a family, I do commercial projects, fashion, portraits, personal art projects. I choose to organize them in vastly different ways. The way I choose to organize my projects and images for a commercial fashion job is not even close to the way I organize my family holiday event projects. Keeping this in mind I hope to give you a foundation that you can use to get the most out of Apertures incredible organizational tools. Getting started Before delving into projects, folders, etc. there are a few key concepts that absolutely must be understood or you risk becoming hopelessly and permanently confused. The concepts I am talking about are masters, versions, and to a lesser degree stacks. I believe a lot of confusion stems from a combination of these concepts not being explained very well in the Aperture documentation, the term master and version being used somewhat ambiguously in different parts of the documentation, and the fact that image stacks contain a combination of both. At the risk of a bunch of redundant information I am going to rehash these concepts, hopefully in a different way, because they are critical to really understanding Apertures organization.
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Here goes. Masters live in projects. Masters can only live in one and only one project at a time. This has been said about a million times, the reason for that is its really important. What hasn't been said as many times but is sort of what makes this fact really important is that versions of that master image le always live with the associated masters although you may see a version in many many different places. In fact you may see those versions in many different projects, even in projects that those versions do not live in. It may be helpful if you think of it this way. You never actually see a master image, you can see what a master looks like but you are always looking at a version. If we take the simplest case, of one master image le imported into one project what you are looking at is the one and only version. A lot of people refer to this one and only one version as the master. This really is not the case. That one lonely image in the project that you just important is actually just a version - there is nothing really special about it. It is not the master being somehow special. If you duplicate that version using the image menu, context menu, or option+V you will see two images. Both of them are versions and equal in every single way except the version name. The rst one is not somehow special in any way. Those two version are associated with the same master image that you imported into Aperture. The question how do I tell which one is the master comes up a lot with new Aperture users. The real answer is neither of them - they are two versions associated with the same version. Prove it to yourself. Click on the rst one and use command+delete to get rid of it. That version goes away but nothing happens to the master image le. The second version is still there. The only thing special is when there is one and only one version that is associated with a particular master le. In this case if you delete that last version the master le will also be deleted by default Aperture will give you a warning if this is the case. Lets look at a couple of illustrations to help make sense out of this.
Here we have a project with exactly one master and one version, simple enough. In the project inspector panel to the left the project called Master and Version contains two albums they are both empty (more on albums later). The one image that you see is the only version in the project. Watch what happens when we duplicate the version (menu, conC o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 9 R o b e r t W B o y e r! Aperture 3 Organization
option-v). We now have a stack with two versions. Ill do it again so that we have a total of three versions in the stack so that I can illustrate the difference between where a version lives and where you can see a version. For the purposes of this demonstration lets unstack them. by selecting them all and using the menu command under stacks. I am going to drag the second one to Album #1 and the third version to Album #2.. You may want to try this in your library by creating a new empty project and jamming just any old image in there. By dragging the versions into the albums I did not copy anything, no new versions were created there are still a total of three versions in the project. The only thing I did by dragging them to the albums was allow you to see a particular version in a specic album. In Album #1 I am going to bring up the adjustment HUD and change it to black and white. In album #2 Ill change the blues to purple. If I click back on the project box you will see the changes to that version. In fact you can create as many albums as you would like, drag a version into all those albums but you are looking at the exact same version in every single album. Anything that you do to that version no matter where you do it can be seen wherever that version shows up. Keywords, metadata, adjustments all of it. In yet more words a version can show up in 20 places, that does not mean there are 20 versions. If you hit the delete key in an album the version that is highlighted will not show up in that album any more. The version does not get deleted, it still lives in the project and still shows up everywhere else to. Conversely if you delete a version (using the context menu, the le menu, or the command-delete key), no matter where you do it, the version actually goes away everywhere. If you create a new version no matter where you create it, the new version lives in the project with all of the rest of the versions. For example, if I create a duplicate version in Album #1. Clicking on the and proMaster VersionC o p y r i g h t 2 0 0 9 R o b e r t W B o y e r!
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ject shows that the new version was created in the project, the only reason that you can see it in Album #1 is that you created it there. If I highlight the new version in Album #1 and hit the delete key you cant see it in Album #1 any more but it still exists in the project. I know this was a lot of tedious blah blah blah about versions but it is absolutely essential to understand that the only place versions live and exist is inside of a project, in fact one project only, the project where the master lives. Versions
Note regarding the delete key: By itself the delete key just removes a version from the current album type object. Command-delete actually removes a version from the library so it will not show up anywhere any more. If it happens to be the last version the master w