Aperture gunning for Photoshop? Matt 25 Oct 2005

37 comments Latest by Jeff Bramel

Apple executives say Aperture is not a Photoshop competitor. Really? It seems like Aperture does a big % of the stuff that photographers currently use Photoshop for: importing RAW files, color correction, sharpening, etc. Plus it’s handling of RAW files gives you more flexibility and the ability to do non-destructive edits.

By working with the raw data that the camera’s sensor captures, you can delay essential photographic decisions, such as white balance, until post production, giving you more flexibility in refining the image’s color and tone. Aperture lets you work with a Raw file from import through printing without having to convert the data to another format and without permanently altering the original image. All of your edits are non-destructive, which means you can turn them on and off at will anytime in the process.

Sure, it’ll take a while to make any sort of dent in Photoshop’s hegemony. And clearly, filter-heads will remain loyal to Adobe. For many photographers, though, Aperture is going to steal Photoshop’s mojo.

37 comments so far (Jump to latest)

smqt 25 Oct 05

I think I’d even buy a new computer to run Photoshoot - or whatever it’s going to be called - if they make it.
When they make it.

Photoshoot, would be a good name, don’t you think?
Sounds a bit like Photoshop, shoots PS, fits their naming schedule.


Adam Preble 25 Oct 05

“A big %”? Yes, if you use Photoshop like, say, an overpowered Picasa, but for those of us who use more than just the Adjust menu, Aperture comes nowhere near of competition range with Photoshop.

Danny Cohen 25 Oct 05

Aperture is a complement to Photoshop

Don Wilson 25 Oct 05

Apeture is definately one of the coolest apps out there. Image editing based on database records? Awesome!

Warren 25 Oct 05

I agree with Adam regarding user requirements. For anybody who uses Photoshop’s real horsepower (LAB curves, contrast masking, etc.), Aperture isn’t going to supplant PS.

This certainly isn’t going to replace Photoshop in my toolbox, though it may turn out to be a welcome addition.

David Yee 25 Oct 05

Aperture would definitely replace the “development” stage of my workflow (color correction, exposure, etc), but there’s still plenty room for Photoshop in the final “printing” stage. Tools like Dodge and Burn, Selective Color, and blend layers are all things that can be used judiciously in finishing a good photo, and aren’t part of the Aperture toolkit. I don’t even do a lot of the photo illustration stuff that Photoshop is great at, but I’ll still keep Photoshop in the dock (until Apple makes something better) for that last bit of the workflow.

Justin Reese 25 Oct 05

Adam Preble:

Yes, if you use Photoshop like, say, an overpowered Picasa, but for those of us who use more than just the Adjust menu, Aperture comes nowhere near of competition range with Photoshop.

I think a significant chunk of Photoshop users fall under the overpowered-Picasa category. PS still rules photo manipulation, but photo optimization is Aperture’s forte. I know plenty of photographers who are really looking forward to it, because they have no need for much of PS’s reality-distorting power.

Now, if it were only a hundred or two cheaper, those of us who simply dabble might be tempted as well.

Nick 25 Oct 05

Apple has been very smart with their recent pro app releases. Aperture, like Motion before it, doesn’t try to compete directly with Adobe or anyone else. They’ve created something new that doesn’t quite resemble anything else out there, that makes up for what’s lacking in existing products.

Instead of making people think “Aperture vs. Photoshop”, they want you to think “Aperture and Photoshop”, because they know you probably own it already anyway.

Paul D 25 Oct 05

Aperture is obviously not a flexible image editing and compositing application; it will obviously never replace Photoshop for the print, web, and motion designers who use Photoshop.

But I have little doubt that Aperture will soon be a feature-complete tool for photographers specifically. For them, it is a replacement; I doubt most photographers use or need half of what Photoshop does anyway, and the workflow is certainly not suited towards photo management.

I do think that OS X, with CoreImage and other advanced media APIs, is also ripe for an advanced graphic design tool to compete with Photoshop.

Samo Korosec 25 Oct 05

It’s a niche product. Just like the Mac is. What Apple has been doing with their software offerings lately is finding a niche that is in need of a good solution and providing said solution. Yeah some people might switch from Photoshop, but for those Photoshop wasn’t the ideal solution in first place, anyway.

If it keeps Adobe on their toes, the better. But with all the technology Apple released (Core Image/Video/Data/etc, Spotlight, etc) they need to produce software with it as well - just waiting for others to deliver solutions with it won’t help them much. And I really hope it will spur interest in the OS X platform by other independant developers who might have the know-how to produce similiar products and find a profitable niche for themselves.

ML 25 Oct 05

For anybody who uses Photoshop�s real horsepower (LAB curves, contrast masking, etc.), Aperture isn�t going to supplant PS.

Agree with you. But I wonder what % of photographers that use Photoshop really use these tools.

Jesper 25 Oct 05

I think saying that Aperture is going to steal market share from Photoshop is a bit like saying that cars will be stealing market share from makers of wheels and transmissions.

