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Software Review: ‘Exposure 6′ from Alien Skin Software

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Exposure 6 is the latest version of Alien Skin’s analog film effects package that gives digital photographers, and graphic artists, the ability to create images that mimic the look of film in their digital photos. Through the combined use of presets and manipulation through the use of controls, you have the ability to emulate the grains, tones, and color differences that each of the different films produced as well as a lot of other features.

Exposure 6

‘Exposure 6′

Exposure 6 comes with a large selection of emulations of real-world films. Some of these films include GAF 500, TRI-X, Kodachrome, Ektachrome, Illford, and even Polaroid films. Exposure 6 works with Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Apple Aperture or can run as a standalone application.

By spending the better part of a decade, Alien Skin has studied the history of traditional film photography and combined it with observations of the techniques that were used in the darkroom. The goal was to bring to the digital world the rich tones of film and creative tools of the analog darkroom. To see what is required to run Exposure 6, check out the Alien Skin requirements page.

Exposure 6

‘Exposure 6′

Once again the Exposure interface has gotten an upgrade to make it cleaner for a more improved look. This upgrade has also provided faster navigation so you can have a more streamlined workflow and the standard background has been made darker for better viewing of both black and white as well as color images. The preset browser sports a list view as well as optional thumbnails for more customized viewing.

The way this works is you open your image either as a plug-in or through the standalone application. From there you can begin experimenting. You can either dive right in with the selectors on the right side of the screen or with the presets on the left. If you choose the presets on the left, you can either end there or begin tweaking on the right.

Once you select a thumbnail, the processing is shown in the view panel in the center. The panes are collapsible and give you the ability to work the way that you want to. On the right side is the control panel where you can tweak your image. At the top of the control panel you have an overall intensity slider which allows you to make the effect more subtle or more dramatic.

Exposure 6

‘Exposure 6′

Below that you have controls that manipulate color, tonal curves, focus, grain, IR, vignettes, and borders and textures. Once you manipulate the image to how you want it to look, you can then go back to the preset panel and save that preset by pressing the + button at the top. Saving it will save all of the parameters that were used to achieve that look so that you can apply it to a series of images for consistency. Then just press apply and you are done. You can also batch process from the standalone version of Exposure 6.

Along with the redesigned interface, new to this version of Exposure is the creative focus effects that let you emulate Bokeh looks to draw attention to your subject through focus, depth of field and vignetting. I really like all of the interesting effects that you can create using these features.

Another great new feature is the instant previews. This lets you see what the preset will look like right in the main view of the application as opposed to just the tiny view on the left side. In my opinion, this really saves a lot of time when working with Exposure in that you get immediate feedback as opposed to having to apply and reapply to find the concept you like.

Exposure 6

‘Exposure 6′

There are new borders, light effects, and textures that have been added to Exposure 6 such as lighting effects for sun flare, additional boarders to add creative effects, and you can also import your own custom borders as well. The basic control panel has been updated to provide sliders to better tweak your images. For Apple users, Exposure 6 contains support for the Apple retina displays as well.

Exposure 6 brings a lot of effective new features, and I really like the new interface changes. With the live preview, this makes for a really great upgrade. When you add in all of the creative textures and effects, you really have a world of creativity with the new Exposure 6. If you want to bring back the look and feel of analog film to your photographic creations or if you just want to pump some creative juice into your work then I highly recommend Exposure 6.

 

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.