Video tutorial

Video tutorial

MASTER EXPOSURE BLENDING

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Raya Pro 4

I have been using the Raya Pro 4 toolbar to speed up my edits for a while now, so I thought I will create few guides for it. I shared one a few days ago on how to sharpen your photos with it for web and today I will show you how quickly blend two exposures. This is a quicker way of doing the same as I explain in my Luminosity masking tutorials, so if you don’t have Raya Pro 4, you can check out those here.

For more on Raya Pro 4, you can check out the official site here.

Simply blend two exposures with the help of Raya Pro 4

The whole process is very simple. First, you need two exposures you want to work with. To make the blend more realistic, they should be no more than 1-2 EV steps between them. If you have more, the transition after the blend won’t look natural (there are ways to fix that, but that’s for another guide).

These are the two exposures I will use here. One as a base and the second, darker one, from which I want to recover the bright areas.

Open both exposures in Photoshop as layers in the same file, – There are multiple ways you can do this, and you can find some of them here.
Put the darker exposure on top and hide it. – Since we need to create out a selection from the brighter exposure, we need to have only that one visible. So click on the eye icon next to the darker one and hide it.

Open the RP4 Instamask 3 panel (from the menu Window/Extensions/RP4 Instamask 3). – We will work with this panel, but only with few buttons of it.
Select the bright areas of the base photo. – Now we have to create our selection. Look at the 6 number next to B in the panel. Clicking on any of them will create a mask. 1 is the broadest selection of bright areas, 6 is the most restrictive. So just click on 1, see if it matches the areas you want to replace. If not, click on 2 and so on. In our example, the 2 matches the base photo the best.

Apply the mask. – You will see a new group with a layer in the layers window but ignore that. Instead, now just select the hidden darker layer and in the RP4 Instamask 3 panel just click on apply. This will add the mask to that layer and those extra ones will disappear.
Unhide the layer. – Now just unhide the darker layer and you are done.

What we actually did here, is to select all the brightest areas base on the bottom layer and then replaced them all from the top layer. One can go also the other way, have the darker image on the bottom, select the dark areas and then apply that selection to the bright ones.

One can use this also for more than 2 exposures, just hide all except the base one, follow this step to combine it with one. Once that is done, combine it again with another one. Since now already 2 layers are visible, your selection will be based on their combination.

If the blended areas look great, that means the difference between the photos was too big. You can try changing the opacity of the top layer, to make the transition softer. Editing the photos, so they are closer in appearance is another option. If you are working with RAW files, you can just jump in Camera RAW by double-clicking the layer and tweak them there.

Sunny day in Bern

I spend only one day in Bern a few years back, and the whole day was crazy sunny. That’s not really my preferred time to take photos. My eyes are a bit sensitive to strong light and it’s just not comfortable for me. But as I always say, once I’m there why not take some photos anyway. Too bad I don’t like the ones I took from the tower you can see on the left here. The view was great, but the timing was off.

Today’s photo is a panorama I took while crossing the Kirchenfeld bridge (Kirchenfeldbrücke). The sun was behind me to the right, so it made the city looking very bright with some very dark shadows. This is a two shot panorama, edited and merged in Photoshop.

Sunny day in Bern, Switzerland

Broken monitor

About a month or two ago, my big 34-inch monitor broke and I went from 34-inch + 24-inch monitor setup to a single 24-inch monitor. At first, it was such a big change to my PC setup, that I thought I will buy a new monitor very quickly. but now, that I have been working on the smaller one for a while, I don’t feel the need to get a new one. And I thought about, why is that?

Working on a smaller monitor

One get’s used to many things really quickly, but here are a few points, why a smaller monitor is good enough.

  • I have nothing to compare – when I had a 34 inch and a 24-inch monitor on my desk, the 24 felt really small. The reason is, our brain does not work in absolutes, it compares stuff. So now, when there is only one, there is nothing to compare it to, so it’s suddenly big enough.
  • It’s easier to focus on one task – I used to have different programs open on each monitor. Now with only one, when I open Photoshop, it’s full screen. I see nothing else and I focus solely on the one task. I find, that now I finish my editing quicker, free from distractions.
  • It’s big enough for Photoshop – recently I have been using almost exclusively only Photoshop to edit my photos. The monitor I use now is perfectly big enough for the tools I have open and to get an overview of the photo. If I did 3D modeling or video editing, this would probably be not the case, but with photos, it is so.
Working on a smaller monitor

I don’t know if I will get another big monitor again. When I got the other one, it was when I still used to play games on the PC. But I don’t anymore, so that’s one less reason to get it. And for work, I’m actually thinking of going the other way and replacing my PC with a notebook. For what I use it for, the difference would be minimal.

What size monitor do you use? And is it big enough? :)

More new wallpapers

Let’s do even more super ultra-wide wallpapers today. As always, they are all at 5120×1440, so if you have a monitor of that size, they would perfectly fit it. Or if you have two at 2560×1440, these will also work perfetly for you.

Don’t forget to check out other available wallpapers:

Super ultra-wide wallpapers from Bratislava

Today all the new wallpapers are from the center of Bratislava, with the SNP bridge and the Bratislava castle.

Super ultra-wide wallpapers from Bratislava
Super ultra-wide wallpapers from Bratislava
Super ultra-wide wallpapers from Bratislava
Super ultra-wide wallpapers from Bratislava

Night in the modern Paris

Most of mine photos of Paris are from the older parts of the city. But there is something beautiful also in modern architecture. So each time I’m there I try to go at least one day to the La Defense area, to capture the modern Paris.

A tilt-shift lens really works great in places like this one. You have tall buildings and pointing up will create so much lens distortion. It will all look like falling down. Check out my article on using the tilt-shift lens here, for more info about this.

This photo is actually a three shot vertorama, taken with a Sony a7R together with the Canon 17 TSE lens. Edited and combined in Photoshop.

Night in the modern Paris
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