What with Apple discontinuing Aperture, and Adobe floundering with their latest update to Lightroom, a lot of people are looking around for alternatives, and the innovation seems to be coming from smaller companies like On1, ACDSee, and now Alien Skin. While their Exposure series of image editing and film emulation software has been available for some time (now at version 7), the next release promises some significant additions, moving into the realm of a true digital asset manager. Alien Skin have a short video about the new version, which I encourage you to watch if you're contemplating options:
And, here's some info from the Alien Skin website:
Exposure 7 has basic file browsing, but Exposure X takes care of every part of your workflow. Drag a folder onto Exposure X to quickly browse photos. Exposure X can handle file management, so there is no need to switch tools to rename, move, or delete files. Mark images with flags, star ratings, and colors and then filter on those qualities for rapid culling and organization.
We worked hard to avoid irritating hassles that are in other photo editors. Our most important choice was to not rely on a central catalog file in Exposure X. That has many wonderful consequences, such as no import step, easy movement of images to another computer, and simple backups. Best of all, you can work on the same photo project from multiple computers if you store it in a cloud service like Dropbox!
Everything is fast!
Speed is an invisible feature, but one that constantly serves you. Our choices to simplify the photo management experience save time, such as not needing to import photos. You don’t need to make a slow switch between user interface modules because Exposure X doesn’t have modules. We put extra intelligence into Exposure to make image browsing lightning fast. Even startup time is quick.
New user interface improvements will help you whether you run Exposure X as a plug-in or standalone photo manager. You can rearrange all the panels where you need them in the user interface and completely hide ones you don’t use. There are new shortcut keys for common photo edits, such as brightness and vibrance. The Basic panel now has a white balance eyedropper, Temperature, and Tint controls. The new Detail panel provides noise reduction and sharpening.
Now that I can use Exposure X for photo management as well as non-destructive editing, I’m addicted to it. Before it ships I’ll show you some examples of why it is so special.
Exposure X will be available before the end of 2015. Anyone who purchased Exposure 7 will automatically receive Exposure X for free as soon as it is ready.
I've been playing with the demo of Exposure 7, and it's really a nice piece of software, despite a couple of missing features here and there. Where I think that Exposure falls down right now is in the area of retouching and localized adjustments, which are tools that have only been introduced in Lightroom relatively recently. Most current users are handling that elsewhere (Photoshop or Portrait Pro or similar), with Exposure being used as a plugin as the last step in their editing workflow. Some of those same features will likely be missing from the first iteration of Exposure X. It will be interesting to see how Exposure X will handle being the DAM as well as a post processing tool, essentially "wrapping" itself around a tool like Photoshop.
Exposure 7 is available now for $149 from Alien Skin's web site, with Exposure X coming before year end as a free upgrade. 10% Discount codes are available from several other photographers' websites (Tony Sweet or Rick Sammon, for example).