Here are some of the eye catching shots from the Alien Skin Flickr group this week. Great stuff, everyone!
Here are some of the eye catching shots from the Alien Skin Flickr group this week. Great stuff, everyone!
Andrew Foord is a fashion and glamour photographer out of Bergen County, New Jersey. He hasn’t had much official training at a university or photography school. Books, articles, and online training tutorials have built him a significant foundation of photography know-how. His passion for learning and his keen eye for color and composition have helped him quickly develop his career behind the lens.
Andrew has aspirations to contribute to fashion magazines like GQ, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, Style, and occasionally SNL. Aside from working as a full-time photographer, he teaches workshops on lighting and editing, and he makes video tutorials for his website.
He proudly advocates the use of Exposure for photo-retouching. Below are a few images from Andrew with summaries describing its use. Thanks, Andy!
I love using Exposure 5! It gives my shots that extra little “pop.” When using the software in Photoshop, it applies effects to a new layer, meaning you can modify them to your heart’s content. Sometimes I run the software on the same image twice, using 2 different presets. Through my experimentation, I’ve found that layering the effects like this creates an extra level of depth in the image. Give it a try.
I finished the image above with Exposure 5’s Color Films – Vintage, Kodachrome II Cyan Shift preset, my absolute favorite. I love the creamy effect it has on skin tones and the magenta cast it adds to water and shadows. Normally, I soften the effect with the Overall Intensity slider. On this shot, I added a little sharpening. I prefer to use Exposure as a plug-in. Because Photoshop’s layers give me an extra level of control over the effect.
This shot (above) was finished off with the same preset as before, Color Films – Vintage, Kodachrome II Cyan Shift. This time, I didn’t modify any sliders–the preset nailed the look I was after right out of the box. It’s amazing to see how the same preset can yield different results. This time, I was drawn to the slight desaturation of the skin tones, yet it still produced a creamy look.
For this image(above), I chose Color Films – Vintage, Kodachrome II (1962-1974). The preset was applied at full intensity but I faded out some of the effect in her hair with a mask in Photoshop.
This editorial photo was finished in Exposure 5 using the preset Color Films – Vintage, Kodachrome II Dust and Scratches. I change the scratches to “scratches 9″ and lowered the opacity slightly. After applying the effect, I added a layer mask and brushed out some of the effect in certain places.
Here are some of our favorite shots from the Alien Skin Flickr group this week. Thanks for sharing, everyone!
Introducing Arthur Jacob, a digital abstraction artist operating out of Gresham, Oregon. His work has been included in exhibitions all across the continental US, from Santa Monica, California, to New York’s highly sought after Manhattan Arts International online gallery which also exhibits in Florence, Italy.
In a recent conversation, I asked Arthur to share some details about his work and workflow. Below is his response. Thanks, Arthur!
For all of my artwork, I focus on three criteria: color, shape, and movement.
Art like this, for me, is a journey. It’s not a pre-determined procedure. Normally, artists using acrylics or oil will have an idea of the final painting in mind before they start. This practice of pre-visualization is opposite to my workflow. I just tinker with parameters until I see something that I like.
I use fractals, photos, or a combination of the two, as my starting point in creative work. Sometimes I’ll create a piece using only additive techniques, other times, I’ll stick with subtractive. Once I have established the right feel, I’ll break down recognizable patterns with filters in Photoshop or other software.
I’ll use color to create depth. Usually, color adjustments are made with Exposure. It allows me the ability to make adjustments to the colors, tones, and contrasts all at once. It’s much easier to make these kinds of artistic tweaks when you can preview the composite in real-time. This lets me dial-in adjustments with surgical precision.
From my experience, digital artists don’t realize the true value of photo editing software like Exposure or Snap Art. This is to their own disadvantage. There are a lot of uses for these programs during the construction of creative artwork. Artistic software, like the products from Alien Skin, soothes many painful points in my artistic workflow. These programs are invaluable for saving me time, and they give me more control over my work.
To see more of Arthur’s work, visit his website.
Here are our weekly selections from the Alien Skin Flickr group for the week. Great work, everyone!
Steve’s recent review of Exposure 5 is a great, comprehensive article. We liked it so much that we thought we’d share it with everyone. It was originally published in Photo Technique magazine’s September/October 2013 issue. Thanks a million to Steve Dreyer and everyone at Photo Technique!
I often look at my twin lens Rolleicord and old Kodak and Nikon F3 film cameras that sit proudly on the shelf in my office. The shelf is situated to my left as I walk towards my desk where I have all my digital equipment−almost to remind me of the way it was! There was just something special, even magical, about the feeling I had when I picked these cameras up to photograph something and later went back to my darkroom or over to a custom lab to see the images come to life.
