Lightroom Plug-In: If You’re Looking For Film Effects, Check Out Alien Skin Exposure 6
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.
Hi Matt, thanks for the great review!
I’ve tested the Exposure 6 plug-in and I’m absolutely convinced. It’s definitely one of Alien Skin’s best products so far. I stumbled upon a new German preset company yesterday: https://www.lookfilter.com/lightroom-presets/ and downloaded some of their free presets. Pretty cool stuff. Maybe that’s interesting for your readers.
Keep it up!
Recently I was after a good film simulation for one of my projects. I was shooting both digital and film (Kodak Portra) so I needed a tool to match digital photos to analog ones with no much hassle. I tried Exposure 6 and… it was not terribly bad… but the results were quite different from the real film. So I am not sure if it worth the money spent.
P.S. Finally I found a decent film simulation. It was a pack of Lightroom filters from Reallyniceimages (Iconic Films 2). Here are some samples from them on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=reallyniceimages&ct=0&mt=all&adv=1
Another good plugin for such type of effect is Analog Efex Pro from Nik/Google. They already released the version 2 in May with now the full usage of the U-Points. This is a great tool as well and part of the complete collection so with Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro,…
Thanks for the review, Matt! What made this even better is I headed over to the NAPP website and with my membership I got an extra 10 percent discount on Alien Skin products. Nice. I love those discounts. Keep up the good work!
I have never tried any of Alien Skin plug-ins but I do like OnOne, Nik and Topaz (in that order). What are your thoughts on their other plug-ins: Snap Art, Blowup, and Eye Candy. I see they added Bokeh to Exposure 6- what do you think of it too, especially compared to Topaz bokeh if you’ve used both? Just wondering if it’s worth adding if I have some of the others or if I should just keep the 3 I have updated?
Hey Kimberly – I can’t comment too much on them as I haven’t really used them. As for the Bokeh though, I’d say they’re both similar so go with whichever plug-in company has the best overall offering for you in terms of their suite of products. Good luck!
I just purchased their photography bundle. So far I’m really enjoying using both Exposure and Snap Art. I own a couple of their other plugins and without fail have found them to not only produce great software but they have excellent customer service.