Aperture won’t touch Photoshop’s bottom line by anything larger than a rounding error. You know why? Because a critical point of Aperture is that it handles peripheral-to-editing tasks *at all* (and in my opinion, from the looks of it reasonably well), not that it handles editing better than Photoshop. An Aperture that didn’t make it easy to edit anything in Photoshop right this instant would not sell well at all.

Any photographer “Pro” enough to justify buying Aperture will be smart enough to lay down the extra money for Photoshop, too (if they haven’t gotten it already). At most, people will spend more time in Aperture than in Photoshop, but it won’t make sure that people will stop using Photoshop.

Darrel 25 Oct 05

Does Aperture have LENS FLARE!? No!? ‘nuff said. ;o)

Paul 25 Oct 05

We do a pile of work with commercial photographers. The pros, especially in the photojournalism space, use something like Photo Mechanic. It deals with storage, meta data, titling, etc.

The huge advantages of Aperture are the interface (these are all highly visual people) and the fact that it’s RAW workflow right through.

The things that Aperture does well are things that professionals don’t use Photoshop for. But Photo Mechanic is going to have trouble competing. What a pro photographer uses Photoshop for is NOT archiving, adding metadata, and versioning. And the biggest liability is not being able to manage images in RAW format.

So Apple will knock a few companies off their pedestle, but it won’t be Adobe.

Daniel 25 Oct 05

As a photographer who tries not to spend loads of time in Photoshop, Aperture is a product im really looking forward to.

Photoshop and RAW support is kinda sketchy and from what i’ve seen with the previews of aperture, it looks a whole load better. Yes i’ll still be using Photoshop CS2, but only for the final post production of images.

Time will tell i guess, but my number one thing is that it has to work on my 17” powerbook AND my dual g5

ek 25 Oct 05

Hey Daniel, according to Apple’s Aperture specs page, the app will run on both your 17” PowerBook (so long as you have at least 1GB of RAM) and your dual-processor G5, but given that the recommended system is a dual-2GHz G5 with 2GB of RAM, my guess is that it’s going to be hideously slow on the laptop.

Here’s to hoping that the next-gen PowerBooks are wickedly fast and sport a seriously high-powered GPU!

playa P 25 Oct 05

“Does Aperture have LENS FLARE!? No!? �nuff said. ;o)”

that made me LOL and that isn’t something I usually do when I am having sex and reading a blog at the same time.

andjules 25 Oct 05

while it’s true that there are quite a few photographers and agency production artisits doing color correction for print, photoshop’s hegemony is safe, given aperture’s non-creative focus - no designers or creative image artists will even blink at aperture’s appearance. the real question is whether aperture will be able to earn itself any kind of market: with cutting edge hardware requirements, turning the $500 software into a more likely $2k+ hardware and software combination purchase, it’s a tough pill for photographers (largely an industry of small independents and freelancers with carrying heavy costs on their ‘real’ equipment - cameras, lenses, etc.) and production artists/operators (the ones doing color correction - which photoshop does just fine - and folks who are generally at the bottom of the agency-production-food-chain) to swallow.

Mike Doan 25 Oct 05

As a photographer, I see Aperture as a complimentary product, much like CaptureOne is a compliment to Photoshop. Fore me, Photoshop will still be a major part of post-production (e.g., final tweaks to levels and curves, touch-ups, etc.)

CapturingLight 25 Oct 05

I’ll admit… Aperture looks like iPhoto on crack… but that’s not to say that I’m not looking forward to getting my hands on this crack. Nor will i stop using Photoshop.

Can’t wait to try it. But, like others here pointed out… looks like i will have to upgrade my system in order to do so.

not my real name 25 Oct 05

while i’ll admit that i haven’t read everything about this application, i think that you’d get away with running this on a slower mac by not loading in 800 12meg RAW files at a time…

i can’t imagine that using something with a smaller toolset could require more resources than photoshop, unless it’s intended use was to take a gazillion RAW images and molest them all at the same time.

Photoshop or Phase One? 25 Oct 05

My first reaction was that they’re gunning for Phase One, makers of a *fantastic* raw processor (Capture One). (and some nice digitalbacks too)

Unfortunately, I can actually use Capture One on a small iBook, but it doesn’t sound like Aperture is usable there…


Michael Ward 26 Oct 05

Needs a monster mac, and costs a small fortune.

Looks like decent software but the entry requirements v feature set are going to see this version flop.

Joshua Blankenship 26 Oct 05

I’d just be happy to have an app that will STORE and CATALOG anything more than a few hundred photos without grinding to a halt. (iPhoto isn’t all that much more useful than storing my photos in a shoebox under the bed.)

I can see the benfit of Aperture as a compliment to Photoshop, a nice front-end to the post-production process. And as someone who shoots thousands of photos a month, I welcome anything that makes the workflow easier.

Carl 26 Oct 05

This post was obviously not written by a photographer with any real RAW workflow experience.

Aperture is an excellent compliment to Photoshop, but it is not even close to being a replacement for Photoshop.

Most professional photographers use a workflow program such as Capture One for processing RAW files. RAW work flow consists of more than just one program, and most don’t use Photoshop for everything.

