Quartz Filters in Aperture

Aperture - Apply Quartz Filter Service

I've been fiddling with Automator lately, seeing how I can use it to enhance my Aperture workflow. Thus far, it hasn't yielded a lot of automation for the operations I do...the actions Automator provides are limited. But the exploration has been educational. And yielded a fun little service to apply Quartz Composition Filters to an image and round trip it back into Aperture. I've named it.....wait for it...."Aperture - Apply Quartz Filter". Ok...I won't take that creative marketing position just yet.

The service is simple to deploy. Click the link above and choose File -> Download. Then unpack, double-click the workflow, and choose install. Once that's done, "Aperture - Apply Quartz Filter" it will appear in the Aperture -> Services menu (see right).

I've elected to have the service prompt at each step so it's the most flexible with respect to export choices and project selection - and of course choosing what Quartz filter to apply.


Step 1: Export

Step 2: Apply a Quartz Composition Filter


Step 3: Import into Aperture


A quick tour...select one or more versions in Aperture and choose "Aperture - Apply Quartz Filter" from the Services menu. Then:

  1. The versions are exported. In the dialog presented, you can specify the destination folder and the Export Preset. If you settle on a destination and export preset, you can eliminate the prompt for this step by opening the service in Automator, click Options on the Export Versions step, and deselect "Show this action when the workflow runs". Why do I export without metadata? See below.
  2. Next, select the quartz filter you want to apply to the image. There's quite a number of them (at least on Mountain Lion). Have fun experimenting.
  3. Finally, choose the target project to import the quartz-filtered image into. I also check "Delete the Source Images After Importing Them"...I treat the exported/imported image as transitory. I personally don't use the "Import by Reference" and use Relocate Original after the import is complete. But that's  just me - one could easily store the exported version into a referenced hierarchy in Step 1 and use this option.



That's it for the service. My last step is a quick Lift & Stamp Metadata to backfill the metadata I stripped out of the quartz-filtered image.

Now I'll readily admit....the base results from the Automator service is not much more than a parlor trick. From the playing I've done, I don't expect I'll be using the immediate results from Quartz as a final image. However, I see the potential for using the quartz-filtered images as part of an artistic expression of an image. Here's one example, where Color Pencil was used and the quartz-filtered image was blended with the original, giving the background a bit of texture. The video below shows the process used to create this image.

OnOne Perfect Layers, used in the video, is available as a free download. Check it out.

If you've read this far, you're probably still wondering about the metadata. Why do I use an export preset to remove metadata? I keep my keyword HUD locked to avoid the dreaded "(Imported Keywords)" category showing up when keyworded photos are imported. Ideally, I'd like to automate the Metadata Lift & Stamp, but I haven't found a method either in Automator or AppleScript to do that. So I'm left with an extra step.