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Description

Raya Pro and InstaMask Overview

You Ever been overwhelmed by the number of features Photoshop offers? Honestly, I did it. For me, the best approach is to learn new features when I need them. I’m no Adobe guru today, but I know Photoshop well enough to do what I need, and that’s what matters.
However, some functions take some time to complete, even if you know Photoshop quite well. In this case, the Panel, or set of commands put together by the developer, is very useful: it will save you a lot of time in the long run, and if you’re just starting out using Photoshop, it will save you even more time. Just press one button and you’re done.
There are several panels available for Photoshop, but the most useful are those that allow you to work with luminosity masks and help you digitally blend different exposures of the same image.
Like I said, you can do all of this yourself if you have Photoshop skills, but using the panel will save you a lot of time. Two of these panels are Raya Pro 6 and InstaMask (both sold as part of one panel).

Raya Pro and InstaMask Features

Raya Pro 6 and InstaMask were developed by renowned traveler and photographer Jimmy McIntyre. Jimmy is a nice guy who has been traveling around the world for about 7 years and has recently decided to return home to beautiful England.

In addition to being an experienced traveler, he is also an accomplished photographer, as you can see on his website. What I like about him is that he is always willing to help fellow photographers.

He has an interesting YouTube channel where he explains in detail how to use his Panels and achieve the same results without them. This is cool! Another thing I love about his work is that He invites photographers to send Him photos that they think are particularly difficult to blend digitally and He will do it for them.

With that said, it’s time to talk about panels. I won’t explain in detail how to use them because it would take forever and Jimmy sells a detailed 4.5 hour video tutorial that will teach you how to become a Raya Pro expert. So, I’ll mainly talk about some of the features these panels offer and how you can implement them in your workflow.

Getting started with Raya Pro 6 and InstaMask

Raya pro
Installing the panels is quite simple. Raya Pro is available for both Photoshop CS and Photoshop CC. After downloading the zipped file, you will receive a short video that will walk you through the installation process.

After installing Raya Pro, you can activate it by clicking Window > Extensions > Raya Pro 6 . Raya Pro 6 comes with a main panel called Raya Pro 6 Hub, from which you can turn on and off the panels you see in the picture above. However, most of the time you will only be using one Instamask.

The main purpose of Raya Pro 6 is to help you combine multiple exposures. You can do this using a variety of tools such as Highlights (applies a mask that targets the highlights), Shadows (same concept but applies to shadows), Highlight Masks, Instamask, and the Quick tool. imposition”. Sometimes “Highlights and Shadows” will give great results, and editing images will take 2 seconds. In other cases, the result is not as good due to the particular lighting, and you will have to spend more time blending the images using other, more advanced settings in the panel.

In addition to plenty of digital mixing capabilities, Raya Pro 6 offers several useful keyboard shortcuts for adjusting contrast, warming colors, adding the Orton effect, and more.

You can even record your actions, such as adding a watermark. One of my favorite features of this panel is the stack button, which adds all the images you have open in Photoshop as layers of a single image and aligns them.

What I love about this panel is how easy it makes digital mixing. I have to admit that I have never been a big fan of double exposure as I enjoy working with gradient filters, but sometimes getting the correct exposure with filters is impossible. The figure below is one example.

This is just one example of what you can do with Raya Pro 6.

One thing to remember is that it is extremely important to take good pictures on the field. Photoshop is a great tool and when combined with Raya Pro it’s incredible to see what you can do. But you start your workflow with good photos.

So if you think the Raya Pro 6 is a magic wand that will instantly turn your bad photos into something great, I’m sorry, but it’s not. On the other hand, if you know what you’re doing and go home with good images, then Raya Pro 6 will help you turn your good images into stunning shots like the one above.

What’s new in Raya Pro 6?

Following the introduction of the Quick Blend panel in Raya Pro 5, version 6 introduces another very useful panel called Zone Editor, which partially replaces some of the functionality of the Color Center and Dodge & Burn panels. Clicking the Apply Zone Editor button will create a folder in which you will find 10 layers, one for each zone editor option. To edit individual layers, move the slider in the panel. You can also apply masks to highlights or shadows.

This panel can be used after combining two or more exposures, allowing you to easily adjust your images.

What about Instamask?

The Raya Pro 6 is just one of the panels you’ll get (for the price of one). Another very important tool is called Instamask, and I had the pleasure of being the first to test it when it was first released a few years ago.
The main difference between the panels is that Instamask is a panel designed for creating masks. It is divided into three main sections:

one for creating masks
, another for refining them
and the last one which applies masks to the image.

For example, you can apply a mask to the level of the curve or the Orton effect. As you can see, this powerful panel makes a lot of your work easier if you use masks regularly.

InstaMask also allows you to test a mask before applying it to an image and create luminance masks based on color channels.

It sounds more complicated than it is, but when you purchase you will also receive a video tutorial explaining everything you need to know. If you think it’s too difficult, don’t give up. Mastering luminosity masks is essential to taking your photos to the next level.

While Instamask provides a number of tools to help you speed up selecting and creating luminosity masks, its main limitation is that Photoshop performs math to create these masks, and it’s far from perfect. If you want to use a more advanced plugin that specializes in creating luma masks, try Lumi32 (here’s my review).

It was also created by Jimmy. Its main advantage is that it uses its own algorithm for selecting and fine-tuning masks. If you read my review you will understand what I mean. To be clear, if you are a regular user, Instamask will be more than enough.

Here are some pros and cons I found after using Raya Pro 6 and InstaMask for a while:

Pros:

Digitally blending your images is easy.
Installing panels is not difficult.

Minuses:

Customer service could be improved a bit

Are Raya Pro 6 and InstaMask the best panels for Photoshop? Honestly, I don’t know because I haven’t tried all the panels available, but these are my favorites at the moment and I’ve used them all the time. You can achieve the same results by hand, but these panels will save you time and be more fun.

Since the day I first tried them, I’ve incorporated these panels into my workflow and use them every time I need to blend two or more images digitally. I still have a long way to go before I can master all the options, but I am very happy and would recommend them to my friends. I recommend this video course because it will teach you everything you need to know to use Raya Pro. It’s easy to follow and Jimmy makes it interesting.

Notes

Installer selection process inside. Choose the option that works for you. I already downloaded the ZXP installer and put it in the folders with the old versions of the installers. If you have a new one, run the CCX installer in the installation folder. For Photoshop 2024 I installed from the folder: 02. Old CC (2016-2020. Also known as 17-21) . The manual was also translated into Russian. You will find in the root of the folder a file with the index RU

File Information

Release Year/Date : 2023
Version : 6.0 Build 6.0
Developer : Jimmy McIntyre
Developer Website : www.shutterevolve.com
Bit depth : 32bit, 64bit
Interface language : English
Tablet : not required

System Requirements

Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10 / 11 (64 bit)
Minimum 6 GB of RAM
Processor 64-bit (x64), 1.2 GHz or faster

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