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Publicity X5 Evaluate. True Lightroom Different? • PhotoTraces


This text is a logical extension of my preliminary try and reply one of the frequent questions I obtain from the PhotoTraces neighborhood: What’s the finest Lightroom various?

I created a easy quiz the place, after answering a sequence of straightforward questions on your images, you’ll obtain a number of of my suggestions. At present, I wish to go deeper by reviewing one of many high Lightroom contenders: Publicity X5.

Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative?

What’s Publicity X5?

Publicity X5 is a full-featured skilled digital asset administration (DAM) and RAW modifying program created by Publicity Software program, previously generally known as Alien Pores and skin.

I discover it amusing that an organization with a particular and enjoyable identify like Alien Pores and skin transitioned right into a such a boring and faceless company identify and brand.

Publicity X5 is positioned in direct competitors with Lightroom.

When Apple discontinued
Aperture in 2014, Lightroom grew to become the principle participant within the realm of RAW editors
by not solely capturing a section of the skilled images market however
attracting newbie photographers and even the occasional hobbyists as effectively.
At present, newcomers making an attempt to compete with the largest identify within the trade face a
powerful, uphill battle.

There are two ways in which corporations attempt to compete with Adobe. The primary technique is to create a program that’s drastically completely different from Lightroom through the use of distinctive instruments and workflows. The most effective instance of this technique is seen in Seize One.

The second technique is to create a RAW editor just like Lightroom that addresses the principle shortcomings of this system. The highest contenders on this class are On1 Photograph RAW and Publicity X5.

In case you are a Lightroom person and wish to strive Publicity X5, the educational curve is minimal as a result of Publicity X5 mimics Lightroom in some ways.

Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative? 1

The structure of this system, identify of the modifying panels, and even the group of the modifying sliders is similar to Lightroom. They took one of the best options of Lightroom, the options photographers appreciated and utilized probably the most, and both fastened or eliminated the annoyances or options photographers hated in Lightroom.

The Basic Panel in Exposure X5
The Fundamental Panel is An identical to Lightroom

Addressing Lightroom Shortcomings


1. Pace and
General Efficiency

As a Lightroom person who began utilizing the
program when it was in its beta state, my greatest critique of this system is
its sluggish efficiency. It’s sluggish.

However, Publicity X5 is likely one of the quickest RAW editors round.

Earlier this yr after I labored on the Lightroom Different Quiz, I downloaded and put in 12 completely different RAW editors to match them to Lightroom. Out of all of the applications, Lightroom was the slowest and Publicity X5 was, by far, the quickest and most responsive. This system by no means slows down even after hours of labor or being open for twenty-four hours or longer.

It merely flies.

2. Eliminating the Complexity of the
Import Course of

As an educator, probably the most
tough a part of instructing Lightroom is explaining to new customers why they can’t
navigate to any folder on their pc, choose a photograph, and start modifying.
As an alternative, they should undergo the import course of, which is probably the most
complicated and complicated a part of this system.

The import module scares
the hell out of latest photographers.

Publicity X5 addresses this situation by eliminating the import course of. To start out modifying, simply add a folder with the photographs to this system as a shortcut and you might be able to go.

Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative? 2
Including pictures to Publicity X5

As an alternative of spending
hours importing a lot of pictures in Lightroom, which makes it
unimaginable to make use of your pc as a result of this system makes use of 100% of the CPU, it
solely takes a couple of minutes to get began with Publicity X5. You’ll be able to even work
whereas this system processes new pictures!

3. Layers Assist

As a lifelong Photoshop
person, I imagine that the idea of layers is what made this system so
highly effective. I’ve been ready virtually a decade for Adobe so as to add layers to
Lightroom… and I’m nonetheless ready.

In Publicity X5, you may have a number of layers that don’t decelerate this system however make the complicated modifying course of a lot extra organized and streamlined. I can have all my gradients, brush changes, and therapeutic changes on separate layers that I can activate and off individually in Publicity X5. Plus, I can create a singular masks for every layer.

