Exposure Bundle: Getting Started Photoshop

Project Description

Learn how the Exposure Bundle operates as a series of Photoshop plug-ins.

Watch this tutorial to get you started using the Exposure Bundle as Photoshop Plug-ins. This video will guide you through how to launch and use the award-winning software in an Adobe Photoshop workflow. Each app can be accessed from Photoshop’s Filter menu. Exposure and Snap Art are listed under the Alien Skin selection. Blow Up has it’s own menu item.

You can apply evocative film styles and make detailed edits using Exposure, make tack-sharp enlargements with Blow Up, and turn your photos into handcrafted paintings with Snap Art. Quickly apply preset looks, or customize each look with the panels on the right-hand dock. By the end of the video, you’ll see how to use each bundle app from within Photoshop.

We have loads of other tutorials if you’d like to learn how to get the most out of each app in the Exposure Bundle.

Photos: John Barclay

Today, I’ll demonstrate how to launch the Exposure Bundle as a series of plug-ins in Adobe Photoshop.

The bundle works great this way. It provides the same intuitive set of creative tools as when it’s used as a complete RAW photo editor. Using Exposure as your photo manager provides additional benefits. It speeds up your workflow because it has all the essential tools you need for photo editing, from portrait touch-up to special effects, in one easy-to-use app. To learn more about using the Exposure Bundle as a complete RAW photo editor, watch our Getting Started video.

When the bundle is first installed, it will detect and select the installed copy of Photoshop.

Here, I’m starting with the bundle already installed, and I have my image open in Photoshop.

To launch any of the Exposure Bundle apps, go to Photoshop’s Filter menu. If I’m launching Blow Up, then I select Alien Skin Blow Up. If I’m launching Exposure or Snap Art, then I select the Alien Skin menu, and then select either app. I’ll select Exposure.


Now that Exposure has launched, I’m ready to start editing. You can see my image here in the center of the window. I first begin by selecting a preset from the presets list on the left side. Exposure’s library of carefully curated presets makes quick work of editing your photos. Use them to apply a look that’s an accurate reproduction of a classic, modern, or vintage film, or an entirely new creative look, to your photo.

Hover over preset thumbnails to see how it will look when applied to your image. When you find a look that you like, click to apply it. Exposure’s presets are great on their own, but they are also useful as starting points for your own looks.

If you want to adjust your image further, you can use the powerful editing tools in each of the panels on the right-hand dock. The Basic panel, for example, provides controls to adjust exposure, contrast, and saturation.

When I’m happy with the look, I can apply it and return to Photoshop. Back in Photoshop, I see a new layer with the edited image. I can adjust the opacity of this new layer to blend it with the original.

We cover all of Exposure’s editing panels in our library of tutorial videos. You can also learn about Exposure’s photo management tools in our organizing videos.

For another nondestructive option, Exposure works with Photoshop’s smart layers. After applying an effect, I simply double-click the smart layer to launch Exposure where I can adjust the effect.

Snap Art

To apply natural media looks like oil paint and watercolor, launch Snap Art from Photoshop’s Filter menu, then the Alien Skin menu.

A list of natural media types appears in the Presets panel. If you’re not sure where to start, click the Effects Tour for a quick preview of each of the 11 categories.

When you see an effect you like, click on the preset thumbnail to apply it to your image. To enlarge the thumbnails, collapse the Editing panel and expand the presets panel. This makes it easy to browse larger previews of all the different natural media looks.

After selecting a preset, you can refine it by using the editing panels in the right-hand dock. We suggest starting at the top and working your way down.

To confirm any edits I’ve made and return to Photoshop, I click ‘Apply’. If I want, I can run Snap Art again on the original layer to try a different effect. If I don’t want to create new layers, I can turn that feature off in Snap Art’s preferences.

Snap Art also works on Photoshop’s smart layers, which allow you to update effects by double-clicking the smart layer to relaunch the app and adjust the effect.

Sharp Image Resizing Using Blow Up

To access Blow Up’s image enlargement tools, select it from Photoshop’s Filter menu, or from the Fileautomate menu.

To the left is the thumbnail navigator image and the User Settings panel. In the center are zooming and panning controls. On the right side are the adjustment tools. These include a button for each resizing mode: Crop & Resize, Resize, and Stretch.

Crop & Resize is especially useful because it crops your image to proportionally fill the output. It places the crop area over the most interesting part of your image. You can fine tune this location easily.

Resize mode resizes your image while retaining its original proportions, without cropping or stretching.

Stretch mode forces your image to fit the output size. This is best used when your output size and photo size are nearly identical.

After you’ve picked your mode, choose your document size. You can make refinements like adding grain and sharpening your image for output, which compensates for ink diffusion on paper. Because Blow Up is intended for processing your finished images, it enlarges the size of all layers in the image. But if you’d like to have Blow Up duplicate your layers while preserving your existing layers, you can do so by selecting the Duplicate Before Resizing option in the Blow Up Preferences window.