9 Replies Latest reply: Mar 13, 2014 4:30 AM by nstancioff
Rob de Jonge Level 3 (510 points)

This is only moderately related to Aperture, for it's plugin capability. Apologies for raising it here, but I figured I'd find like-minded people here who may have an opinion they are willing to share or maybe even a solution to the no-plugin challenge.


Until now, I've always ...


  1. Imported raw files from my camera into Aperture
  2. Deleted failed frames
  3. Review all remaining frames and rated them, stacked similar frames and picked the best one of each stack, etc.
  4. Review all remaining frames again and flagged the ones I would use for sending out, publishing, etc.
  5. Make the appropriate adjustments to the flagged images
  6. Do other stuff to it through whatever plugins, such as HDR or fusion, through 16-bit TIFF
  7. Finishing touches through the final editor, I've switched to Pixelmator 3.0 FX recently
  8. Export to the final format


I just noticed DxO has a 42% discount on Optics Pro 9 at the moment. It's a piece of software I've had my eye on for a while now because of the optical correction ability. But I'm struggling to figure out how it would fit into my existing workflow as described above. Although I believe previous versions worked as a plugin to Aperture, and that would be fine as I'd pull the images through it from inside Aperture. But the current version 9 seems to not have that capability, which means I'm now wondering where to insert this into my workflow if I were to purchase the software. All I can think of is either at the start or the end of the workflow.


Does anybody have any thoughts on the above?

MacBook Air, OS X Mountain Lion (10.8), 2GHz i7, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD
  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Workflow is actually straightforword:


    #1 -- import -- you'll always do.

    #1.5 you don't mention:  RAW conversion.  Here you must choose which bridge to carry you to the land of image-format files.

    #2,3,4 are culling.  Can be done equally well with any program.

    #5, 6, 7 are polishing.  Can be done _from_ any pro workflow program

    #8 -- publishing -- can be done from any pro workflow program.


    RAW➞[converter]➞{unspecified} image-format file➞[adjustments]➞image-format file with all adjustments and metadata "baked in"


    Optical correction needs to be done on the full-size file, so it is done at the time of, or immediately after, the RAW conversion.


    Optics Pro works on both RAW and JPG files.  You need to decide whether you will do the RAW conversion with OP9, or with Aperture.


    If with OP9, you would then export the converted files and import them into Aperture (or stop using Aperture).


    If with Aperture, you would have to use OP9 as an external editor after RAW conversion and before any other tweaking.  (I don't know if this is possible, but DxO's site indicates that the OP9 works on non-RAW files.)


    Any time you use an external editor, you create new Originals.  Any time you create new Originals you double the storage requirements for that Image, and put a hard-stop in the non-destructive workflow.


    Using both OP9 and Aperture is kludgy.  It might be worthwhile, but the cost is additional storage, destructive editing, and complex versioning.


    None of the hybrid workflows seems appealing to me.  My advice ( ) is to either find something more amenable to an Aperture workflow than OP9, or channel your workflow to OP9 and stop using Aperture.

  • Rob de Jonge Level 3 (510 points)

    Thanks, appreciate you taking time to write such an extensive response. Yet another alternative is to use Lightroom, which does have optical correction built in. Not something I should be mentioning in this forum though!

  • Rob de Jonge Level 3 (510 points)

    I thought I had found a solution. Documenting it here, so others don't have to do the exercise.


    DxO Optics Pro 9 has the option to export to DNG file. So I thought that maybe I could import NEF files (a raw file format) from the camera into OP9, apply optical corrections, export to DNG (another raw file format) and import those into Aperture for further processing. It would keep everything as is, with raw data still available to me in Aperture, but at the same time adding the optical corrections to my workflow in a non-destructive way.


    Helas, that did not work. Aperture 3.5.1 reports an unsupported image format.


    Apple does mention it supports DNG on the Aperture pages. But this support is limited to those created by camera's with native support or some that are created by Adobe Camera Raw.

  • Rob de Jonge Level 3 (510 points)

    Follow up question, Kirby ...


    The reason I did not mention the intermediate file format is because in all honesty I don't know what it is. I import raw files from my camera into Aperture, and have no idea how Aperture stores this file on the hard disk. I always assumed it kept the raw file and stored a so-called 'sidecar' file for each version alongside it and each time it had to display the image it would process whatever was stored in the sidecar file.


    I just did a quick dig around the Aperture library, but could not find where these sidecar files (or, alternatively, versions in other formats) are stored so assume they're in some kind of database file.


