I recall my first look at Exposure, oh about 12 years ago...maybe. The company was still going under the name Alien Skin Software, now it is simply Exposure Software, named for it's flagship product. But, back then, I was initially asked about reviewing their Eye Candy software (an effects plug-in for Photoshop that is still very relevant). They had just released version 7 of Eye Candy at the time, and it was pretty sweet (pun intended). You can check out Eye Candy here. Soon I was looking at the rest of their product line.
Ah Exposure...I was wowed back then, and am happy to see it's gotten much, much better. I can't recall what version it was in when I was introduced to it, but I'm sure it was only a few years from infancy. And what struck me then was it's sleek interface, ease of use, and mimicked film types. It also had wonderful tools for vignetting.
And now Exposure X7 is really such a robust software, with full-fledged and fantastic photo editing capabilities, many more stock films added, and there's one new tool that really shines...a polygon selection tool that can be used to quickly select and separate an object in a photo.
But first of all, if you're here comparing Exposure to Adobe's Lightroom, perhaps looking for an alternative to subscription pricing, then you're in luck. Exposure X7 does what Lightroom does, and it does it quite exceptionally. I also have enjoyed Lightroom, but as I see it, it can certainly be a replacement. And, to be clear, I am not going to go into a full comparison between the two in this article.
Exposure is, basically, a non-destructive raw photo editor and organizer. But, basic, it is not. The amount of editing tools available in Exposure X7 is vast. Everything you could want from the strict basics of auto adjustments, to curves adjustments, bokeh, and vignettes, and much, much more. I think the one thing that I noticed right away is that exposure is fast. Seriously. And, perhaps, I will go back on my earlier statement and say that that is the one clear difference I see between Exposure X7 and Adobe's Lightroom. Lightroom is another great tool, but it does take it's time.
I should note here that Exposure X7 can be used as a standalone editor, and even as a plug-in for Photoshop or even the aforementioned Lightroom. In this article, however, I am using it as a standalone.
One of the really great things about Exposure X7 is the layering system. This is great for touch ups like red-eye removal and to soften skin, but also for adding something like selective warmth, via a 'brush' as I'm doing here with my two doggies.
And oh my, that new tool in Exposure X7 that I mentioned previously is really fantastic! The polygon selection tool is easy to use, and extremely, well, useful!
The thing that I loved about my first introduction to Exposure was the vignetting tools, and they are so easy and fun to use. I'm not sure if they've changed much over the years, but I love the creative possibilities of vignetting...but, maybe I'm just weird.
There are some great organizational tools in Exposure X7 that, unfortunately, I haven't gotten far with yet, though I did start. I am generally a clean and organized person, but my computer is another story, indeed! But, with Exposure X7 you have plenty of ways to organize your photos into collections and even by camera, and you can search with ease.
I love the bokeh tools and presets in Exposure X7. This photo above had great bokeh to begin with, but it was great fun to 'shape' the bokeh even better.
The filters available in Exposure X7 is quite extensive. It's great fun to play with the filters and even use them as a starting point for more exploration/editing.
Lastly, I must mention the absolutely wonderful amount of overlays available directly in Exposure X7. You can add frames, textures, and a wide variety of light leaks to photos for added effects.
Exposure X7 is an absolute gem and definitely worth your time to check out. And, it's reasonably priced at $129 (USD) for what it is capable of. But, don't just take my word for it, give it a try for yourself with a trial today!
Nick C Sorbin (Nick Charles) is a former Managing Editor of 9 years for Renderosity's CG Industry News. By day, a mild-mannered Certified Pharmacy Technician working in both home infusion and a hospital ER, contrasting creative outlets as a digital artist, sculptor, musician, singer/songwriter, and Staff Writer for Renderosity Magazine. Read his articles