Aperture is a competitor to Capture One, not Photoshop.

Jan Korbel 26 Oct 05

I am on the same boat with Matt, Paul D and others who point out that Aperture is aimed at certain niche, that it could serve with Apple briliance. Just look at the claim:

Aperture Designed for Professional Photographers

And Nick has a good poin too:

“Instead of making people think �Aperture vs. Photoshop�, they want you to think �Aperture and Photoshop�, because they know you probably own it already anyway.”

Oh, and to playa P: What?!

Warren 26 Oct 05

Most people who are going to spend the $400 or so for Aperture are likely to be in that percentage of Photoshop users who use PS’s higher-horsepower capabilities. I doubt there will be many Aperture customers who don’t think beyond “Auto-Levels” in Photoshop — those who buy it solely because it has Apple’s name on it notwithstanding.

Shawn Oster 26 Oct 05

I know I’m late to the party and I only skimmed the comments but where is the Windows support? I know Macs are seen as the designer’s tool of choice but these days I see as many pro and am photographers/designers using Windows as Macs and more often than not, both. Part of Photoshops appeal is how easy it is to move between the Mac and Windows version.

Photoshop though is overkill for a lot of am photographers that just want to reduce red-eye or adjust levels. Digital photography manip is only a small part of what PS can be used for so a niche, Mac-only, photo-orientated application is little more than a far-off blip on the PS radar.

MrBlank 26 Oct 05

This new Apple product impresses me a hell of a lot more than that video iPod stuff. Aperture is something photographers have been wanting ever since digital photography appeared. Now, Apple, make it so photographers can share their assets with designers remotely so we can get rid of Cumulus.

DaleV 27 Oct 05

This is a pointless post! As others have mentioned, most of you don’t even know what this app is for! It’s almost NOTHING like Photoshop!

Michael Ward: This is a PRO app, so cost is not particularly an issue. It’s probably not for you, and it won’t flop, as it’s not intended to sell millions of copies.

“iPhoto on crack”?! You must be if you think that.

mini-d 28 Oct 05

There was an interesting post from John Nack on the Adobe blog, where he considered Aperture as a competitor to Bridge and the RAW plugin rather than Photoshop.

I’ve tought the same thing. Aperture isn’t a replace for PS but it does well something they can’t do at the starting process. Even in old Photoshop versions when you open RAW images a windows with some adjustment options comes out. I think this options were odd to use, like Bridge and their turtle speed Photoshop CS2 wich is the slowest PS I ever used.

I didn’t test Aperture, but I’m sure this kind of apps really needs power to use it normally. I can’t imagine why, having monster processing like now we’re still going slower.

Can’t they optimize their apps?

Jeffrey McPheeters 29 Oct 05

Apple’s marketing line is that this is an entirely NEW category of software, when it isn’t. I’m will be buying it and will compare it thoroughly with Capture One Pro, which I used daily. C1Pro is very good; I hope they borrow some ideas from Aperture. I routinely run 2000+ photo projects through C1Pro; and it also has fairly stiff hardware requirements. The advantage is it is cross platform and handles background tasks very very well. It doesn’t have the light box workflow that Aperture touts, but it has some very cool features that I don’t think Aperture will have until 1.5 or 2.0. Also, Phase One is very quick to update their camera profiles to handle the latest DSLRs. They are more experienced in this arena than Apple.

Josh Tyler 31 Oct 05

How will Aperture’s raw processing compare to Capture One’s raw processing? That is the bottome line. I use Capture One to process my raw files because the images process fastest and of the highest quality (better color, highlight/shadow detail, and noise reduction than CS2 and the rest). The quality of the image produced from the raw data relies on the software’s algorithms and mathmatics. This is where Capture One claims to be the best (I agree) but we’ll have to see how it compares to this new contender. Apple said it came up with it’s own OS based algorithms so who knows.
BTW, Capture One runs very fast on a relatively slow computer…I have learned from numerous pros and personal experience that a $1000 windows PC or Apple G4 running Capture One with a well calibrated monitor is all you need for a top of the line raw processing station (for some reason windows is faster). Raw processing isn’t a reason to upgrade your computer to a top of the line $3000+ Apple G5 unless Aperture blows away Capture One….hmm, maybe apple is on to something.

Jeff Bramel 30 Aug 06

This may not be a popular comment to make, but as someone who’s spent considerable time with Photoshop, Aperture, and Picasa, my advice is to stick with the two P’s and not waste your time or money on Aperture. Picasa’s image cataloging and management features are in every way superior to Aperture’s and although its image editing features are basic, they actually cover most of what’s necessary for real-world adjustments. Picasa handles RAW images with ease, and is SIGNIFICANTLY faster and more memory-friendly than Aperture. Picasa’s user interface is a thing of beauty while Aperture’s is— uncharacteristically for Apple— counter-intuitive, click-heavy, and hard to use. Feels like something produced by Microsoft or (gasp!) even Lotus. For serious image tweaking, Photoshop is still a necessity. Bottom line: save yourself $300 and a lot of time. Shame on Apple for sullying their own image with such a poorly executed product.