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An all-in-one solution for image management and edits
A render is almost never the final step in an image’s life. Often there will be grading to do, or compositing, or both. Sometimes you may simply need to export a few versions for different end uses, such as adding to a portfolio, sending to a client or sharing on social media. It’s tempting to think that the best course of action is to use multiple applications to do all this, when in actual fact there is one piece of software that could handle the heavy lifting.
Exposure X4 is an image management and editing solution that takes many of these tasks and rolls them into a creative workflow that is truly elegant and logical. Within one intuitive interface you can complete everything from import to colour correction and export. Yes it may look familiar to those who use Lightroom but it differs in a few key areas. Firstly it never touches or duplicates your images. It adds metadata to store edits, leaving your image untouched on your drive, saving space and meaning you can pass on edits to another person more easily.
There are no ‘rooms’ here, as everything takes place in one space. You can import a location (the file location not the actual image) and save various locations, like external drives, as a bookmark for ease of navigation. There are endless view options, as well as rating and flagging tools, to help you define searches and categorise your library, viewing either singly or in multiples, along with before and after options, side by sides, preview edits and presets.
Which brings us to one of the main elements of Exposure: its preset library. Whether you are working with photos or renders, these presets offer a host of different looks and feels, from subtle to extreme, including many film simulation modes that can really help to
make a clean and crisp render feel more organic, with lovely tone falloffs and film responses. There are a bunch of more over-the-top choices but every one is made from the editing options Exposure offers, making them easy to dial in exactly as needed. Better yet is that Exposure offers a full layer system, enabling you to add stacked edits, balancing them easily with layer opacity.
On the right side is the manual editing panel, which houses familiar slider sets such as hue and saturation and channel mixers, but also some more expressive options like overlays, borders and bokeh effects, making Exposure a really creative tool and one that can take a simple image and get the best from it.
Staying organised with an ever-increasing portfolio can be tricky for even the most diligent of artists, so any help is welcome. Pleasingly Exposure assists in this area too with smart collections, which can be set up using various qualifiers, from simple ratings to metadata or keywords. This makes hunting for any image quick and easy.
Exposure X4 is all about doing things efficiently and that really shines through in use. The learning curve is almost non-existent, with everything laid out neatly and the UI helps rather than hinders. The editing process is familiar but slicker and more fluid than other options, even on older machines with less processing power behind them, and even when working with large RAW files from the latest cameras or renders of a larger resolution and colour depth.
Exposure X4 is simply the best all-in-one solution for managing and editing images in a non-destructive way, with an elegant interface and logical processes.
Bottom: Finding and viewing images is simple, with many qualifiers to aid searches, from colour codes, to ratings and flags
Below (middle): exporting from exposure X4 is easy, with options broken down into logical attributes, as well as a preset system
Below (top): the interface of exposure X4 is clean and intuitive, for a gentle learning curve and ease of ongoing use