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Adding light rays

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  • Adding light rays

    How do you add light rays aka God light to a photo? I have a lot of great sunset photos that would be enhanced by those shafts of light breaking through the clouds. I'm not referring to solar flare or sun burst. I'd like to know if you have a good method for this effect. Do you think it can be done within ACDSee Untimate?

  • #2
    You could on a black background layer draw your light rays as white-yellow shapes, soften the edges, apply a gradual fill mask to it and some transparency, and use the Screen blend mode... or something like that, I'd experiment. I don't know any special effect that would do that in ACDSee per se, so you have to do it the old fashion way. I did something similar in another app to add light rays coming down in a church window, it can be quite effective.
    Last edited by Regor250; 10-02-2021, 02:05 PM.


    • #3
      Here a step by step example. 1: Added a Sun Spot effect (top right corner where the shadows converge, more or less actually for demo sake, the sun being outside the frame in this example), 2: in a blank layer I filled with black, applied Screen blend mode, created a white-filled polygon, 3: added a mask and some transparency, added a gradient fill to the mask, 4: repositioned the light ray layer to meet the sun spot (at this point you can also rotate the image to match the proper angle), with the polygon image layer selected (not the mask) softened the light ray (white polygon) with a black brush with soft edge, painted over the tree to brushed away the light ray to appear behind the tree, and you end up with a pretty convincing light ray. Total time: 5min. Remember that light rays and shadows converge at the same point (a little off in this quick example), the light source.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	ACDSeeLightRays.jpg Views:	0 Size:	77.5 KB ID:	57504
      Then you can add as many polygons as you need for the final image.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	ACDSeeLightRays2.jpg Views:	0 Size:	87.7 KB ID:	57507

      Another thought I forgot to mention, where the sun shines things are brighter. If you don't already have bright spots like in my example above to take advantage of, you should add them for more credibility.‚Äč
      Last edited by Regor250; 10-02-2021, 07:14 PM.


      • #4

        Nice tutorial.
        For the few times I've wanted to add sun rays, I've been able to use a plugin that has a sun ray function, so I haven't had to create them manually.

        I tried your steps today and managed to create some very nice rays, so something new to add to my toolbox. Thank you..
        Perhaps a suggestion though. Instead of using a soft black brush to soften the edges of the ray, I found it easier after creating the polygon selection, and whilst it was still selected, but before filling it with white, to use Select>Refine to apply a feather to the edges.


        • #5
          Tx greyfox that's a good idea too. The hand brushing perhaps adds an element of irregularity that can make it look more natural, but I didn't know that I could soften the edges of the polygon, I always assumed that it only applied to masks so I'll remember that tidbit.


          • #6
            Great job team. All methods add something to my bag-o-tricks. I can't wait to try it.
            I had come up with the polygon method and softened it. It was pass-able.
            Most appreciate.