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Alien Skin's Exposure 3-My Summer of 42

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Alien Skin’s Exposure 3

Exposure 3 is Alien Skin’s third generation of their film simulation plug-in suite for Photoshop and Lightroom 2 or later. The latest version is a long way from Exposure 1 first introduced in 2005, the first plug in suite that simulated most of our favorite films and convinced many of us to make the move.

I suppose there are many of us that waited until we were sure that digital was here to stay, before we  purchased our first digital camera. Many audiophiles still swear that vinyl records were made for the human ear and still won’t go digital.  But what if you could go digital and take advantage of all the latest technology in digital photography and still produce the same images you did with film?  Would that be the reason to finally make the move to the 21st Century?

Most of us have made the transition from film and every image we shoot is crystal sharp, colors perfect and the resolution and dynamic range is amazing so what is missing?  Well, you may still remember the wonderful look and feel of Kodaks Portra films?  The beautiful fine grain, high color saturation and lower contrast, which made it one of the more popular color films.

I loved working with Kodak’s black and white films like Kodak’s Tri-X 400 and its amazing grain, or the extremely  fine grain Panatomic-X one of my old time favorites with an ASA of only 25.

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I suppose working with some of these older films reminds me of the film, the Summer of 42,  the 1971 film about the coming of age of a young boy and his romance with an older woman.  Well, I believe that many photographers still remember their coming of age and our older woman is a metaphor for our memories of our early photos taken with our favorite films. I fondly remember all the long hours developing the film in my kitchen sink and printing them in my darkroom while watching the magic as the images appeared in my developing trays.

I loved working with Exposure 3 for this article and as I manipulated each image, I  began to remember my early days as a photographer.

My First Album Cover

Tri-X 400 ASA Film • Circa: Mid 1960's

My first real photo assignment was for my cousin Neil Diamond. We were both kids and he came to me and asked if I would shoot the cover and  some black and white promotional photos for him.  It was the the mid 1960’s I had a Nikon Ftn with a nice F1.2 Nikkor lens and thought that I could get some great shots under the Brooklyn Bridge.

I shot that cover photo and took many black and white iconic photos of Neil there and in other locations including his Long Island home. I used Kodak’s Plus -X and Tri-X films then and Kodacolor X color negative film.  I shot some of my best works as a young photographer and many of my photos of Neil have appeared in or on the millions of concert and tour books, music publications, record albums and on television.

Because of Exposure 2, and now Exposure 3, I have been able to reproduce the look of some of my earlier works and do it digitally.  This latest version offers so many choices from the most popular films both black and white and color to special film processing including cinema processes and various toning techniques we used like  Selenium toning, Gold Split, Blue Tone and Vignette and Platinum toning.

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If you own or thought of purchasing Exposure 2 which is a great filter suite, it is time to move up to Exposure 3. It now has over 500 factory presets for color and black and white films but is faster in rendering images, more interactive and in Photoshop CS5 is over twice as fast as Exposure 2 is in CS4 on a Mac. It also boasts a selection of new categories including Cinematography and Lo-Fi.  Almost every category has something new.

Take a moment now and view Alien Skin’s Examples Page on their web site or view the slideshow below.  If you mouse over the images you will see more information and which filter I applied to each one.  You can also visit our  Gallery page to see these in a larger format.

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5 sec./image Slideshow – You can also Click Images To Change Them.

“I had a great time playing with so many of the options and films on some of my images that I am excited about printing many of them for display in my own portfolio.  You will also see some screen shots that display the easy to use factory settings and the many adjustments that can be made to fine tune each film and effect.”

Screen Shots

Although you can see some of the screen shots of Exposure 3’s control center in our slide show, here are a few  that will give you an idea of how easy it is to master this program in no time at all.

Click to see full size image

Click to see full size image

Alien Skin

Over the past few years, I have reviewed  Alien Skin’s Snap Art, Exposure 2, Image Doctor 2, Bokeh, and now Exposure 3. If you are not familiar with this company, you should be.

Alien Skin a company best known for their photo editing software for Photoshop and probably has the best and most interesting sets of plug-ins for the amateur and professional photographer on the market.  If you are a Photoshop user, you will find the suites feel right at home in the Photoshop interface and their factory defaults on all of their suites make it easy to be up and running in a few minutes.

One only has to visit  their web site or read some of our IPA reviews to see that many of their suites are those you will actually use.  I have found that many suites from other software companies are so limited in their use and in many cases are overused on images that they become cliche, not so with Alien Skin products.

Exposure 3 Requirements

This product requires one of the following host applications:

    Adobe Photoshop CS3 or later
    Adobe Lightroom 2 or later
    Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 or later
    Corel Paint Shop Pro Photo X3


1024×768 or greater monitor resolution

  • Intel processor
  • Mac OS X 10.5 or later


  • Intel Pentium 4 processor (or compatible)
  • Windows XP SP3 or later

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Alien Skin offers a number of video tutorials on their software and so many factory default settings that anyone can be up and running in only a few minutes after the software is installed.

You can download a 30 day free trial version of Exposure 3 and any of the other Alien Skin software products and see for yourself how they can extend your creative abilities.

Exposure 3 is available as a download or CD version for both Mac and PC at $249 and as an upgrade from previous versions at only $99




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