GraphicAperture 1.5 Beyond the Basics CDAperture 1.5 Beyond the Basics CD

Aperture 1.5 Beyond the Basics CD Review
Publisher: lynda.com
Retail Price: $99.95

This CD-Rom provides an easy way to watch, listen and learn about the new features in Aperture 1.5. I learned quite a bit about 1.5's capabilities. In fact, after being trained by Beyond the Basics, I have been convinced by Mr. Story that I too should manage and archive my photography all within Aperture 1.5. And that includes importing photos, assigning keywords, organizing, correcting, fine-tuning, backing-up, and preparing my photos for printing and distribution. I now am in the process of revising my photo workflow to be totally Aperture-centric.

Aperture 1.5: Beyond the Basics assumes you have a working knowledge of Aperture 1.1 or 1.2, and uses that position as a jumping off point for exploring the admittedly greatly improved features of the upgraded version (Aperture 1.5 is not included, of course). I was the perfect target market for this disc, since I have been using the older version of Aperture and felt comfortable with the capabilities and architecture of the application already as I upgraded to 1.5.

That said, I believe that photographers of any level of expertise could utilize the training after a few sessions of road testing Aperture's basic functions on their own. Then it would be time to get serious and see the breadth and depth of 1.5 from the learned perspective of the authors by using the CD-Rom.

A few words about lynda.com training are in order. Obviously, the huge library of titles offered by the company indicates that Lynda Weimann's teaching techniques have tremendous validation from the company's customer base, in all media variations: CD-Roms, DVDs, online training, and of course, printed books.

Many of the CD-Rom titles have example files included so the student can open up tutorial files in the application they are learning and follow the instructor by trying the steps for themselves. The CD-Rom I review here has no example files, but instead the authors utilize the sample images provided by Apple on the Aperture install disc that is a part of the purchased application. So in effect, the viewer can use those files to duplicate the processes explained.

You can chose to view the tutorial movies full screen or in a floating window. The floating window format allows you to launch Aperture 1.5 on the same screen as the training and jump back and forth from tutorial to hands-on experience within the application. I had the luxury of running the training full screen on an iMac with simultaneous real-world testing of the techniques by running Aperture 1.5 on my MacBook Pro nearby - a two-Macs-at-once approach.

Although the content is delivered in an personality- driven style by two amiable and extremely qualified instructors, the jury still out on one aspect: is the friendly banter between Derrick and Scott an asset or hindrance to getting the job done? That job, learning the techniques of Aperture 1.5, is accomplished by paying attention to tutorial content, movies of menu selections, and making note of the authors' tips.

Here's some of the goodies I have been able to understand, learn, and implement in my use of Aperture 1.5 through the relatively painless learning techniques of Aperture 1.5 Beyond the Basics:

  • Workflow essentials, Aperture with or without RAW, and even synching your Library to an iPod
  • The new way of importing images, managed and referenced library essentials, consolidate vs. relocate, and a workflow for laptop users
  • Creation and use of Image Previews, and integration of Aperture with iPhoto, iLife, and iWork
  • Using improved Metadata, sidecar data, auto-fill, and the importance of Metadata
  • New interface, RAW fine-tuning, advanced sharpening, and new tools
  • Vastly improved Loupe features, creative uses for the Loupe, enhanced Lift and Stamp, and other new features
  • Output, print resolution, and extensibility (thirdparty plug-ins)
  • Creative and productive use of Aperture using Automator

There is one negative observation I would like to note: In the very beginning of the training, the movies have us stare at a lifeless interface screen while introductory comments are voiced and procedural setups are discussed. It would have been nice to cutaway to the authors' discussing these points since there was nothing to show on screen other than a static screen shot. That may be more a pet peeve of mine due to years of media production where the mantra was, "no dead air."

However, once the menus start dropping down, the boxes start checking off, and the demonstrations of color shifting, image sharpening, and brand new features begin, your attention is more than captured by my now-preferred way of learning - the friendly, self-paced, CD-Rom.

Aperture 1.5: Beyond the Basics is more than worth the 3.5 hours total running time, as well as worth the price. The risk factor is that you may decide you need to totally revamp your photo workflow and become a true Aperture devotee.


Review by NCMUG member John Hershey