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Adobe publishes Aperture-to-Lightroom guide for potential switchers

updated 11:10 pm EDT, Mon August 4, 2014

Forthcoming Photos may not meet pro needs, at least at first

Following Apple's decision to cease development on its own pro photo organizer and editor Aperture in favor of a forthcoming hybrid photo manager called Photos, Adobe has published a new guide intended to help current Aperture users switch and migrate their images and projects to Lightroom, its own pro-level image manager. While Photos, with its support of third-party plug-ins, may grow into a program that both pros and amateurs can use, its mission is aimed more at "prosumer" users.

The PDF-based free guide, Making the Switch from Aperture to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, is also another effort by Adobe to market its Lightroom Program for both the Mac and iOS. While Lightroom is still available as a standalone program for $149 (or upgrade from earlier versions for $79), Adobe is hoping that its "Photographers Bundle" which offers both the latest version of Photoshop and Lightroom, alongside 20GB of cloud portfolio space and other extras, will attract pro users to its subscription-based Creative Cloud offering.

The Photographer's Bundle costs $10 per month on an annual renewal basis, compared to the $850 or more cost of buying the two most recent standalone versions of the programs. Aperture is currently still available from the Mac App Store for $80.

The PDF guide is intended as a workaround, in advance of a proper migration tool that Adobe says it is working on. The methods described in the PDF will bring the images and uneditable versions of adjusted photos over to Lightroom, but until a native migration tool arrives, the company says that "Aperture and Lightroom use different image-processing engines, which means that Lightroom cannot read adjustments made in Aperture. For any photos you have edited in Aperture, you should transfer the original plus a .tiff file with adjustments applied. Then, in Lightroom, you can organize the original and the .tiff file so that they appear alongside each other."

"In addition, Lightroom cannot read Aperture color labels, flags, or custom metadata fields," the guide continues. "So, before you export your originals, use Smart Albums or the search filter to find images by those attributes, and apply corresponding keywords (for example, Color-red, Flagged, or Meta-ModelRelease-Yes)." Adobe suggests that users who plan to switch from Aperture to Lightroom first work with Lightroom for a while (a free 30-day trial version not connected to Creative Cloud is available) before moving photos, since Aperture will continue to work into the foreseeable future.

Apple's plans for Photos, of which few details are known, call for it to ship in early 2015 following the release of Yosemite (OS X 10.10) and iOS 8. On the latter, it will replace both the same-named image collection app as well as the iOS version of iPhoto. The intent is to bring one unified photo-management program to both platforms, with a focus on "prosumer" features and the potential for the addition of further "pro" features through plug-in support for third party software makers and future revisions. Aperture will also be updated one final time to add support for it to run under Yosemite, so that Aperture users are not forced into a quick migration.

Apple's Photos, set to arrive in early 2015

Photos, like both iPhoto and Aperture, will support most RAW format image files -- but is not expected to have some of the other features that distinguish Aperture from iPhoto, such as the precision retouching brushes or color-adjustment tools that Aperture offers. Apple has said that Photos would inherit some of the features from Aperture, but has not gone into any detail on the matter.

Adobe's full Creative Cloud software suite offers two types of subscriptions; a lower monthly charge on an annual-renewal basis, or a higher pay-as-you-go rate that offers flexibility for those that only need access to a program or the suite of CC programs periodically. The annual-basis rate for the full suite of programs, which includes Illustrator, InDesign and many other web- and graphic-design programs, is $50 per month (discounted to $20 per month for educators and students).

The pay-as-needed monthly rate is $75 for the complete suite. Currently, the company is offering a first year to existing CS customers for $30 per month for the entire suite. Individual CC apps can be used for $20 per month on an annualized rate, or $30 per month on a month-to-month basis.

by MacNN Staff



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