You are shooting in raw, right?
No, Aperture does not adjust the images after importing, unless you set Aperture to apply effect presets on import in the Import panel.
When you import raw images, Aperture will show the camera generated preview, while it is still importing. This preview will show all the processing done in your camera, if you have used special in-camera processing, for example "preserve highlights". After the import, Aperture will generate its own previews from the imported raw image. And that will not show any processing done by in-camera setting - it will reflect the raw data as taken directly from the sensor.
If you prefer the processed images, as your camera shows them, don't import raw, but import jpegs. Then the imported image will be exactly like the preview that you see during import.
Have a look at Kirby Krieger's post here:
Correct. I am shooting RAW.
I think I understand what you're saying, but I was under the impression that shooting RAW would be the best option for post processing work.
What I don't get is, why the image looks better when it gives me the preview. Why does it seem like information is lost when I'm looking directly at the RAW file, but as it's loading, showing me the "preview" it looks better.
Why does it seem like information is lost when I'm looking directly at the RAW file, but as it's loading, showing me the "preview" it looks better.
On the contrary - raw preserves the information. What you see, while the image is loading, is probably an enhancement done by the camera, for example the "preserve highlights" enhancement. You can recover this kind of enhancement by applying adjustments.
First off, thanks very much for helping me with this.
The last thing I'll ask (I hope it's the last!) is how best to recover those highlights?
The lights on the peoples skin and clothing, and the lights in general look horrendous compared to how they looked as it was loading. What sort of adjustments would bring those back?
To preface this, I'm a fairly experienced user. I've tried exposure, brightness and curves. I've even tried to adjust the particular color channels that looks blown out, but it doesn't seem to be doing any good.
Honestly, I just want it to look like the "loading" image and I'm very frustrated that I can't get it there.
Thanks again LeonieDF. You've been a big help.
So, after coming to the conclusion that I could not edit my photo in any way shape or form in Aperture, I opened the same picture up in Canon's included software and found that their rendering of what the RAW file looked like was FAR closer to what it looked like in the camera (lights aren't a disgusting blob of color, everything looks more natural).
When I open the RAW files in preview, they look the same as they did in Aperture. Is this a Mac thing?
Very confused and bummed that I'm going to have to use DPP for low light photography like this. With everything else Aperture seems to work great.
DPP on left, Aperture on right. No processing done to either image.
Look at the lights and the light on the keyboard players shirt to see what I'm talking about....
I opened the same picture up in Canon's included software and found that their rendering of what the RAW file looked like was FAR closer to what it looked like in the camera (lights aren't a disgusting blob of color, everything looks more natural).
The Canon software understands the "Preserve Highlights" setting of your camera and other in-camera settings, so it will give you the best possible raw development.
One more thing you might wish to try: Have you checked the raw fine tuning settings? With very low light you might wish to reduce the "Boost" settings. You can save specific settings for your camera as a camera default. If you do not see the raw-adjustment settings, you can add them from the "Add Adjustment" menu. At least my Mark II needs less boost to preserve the highlights.
And for further adjustments I'd primarily use the "highlights and shadows" brushes, to dimm the highlights and raise the contrast in the shadow areas.
Aperture doesn't necessarily "pre-edit" your images.
However, note that what you see on initial import is the camera's JPEG it generated from the RAW file. This is done with camera-vendor-proprietary information, that is not available to Aperture.
On import, Aperture generates an image for you to view, based on the RAW data. It will not be the same as the JPEG, for the reasons above.
If you don't like the default rendering, you can tweak it to get results more like you want, and then save that as an import preset that you apply on import. I agree that does look pretty magenta.
The RAW renderer in Aperture is the RAW render in OS X, hence the reason things look the same in Preview.
If you think you have challenging lighting situations that give really bad results (I'd expect you'd get great results in some lighting conditions, and bad in few), it's probably helpful if you use Aperture's "submit feedback" mechanism and include a few RAW files that demonstrate what you consider to be the problem.
Also, have you tried white balancing the photo once you get the initial render? Note the initial render is just a starting point. A white balance dropper may get you a much better starting point, especially with Aperture's ability to white balance on skin tones now.
It's not so much the color cast of the photo, but the highlights being a blown out mess that is impossible to get back. When using lightroom and digital photo professional, I can get them back fairly easily, but even trying with bringing down the boost under the RAW adjustments brick, the Apeture JPEG looks pretty terrible.
It's disheartening, because, under normal circumstances, I've always been pleased with Aperture. But now, I'm thinking I could have been missing out all these years by not using Lightroom, which seems, at least in this sort of situation, vastly superior....
These are the results I've gotten, Aperture, Lightroom, DPP
DPP, the free software!, handles it better than the other two (I'm definitely not an experienced Lightroom user though)
LeonieDf showed me this thread. Thank you, Léonie!
I believe that Aperture has big problems rendering these intense blue light coming from the floodlights. I often shoot events and since the wide spread of LED lights for stage effects the problem got absolutly worse. Aperture produces dark blue and marked-out areas in magenta out of this intense blue light. I marked the areas in the images of this thread:
Here is my thread showing this:
I am glad, that not only me as a Nikon shooter has this problem (sorry SplitFieldDiopter, I worked with Canon for 25 years, but changed after a test shoot with the D3).
This is a really bad behaviour of Aperture, a clear bug of its colour mangagement, or a way too small colour working space inside the colour rendering engine of Apple. Lightroom/ Adobe Camera RAW too has the problem, but far with less intense. You can see it too in the above picture of SplitFieldDiopter, I marked with lightroom
If somebody wants to play with my files, I provided a link for direct download of a NEF from Nikon D4 and a parallel written JPEG out of the camera in one of my replies in the above mentioned thread or here:
<This Link is a direct download>
Now what? Never use Aperture with strong blue colours in the field? Or shooting JPEGs, or using DxO or Capture One, or Canon DPP or Nikon NX2 (Nikon software renders my NEF perfectly without any problems).