    In other words - I did not mention the file I converted raw files into, because I thought I wasn't converting them until export time!


    Am I mistaken?

  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Rob de Jonge wrote:


    Thanks, appreciate you taking time to write such an extensive response. Yet another alternative is to use Lightroom, which does have optical correction built in. Not something I should be mentioning in this forum though!

    Mention away.  We're just users.  Lr and Aperture are very nearly matched.  Each is a superb program.  For me, the advantages of Aperture where overwhelming: I preferred the non-modal interface; I found (and find) it more amenable to my style; I loved (and use) the additional layer of Image organization; I have both an iPad and an iPhone; I use the integration with other OS X programs; and my wife uses iPhoto and has an iPhone.


    I use Sony FF cameras and Sony lenses.  For the most part, these don't _need_ lens correction.  I don't sell architectural pictures.


    The sad part is that, as with hardware for recording light data (I mean camera bodies and lenses), software is part of an ecosystem, and once you commit to one you are likely to stick with it.  Aperture is far behind in providing lens correction.  If you need it, you have to look elsewhere, and in looking elsewhere may decide -- wisely -- to change ecosystems.


    The _small_ thing to keep in mind is that lens-correction should be done right after RAW conversion.  The large thing to keep in mind is that each time to move an image file from one ecosystem to another, you double your storage requirements and kink the "non-destructive" workflow.  Unfortunately, there is no single ecosystem that currently meets your needs.


    It is worth noting that more and more cameras _depend_ on lens-correction.  At first, this appears as a kind of cheap alternative to well-engineered cameras and lenses.  My sense is that, now that it is available, the _combination_ of hardware and software results in a _more efficient_ use of resources.  (Why spend 4X on lenses when you do it with 1X and a bit of software?)  The downside is that the user becomes dependent on particular software.


    As camera engineers rely more and more on software as a necessary pipe in the imaging workflow, "RAW" sensor data will have to re-imagined.  I'm not a scientist, so I can't see around that corner.  For sensor-site discrete things, "corrected" RAW makes sense.  For other things -- e.g.: chromatic fringing -- it doesn't.





  • Kirby Krieger Level 6 (12,510 points)

    Rob -- I think you want to avoid having two RAW converters in our workflow.  If you do not use Apple's RAW converter (built into the OS, it appears seamlessly as part of Aperture), _and_ you want to use Aperture for cataloguing, adjusting, and publishing, then you should export images converted by (for example) OP9 in the most reliable non-compressed image file format with the deepest bit bit-depth.  Currently that is 16-bit TIFF.  Your workflow then is:


    Capture data to RAW file in camera➞import RAW file to OP9➞convert and tweak RAW conversion➞export as 16-bit TIFF➞import into Aperture➞and then your #4, 5, 6, 7, 8 in your OP.


    You can, of course, cull at any time.  In the above workflow, culling after converting via OP9 and before creating 16-bit TIFF files makes good sense to me.


    Message was edited by: Kirby Krieger — re-worded the first paragraph.

  • Rob de Jonge Level 3 (510 points)

    I think I'm going to have to deal with the optical distortions for the time being. I do not want to leave Aperture, which I am now familiar with, and have to learn a new software from scratch. And Aperture itself is a bit dated in that it neither offers optical corrections.


    Best would be if Aperture were to include a framework for plugins that facilitates non-destructive edits rather than simply adding a new version. It would leap-frog Lightroom, but I don't think I should be holding my breath for that to arrive anytime soon!

  • Matt Searles Level 1 (0 points)

    There is another option to you and that is to use the catapult plugin to allow Aperture and other RAW converters to talk to one another. I'm using the following workflow:

    1. Import, sort and rate images using Aperture.

    2. Using the BrushedPixel Catapult plugin I pass the images for processing to DxO Optics 9 Elite, such as exposure and distortion corrections. This is done by a drop folder installed by Catapult.

    3. Optimize image in DXOO9, exporting to disk (the pickup folder installed by Catapult). At this stage you have a choice of formats, eg Jpeg, tif etc

    4. Close DXO and then import the saved file into Aperture from the Catapult window. Catapult attaches the sidecar to your original RAW should you need to re-edit.

    5. Any pixel level editing can now be done on the corrected file.


    Catapult can also be used as a go between between Aperture and any image editor. I've also used with Capture NX2 with great results. Its a great way to use the power of processors like DXO with the organizational excellence of Aperture.