Alien Skin Ex­po­sure X2

$149 (around £123) www.alien­

NPhoto - - Gear Zone -

Ex­po­sure is aim­ing to be more than just an ef­fects plug-in, as you can also use it to cull and or­gan­ise your photos. New fea­tures in ver­sion X2, such as spot heal­ing and lens dis­tor­tion cor­rec­tion tools, fur­ther add to Ex­po­sure’s ver­sa­til­ity.

But it’s Ex­po­sure X2’s range of over 500 ef­fect pre­sets that im­presses most. The se­lec­tion in­cludes nu­mer­ous em­u­la­tions of colour and mono film stocks, as well as a de­cent se­lec­tion of generic retro looks. All can be end­lessly cus­tomised to ad­just every­thing from colour and de­tail to grain and vi­gnetting, while a Brush tool en­ables you to se­lec­tively ad­just a spe­cific area or stack mul­ti­ple ef­fects.

De­spite this vast ar­ray of ef­fects, we found nav­i­ga­tion slick, with pre­views load­ing al­most in­stantly. It’s a pity that Ex­po­sure X2 lacks the abil­ity to com­bine images in lay­ers, but it’s still highly ac­com­plished.

Ex­po­sure X2 works on Macs and PCs, with Light­room 6 or later. It re­quires an In­tel Core 2 or equiv­a­lent pro­ces­sor and sup­ports JPEG, TIFF, PSD and DNG files, plus RAW for­mats.

Pros Vast se­lec­tion of at­trac­tive pre­sets; in­tu­itive in­ter­face; se­lec­tive edit­ing; fast Cons No lay­ers sup­port; not the cheap­est op­tion We say Top-notch per­for­mance and ex­ten­sive fea­tures make Ex­po­sure X2 hard to beat Over­all score

De­spite its enor­mous cat­a­logue of over 500 ef­fect pre­sets, Ex­po­sure X2 is very easy and in­tu­itive to use

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