Using Quartz Filters with Aperture

Version 5
Last Modified: Nov 13, 2012 2:29 PM



All standard quartz filters are available as Automator actions, and if you create an Automator service that uses these actions, you can apply them to Aperture images by activating them from the Aperture "Services" menu. The quartz effects are not very artistic, but can sometimes be fun; e.g., the polar bear picture above was created by using the "color pencil" effect.

I created four sample workflows to create sketch effects and put them on my website for download. These services apply quartz filters to the currently in Aperture selected image in three steps:

  • Export the master image file to the Desktop,
  • apply the filter that is selected in the workflow,
  • and reimport the image to Aperture into a new project.

These four examples can easily be modified to use any standard quartz filter that does not depend on the time.


Download:  Caution - these downloads are only meant as templates to illustrate the general idea; I only tested them in Aperture 3.4.1 using MacOS X 10.8.2


To install those workflows,

  • download them using the links above,
  • uncompress them,
  • and open them in Automator.
  • Save them to the “Services” folder in your User Library
  • Open Aperture and select any image.

The service will now be available from the "Aperture -> Services" drop down menu and the resulting image(s) will be imported into a new unknown project, if you did not specify an import project.





Here is for example the "Comic Book" effect in the Automator workflow:



You may configure these services to adept them to your needs:

  • To create a new service to use other filters, select a different filter in the “Apply Quartz Composition Filter ...” action.
  • To filter your versions rather than the originals/masters replace the first action with an “Export Versions” action.
  • If you do not want to clutter your Desktop with temporary exports, select a different folder in the “Export ...” action.

You may wish to delete the modified images after importing them back to Aperture. Then check the “Delete the Source Images...” option of the last action.



The Pop Art Filter applied:






Or to turn a Black&White negative into a positive image using the same technique see here:

B&W negatives to positive photos