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Monday, February 27, 2006, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Aperture 1.1 to offer speed and RAW improvements

Apple at the Photography Marketing Association (PMA) show in Orlando, Florida this week is previewing an updated to its Aperture professional photography workflow application that will offer overall speed improvements and improved RAW image processing.

Due in March, Aperture 1.1 will feature native support for Intel Macs as well as many user-requested features, Apple representatives told pdnonline.

According to the report, the update includes new algorithms for basic raw processing, while adding several new raw tools such as Boost, which adjusts the contrast curve of an image; Sharpening, which is independent from overall sharpening tools and effects just the raw processing; Chromatic Blur, which softens the chromatic aberrations often found in raw images; and Auto Noise Compression, which helps to reduce sensor noise.

This latter feature is said to be the most impressive, as it detects not only the profile of the camera used to shoot the image, but also that camera's settings. Therefore, an image shot at ISO 1600 for 2 seconds would see more noise reduction than a shorter exposure time image or lower ISO shot, pdnonline reports.

Images that have been adjusted in Aperture 1.0 can be updated to the 1.1 processing or left alone. A tool to migrate older processed images can be applied to any selected image, and the user can choose between processing all images, only those who have been adjusted, or only those that have not been adjusted, the report says.

The update will also reportedly offered RGB display, the ability to manage layered PSD files, and DPI controls for image export — allowing photographers to create export presets for any image size and resolution. According to pdnonline, images brought into Aperture can be exported back to PSD with their layers intact as long as they have not been altered in Aperture.

Meanwhile, Apple is also said to be implementing a new tethered workflow solution into Aperture for Canon and Nikon cameras, which is not yet fully integrated, but appears to work seamlessly.

"In our demos, Apple staff attached a 1Ds Mark II to a Quad G5, opened Canon's pro software, and then ran an applet to tell Aperture what folder was set to receive the tethered files," wrote pdnonline. "From then on, images captured with the camera were auto-imported to the program." Additional and improved tethered support is reportedly planned for future versions of Aperture.

Feature updates aside, Aperture 1.1 has also gained a much-requested speed boost, with many operations processing 2-3x faster on PowerPC systems, and twice again as fast on Intel macs, the report says.

Aperture 1.1 will be made available next month via Software Update as a free update to Aperture 1.0 customers.