The Layers Panel in Exposure X5 Alien Skin

I actually just like the
Photoshop-like modifying workflow. It’s extra logical and less complicated.

4. Opacity

The opacity perform is one other function lacking in Lightroom. Opacity is the power to dial down any modifying impact, which is the cornerstone of graphic design and photograph modifying. To imitate the opacity performance in Lightroom, I created a sequence of develop presets with varied strengths starting from 100% to 50%

In Publicity X5, you may alter the opacity practically in all places.

First, you may have the General Opacity slider on
the highest proper of the modifying panel. This lets you dial down the general
modifying impact.

The Opacity Adjustments in Exposure X5 Alien Skin
Opacity Sliders in Publicity X5

Second, every layer has
its personal devoted Opacity slider. The flexibility to regulate the opacity of the
particular person layer might be probably the most helpful function of this system.

5. Streamlined UI Design

One other situation that drives me insane in Lightroom is the multi-module construction. There are specific issues that I can do solely within the Library module or solely within the Develop module. Because of this I’ve to change from module to module upwards of 100 occasions a day. Did I point out that this drives me loopy?

I all the time dreamed of a
single module interface the place I might customise the UI in line with my wants.

Guess what? Publicity X5 made my dream come true. This system makes use of a single module interface. The Metadata panel is positioned on the backside proper of the modifying panel and the Folders panel is completely featured on the left panel. There is no such thing as a leaping from module to module.

Plus, I can customise
and reposition the completely different panels nonetheless I need!

Customizing User Interface in Exposure X5
Customizing Consumer Interface

6. You aren’t Pressured right into a Subscription

Publicity X5 doesn’t
have a subscription mannequin. You should purchase a perpetual license for a one-time price.

I should not have a problem
with the Adobe Artistic Cloud subscription mannequin as a result of, for $10 per 30 days, I
obtain a number of worth. On the similar time, I hate not being able to
opt-out of the subscription. You’re feeling such as you’ve been trapped.

For individuals who solely use the modifying program sometimes, it doesn’t make sense to pay a month-to-month price for a program they don’t use. Publicity X5 is a good various if you wish to ditch the Adobe subscription-based mannequin.

You will get Publicity X4 for $119 (improve worth $89), or you may obtain a free 30 day trial. There’s no subscription price. Study extra right here.

Distinctive Options and Instruments of
Publicity X5

Presets Panel

Alien Pores and skin initially developed plugins for Photoshop that emulated movie. They’d simulations for tons of of various movie manufacturers and fashions, those you can additional customise.

They transitioned all these simulations to Publicity X5 within the type of presets. This system comes with practically 300 presets which are organized into 29 collections.

Alien Skin Exposure X5 - the Presets Panel
The Publicity X5 cones with 29 preset collections

Publicity X5 has
various kinds of preset collections: movie simulations, inventive, adjustment
presets, and even Fujifilm simulations.

Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative? 3

What’s closest to my
coronary heart is that Publicity X5 has probably the most superior and effectively thought out Presets

It has 4 completely different
views: record view, large thumb view, medium thumb view, and small thumb view. This
implies that, no matter your workflow, you may undertake a Preset Panel that
matches your particular wants.

I all the time use the record
view. I’ve my Type and Adjustment preset collections open in order that after I
transfer the mouse over any particular person preset, the chosen photograph shows the
impact in real-time. It’s quick and responsive.

Overlays Panel

The Overlay Panel permits us to use visible
results to a picture within the type of borders, gentle results, and textures (mud,

Alien Skin Exposure X5 - the Overlays Panel
I utilized the Borders, the Gentle Impact and the Texture to the picture.

The Overlay Panel presents loads of
preinstalled presets that you could additional customise.

Bokeh Panel

The Bokeh Panel presents some superior controls
to creatively use the blur impact.

For instance, you should use a round blur with
portraits and a aircraft blur with landscapes and cityscapes to create a miniature

The Color Constraints - Exposure X5

IR (Infrared)

For photographers who
wish to discover infrared (IR) images, Publicity X5 presents a devoted IR

Correction and Defringe Panels

My greatest criticism in regards to the earlier model of Publicity X4 was the shortage of instruments obtainable to take away chromatic aberration.

