Hey everyone. I keep getting asked about all of the Lightroom plug-ins out there, which is why (a while back) I created a plug-in category here on the site. One of the big areas I hear a lot about is film effects. Lately it seems that film effects have taken over the post-processing world. Look at the popularity of the VSCO Film presets for Lightroom (and many others that do something similar). Just about every photo app on the iPhone does ’em too. Now, I do think the overall community out there wants to do most of their work in Lightroom which is why presets are popular. But when it comes to film effects, I don’t think you can beat a plug-in. They just offer way more power, tools, and settings than Lightroom can.
Well, last month Alien Skin released Exposure 6 which is mainly geared at film effects. Heck, even their tagline for Exposure 6 reads “Digital Images, Analog Soul”. If you’re in to those effects you’ll definitely want to check it out. In fact, a big congrats to the folks at Alien Skin because Exposure 5 recently won the PPA Hot One Aware for 2014 (that was before version 6 came out last month).
Anyway, so what does “they just offer way more power” really mean when it comes to plug-ins (I said that above). Take Exposure 6 for example. It’s got the usual Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows and basic stuff. But I think the real power comes from 2 things. Of course the settings in the grains, textures, overlays, bokeh, etc… go beyond what Lightroom can do. But honestly, I think for Exposure 6 (and many other plug-ins out there), the big thing is presets. Like I said before, everyone loves their presets in Lightroom. They’re like little one-click wonders. Quick and easy. That’s why the presets panel in Exposure 6 is probably going to be the first place you go to. They’ve already done the work for you in creating all of the popular film effects. There’s literally hundreds of effects there with little thumbnail previews so you can see ahead of time what they’re going to look like. I’m mostly a landscape guy and I like color. So the Color Misc section is probably the most useful for me. But you can see in the list there’s a ton more.
Here’s the link if you want to check it out (there’s a free trial too). Sure I have free Lightroom presets here on the site, but even I’ll admit they don’t come anywhere near this. And yeah, you can go buy Lightroom presets somewhere else, but for the price that some are charging for Lightroom presets, you’d be way better off to pick up a plug-in like Exposure if you’re in to film effects – you get so much more for the money.