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.

Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. Finally someone on the web is talking about how big this could be. Thank you Scott!
    As soon as I saw this I kept thinking that this opens the door for most photographers to probably never use Photoshop anymore. Also, I think Adobe would never put this level of functionality into Lightroom because it would take away from the Photoshop business. For Aperture users, this is huge!


  2. I saw this demonstrated at the Aperture Road Show yesterday in Sydney, and the shipping plugin “Dodge & Burn” and just how powerful this is. It is certainly an exciting development. And opens new avenues for small developers as well as already established ones.


  3. Hello Aaron, Alex, Fred, Ron, Scott and My old Photojournalism Teacher @ Loyalist college, Steve Simon….Great work from all of you.

    My concern for today is that of the “Unsuported file format” window that Aperture 2.1 has bestowed upon us on a very critical Job. We run a wedding studio which pumps out between 80 to 120 gigs a year. We have used Aperture from It’s early days and find it to be the right tool to manage and file our endless amount of photo files.

    However, we have just finished editing one job and were about to export the finished selections and found out that certain files were not supported. Luckly, and I mean, Luckly we still had not emptied the trash from our location lap top and still had the original files from the shoot.

    I am trying to figure out a way that I don’t have to re-import, and therefore re-edit the entire job; which we spent more than the usual time because of all the cool new tools.

    If there is anything that any of you know about this particular issue, please post a note. I have found on other forums that many people have the same question, but no answer at all…

    Once again, Thank you all for the exceptional work you are providing to the Photography Industry.

    Long time listener (2 months!)


  4. this will bring aperture up to speed with lightroom as far as image editing is concerned. up until i believe aperture has been the better organiser, and lightroom the better editor. plugins will change that…

  5. Guys/Gals,

    I was an an Apple Photography seminar last night; and was given a full NFR version of Aperture 2.0. I’m using an iBook G4 1.33 Mhz with 1GB of RAM. Although it does not meet the minimum hardware requirements, has anyone had any experience trying to install/use Aperture on an older iBook G4 computer?


  6. […] Aperture Plug-Ins have arrived. This will allow for third parties app designers to add functionality to Aperture as time goes […]

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