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Aperture and Adobe Camera Raw

2726 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Jan 2, 2014 3:20 PM by jlwasmer RSS
Kenoli Oleari1 Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Oct 27, 2012 9:40 AM

I would love to set up Aperture to allow me to edit images in Adobe Camera Raw.  I can open images from Aperture in Adobe Camera Raw by setting Adobe Bridge as my external editor, but none of the adjustments are saved in Aperture.  From Bridge, I can also save the file as a dng file that Aperture should be able to read and save it in the numbered folder where Aperture placed the original raw image, but the saved dng file doesn't show up in Aperture.  Apparently Aperture can't see any images in its own folders if it didn't place them there.


I also tried making my adjustments in Adobe Raw, saving it as a dng file and then importing it into Aperture.  This is not ideal, as it would be convenient to do the Adobe Raw adjustments from within Aperture, but it does allow me to import the edits into Aperture.  Aperture does something odd in this case.  When I open the imported dng image in Aperture, at first it displays it with the edits I made in Adobe Raw but after a few seconds reverts to the originla raw image.  I can't figure out how to recover the adjustments.


Can anyone fill me in on the nuances of Aperture in this workflow?  Is there some way I can at least make the raw edits in Adobe Raw and make them available in Aperture.


Some of this may be my ignorance.  For some reason, I have never been able to fully grok the whole version/master process in Aperture, never quite sure how to move between versions and masters.  I suspect that some of my issues with the imported dng files is a version/master thing that I am not understanding.


I'm beginning to wish that I had set Aperture up to use external folders rather than place my files in the Aperture database.  I think if I had done this it might have eased my current issues.


Is there any way to export an Aperture database so it exports the images into folders that correspond to projects and folders in Aperture?  I suspect not, but . . . one can wish.


Any help with any of this would be greatly appreciated.





iMac, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • CorkyO2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,290 points)
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    Oct 27, 2012 11:08 AM (in response to Kenoli Oleari1)

    The main issue is that RAW files require 'decoding'.


    Aperture uses the digital RAW compatibility function in OS X to read and then render (display) an image from that data.


    Adobe Camera RAW is - in essence - Adobe's digital RAW compatibility function.


    Both these programs have their own interpretation of how to read and render an image from the RAW data file. Therefore, they don't understand each others language - so to speak.


    The closest you might get to doing what you want is to go into Bridge preferences and set Adobe Camera RAW as the preferred (default) program to use for .TIFF files. If you then send a file (via External Editor command) to Photoshop (or probably Bridge depending on the version you are using), it should open in ACR if memory serves (haven't tried it lately).


    The issue will still be that Aperture will send it's rendered version (in .TIFF file format) to the external editor that will open in ACR. This means that ACR won't be the first to read and render the RAW data file, which may or may not cause issues for you depending on what you want to see and how you add adjustments in ACR.


    Assuming all works correctly, opening image from ACR in Photoshop and then using the Save command (not Save As..) should send back to Aperture with adjustments intact from ACR.


    Others may know a better way. I think there was also a program called Catapult that offered some similar functionality.

  • CorkyO2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,290 points)
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    Oct 27, 2012 2:29 PM (in response to CorkyO2)

    Additional note:


    It is in the Adobe Camera Raw preferences the you would look under 'JPEG and TIFF handling' section and set the TIFF: to 'Automatically open all supported TIFFs'.


    This of course has you working with TIFF files and not the original RAW or a DNG.


    For the balance of your posted questions, I can say that you can use the 'Relocate Masters' command to move those out of the library to folders in Finder. Others who run a Referenced library would have more detailed advice than I, since I use a Managed library.


    If you have Bridge saving a preview inside the DNG file, that may be what Aperture is seeing and displaying for a few seconds while the OS X digital camera RAW function reads the actual RAW data inside the DNG file. After that few seconds, Aperture will then render (display) the data as decoded by OS X digital camera RAW (not the ACR decode).

  • One Big Wookie Level 1 Level 1 (40 points)
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    Oct 27, 2012 7:35 PM (in response to CorkyO2)

    One option is to use Catapult.  It allows you to round trip from Aperture to ACR and back.  The only main downside is that you have to choose a different file format (TIFF, JPEG, PSD)

  • CorkyO2 Level 4 Level 4 (1,290 points)
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    Oct 28, 2012 3:31 PM (in response to Kenoli Oleari1)

    Kenoli Oleari1 wrote




    If this is what is happening, it means Aperture can interpret the ADR data, but chooses not to.  If I could get it to use that data, it could solve most of my issues.

    In the Adobe Camera Raw preferences, there is a section called: 'DNG File Handling'. You can (and may already have) select the option 'Update embedded JPG previews' and use the drop down to select either Medium or Full Size. The result should be (in Bridge at least) that adjustments you make in ACR and then either click 'Done' to save to the .XMP file inside the DNG file or click 'Open' to launch and render the image in PS for further work.


    The result should be an updated embedded JPEG inside the DNG file that can be used by any program that can read DNG and is set to use an embedded JPEG.


    In testing on my machine a couple of years ago on Snow Leopard, the OS X included program Preview did not show the updated previews though. It only displayed the original RAW data. I assumed it either was not set to show any embedded JPEG preview, or was simply not designed to be compatible in that way. Preview uses the same digital camera RAW compatibility function of OS X that Aperture uses. So it did not surprise me to see that it was not working in Aperture at that time. This was either a later version of AP 2 or early version of AP3, but I can't remember for sure.



    It was my understanding that the purpose and function of dng files is so that raw edits made by any software could be accessed cross platform through the open source dng file.  If Aperture simply chooses to ignore that data, it defeats the purpose of dng.


