I’m amazed to see it, but Aperture now supports image editing plug-ins. When the product originally launched, I asked Apple Aperture Product Manager Joe Schorr whether or not plug-ins would be supported. He gave me the standard Apple line – we don’t comment on future features – but he hinted that there were strong divisions within the company over allowing outside third-party developers to access the Aperture back-end.
It looks like the more progressive position won the two-year battle, because plug-ins are here.
And this is significant. This means Aperture moves from being a mere image selection, archival, storage and asset management tool to a real-life image editor. And that means it’s actually competition for programs like Photoshop.
I worried that Apple might not want to take that step for fear that it would start a war with Adobe. If Adobe ever stopped developing Photoshop for the Mac, it could be a serious blow to the Apple’s fortunes.
On the other hand, by opening up Aperture to third-party editing plug-ins, Apple takes steps that help move Aperture from sideline application to mainstream photo powerhouse.
We don’t know how many of the software companies will take advantage of this new plug-in API, but some well-known powerhouses have already either signed up or shown an interest.
Tentatively scheduled for release are:
Power Stroke from Digital Film Tools, Viveza from Nik, Noise Ninja from Picture Code, dvMatte and HDR Toner from our own Alex Lindsay at DVGarage, and DFX from Tiffen.
As these plug-ins are released we’ll try to test and review them in the interest of keeping you informed.