One of the concepts that I emphasize in the organization eBook is how useful the simple album is in combination with stacks due to the capability of each and every album to have it's very own album pick that behaves as the only image version in the stack when the stack is closed. I gave two quick examples of creating an album for 8x10 crops and another for black and white conversions. In my Aperture workflow I almost always group similar images into a stack, then make the best one the overall stack pick at the Aperture project level. I never change the stack pick. By that I don't mean that I don't make adjustments to the image version, I mean I don't create new versions for specific purposes such as aspect ratio, etc and them make them the overall stack pick. Having that consistent from project to project is a huge time saver for me. What I do once I have the best image that I shot of a similar group and the base level optimization of that image as the stack pick is I then create new albums for things mentioned like aspect ratio changes, black and white conversions, output specific color or sharpening adjustments, etc. In those albums that album pick is the version representing what the album is for. The other thing I find very helpful is to create an album specifically for versions that were round-tripped to an external editor or plug-in for post processing. Obviously the album picks in this album are the resultant TIFFs or PSDs produced by the external editor.
Why do I do this? I do it because the few additional key strokes it takes to create a new album with new versions as the album picks pays dividends 1000 times that in the future. Here is an example. Say I need to produce and upload flattened 16 bit TIFFs of the Photoshoped finals in a specific order to a new publisher for a project that I was done with 6 months ago. What would you rather do, go to the project and hunt through each of the stacks that are in some humble jumble order hunting for the particular PSDs that are somewhere in the stack along with every other version that you made and select them blah blah blah for god knows how long or…
Would you like to just go to the project click on the PSD album, close the stacks, hit command-A, command-L, typeNew export for dipshit publisher, and then drag the images to the required sequence and export using a custom naming convetion. If you take the advice of creating albums as I suggest your life in Aperture will be much better.
Now let's connect a couple of dots. I mentioned that I always have the best version with Aperture adjustments applied as the overall stack pick. If you took a look at the Guide to Aperture Metadata Display PDF you can see that one of the items that is prominent in my metadata overlays is the project field. That field displays the blue folder hierarchy and project name that the image resides in. Some of you maybe thinking that is useless because you already know where you are. Think about this. When you do a search over the whole library or in a smart album at the library level it's great to have the location of the image instantly available so that you can go right to the source. I don't know about you but knowing that the images showing up are the best of the best with out a lot of duplicates and noise is great. If you have versions inconstantly ordered in the stack and having 17 versions of the same image show up in my searches is not efficient. Doing it my way you can confidently check the include stack picks only box and eliminate a ton of noise in your smart albums and library searches. Having the project that an image exists in at your finger tips saves me a ton of time.
As always I hope this gives some of you ideas of how you can use Aperture to improve your workflow efficiency. Comments, questions, and feedback always welcome or email me.