Alien Skin Exposure
Review Date : Mon, 3 Apr 2006
Author : WDC Team
It is now much easier to get the look of film on digital, thanks to those lovely people from Alien Skin.....
With film manufacturers disappearing or scaling back, it is becoming increasingly difficult to get the look of film by shooting on film. Ironically it is now much easier to get the look of film on digital, thanks to those lovely people from Alien Skin. In effect, Exposure is a colour, contrast and grain adjustment method that works as a plug-in to the more sophisticated image-manipulation programs on the market. Different films obviously record the world in varying ways, and the images captured are also affected by the method of development. Exposure creates the illusion of a given image having been shot on film by changing the hue, saturation, graininess and contrast. So you can choose to have your images recreated as if they had been shot by ‘dreamy teen’ calendar photographer David Hamilton on 40-year-old GAF slide film. Alternatively you can add the pep of Fuji Provia’s colourful view of the world in razor-sharp detail (assuming, of course it was there in your original image – Exposure’s not that clever).
The program even allows you to choose cross-processing effects such as slide film in C-41 developer or print film through E6 chemicals. Given the difficulty of doing this in real life, I wonder what fashion photography students will find to do with their new-found free time.
Throw in a hatful of other effects, and the ability to manipulate the individual elements of a film’s tonal and colour reproduction and you have that rare example of a useful piece of software that is fun to use. On the black and white side, you can choose a range of fast film looks (such as Ilford’s ISO 3200 speed film) for that reportage effect.
All these effects are chosen from a very comprehensive menu of options on the left-hand side of a pane that appears when you launch the plug-in. I spent my first hours with the program checking whether my memory of the featured films’ characteristics matched the programs; perhaps more accurately I should admit it was the other way round. On the whole, I must say the two tallied surprisingly often, and there is certainly a huge choice.