I have to admit that I’m an Alien Skin Exposure addict. Sure, I try to create the best images I can in-camera and not all photos are candidates for Exposure’s effects and post-processing but it’s one of my favorite software applications and it just got better.
Announced today—and available in June, a year after the release of Exposure 5 (check out my preview of Exposure 5)—the latest iteration’s main update is the inclusion of Alien Skin’s Bokeh 2 functionality (read Stan Sholik’s review of Bokeh 2 for more details). After spending a little time with version 6 as a Beta tester, I tend to agree with most of Sholik’s review and would like a little more control over the selective placement of the effect, but this added capability is certainly a great step forward for Exposure 6. Between the presets and the individual adjustment sliders, Exposure 6’s Bokeh panel is easy to use and offers a wide range of options that translate into an even broader array of possibilities, from lens simulations to motion blur and beyond.
Other new/improved features of note include a new control panel for adjustments to basic parameters such as exposure, contrast, clarity and vibrance. New lighting effects and vintage borders have been added. And if none of the borders appeal to you, you can now import your own custom borders and textures, as well as share/sync presets, textures and borders between computers. Of course, Exposure is known for its excellent film simulations and creative effects. Version 6 now offers full sized previews so you can quickly run the cursor down the sample panel to get a quick view of how the effect looks on your image before you commit.
The user interface has been tweaked and is highly intuitive. Better yet, the processing engine has been rewritten which not only allows for full-sized instant previews but means that Exposure 6 is more responsive. In my brief time with the Beta software, I was happily surprised at the speed with which the application displayed previews and reacted to adjustments.
Exposure 5 was the first Alien Skin application to offer a standalone option and that carries over to Exposure 6. In addition to standalone, the software also functions as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop CS6 or newer, Lightroom 5 or newer and Apple Aperture 3 or newer. Exposure 6 will be available in June 2014 through www.alienskin.com for $149 USD. Owners of any version of Exposure may upgrade for $69 USD. Free upgrades will be automatically sent to everyone who purchased Exposure 5 directly from Alien Skin Software in March 2014 or later.