An Aperture 3 feature I use all the time is compare mode. I also use the closely related stack mode but we'll focus on the former today. Compare mode is crazy useful for quickly keeping a single select image up while judging it against other candidates. Typically I will use it later in my workflow rather than earlier. The image at the top of this post is one I selected via compare mode to send out as an illustration to explain something I happened to be discussing yesterday. I had already rated, color corrected, and added a color treatment to a session I shot with Mary a while ago. I wasn't trying to get to my absolute favorite image from this set. All I was trying to do was grab the one that best represented the topic of conversation.
In my quick use of compare mode I setup a filter to view only images of one star and above in the browser, scrolled down to the particular group of images I had in mind, and activated compare mode via option-O. I then proceeded to choose the image that was exactly what I was looking for. Here's how compare mode works.
Upon entering compare mode whatever the primary selection was will be considered the current pick. Another image – usually right next to the current primary selection – will be the first candidate image for consideration. Doesn't really matter because that's what will change as you use your arrow keys to move through images. Take a look below. The image with the green border is the select and the one with the white border is the current image to evaluate against it.
I mentioned that I used option-O to enter compare mode, you can also use the little drop down menu available in the full-screen image browser that looks like a TV set as shown above. If you are not in full screen mode you can use the "View->Main Viewer->Compare" as well. The real action comes when you switch to the image viewer via double clicking one of those images with the border. You can see what happens in the screenshot below. A two-up view with the current select on the left and the current candidate to compare on the right (or top/bottom depending on image aspect ratio). Using the left and right arrow keys you can move through different images that will show up at the right. At any time just hit the return key and the image displayed on the right with the white border will become the current select and move to the left.
An interesting thing to note while in compare mode. Any of the keys that usually affect all selected images like rating keys will only affect the current candidate, not the current pick with the green border. This can be useful but generally I am already done with ratings, labels, etc. when I use compare mode. Think of this as a sort of auto primary only mode.
Also be aware that when not in full-screen the only way to enter compare mode seems to be while in the viewer rather than both the viewer and browser. I could be suffering some sort of memory loss but I would swear this changed recently for no apparent reason. All of my Aperture 3 installations now work this way with the View->primary viewer sub menu grayed out when in the browser. Even the shortcut keys boink at you to switch to compare or out of compare if you are already in compare mode when in the non-full-screen browser. Doesn't surprise me, apple seems to screw around with compare mode functionality at random like when they switched the key from return to option-O back in Aperture 2 to enter compare mode. Ostensibly this was because people where getting confused when they accidentally entered compare mode. Whatever. They obviously thought that power users would be using compare mode all the time if they made the return key put you in compare mode way back then. I liked it that way.
What about Mary? Wasn't that a movie? No, that was There's Something About Mary. In any case, while on the subject of Mary; I will be doing two back to back mini-workshops this weekend at the new Atomic Canary: Baltimore space. The first one will be a window light mini-workshop that's usually a lot of fun and people seem to leave with a few new things to try. I also give out a free copy of my window light eBook. The second one is going to be a new little quick hit bag of tricks – Ten things you can do with one speedlight. Both mini-workshops will feature Mary as our subject.
If you're around check them out. If you're wondering why there was dead-air here as well as twitter over the weekend, it's because I was busy painting the new space. It looks great. Even if you're not in the mood to shoot we're having a free open house on Sunday that will be a blast. Stop by if you're close. All the goings-on can be tracked via the Meet-up Group.