You may not have noticed, but you can now use iPhoto effects in Aperture. This happened in version 3.3, when Apple introduced a unified library format that both programs could open.

Now iPhoto is hardly the world’s most advanced image-editor, and its effects might appear quite limited, so it doesn’t sound like much of a story. But if you take a closer look at these effects and what they can do in conjunction with Aperture’s other tools, there are some hidden gems amongst them.

So for this walkthrough I’m going to take this everyday shot (below) of an outdoor market, and try to give it a warm, soft-focus glow.

How to use iPhoto effects in Aperture

Not all of the iPhoto effects are useful. The drop-down Effect menu at the top of the panel offers Black & White and Sepia effects which you could probably do better with Aperture’s existing tools, though the Antique effect is interesting and I might explore that in another post.

The most interesting tools, though, are directly below. I won’t bother with the Matte and Vignette sliders since they’re relatively crude, but you can do very interesting things with the Edge Blur, Fade and Boost sliders.

01 iPhoto Effects panel

How to use iPhoto effects in Aperture

You’ll find the iPhoto effects on the drop-down Add Adjustment menu. It’s not visible by default, but when you select it, the panel appears in the sidebar. (Panels which display by default have a small black bullet just to the left – you can choose your default panels.)

02 Edge Blur

How to use iPhoto effects in Aperture

Aperture doesn’t have any blur tools, so this is a very useful addition. As the name suggests, this blurs the edges of the picture, leaving the centre sharp. The further you push the slider, the greater the blur and the more it moves towards the centre. You don’t get any more control than this – you can’t reposition the centre of the blur effect, for example – but it’s enough to give this picture the soft-focus edges I’m looking for.