by Kay Michael Kuhnlein
Imagine you have just taken your masterpiece photo, processed it for hours with Photoshop and afterwards you show it to a normal person without special knowledge. Feedback: The spectator says a moderate "nice" or "fine", you can hardly expect more.
If you would like to hear a "this looks really fantastic", then show a photo with well visible beams of light to people. This does always work, that is why I was looking for a suitable plugin, which is able to produce such effects.
DFT Rays v 1.0
I was able to find such a plugin with Digital Film Tools, who offer a corresponding plugin called Rays. That is why I take the time and let you take part in my "first steps" and experiences.
Installation under Windows 8 works without any problems, afterwards the plugin is displayed in Photoshop`s Filter Menu.
Whoever is not too keen on reading instructions, takes the risk of using an unsuitable sample image at the first launch of the plugin. This results only in frustration and a missing wow-effect.
Thus it is recommendable to deal somewhat with the theory first and only start hereafter. Rays creates a new light source, the existing image details are regarded when rendering. That is why a fully highlighted portrait photo is rather not suitable, better use photos on which the light source is interrupted by divided windows or trees in the forest etc. Only this way the fascinating distributed beams of light are possible.
The program surface
Rays presents itself after restoring the last assigned setting. This may distract a bit in the first moment, but due to a reset button you will quickly get used to it.
All controls are properly arranged
The sliders for different settings are divided into four groups. You will find them on the right hand side of the program surface. In the canter of the photos you can see a white dot, for which I will give you more information shortly - furthermore with this plugin the buttons for Zoom out and Zoom in are of special meaning, which you will also see now.
Should you prefer an overview of the original and effect-rendered image, it is feasible.
Let it shine
Now we can tackle a practical exercise. Before I will give you a hint with regard to the sample photo. Here the incidence of light and the shadows through the windows are already visible.
The expert, or better to say photo enthusiast, would consider the new beams of light and choose an identical perspective. But it also works differently.
Forum Shops in Caesar´s Palace, Las Vegas - photographer: Silvia Kuhnlein
In the first screenshot you can see a white circle in the middle of the image for determining the beam center - in most cases it is located outside the image. Now you also know why the Zoom out button is so very important. Alternatively you can use the mouse wheel or the O key for Zoom out and the I key for Zoom in.
Setting the beam center with the small white circle
Afterwards the parameters were changed until the result corresponded to my ideas. An exact listing of the single settings would make little sense, because your own photo certainly requires different values.
One possible result with DFT Rays
DFT Rays & PhotoWiz ContrastMaster
A popular and suitable theme is a forest scenery,
where you let the "new light" shine through the trunks
and branches, I assure you that DFT Rays will help you with that.
For more information, please go to www.digitalfilmtools.com
I was not able to detect any negative side-effects when working with DFT Rays, on the contrary I always reached the target by intuitive controlling and some "playing" with the parameters.
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