Apple releases Aperture 3 photo software suite

Apple on Tuesday introduced Aperture 3, the next major release of its photo editing and management software suite.

Apple on Tuesday introduced Aperture 3, the next major release of its photo editing and management software suite.

The company says the new version has more than 200 features, including Faces face-recognition tagging, Places geotagging and Brushes, which is for painting image adjustments onto parts of a photo. (The full list is here.)

Faces and Places were first introduced in iPhoto '09.

The new version also has Adjustment Presets for applying photo effects with a single click, as well as slideshows that support photos, audio, text and HD video.

Along with Adobe Lightroom, Aperture is the preferred choice of professional photographers and other visual creative pros.

Here's a rundown of the major new features, in Apple's own words:

  • Faces: Faces uses face detection and recognition to find and organize your photos by the people in them. You can view faces across your entire photo library or view just the faces that appear in selected projects. In a new view that speeds up the organization process, Aperture 3 displays faces that have been detected but haven't yet been named.
  • Places: Places lets you explore your photos based on where they were taken, and like in iPhoto, Places automatically reverse geocodes GPS data into user-friendly locations. In Aperture 3, you can assign locations by dragging-and-dropping photos onto a map or by using location information from GPS enabled cameras, tracking devices or your iPhone photos.
  • Brushes: The new Brushes feature allows you to add professional touches to your photos by simply painting effects onto the image. Aperture 3 includes 15 Quick Brushes that perform the most popular tasks like Dodge, Burn, Polarize and Blur, without the complexity of layers or masks. Brushes can automatically detect edges in your images to let you apply or remove effects exactly where you want them. Aperture 3 includes dozens of Adjustment Presets that apply a specific style or look to the entire image with just a click. You can create your own custom presets or explore the techniques of other photographers by importing theirs.
  • Slideshows: Aperture 3 makes it easy to share your work with stunning slideshows that weave together photos, audio, text and HD video. You can select one of six Apple designed themes or choose your own transitions, background, borders and titles, and even add your own soundtrack. You can export your slideshows directly to iTunes to take with you on your iPhone or iPod touch. You can also share photographs as beautiful prints, create custom-designed hardcover books and publish to online photo sharing sites like Facebook and Flickr, right from Aperture 3.

Of course, most of the other 196 features are usability tweaks, such as labeling, full-screen browsing, better metadata support and adjustment presets.

Aperture 3 is available now for $199, with an upgrade version available for $99. There's also a downloadable 30-day trial version available.