But now I use DSLRs and post-processing to achieve my vision. Software programs are getting better all the time, as they incorporate algorithms for adjusting sharpness to noise to everything in between. The programs we use are, or should be, dictated by what we want to accomplish, possible client or gallery requirements, and the ease of use and control that they give us to create that final image−our vision of the scene we saw when we pressed the shutter. However, I still love the look of film and that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to experiment with the latest Alien Skin Exposure version 5.
For those that are not familiar with Alien Skin Software, the company has been known for its quality products since the mid-1990s. Even so, the products are very far from “old tech” as the company has continually innovated over the years. Their attention to meeting customer requirements, support and great software is what defines them.
Software companies work hard to differentiate their products, and it’s not easy to be unique in a world that provides photographers with so many choices. But the latest version of the Alien Skin’s Exposure product does just that. I’ve spent quite a lot of time with this version and this article describes just a few of my favorite features with examples of how I used them.
Version 5 expands on the ease of use and rich feature set of previous versions of the software. For example, the new darkened background and panel interface resembles the look of Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. It’s easier to use than previous versions and if you use the Adobe products it feels more like part of the general workflow. An important feature is that you can also use Exposure 5 as a standalone product, so Lightroom and Photoshop are not even required. Just open Exposure and select the image file that you want to work on. Contrary to the way some other tools work, you can access all the color and black and white presets and controls from the same interface−there’s no need for separate products. This means that you can more easily experiment to achieve your vision of the final image.
As in previous versions, the left panel is where you select from the included “presets” for your work. I use them as starting points because they have been researched and developed specifically for the look of film. There are even some films that I never heard of and it’s actually fun to experiment. I may still make further adjustments with the sliders in the right panel. And you can create your own presets after you’ve customized the ones that are included with the product, which means that you can easily apply a consistent effect on a set of images from a shoot−with the click of a homemade preset. Here are just a few of the many things that I like about Exposure 5, with some examples.
The opening images−the before (color) and after (black and white) provide just one example of the many black and white film effects that are available. I thought the color image that was right out of the camera was okay, but it wasn’t that special and didn’t represent the look I desired. I wanted an image that would show the lines and detail of the rock and landscape against a darkened sky.
I could have created the black and white version in Lightroom, Photoshop and/or with certain other plug- ins. But with Alien Skin Exposure, it took me less than two minutes to achieve the film effect that I wanted. Figure 1 shows the left panel of Exposure 5, where I selected the Kodak Technical Pan film. Because I wanted an even darker sky without affecting the white clouds, I moved the blue slider in the right side panel (Figure 2) to the left (effectively darkening only the blue), and that was all that was necessary.
Like many other photographers, my go-to color film was Kodachrome 64, especially for its richness and depth of the color. Alien Skin Exposure 5 not only has a great simulation for this film, as it does with all included color film presets for Agfa, Fuji, GAF and many others, but it allows for even further adjustments. Figures 3 and 4 show an original RAW format image and the final Kodachrome image respectively, after applying a few sliders in the right side panel. And just because it took only a second, I applied a Tri-X treatment (Figure 4) to see how that would look.
You can see some film grain (as distinguished from noise) that was added to this image. It can be achieved naturally by using certain films (as in the case of Tri-X) and in the development process. Exposure 5 lets you easily add a grain effect and has sliders that allow you to control the amount, the size and how the grain will be applied in shadows, midtones and highlights.
Borders and Textures
There is a section in the right panel called Borders & Textures, which is a convenient way to further stylize images. Although there are presets in the left panel that automatically incorporate some of these effects, you can select a preset as a starting point and then add an effect from the right panel. It’s that easy, and you can experiment for the effect that’s most pleasing. As with other right panel adjustments, they can be applied to the provided color and black and white presets or your own creations.
Figure 5 is a color version of a woman handling chestnuts at an outdoor market in Asia. It is the result of applying the Kodachrome 25 preset to an eight megapixel RAW image taken several years ago with no other adjustments. Selecting a black and white preset can give this type of image an “old” feeling. I selected Tri-X, added some scratches and a vintage border from the adjustments in the right panel (Figure 6) and wound up with the photo in Figure 7. Note that there are no scratches in the center of the image−there’s a convenient “protect center” option that eliminates the effect in that area.
The effects described above and the many more that exist are a click and optionally a slider away. Aside from the technical and artistic benefits of Exposure 5, it is really easy to use. In fact, it can stimulate your creativity. Mousing over an effect in the presets in the left and right panels gives you a glimpse of how the image will look if you apply the effect. This feature gives you live view flexibility in your quest for achieving your vision.
You don’t have to want a film effect to get the benefits of Alien Skin Exposure. But if you do, this is a must-try product. What’s interesting is that while I use other products for some of their unique features and functions, I now find myself opening Exposure 5 on almost every image−even before I use the others.
Exposure 5 has rekindled my love of film, albeit without the expense, chemicals or the effort. Alien Skin Software has a tagline for its Exposure product: “taking the digital out of digital photography” and I couldn’t agree more!
