Alien Skin Exposure X turns analog photography into an art form

Alien Skin Exposure X

Image editing specialist Alien Skin has just announced a new version of its long-running analog film simulation software Exposure. Exposure X goes a whole step further than previous versions by adding standalone image browsing and editing tools – but it can still be used as a plug-in for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom.

Retro 'analog' looks are extremely popular, as photographers seek to recapture the nostalgic, hand-made and timeless look of analog film and darkroom processes. Rival tools include Analog Efex Pro 2 (part of the Google Nik Collection), On1 Photo 10 and DxO FilmPack 5.

Exposure simulates the look of both old and modern film emulsions, from the Autochrome process of the early 20th century, through classic Kodachrome looks right through to modern films like Velvia 50 and Provia 100.

Alien Skin Exposure X

With Exposure 10 you can simulate classic films, handmade borders and even the characteristic bokeh of old-fashioned mirror lenses.

What's new in Exposure X

You can add film grain, vignettes, bokeh, borders, textures and light leak effects as you create your own custom 'look', or choose from Exposure X's catalog of preset image styles. Exposure X adds new Petzval lens, Pinhole Camera, and Freelensing presets – freelensing is where you detach the lens from the camera and turn and twist it by hand to change the plane of focus.

The new version also allows localised adjustments with brush and layer tools, and adjustments are applied non-destructively to your images files – they're saved alongside your photos rather than being applied directly, so you can go back at any time to change the settings. If you want a permanent copy you can export adjusted images as new files.

Alien Skin has deliberately kept the image browsing and organizing tools straightforward, using a simple folder browsing system rather than the more complex (and powerful) database approach used by Adobe Lightroom. You view folders and images exactly as they are stored on your computer and you can copy, move, rename and delete photos directly. You can also filter photos by label, rating or color label.

Exposure X is available in Mac and PC versions now from the Alien Skin website, costing US$149 (about £98/AU$206), or US$99 (about £65/AU$137) if you're upgrading.

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Rod Lawton is Head of Testing for Future Publishing’s photography magazines, including Digital Camera, N-Photo, PhotoPlus, Professional Photography, Photography Week and Practical Photoshop.