Aperture 2 Cropping Images

screen_capture.jpgI have explained this technique to speed up your work-flow about a million times over on the Aperture support forums as well as via email. I thought I would post it here hoping it may be helpful to a few readers as well as saving my time from having to re-re-re-rewrite it over and over again.

Let's say you have a project with a bunch of images that you need to crop to a specific aspect ratio. There is a really fast and easy way to do this without screwing up your organization or marring your pristine full-frame versions. Assuming you have stacked, rated, keyworded and adjusted all of the images and all you need are 8x10 crops to send to Walmart or something, here is what you do.

  1. Make sure all of your stacks are closed in the view that you are going to select the images from. You can do this with option-;
  2. Select all of the images that need the crop.
  3. Create a new album from the selection by either right clicking one of the images or using command-L, you should now have an album with all of the selected images. I am calling mine 8x10.
  4. Looking at the newly created album all of the stacks should still be closed,  if not close them and select all of the images in the album. You can do this with Command-A
  5. Now create duplicate versions of all of the images using option-V. Because you happen to be looking at an album when creating those duplicates they all become "album picks" for this album, meaning that they show up at the top when the stack is closed. Close all the stacks again so that you can only see the duplicates.
  6. Select just the first image in the album and then click on the crop tool. For our purposes I am going to use an aspect ratio of 8x10. Now apply the crop to the first image by dragging and hitting enter.
  7. Click on the lift tool to lift all of the adjustments and metadata. Un-check all of the items except adjustments and open the adjustments so that you can see them. Using the delete key, delete everything but the crop and make sure the mode is on "add"screen_capture_1.jpg
  8. Reverse the selection by using command-R
  9. Choose "stamp selected images". You just applied your crop to all of the other images. Great, close the lift and stamp HUD, now here comes the really great part.
  10. Select the first image only and choose the crop tool again. Do not hit enter, just use the arrow keys to "arrow through" all of your images adjusting the crop for each of the images with the mouse. No fuss, no muss. While the crop tool is active you can see and adjust the crop frame for each image without a lot of wasted motion. You do not need to hit enter for each one, if you do it will basically close the crop HUD and put you back at the arrow tool.


This sounds like a lot of steps but it's really not. I happened to mention a lot of keyboard shortcuts that help really speed things up once you know them but even with using the menus to do everything I just explained it takes under a minute to apply this to a few dozen images and you stay organized to boot. The technique of duplicating and adjusting versions in the context of new albums having them automatically become "album picks" and showing up at the top of the stack in that album is essential to an efficient organized work-flow in Aperture. Albums and versions are practically free from a storage and resource standpoint. No need to mess about inside stacks after creating them and picking the original "stack pick" way back at the beginning of your work-flow. I never ever ever create a new version that is not somehow the "album pick" of an album somewhere.

Just to drive this home lets make all of these custom crops black and white.

  1. Command-A select all.
  2. Command-L New album from selection.
  3. Type in the new name "Black and White"
  4. Control-M add monochrome mixer adjustment. Tweak settings
  5. Shift-Command-C lift
  6. Delete everything but the monochrome mixer
  7. Command-R reverse selection
  8. Stamp selected images

Ten seconds flat for a new album with new black and white "album picks".



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