Aperture Tip - Zoom vs Loupe

ApertureScreenSnapz005_1.jpgUntil we see Aperture 3 I am going to try to get all you Aperture fans "ready" by trying to give you some useful stuff that you may not know or may not have thought about in the version that we all have right now. For some of you it might be a whole lot like getting a new version.

This is a quick one covering something obvious but there are a couple of little hints in here that even you experts might have missed. As you know I am a big fan of stack mode if you have been reading some of my other stuff. Stack mode helps me get to selects really fast. I use compare mode as well but to a much lesser extent and usually use it way down the road in my work-flow to compare very different images.

One of the things that we all need to do is compare similar images - not just overall composition but also images that are very similar compositions in a quick sequence to get to our selects. Aside from an overview we photographers compare detail - usually at 100% - sometimes for sharpness but mostly for subtleties.

The Aperture loupe tool is the worst way to do this. Really it is. The zoom tool (Z key) is the best way. Especially if you are in stack mode or compare mode. Both images get zoomed to 100% and you can drag them around with the space bar. Better yet you can drag them both around at the same time using Shift+Space. Using Z and Shift+Space to compare two images is about 900 times more productive than trying to go back and forth using the loupe.  Try it.

But wait there is more - zooming and shift space works on any number of images in a selection when you have more than one being displayed in the viewer. Yep it works with three or four or… I do this all the time and it is by far the fastest way to do things in a lot of cases. Esp if you are a shortcut key junkie like I am.

Hold on - we do have one more thing (as Steve would say). You hecklers out there may be saying to yourself - dragging images around zoomed in or using the loupe tool is so slow it sucks. Well you are sort of right but you are actually wrong. You are right if you do not have any idea how to do things effectively in Aperture - If you have a fantastic machine two images with a ton of performance killing adjustments layered on that you want to compare you should be fine. If you want to do it on not so great a machine with those same adjustments it will drag. If you have 4 images up and they have a tone of stuff going on even the biggest machine will be brought to it's knees.

So what to do - well that's easy instead of complaining over on the Aperture support forum of how bad Aperture sucks because it allows you to ask it to do a lot of work easily - just do it smarter. Even on the lowliest machine this works great. Before you start dragging the images around zoomed in just hit the "M key" to disable all the adjustments - drag - hit the M key again - bang no performance lag. Now if you use the menu for everything instead of shortcut keys this would be cumbersome. If you learn to use Aperture well it can be a joy in terms of responsiveness and work-flow productively. So…

  1. Select images
  2. Z key
  3. M key
  4. Shift+Space drag them
  5. M key

I swear I can be about 4 times as productive even on a 13inch last gen MacBook with Aperture, its shortcuts, and it's UI options than I can with Lightroom. If you didn't know this or have not thought about it before give it a try and be sure to get used to the shortcuts so they become automatic - I swear it will feel like you got a new machine and a new version of Aperture.


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