Mac Photography Tips

New Adjustment Presets in Aperture 3.0 February 13, 2010

Filed under: Aperture 2.0 — Bakari Chavanu @ 9:46 pm

If you’re an avid user of Apple’s Aperture, you no doubt know about the recent release of Aperture 3.0. One of the most desired features for the program was universal presets, of the type used in Adobe’s Lightroom image adjustment application. Well, advance presets are now available in Aperture 3.0. The application comes installed with over three dozen very useful presets that you can use right out of the download or box. In addition, any presets that you created in the previous version of Aperture will show up automatically in 3.0.

Locating Presets


Most users will probably want to access Presets and Adjustments in the Adjustments panel of Aperture. The presets can also be accessed in the floating Adjustment HUD, as well from the Aperture menu bar: Photos>Add Adjustment, and right below it, Add Adjustment Presets.

In the Adjustment Panel, the Presets on the left consist of exposure correction and enhancement presets; and the set on the right consist of mainly preset brushes.

Previews of Adjustments


When you select a preset, you get a preview of how the adjustments will look before you apply them. If you hold down the option key, the currently selected adjustment will replace any previous adjustments you make.

Brushes and Adjustment Tools


Note: this and other screen shots were captured from Aperture’s menu bar. They are the exact same adjustments in the Adjustment Panel.
The Quick Brushes Presets are a mixture of settings that that can be selectively applied to selected areas of an image or the entire image.

Brush In and Bruse Away


Every Adjustment Tool includes the option to brush in or brush away the effects of that tool. This process almost works like using Layers and Brushes in Photoshop. Working with Brushes in Aperture are not always easy as using them in Photoshop, but they are convenient for image adjustments in Aperture.

Using Brushes


Similar to using brushes in Photoshop, you select a tool and paint the effect. If you select Detect Edges, Aperture will try not apply effects outside selected edegs of an area you’re working in. Sometimes zooming in on a image can help in more effectively applying effects.

Also notice that each brush comes with a feather tool for blending or softening effects, and an eraser tool for removing applied effects.

Assign Shortcut Keystrokes to Adjustments


Starting with Aperture 2.0, users could customize and assign shortcut keys to individual tools and other commands. Thankfully this can also be done with all the Presets in Aperture. Simply click on Aperture>Command>Customize in Aperture‘s menu bar to pull up the editor. Aperture will save the default command settings for you. From there you can assign shortcut keys to frequently used presets. For your top, top favorite presets, use Control+Option+Command modifiers, plus a selected key. For example, so far I really like the Toy Camera preset, so I assigned Control+Option+Command+T so that easily remember and apply that effect to photos.

Quick Fixes


Quick Fix adjustments and presets seem very useful because they are combine several adjustments for each “fix.” Once the effects are applied to an iamge, you can tweak the individual adjustments in the Adjustment panel.

Saving and Editing Presets


You can easily save your own custom presets and edit the exsiting ones. Clicking on Edit Presets brings up a window where you can re-arrange the order of presets. You can also organize presets into folder sets. Presets can be exported and imported, to be used by other Aperture 3.0 users.

Adjustments Galore


Because Aperture 3.0 comes with so many default presets, I took screen shots of them all so as to become more familiar with the numerous offerings. The screenshots also include some custom presets and shortcut keys that I created, so of course they won’t be a part of your sets.


8 Responses to “New Adjustment Presets in Aperture 3.0”

  1. Rudi Says:

    I wondered if there was a way to use adjustment presets when creating contact sheets or exporting a large number of files.
    I offer my customers the choice between a color and a black and white version of their file, and want them to see both. I regularly use a good BW preset in Aperture 3 and need a solution for quickly getting the choices to my customers.

    Any ideas on how to do that, or some other suggestion for a good workflow?



    • bakari Says:

      Rudi, I don’t see a solution for what you’re talking in terms of exporting. I assume Apple thinks you’ll make those duplications and black-and-white conversions before you export. Are you thinking about ways say for Aperture to automatically duplicate imported files and then apply a black-and-white preset to each of them? If so, you might see if there’s some way an AppleScript script can be created to carry out that process.

  2. Kitkat Says:

    I wonder why you have so many presets installed? My version of A3 came with 4. Did you import additional ones?

    • bakari Says:

      That’s weird. No, I don’t think I imported additional ones, except for the few I created myself. Are you a member of the Flickr group for Aperture? If so, you should ask in the discussion thread how many presets others received. I’m sure Apple would include more than three. Keep me posted on what you find out. Also you check with the Apple support forum and see what others say.

    • Rudi Says:

      Hi Kitkat,
      A quick search in Google will turn up some free ones that you can import, for example

      The second bunch can be imported then grouped. The BW Holga is my favorite at the moment,

      Hope this helps,


      • ken Says:


        i also have only four basic presets with my installation – these are:
        ‘quick fixe’s, ‘white balance’, ‘colour’, and ‘black and white’.
        probably a pain, but could you point out which presets are yours, and which ones came with the installation?

        also, my ‘photos’ menu doesn’t say, as your screen shots do, “replace with adjustment preset”, but “add adjustment preset”

        strange, and a little worrying.

  3. ken Says:

    Sorry never mind about the photo menu – pressing the alt key while opening the menu gets the ‘replace’ option

  4. […] Bakari has an extended tutorial w/screenshots. […]

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