Tutorial: Master effects in Aperture

Aperture’s many adjustment tools lend themselves towards minor alterations, but also radical and attention-grabbing edits


You would expect most tools in Aperture’s repertoire to be about tweaking the image to make it look its best, and certainly adjustments like White Balance, Exposure, Enhance and Straighten aim to do just that, but making a photo look its best isn’t always the name of the game. Sometimes, you’ll want to have some fun and see just how you can transform your shot to take it as far from reality as possible – or you may just want to make it look faded and sepia to replicate a bygone era.

All of this can be achieved with the help of Aperture’s many adjustment tools. The ones you see by default aren’t the only ones available, so we’ll show you how to find the pick of the others and use them to give your photo a totally unique look. Let’s get started…

1: The Adjustments tab

Select a picture and click on the sidebar’s Adjustments tab. Alternatively, you can use the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut to reveal that tab without using the mouse.

2: The pop-up menu

The displayed tools are the standard ones you’d expect like Levels, Highlights & Shadows and Colour. There are others, but they’re hidden in the Adjustments pop-up.

3: Black & White

All tools currently displayed have a black dot to their left. To reveal a different one, click on it. For the purposes of this tutorial, select Black & White.

4: Parameters

Your image is instantly turned to black and white
the moment you’ve selected that tool. You can now experiment with the parameters to alter the intensity.

5: More Adjustments

You can of course apply multiple effects to an image. Go back to the Adjustments pop-up menu and this time, select Vignette from your available options.

6: Click and drag

Rather than dragging the sliders, move the cursor over its numerical value. Click and drag left or right to decrease or increase that value respectively.

7: Lack of Adjustments

Select another image and you’ll find that both Adjustments disappear from your displayed list. They only appear with the photos you activated them to.

8: The default set

To have those Adjustments always appear, they must be part of the default set. To do this, go back to the previous picture you worked on.

9: Adding to the set

Click on the adjustment’s cog wheel button and choose Add to default set, and it’ll appear at all times. Remove it by choosing Remove from default set.

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