Aperture 2.1 Opens Plug-In Architecture for Image Editing


There's so much to like about Aperture 2.1, but the game-changer is Edit API. Apple has created a bonafide plug-in architecture for Aperture that enables 3rd party developers such as Nik Software (Viveza) and PictureCode (Noise Ninja) to place their technology within Apple's pro level photo management application.

In order to give you a glimpse at the possibilities, Apple is providing the first plug-in for free and part of the 2.1 download. Dodge and Burn works just like tools in your favorite external editor, except you don't have to go anywhere. Consider it your "internal editor" that provides very elegant tools for lightening and darkening specific areas of a photo. But wait, there's more. Go to the popup menu in the interface and you'll also see options for saturate, desaturate, sharpen, blur, contrast and fade. This is one heck of an example plug-in.


The file handling is similar to roundtripping with an external editor. You choose an image in your library to edit, Aperture opens it in the plug-in window, your make your adjustments, then when you save, a new master Tiff is placed in your Aperture library. As always, your original file remains safe. And, if that original is located on an external drive, the new edited plug-in Tiff will be stored there too.

Tablet users will really enjoy this editing experience. Dodge and Burn is fully tablet compliant. This means you can work quickly and accurately with a pressure sensitive pen. And if you're a custom keystroke kind of dude, you can set your own combination for any of the plug-ins enabling one-touch activation.

Developers interested in creating plug-ins for Aperture will be happy to read that the SDK will be available soon. You can find out more by contacting aperturedeveloper@apple.com.

In the meantime, enjoy using Dodge and Burn. It's a much welcomed addition to the Aperture toolset.

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This is very cool and I hope/assume that Lightroom will follow suit shortly. I hope when they do thought that it will be in the form of non-destructive edits to the Raw files rather than as a round trip with a TIFF output. Doing at as a TIFF takes away many of the advantages of using a workflow program, and in that case why wouldn't I do it in Photoshop instead?

A thoughtful insight and ideas I will use on my blog. You've obviously spent some time on this. Well done!