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.
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).
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:
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.