Working with Presets

Working with Presets

This is an introduction to the features of Exposure’s presets panel. Learn how to browse and search for presets. We demonstrate filtering (including favorites), show how to save a new user preset, and how to import and export.

Photos: Tony AsgariMeg Franklin, John Barclay

A preset is a collection of settings from Exposure’s editing panels. You can learn more about editing in our basic editing video.

Exposure’s presets are found in the presets panel. Selecting a preset from the library applies a copy of it to your current photo. Any style changes you make only apply to the current image, not the preset in the library. You can create a custom look initially based on a library preset, and then save it as your own user preset. We’ll show how to do that in a little while.

At any point, you can check Exposure’s History panel if you’re trying to remember how you achieved a certain look. To see the edits applied to a particular layer, just hover over the layer thumbnail. It shows the name of the preset you’ve applied, as well as your editing slider adjustments.

Exposure ships with a ton of great presets. Check out our presets tour to learn about them. Because there are so many looks, it’s handy to mark the ones you use most often as favorites. To do that, click the star in the corner. Later in this video I’ll show you how to filter your presets so you only see favorites.

You can make your own presets to give photos your creative style. One way to do this is to start with a built in preset and modify it. I’ll select TRI-X 400, and then modify it. Or, I can reset the image back to the default by pressing ⌘+R or Ctrl+R. Then, modify the image with the editing panels.

Once I have a look I like, I can save the preset by pressing the plus button on the presets panel. Or, press ⌘+S, or Ctrl+S on Windows. The save preset window will come up. Here, you can give the preset a useful name. You can put it in a category, or create a new one. Give the preset a description. If you have a lot of presets, more detail helps you search for them later.

Confirm the save by pressing the OK button. Here’s the saved preset in the presets panel. For presets that you created, you can make changes to the preset information by right-clicking it and choosing the edit menu item. Delete presets by right-clicking and choosing the delete menu item. You can’t delete built-in presets, only the ones you created.

Exposure allows you to store your presets using cloud storage so you can have access to them anywhere. Open the Preferences window by pressing ⌘+, then select the general category. Then, click the ‘Change’ button under the user folder location. Then, select any cloud syncing folder, like Dropbox. After you do this, your presets will be synced to your other machines. Search for presets by typing in the search box. This will search for the word you typed in the name and description fields.

⌘+P on Mac or Ctrl+P on Windows places your cursor in the search box, where you can search for presets. This will search for the word you typed in the name and description fields.

Preset filters allow you to see a subset of presets. You can filter by color or black and white, favorite presets, or user presets, which are the presets you saved. I’ll click favorite to show only my favorite presets. To show all presets again, click All.

You can send presets to a friend who uses Exposure. To do that, right click the preset and choose Export. You’re prompted for a location to save. I’ll save this one to my desktop. You can send it however you’d share a file – in email, Dropbox, or an instant message. If someone sends a preset to you, double-click it to bring it into Exposure. Our settings router tool will open and confirm that the setting was installed correctly.

When you use Exposure as a Lightroom or Photoshop plug-in, it keeps track of presets you apply. They are in the Recently Used category. Exposure keeps track of the 12 most recently applied presets. Hover over a recent preset to see when it was last applied.

Selective Presets

When you copy settings or create a user preset, you have the option to include or exclude settings. You can blend your edits in Exposure’s editing panels with the adjustments that are in a preset or a copy, controlling what’s overwritten and what’s retained.

I’ll demonstrate how to do this when creating a custom preset. I’ve created two layers in this image. One layer has tone curve edits and color edits, and one layer has iris enhancement. I’m going to save this as a custom preset that retains the layer with the tone curve and color edits. I’ll exclude the layer with the iris enhancement because it’s more of touch up that is only relevant to this one specific image.

Under Edit, I choose Save Current Preset, which opens the Edit Preset dialog.

Here, Exposure shows me the settings for my layers. This is where I specify the editing panel controls that will be saved as part of the preset. By default, the base adjustments are omitted. Note the bold text, which indicates the default values have been changed.

I select Choose Per Layer so I can disable the Enhance Iris layer.

For Layer 1, I’ll uncheck all categories except Color and Tone Curve. This prevents any inadvertent overwriting of other categories when I later apply this preset.

I’ll name my preset, assign it to the category of My Presets, and give it a short description. I’ll click OK to save it.

I’ll then apply it to an image. Note that the Tone Curve and Color sliders are the only ones that are affected.

You have this same level of control when copying and pasting settings. Check the settings you want to copy, and uncheck the ones you want to leave unchanged.

Use Edit > “Copy Settings…” (⌘+Shift+S) to selectively copy or Edit > “Copy All Settings” (⌘+⌥+S) to copy everything.