At this level, I shoot
with high-quality Fujifilm lenses and chromatic aberration is much less of a problem.
However after I open my older pictures from my Canon and Sony days after I shot with
decrease high quality lenses, chromatic aberration needs to be addressed. For the reason that
earlier model of Publicity X5 didn’t have defringe instruments, I needed to bounce to
one other software.

Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative? 4
Sturdy chromatic aberration produced by Sony 10-18mm lens

In Publicity X5, the
firm launched probably the most superior defringe software I’ve ever encountered. In
complete, there are three ranges to cope with chromatic aberration: 

  1. Profile Correction. This system robotically tries to repair the chromatic aberration based mostly on the lens profile.
  2. Handbook Correction. You have got the choice to individually take away blue and purple fringing.
  3. Defringe Panel. Lastly, if the earlier two steps will not be sufficient to remove chromatic aberration, you may have a devoted panel the place you may management the fringing by any shade.
Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative? 5


My favourite and possibly probably the most highly effective addition to Publicity X5 is superior masking.

Let me clarify.

I’m an enormous proponent of the luminosity masking approach in Photoshop. I take advantage of a devoted luminosity masking panel in Photoshop referred to as Raya Professional, which was created by journey photographer Jimmy McIntyre. I extremely recommend trying out McIntyre’s work in case you are considering studying extra superior Photoshop strategies.

Now, with the addition of superior masking (discovered underneath the Colour Constraints Panel) in Publicity X5, I’ve a extra highly effective software than luminosity masking in Photoshop.

Exposure X5 Review. True Lightroom Alternative? 6
Superior Masking in Publicity X5

It’s arduous to imagine that I can create complicated masks based mostly on Luminance, Saturation, and Hue in a nondestructive RAW surroundings.

Plus, I can create
completely different superior masks for each layer individually and I’m not restricted to
what instruments I can use.



To be trustworthy, there will not be many negatives.
The one criticism I’ve is that the UI design appears outdated prefer it was
created 20 years in the past.

It’s potential that, as a former graphic
designer and UI designer, I’m too choosy.


For my digital workflow, the largest
shortcomings in Publicity X5 are the shortage of built-in Panorama and HDR instruments.

Adobe spoiled us with the opportunity of
creating panoramas and HDR pictures with out leaving the RAW modifying workflow and
with out the necessity for devoted HDR and panorama applications.

I typically use an ordinary lens to create wide-angle pictures. I take 4 to 6 pictures and mix them right into a wide-angle panorama through the modifying course of. I take advantage of panorama instruments typically.

I don’t wish to return
to the previous days while you needed to rasterize RAW pictures to create a panorama

I hope that the long run
model of Publicity X5 features a Panorama module.

Will I Use Publicity X5?

There is no such thing as a means that I can utterly ditch Adobe as a result of I’m too invested. Just like the previous Russian joke goes, “There is no such thing as a escape from a submarine.” For now, I’ll keep within the Adobe submarine, however I’ll preserve a detailed eye to see if it goes up or down.

As a result of I actually like Publicity X5, I made a decision to make use of it when I’m on the street. It runs extraordinarily quick on my laptop computer and even on my Microsoft Floor Professional pill. It additionally saves battery as a result of there isn’t a import course of.

Who’s Publicity X5 for?

  • In case you are a newbie and are on the lookout for your first skilled photograph organizing and modifying software, Publicity X5 must be your first possibility.
  • In case you are making an attempt to ditch the Adobe Artistic Cloud subscription mannequin, Publicity X5 is an ideal various.
  • In case you are an expert photographer, I encourage you to obtain a trial model of Publicity X5 to see if it addresses each side of your particular digital images workflow.

Take Publicity X5 for a Check Drive

You will get Publicity X4 for $119 (improve worth $89), or you may obtain a free 30 day trial. There’s no subscription price. Study extra right here.




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