Aperture - Light Tables Revisited

ApertureScreenSnapz006.jpgOne of the least used features of Aperture - The lowly old light table. It's an album that lets you chuck a bunch of images up on a paste board and resize them relative to each other. Oh it does let you drag them around as well. That's about it. I won't go into explaining them as in how to use the couple of self evident controls they have available. That is easy enough to figure out on your own. What I will do is tell you a little bit about how I use them and share something a buddy of mine started using them for.

I come from way way back - I like prints. I like contact sheets and still make scads of them. One of the things that I used to do is "play" with a big pile of related prints for various jobs - sort of arranging them on the floor next to each other to see how they work "together'. Fact is I still do that. I also use the Aperture light table feature to do that as well.

My work-flow for most book projects starts with a light table. I chuck the images that I plan to use in a book up on a light table and I start to fiddle with image relationships. What images work together. How they are best juxtapositioned and sequenced. I also start to determine which will be the dominant images in the book by making them bigger. I only really use two sizes to do this - the size they start out as and about 4 times that size. I also sequence the images from left to right like a giant story board - like an ultra-wide panorama as the light table can grow in any direction. I stick pretty much from left to right. Using light tables to do this seems to me to be a much more free form layout activity than doing it in the context of a book. When I am actually putting the book together I am more focused on page layout and design. With the light table I am not worried about that right now - I am focused only on the images, relationships, and sequence without other issues crowding out my brain.

A good fried and excellent travel photographer started a new aspect of his business a few months ago. He sells prints from his vast body of beautiful work. More specifically he sells print installations. Whole walls of his prints. He started using the Aperture light table as a virtual wall to help clients visualize what prints will go on what walls with each other. He sits down with them and they play with various combinations and sizes to get a rough idea of how the installation will be put together before committing to a final design. This is a pretty obvious use but I thought it was a great idea and might be of use to some of you out there that could have a similar need.


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