A little while back I published a post concerning alternatives to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Whilst many people love using Lightroom and Photoshop (myself included) some don’t like the Adobe Subscription model. Today I will share the first alternative that might appeal to some of you; Exposure from Alien Skin.
I suspect many people reading this won’t have come across Exposure, or perhaps I should say Exposure X2 which is the latest release. Of those that have, you might be forgiven for thinking of it as a plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop. Indeed, it can be used as an enhancement filter but it’s also a standalone solution.
The Browser is reasonably quick and allows for basic flagging and tagging of images. You are then able to filter the images in a folder based on flag, colour or star rating. This is all basic stuff but if you organise your images based on date shot and don’t need to add keywords, it might be all you need.
Exposure will read a range of image file formats including RAW. It would though seem to be limited to RAW files it recognises as my older version, Exposure X doesn’t recognise my Fuji X-T2 RAW images (the new X2 version of the software will though).
When editing images in Exposure you can take two approaches. The easy way is to use one of the many film pre-sets that ship with the software. In all honesty, I think these are brilliant and will produce a digital rendering very much like the films they simulate. It’s very quick to achieve good results with the pre-sets and you can also create and save your own.
The other alternative is to use the editing tools of which there are many. These are well thought out and surprisingly flexible. For example, you have a film grain tool that allows you to simulate different film sizes, roughness, colour variations, processing and then apply this in varying levels to the shadows, midtones or highlights. The tools are developed well beyond Lightroom in some respects.
In addition to the usual editing tools there are several special effects that can be applied to simulate all manner of old film effects such as light leaks, scratches, fading etc. My personal favourite is the Infrared processing that simulates the halation effect found in infrared films such as Kodak HIE. I use this tool frequently when processing my digital IR images.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Exposure is very much a film simulation tool but despite this you can create some very impressive adjustments. The limitation of the older versions (such as mine) is that the adjustments are global. With the new X2 version you also gain access to a layers feature which includes layer masking. I suspect this alone will persuade me to upgrade in the near future. There are also other feature which move the software towards being a one stop image editor.
I have been using Exposure since version 5 (that’s about 5 versions back) and I really like the results that can be achieved. The images you can produce have a feeling of maturity and sophistication that is difficult to explain. Where Exposure scores highly in my opinion though is in Black and White conversion and vintage film effects.
If you are looking for an alternative to the standard Creative Cloud tools, this is one worth evaluating.
The Lenscraft site is now back up and running with the performance issues fixed. We have needed to revert to a backup so it’s possible a couple of people who registered just prior to the problem may need to register again (although I think I have everyone).
Apologies for inconvenience caused.
The Lenscraft website is temporarily down. Yesterday it was running extremely slow due to what appeared to be external influences. I won’t go into the technicalities of what happened next other than to say the site has been destroyed. I’m working with the hosting company to restore one of the backups and prevent any further attacks.
My apologies for any inconvenience.
I’m hoping you haven’t noticed, but this past couple of weeks has seen me take a holiday. I say I hope you haven’t noticed as I tried hard to keep the blog up to date with posts and replies to comments.
My break has taken me to the island of Madeira where I was trekking in the hills. It’s my first time to the island and whilst the holiday was good the weather wasn’t. I believe our flight was the last to land for a couple of days and some members of the walking party were severely delayed.
Despite the poor weather, the trip was very enjoyable. The weather conditions also created the opportunity for a bit of photography with my trust Olympus EM5. The image above is just one of the stunning locations on the island.
If all you Fuji shooters are now screaming why didn’t he take the X-T2, the answer is size. I can easily fit the EM5 together with three lenses into a small shoulder bag. This makes trekking with a full backpack and taking pictures very easy. There is no way the X-T2 with three similar lenses would fit in such a small pack.
I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.
This weekend my book “Mastering your Camera” is available for free. It’s only available on the Saturday and Sunday (25th and 26th March) so be sure to pick up a copy. And don’t forget to let your friends know.
Here is the link to book but you can also find it by searching for the title.
If you find the book isn’t immediately free in your Amazon store, try again a little later. I understand the timing of the offer is based on one of the US time zones. I know last time I did a free offer, people in Australia and New Zealand hand to wait until the following day to take advantage.
Although this is a Kindle eBook, you don’t need to own a Kindle to read it. Many people miss out as they don’t realise there is a free Kindle software from Amazon. This allows you to read Kindle books on various devices including PC’s, Mac’s tablets and phones. My personal favourite is my phone. It works very well and is with me most of the time.
If you haven’t seen the Kindle software before, here is the link.
A couple of weeks back I showed a Friday Image that was a little different. It featured some grass on a beach, bathed in lovely evening light. This time I would like to share another very simple image. It’s a little different from the last but I find it very calming.
It’s three images taken with the Fuji X-T2 and which have been stitched in Lightroom. The bulk of the editing required was to switch the Camera Profile from Adobe Standard to Fuji Provia.
I hope you like it and have a great weekend.
I recently read that Adobe is withdrawing the traditional full purchase option from Lightroom and Photoshop and that only the CC versions would be available. This means you would need to pay a monthly subscription rather than make a one-off payment for a version of the software. Checking the Adobe site just now I can see that only Lightroom and Elements are available as a “traditional” purchase option.
Whilst I subscribe to Creative Cloud and am very happy to do so, I know a lot of people don’t like the subscription model. Given this, it’s my intention to share some alternatives over the coming weeks that you might want to consider if you don’t want to go down the Adobe CC route.
To set some expectations though, I won’t be covering every alternative and I won’t be looking at lots of alternatives in a single blog post. Instead I will be posting from time to time as new ideas come to light. I also won’t be doing a comprehensive review of software, I will leave you to do that with the trial versions that most software companies offer.
In this first blog post I would like to consider just what Creative Cloud provides from the photographer’s perspective. You to determine how important each aspect is to you, as everyone will be different.
This is the ability to tag and sort images as well as perform searches using a variety of criteria. Typically, you would need to be able to search quickly on variables across potentially hundreds of thousands of images to identify the one(s) you want.
This is provided by Lightroom and to some degree Bridge.
If you shoot in RAW format, as many photographers do, you will need to convert or develop the RAW file into an image format. This will typically involve applying adjustments to the images as part of the conversion process.
This is provided by Lightroom or in Photoshop through Camera RAW.
The ability to enhance or adjust an image. Adjustments may be as simple as changes to colour or tone. In some circumstances, we may need to make more complex changes such as remove an object or change its size, shape or the perspective of the image.
Lightroom provides a level of adjustment capability but in some respects, this can be quite limited. Photoshop is much more flexible and powerful.
Creating prints from your images and the ability to go through a Soft Proofing process is in both Lightroom and Photoshop.
Other aspects of CC that might be important to you are things such as are they supported for Mac and Windows. Do you need support for 16 bit editing or even 32 bit editing? Is there full colour management support so you can select a colour space within which to work? Do you need to work in CMYK, RGB or even LAB? How important is overall workflow to you? Some people hate switching between applications and need a level of integration.
If you’re thinking of a move from CC or even just buying more software, I would strongly recommend working on a few images and making notes of the aspects and features you use. You might not realise these are important to you until they are gone.
Next time I will look at one or two possible alternatives to CC.