Tag Archives: digital blending

Raya Pro 2.0 is coming!

It was a hard slog at work this week and the comfort of a single malt was not awaiting me this Friday night… the dieting enforcer is in town!

Luckily I had something grand to look forward to… Raya Pro version 2.0 – the super efficient and powerful Photoshop plugin by world renowned Jimmy Mcintyre. If you know what HDR and blending are about then you will certainly know this Scotsman come exposure blending guru.

Version 1.1 had those “luminosity masks”, that some of us whisper about, made easy to understand with various other blending modes and many other useful post processing features. Read more here.

Version 2.0, soon to be released, has a host of other features which make this must-have plugin even more powerful and a .45 on the hip when navigating Photoshop especially in the landscape area (but I would be keen to shoot the inside of a mansion / building and test the images with Raya).

I tried the new Precision masks / Auto Dark Blend and “boom” out came an evenly blended image (I chose one of the 5/6 or so options / created masks it offered to suit my liking). I noticed a new feature called Fix Blend but will need the tutorial for that.

In summary that’s now five (5) different blending modes (if I’m counting correctly) in one plugin that has the potential to make any Joe Soap a master blender.

Jimmy always seems to mention image degradation (something the old style HDR software packages were good at doing) and his plugin clearly cruises the golden mile to effortlessly blend images without turning them into a horror that would make your blind grandma turn in her grave.

I’m sure Glen Phillips and chaps from FISHING DBN will enjoy this blended photo taken at sunrise on Poenskop looking North across the Nkadusweni River Mouth (it’s the favourite Port St Johns Tourism fishing spot of many a fisherman with tall tales).

poenskop-view-2017-copy-large

Base image F10, 0.5 sec. ISO 100 Canon 6D 24-105 mm L

An Update is coming – Raya Pro 2.0 plugin for Photoshop

It was in July 2015 that I did my “virgin” run at luminosity masks (LM) using the Raya Pro Panel (test version) by Jimmy Mcintyre. It was due to be released in less than 11 hours.

I had tried LM’s once before via another platform but couldn’t fathom it. However, I was able fairly easily understand Jimmy’s video and use the Raya Pro panel (LM masks feature) quite easily.

I got my varying selections as needed, the ants were marching as asked and I painted in shadows / highlights with ease – in most cases just the push of a button – no big technical stuff.

But that took a little bit of time and I was more interested in the quick “rapid blend” and “apply image” speedy blending options.

Here is what I did back then:

The first two photos (blown out highlights & dark shadows) were easily combined using the “rapid blend” method to produce the third photo.

IMG_8829 (Large)IMG_8833 (Large)Web Prepared12

As you can see from the final photo (the end product), the sky has been recovered and the shadows are not so intense. Easy blending at it’s best!

This panel for Photoshop, new back in 2015, from Jimmy, who asked me to try out the various features prior to 1st release, opens up with Photoshop and is my favourite constant companion. I hardly ever venture over to Nik Efex these days.

The panel includes buttons and actions to make luminosity masks, other digital blending and various other processing much more of a breeze rather than a laborious time consuming task.

There are many other useful features such as colour correction, dodge / burn, darken / lighten exposures, fake HDR, lighten shadows, Orton effect, saturate / desaturate, vignette, full size sharpening, identifying and removing sensor dust and sharpen / resize for the Web.

Almost all my photos published on Facebook from August 2015 onward have been end-processed using Raya Pro Panel (with the exception of the straight out of Lightroom exports).

The best thing of it all is that you don’t end up with really weird looking, degraded, full blown halo, disgusting “HDR” images, which all of the auto HDR engines I tried produced (maybe it was just be and, yes, I did like that crazy look a few years back – but I do cringe now when looking back now).

BLOG ONLY

Jimmy recently announced, on 11 November 2016, that version 2.0 of Raya is coming soon.

I’m genuinely excited as Raya Pro has been my faithful companion now for 1.5 years and it used it on every landscape photo that I process in Photoshop – sometimes just for a vignette and sharpening, and sometimes for the full Rolls Royce.

The days of layers and masks, zooming in to 300 X and then carefully brushing the shadows to get them lighter / brushing the blown out sky to get it darker are gone! (PS – did I mention brushing again as the first attempt gave a really uneven look?).

 

Raya Pro even helped me with my multiple exposures on the Bangkok skyline:

Web PreparedBIB (Large)

At ZAR645.03 / $44.99 it’s a steal to invest in right now! Don’t worry as all upgrades are FREE so you will get version 2.0 and hopefully 3.0 (no pressure Jimmy 🙂 ).

Click here to view the Raya Panel and here to see Jimmy’s amazing work. He offers free stuff as well including tutorials.

I’ve followed him for some years now and it’s truly been a pleasure. He’s well-mannered, knowledgeable and produces easy to understand material, which is always either interesting or relevant.

 

 

Raya Pro Panel – a new Photoshop plugin by Jimmy Mcintyre

A few days ago I received the new panel from Jimmy who asked me to try out the various features.

The panel includes buttons and actions to make luminosity masks, other digital blending and various other processing much more of a breeze rather than a laborious task.

My last few photos published on Facebook were end-processed using the panel and it was and is still important to mention that the final product was never meant to be my best photo, but the images used to compile it were meant to only test the panel and if it could blend multiple images as claimed i.e. not good images to achieve a grand end product but very good to test the Raya Pro Panel.

An example of this is that I shot on F4 and that was not ideal for this scene shown below (the photos used were taken about two years ago). Also, the shimmering seen on the rim of the tunnel exit was acquired on location and not during post-processing.

I guarantee you that the use of this panel and its power will increase as one use it more and becomes accustomed to its many features (remember this was only my first real experience of using luminosity masks).

The images below were chosen to test the panel:

Dark exposure

Raya dark (Large)

Middle exposure

Raya base (Large)

Light exposure

Raya light (Large)

The results were very different and, as Jimmy explained, one form of blending will suit a certain set of images better than another form of blending. This is exactly what I found.

The rapid blending feature did not work well at all.

For the three images used I believe that apply image worked best as shown below.

Raya Pro - apply image (Large)

The standard luminosity mask feature was second best.

Raya Pro - LM's (Large)

Lastly, the subtract mask feature was third best.

Raya Pro - subtract masks (Large)

Like all good software the learning curve is steep and effort plus patience is needed.

The introductory selling price is reduced by 10 USD for the next four days. The sale price is a steal and I highly recommend this plugin, which has many many other features.

Click here to view the Raya Panel and here to see Jimmy’s work.