How to use LUTs in Alien Skin Exposure X4.5

The new LUTs feature introduced in Exposure X4.5 supports one of the newest trends in photography. LUTs (lookup tables) started out in cinematography as a way to apply a specific ‘look’ to a movie or scene, but they’re now catching on in stills photography too. They are like a basic conversion profile, or film simulation which you can use alongside the software’s own editing tools.

How to use the Exposure X4.5 LUT panel

LUTs in Alien Skin Exposure X
The LUT panel in Exposure X4.5 is very simple to use. Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

LUTs are extremely easy to apply in Exposure X4.5. You’ll find the new LUT panel amongst the regular editing tools on the right side of the screen and you can select the LUT you want from the drop-down menu – it will then be applied to your photo.

Below this is an Intensity slider for adjusting the strength. This can be useful, but with the best LUTs the default 100% setting often works out fine.

Underneath this is a Color Space drop-down. This should be set to the colour space the LUT was designed for. The sample LUTs that come with Exposure X4.5 appear to use the ProPhoto colour space whereas others you import may use sRGB or Adobe RGB. Exposure X4.5 seems to pick up the colour space automatically from the LUT file, so there’s probably no need to change this.

Importing more LUTs

The LUTs supplied with Exposure X4.5 are fine to get started, but it’s likely you’ll want to import your own at some stage. This is very easy. You’ll need to download your LUT files separately, but once you’ve done that you can use the Import option on the LUT drop-down menu to locate and select your LUTs.

You can add more LUTs by first downloading them to your computer and then using the Import button on the LUT panel to select the LUTs you want to import. These are from the Pro collection.

You can select one LUT file or many. Once you’ve done that, the Import LUTs dialog will confirm your selection, offer the opportunity to add them to a new Category (useful for finding LUTs later on) and ask you to confirm the Color Space used by the LUTs.

LUTs in Alien Skin Exposure X
In the Import LUTs dialog you can choose an existing LUT category to add them to or create a new one.

LUT files are very small and the Import process takes hardly any time at all.

Previewing LUT effects

LUTs in Alien Skin Exposure X
You can use the Browse in the LUT panel to preview all your different LUTs before choosing one.

The Alien Skin Exposure X4.5 LUT panel has a very useful Browse button. This opens a window showing thumbnail previews of your image with all your different LUTs applied. They are organised into any categories you create during the Import process, there is a collapse/expand arrow for each category so that you only see the one you want, and there’s also a Search box for finding LUTs by name.

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