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Aperture 3 for Macs contains many new features, such as Faces and Places, that will be familiar to iPhoto users. Faces provides face detection and recognition to tag people in your photos automatically. Places uses GPS information embedded in photos to display where the photos were taken, using a pin on a map. As only a few cameras can embed GPS information at capture time, Aperture also allows you to drop untagged photos onto the map manually.

The most popular new feature with existing Aperture users that I interviewed is Brushes. Similar to the Adjustment Brush in Lightroom, it allows a user to apply corrections to an image selectively. Brushes supports pressure-sensitive graphics tablets, and Apple even added a Detect Edges option that mimics Quick Mask in Photoshop, which lets the user see the affected areas.

Aperture 3 also provides a variety of Adjustment Presets that range from image-enhancement settings to special effects like sepia tone. You can customize, save, and share your own presets and import other presets. A quick Internet search revealed that many users are offering or selling their custom presets.

Also new with this release is full 64-bit support, which provides improved performance on newer Macs running Snow Leopard.

When it comes time to share your images, Aperture 3 uploads directly to Facebook and Flickr, and it can produce professional-looking slide shows that combine text, images, music, and even video.

For all of its 200 plus new features, this latest version of Aperture appears to be focused more on the consumer side of photo editing. Existing Aperture users will love the new features, especially the tighter integration with iPhoto, and unlike Lightroom, Aperture 3 can manage video as well as still images.—Dave Huss

Company: Apple Inc.
Price: $199 (Upgrade: $99)
Website: www.apple.com
Rating: 4.5
Hot: 64-bit support; brushes; adjustment presets
Not: No new tools

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