If you have upgraded from an earlier version of Exposure to version 4, you have probably noticed that the user interface (UI) has changed quite a bit. We spent a lot of time thinking (and arguing) about how we can make things easier so it was nice to read a review that went into detail about those changes. It is rare that a reviewer really gets to know a product like this author (Erik Vlietinck). In this article I want to give a little background on why we designed the UI like it is and how this helps you save time.
Probably the most important thing about Exposure is the settings. We added a lot of carefully researched settings over the years. The settings are designed to be complete enough so you can just click one and be done. For most people this is enough and if you use the program for the first time we want it to be easy enough that you just click to get a great result.
In previous versions of Exposure, the controls were all somewhat “hidden” behind the settings on tabs. Over the years, we have been using Exposure to make more settings as are many customers. I personally have found it frustrating to have to click on a tab behind the settings to make a tweak and then click the setting tab again to get back. In Exposure 4 we separated the settings on the left and controls on the right so they are visible at the same time. For the person (like me) who likes to “tweak”, this is great and saves a lot of clicking. However, for the first time user and people who don’t tweak we have introduced a lot of complexity to the product.
To deal with this complexity we then added a few other design elements. First, feel free to hide the controls completely with the little disclosure arrow on the right. This will give you more screen real estate if you want it.
More importantly we have added group presets. Group presets help organize a set of related controls and re-use your tweaks. They also make it easy to tweak the look without having to understand the complexities of all of the controls. For example, you may like a certain setting but the vignette is not quite right. Just go to the age tab and take a look at the Vignette group presets. As you explore them, they will update the preview. Visual exploration is always easy to understand. However, if you want even more fine control, you can adjust the sliders. Most people don’t want to figure out what each slider does, because it can be confusing at first. But once you get the perfect vignette you can now save that group preset so it gets added to the list (the button to the right of the preset name). Next time, you can go right to that preset and not have to think about the sliders.
If you haven’t explored the presets in the group boxes, please take a look. I think they are one of the most important UI features we added to Exposure.