Provides: Lighting/sun beam effects for video and image editors
Developer: Digital Film Tools
Minimum System Requirements: Macintosh Multicore 64 Bit Intel processor, Mac OSX 10.6.x videor or image editing program (Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, Photoshop Lightroom 3, Apple Aperture 3, Adobe After Effects CS5, Adobe Premiere Pro CS, Apple Final Cut Pro 6, 7, X, Apple Motion 5 Avid Symphony, Media Composer, Newscutter, Xpress Pro)
Review Computer: iMac 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4 GB RAM, Final Cut Pro 7
Processor Compatibility: Intel
Price: $99.00 (15 day demo available)
Availability: Out now
Rays is a simple plug-in from Digital Film tools that does one thing—create sunbeams—and does it very well. It works with a staggering number of programs (and one purchase allows those plug-ins to work on all those applications on the same machine), with a set of simple tools that give you a great deal of control of how the light is added to your image or footage. Just add the effect, tweak the controls, and be amazed.
The controls break down like this: position sets the light source, length is obvious, and threshold sets how far from the source the light is visible. You can randomize how the rays play out using Shimmer, as well as control the brightness and color of the light. In Final Cut, all of these settings can be keyframed, giving you access to some startling effects and letting the light play over the scene however you like. In this footage I show how you can alter the rays; the first starts off as simple sunshine with a flash of light, and in the second part I play around with color:
You can also control the opacity of both the rays and the source footage, although once you apply the Rays filter, the “background” of the footage becomes solid black, so if you drop the source opacity put keep Rays up, you get a very shadowy image that intersects with the light wherever the rays in the effect are hitting the footage, kind of like how a torch plays over a room in the dark.
Rays is limited, but effective. It gives you extremely dramatic lighting and a set of simple controls that allow you to tweak it just so. It’s simple, straightforward, and it works well.