Steve Dreyer is a fine art photographer based out of New York. He is a contributing writer for Photo Technique magazine, and he leads workshops for B&H Photo. See more from Steve on his website and his blog.
Here are some of the photos that caught our eye in the Alien Skin Flickr group this week. Great work, everyone!
It’s always great to receive feedback and examples of the practical application of Alien Skin products in our users’ work, especially when the end results are unique and inspirational. An excellent example of this presented itself recently, when we were contacted by Brian Hanson of Hidden Notice to tell us about a film project he recently completed for Ambiguous Clothing‘s “Artist First” series.
The film, which Brian processed entirely in Exposure, features Los Angeles native artist/illustrator Michael Hsiung and documents his career path, process and philosophy, It also pulls Michael’s work off the page and puts it into a real life setting to create a very cool piece of work indeed. Check it out for yourself:
Now, getting such amazing results for a video might seem to require a lot of hard work, but Brian’s workflow is pretty straightforward. He explains his process as follows:
“I know it’s a bit of a different workflow than most would take, but, after having used Exposure for years editing stills, I saw no reason why I couldn’t adapt it to video. I shoot with RED Epic and Scarlet cameras, so I was already familiar with pulling 4k/5k stills and editing in Photoshop.
With Exposure, I really enjoy the realistic references to film stocks as well as the control Exposure gives me, so I was excited to see what I could create.
In shooting the “Michael Hammer Hsiung” piece, I knew it needed to be especially vibrant. I had in mind a golden, glowing metallic look for L.A. in a few shots, and then a bleached, washed-out, over-sharpened look in other areas to convey Michael’s connection to that place and time. Exposure was the best solution for that in my mind, I had so much freedom to push/pull the looks, adding secondary adjustments etc. and just generally create unique images.
My workflow was actually pretty easy: I edit in Adobe Premiere CS6 with the native R3D files that my cameras shoot. So, first I’d fine-tune the look of the RAW clip to allow for the most latitude (just as I’d do with a still from my Canon EOS 5D Mark II). Then, once I felt that my edit was locked in, I would export a full-res 5k TIFF image sequence. As a next step, I’d pull a single still into Exposure, create my look, make a Photoshop action and run the image sequence for that clip through Exposure saving the new image sequence in a separate folder. I’d then reassemble the image sequences into 5k ProRes444 files, pull them back into my timeline and I’d be ready to go.
I’m stoked on the outcome of the piece and confident that I’ll be using Exposure moving forward.”
We think you’ll agree that, aside from the Michael’s inspirational story and approach to his art, Brian’s videography, editing and post-production is truly excellent. For us, it’s always gratifying to see Exposure used in creative new ways, and to be associated with such a polished piece of visual art is a true privilege.
As a token of our appreciation and support, we’re sending Brian a copy of our Photo Bundle to help ensure he continues turning out great projects like this.
If you’d like to share your approach to using our products for stills or video work, please drop us a line at email@example.com.
We look forward to hearing from you and seeing all your great work.
Have a brilliant week, everyone!
Ingmar Timmer specializes in car, portrait, and travel photography. He’s based out of Rotterdam, Netherlands. Ingmar has shot for a wealth of high-profile clients such as TopGear (NL), Carros, Donkervoort, FMO, Porsche, Schuttelaar & Partners, X-craft, and many more Dutch magazines.
I asked Ingmar to talk about his work, his workflow, and his story. Below is what he shared. Thanks, Ingmar.
I graduated from the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague, Netherlands. After graduation, I started shooting as a freelancer around 1994. A few years later, a big publisher asked me to be their own photographer. This was back when publishers still put photographers on the payroll. Those were the days.
Because of the publisher’s huge variety of magazines–cars, fashion, food, travel, and portraits, I learned a lot. I gained a wealth of experience shooting with many different kinds of films, and I did my own cross processing in the darkroom, too.
Years later, I returned to freelancing and started working with a larger network of magazines than before. It’s great when you get to know the art directors taste through working with them. It makes things much easier. Right after this move, the digital photography revolution took place. I cautiously started into it out of necessity, but I missed the structure and feel of shooting with film.
I discovered Exposure; it was version 2 at the time. From that point on, 90% of my images were treated using the software. I was hooked on the atmosphere Exposure’s film presets created and how it allowed for easy experimentation. Thank you, Alien Skin, for such a great collection of easy-to-use film presets.
My favorite Exposure presets are Cinema Technicolor Process 4, Holga, Polachrome, 669, AgfaChrome 1000 RS (One of my favorite films), Fuji Velvia 100F, and Cross Processing, Slide Film Saturated (mild). I have a library of customized presets based on these favorites. I like to have diversity in my work, and these custom looks are the right combination for my taste.
Check out Ingmar’s website to see more of his outstanding photography work.