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Auto Enhance and Auto White Balance in Aperture 3.3

Thomas Boyd's picture
June 13, 2012 - 1:01am

I went stumbling through my Aperture library and found a photo that I remembered having a hard time adjusting due to the poor conditions it was shot in. I found the perfect example. It was outside a motorcycle show here in Portland. It was dark, rainy, and lit only by yellow street lights. I can’t get much worse.

I remember fiddling with the white balance and the shadow slider for way too long before settling on a what I thought would be the best I could get.

So, I took that same photo, duplicated the version, and set it to “Revert to Original”. I then clicked “Auto Enhance” and Auto White Balance on the Natural Gray setting. That’s it…two clicks.

It’s came really close to what I spent at least 15 minutes doing. In fact, I think I could make the argument it’s better and more natural looking. 

I’m going to make a bold statement here, ready, here it comes: You are a fool if you don’t first try Auto Enhance and then Auto White Balance. The more difficult the photo, the more important is to try it first. It’s a simple fact that those two simple clicks of the mouse may just save you massive amounts of time. And, if you don’t abide, it’s a simple command-z undo. No harm done.

One note: When I set the auto white balance mode to Natural Gray, it switched automatically to Temperature and Tint. It’s possible to switch it back after hitting the button and you do get different results. I suspect it’s seeing the numbers and choosing what it believes to be the best option. 

No adjustments except crop

Adjusted manually in Aperture 3.2

Adjusted Automatically in Aperture 3.3 with Auto White Balance and Auto Enhance

Apple Aperture
Thomas Boyd

I’ve upgraded my iMac (leaving the MacBook which is my on-deadline daily machine, just in case as always).

Seems a bit faster, exports faster, too? Plenty to explore and check out but:
Auto White Balance and Pro Auto Enhance? Bl**dy Hell, Apple!! Very, very good indeed!
I agree with Thomas’ statement that these two have got to be tried first, just to see what they do. And if the results I’ve seen are anything to go by, that’s going to speed up my daily workflow no end as I’m not going to need to do much more unless I’m after a creative enhancement. Result!

Not v4.0 or Aperture X, but seems a worthwhile - and free - update, indeed.

I had a very difficult photo that was shot under mixed lighting and I really did not think it could ever look decent without getting into painting portions with different color curves. I tried the auto-white balance and YES, it made it very acceptable with one click. On the other hand I tried it on some shots that only needed a tweak and it went a little overboard. My early impression is that it might be best for difficult, mixed light shots, but I will keep playing until I get a feel for what it does. Either way, it’s a nice addition and I’m glad to have it.

I can only agree with everyone here, I was blown away with the results of awb and auto enhance with the exception the pictures I had shot at -0.7 exposure on sunny days had a tendency to all get overblown after auto enhance. (quick pitstop in highlights and recovery fixed that but still a little odd I thought?) is aperture peeking in exif data? Only happens for photoes O shot at low exposure.

Also seems that the highlights slider needs to be moved more to get the same effect as before? Anyone else having the same experience?

I would really like a version of the exposure warning type system that highlights areas of an image that are 18% grey.

I suppose this is what must happen under AWB, but it would be nice to be able to choose the area and simply hunting by eye can take a while!

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