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Apple Releases Aperture 3: Photogs, Rejoice

At the stroke of nine, Twitter exploded with the news that Apple had released Aperture 3, the latest version of its Aperture photography editing software.

The last version of Aperture, Aperture 2, came out almost two years ago to the day, and Apple-using photographers have been eagerly awaiting Aperture 3 for some time now. According to a TUAW article from January, “A Google search of the term “Aperture 3″ shows that as long as a year ago, there were many impatient photographers who were hoping for a new release of Apple’s pro photography application.” Aperture 3 retails for $199, with an upgrade from Aperture 2 costing $99; this is compared to the $499 price tag Aperture 1.0 had when it came out in 2004. (The Apple Store isn’t yet back up.)

Aperture 3’s features include Faces and Places tagging similar to that of iPhoto; Brushes, which allows users to paint adjustments directly onto photos, and new photo library organization tools:

From Apple’s press release:

Aperture 3 allows you to organize large photo libraries with even more flexibility using Projects and the new Faces and Places. 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 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.

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.

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.

You can download a free 30-day trial at Apple.com. Apple’s “features” page for Aperture 3 details more than 200 new features beyond those mentioned above, from the mundane (“specify the number of comment lines that appear under photos”) to the game-changing (“You can now add video clips — including HD video — to any slideshow”).

Another excellent resource is MacCreate’s detailed overview of the software, which highlights the new-and-improved slideshow, library, and video import tools, among other new features.

Update: Check out our own review of Aperture 3.

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