    My understanding of DNG is that it is an archive type file made of (1) a RAW conversion which holds the decoded RAW data, (2) any .XMP file that has been created by the decoding software as well as; (3) ITPC and EXIF metadata and some other info such as ICC profiles and the JPEG preview. You can also opt to include the original RAW file.


    I don't know the extent to which Aperture is designed to support the DNG file though. Does it handle it like a PSD file where it retains the full file content, but only supports displaying it in a limited fashion (e.g., no transparency)? Or should it actually read the .XMP data file and render it based on that info? I don't think this is the case as the .XMP data that pertains to adjustments made by another RAW decoder doesn't seem to be compatilble with the way Aperture is handling adjustments.


    You could certainly test the embedded JPEG in a DNG file by making and saving some changes to the copy of a file in Finder and then comparing the original DNG to the adjusted one using the Preview program. If the changes are not shown, then the issue (or lack of one depending on Apple's point of view) is with the OS X digital camera RAW compatibility function (which they update for new digital cameras periodically).


    If Preview does show the changes, you could then import both the original and adjusted DNG into an Aperture library (even a new test library) and see if it displays the differences. If it does, then this would point to an issue with sending a file from inside Aperture to an external program and then saving back (assuming this still fails to work as you expect).


    Sorry I don't have more. I decided not to go with DNG and just archive with RAW and JPEG depending on what I end up wanting to do with the images.

  • arigla Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    May 16, 2013 9:56 PM (in response to Kenoli Oleari1)

    By now you should already have your answer, but I'm posting here for other people. The answer is NO you can't make Aperture open Adobe Camera RAW. In fact, anytime aperture Round Trips a file, it always sends its TIFF version of the file to whatever plug-in or software you are using defeating the purpose of any external software reading the original RAW file.


    The most simple solution I can give you is to right click the file in aperture, select "show in finder", then open the RAW file with photoshop, which will turn ACR, do whatever you want on it, then hit ok and have photoshop save it as a TIFF in the same folder with the same name.

    Back in Aperture, select import, and match the file by clicking on the folder where the file is, and import it to the same folder. Stack the file in Aperture.


    It's a LONG round trip, but I'm assuming you're not doing it for every image. otherwise, just get plug-ins that do what ACR can do.

  • embeen Calculating status...
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    Jun 28, 2013 9:26 PM (in response to arigla)

    arigla - unlike in iPhoto, there IS no 'show in finder' option when you right click a file in Aperture. (If there is, I'd be happy to be shown to be wrong, as I've wanted to use it many times & have not been able to find it.)

  • arigla Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jun 28, 2013 10:24 PM (in response to embeen)

    Embeem, the "show in finder" option in Aperture is only available if you're using the referenced library approach. So if the files are referenced from a different location outside of the Aperture Library file, then you can right click and "show in finder" will appear.


    Want to try it? Do this.


    1. Copy the pictures to any random folder

    2. Open aperture and click import

    3. Go to the folder where the photos are

    4. Under "store files" click the "keep in current location" option and hit import

    5. Now right click the photo and you'll see the show in finder option.


    Hope that helps.

  • léonie Level 8 Level 8 (46,760 points)
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    Jun 28, 2013 10:24 PM (in response to embeen)

    arigla - unlike in iPhoto, there IS no 'show in finder' option when you right click a file in Aperture. (If there is, I'd be happy to be shown to be wrong, as I've wanted to use it many times & have not been able to find it.)

    Show in Finder is only available for referenced original files, not for managed originals.

    if i want it for managed files, I relocate them first to the Desktop and consolidate them again afterwards, or I simply open the Aperture library in iPhoto.

  • arigla Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
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    Jun 28, 2013 10:28 PM (in response to embeen)

    I forgot to add that the reason why the option is not available in the Managed Library approach is that Apple doesn't want you to change things in the Aperture Library because the assumption is that we could mess it up. Then Aperture could stop working right and it would mess up the library.


    If you prefer the managed library better anyway, then you can just right click the aperture library and click show package contents and you will find the originals under the master files folder

  • embeen Level 1 Level 1 (35 points)
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    Jun 29, 2013 4:50 PM (in response to arigla)

    Thanks - I hadn't even thought to look into this, so great to have an explanation and a possible work around.

  • jlwasmer Calculating status...
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    Jan 2, 2014 3:20 PM (in response to Kenoli Oleari1)

    Not sure if this post answers the original question but here are my my findings on this topic.


    After searching and searching forums and contacting Apple Support and testing, I came to the conclusion that:

    - adjustments made to an image in Adobe Camera Raw cannot be imported into Aperture (and vice-versa)

    - Aperture can import XMP sidecar files but will only support the metadata (e.g. keywords), not the adjustments

    - Aperture can hold ACR adjustments but only when they are embeded in a Digital Negative file.


    (when importing into Aperture, the adjustments done in ACR appear for a couple seconds because Aperture is showing the embeded JPEG preview, eventually it will laod the RAW file and replace the preview its shows)


    To STORE the ACR adjustments in Aperture, the original camera RAW file has to be saved in "Digital Negative" format (".dng").

    => make sure the Ignore sidecar ".xmp" files option is selected in ACR's preferences ("DNG File Handling" section). This will store all adjustments to DNG files in the DNG files themselves (as explained here). The .dng file can then be imported into Aperture. Aperture will ignore the adjustments but they will be kept (vs camera raw file + .xmp file).


    It is then possible to reopen the raw file in ACR with the adjustments: in Aperture export the original file WITHOUT the IPTC metadata (in the "Metadata" option, select "Don't Include IPTC"). I guess Aperture erases the ACR adjustments when including IPTC metadata. It also works when the metadata is exported as a sidecar file (3rd option).

    Aperture 3, OS X Mavericks (10.9.1)


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