Getting More Performance Out of Aperture 3

Posted by in Aperture, Aperture Tips, Photo Editing

As you may know I have been using Aperture 3, starting on day one of its release.  I am proud to say I just finished a dance studio photo day project, dance competition and recital.  I had taken over 10,000 dance photos over the last month and I am happy to say I am finished with that project.

Here is what I learned about Aperture 3 while doing post production with this project:

  1. Aperture 3 preformed well I did not experience any data damaging crashes, I did have to restart the computer every now and then to restore performance, but overall it preformed well.
  2. On my iMac 24, 2.8GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of Ram, I found that switching both Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS 5 to 32 bit mode helped more that I would have thought.  Maybe its because I only have 4GB of RAM, but after switching to 32 bit mode on both I noticed a huge performance kick. I did not notice any downside doing this, and would recommend it.
  3. iDefrag, there has been talk on the internets about Mac and defragmenting hard drive automatically. Mac’s auto-defragmentation software will only defragment files up to a certain size and only if the drive has over 10% free space. Space is not the issue, File size is.  Aperture’s  thumbnail cache file(s) can be upwards of 1GB in size and be fragmented into 1000’s of parts.  iDefrag will allow you to defragment you entire disk or only one file at a time on demand. I wish you would select more that one file at a time but its better than waiting for the full to finish.
  4. Don’t do batch changes until you have selected your keepers.  When you have 200 photos in one dance, narrow it down to your keepers before you make mass changes like color balance, exposure, or straightening. Aperture needs to process each file after you make that change, why process files you are not going to use.
  5. I created new managed libraries for each event, one for Photo Day, one for the competition day and one for the recital. After I finished each of the events I then merged them in to my main managed dance library.  Personally I like having managed libraries, I believe that is one of the main competitive features that Aperture 3 has over Lightroom 3.  The smaller libraries helped me keep on track with what I was doing. I don’t know if making smaller libraries speed Aperture 3 up as I did not test it with my full 700 GB dance library, these smaller libraries ranged from 20 GB to 100 GB.

Would I do this project over again using Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5, or better yet would I have done this project with software that was just released.   Yes I would have, I was able meet my deadlines and deliver quality product, and hone my skills on a real project with Aperture 3 and Photoshop CS5.

Bill Debevc