Light! is photo editing plug-in, developed and distributed by Digital Film Tools, that simplifies the process of adding realistic light effects to digital photographs. Find out more about its capabilities and features in this review.
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What Does Light! Do?
Light! is a Photoshop plug-in that can be used to create a variety of different effects in digital photos. In addition to diffusion, fog, and glow effects, Light! comes bundled with over 500 patterns that mimic the effect of projecting light through objects and on to designated areas of the photograph. These patterns include everything from windows and doorways to flags, fireworks, and nature scenes.
In addition to Photoshop, Light! is also compatible with Photoshop Elements and Apple Aperture. Both Mac and Windows versions of the plug-in are available.
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Ease of Use
The user interface for Light! is fairly intuitive, although it will probably take some practice to get the hang of all of the plug-in's settings and controls. Still, you should be able to jump right in and start using Light! right away with little to no training. To make it easier, a large preview window in the middle of the plug-in interface gives real-time feedback for every adjustment made. This way, you can figure out what each tool does simply by using it and seeing how it affects the image you're working with.
If you do need some help getting starting, a comprehensive user guide is available from the Digital Film Tools web site. Not only does this guide cover all of the features and capabilities of Light!, but it also includes several well-written tutorials with screenshots that detail how to use the software.
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Features and Performance
One of the nicest features in Light! is the collection of over 500 light patterns that comes pre-installed with the plug-in. In fact, there's so many patterns, it's a little hard to keep track of them all. To make it easier to find what you're looking for, you can scroll through a thumbnail gallery that previews all of the different patterns. If you're only interested in certain types of light patterns, such as window effects, you can use the Preset Search box to limit the options that appear in this gallery.
Once you select a pattern, you can modify its size, shape, rotation, and other features from the panel to the right of the main preview window. You can also change the coloring of the light either by choosing from a wide range of presets or by defining your own custom color.
In addition to the patterns, there are several other effects that you can apply with Light!, including diffusion, glow, fill light, and fog. Each of these effects are also highly customizable and mimic a number of natural light settings.
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Price to Value
Light! is very reasonably priced at $50. Although there are a few other light effect plug-ins in this price range and below, they don't even come close to Light! in terms of flexibility, available options, and usability. Light! is definitely worth its price and more.
For those who want to try before they buy, Digital Film Tools offers a free 15-day trial of the plug-in. This version can be downloaded from the company web site. Even if you're already planning on purchasing, it's a good idea to download the trial first to make sure it runs well on your computer before plunking down the $50.
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Light! is a full-featured plug-in with a short learning curve and a wide array of capabilities. At $50, the application is one of the best deals around – in fact, it's on our list of the top five best value photo editing plug-ins. In addition to creating realistic light effects in digital photos, Light! has almost an endless number of other uses, such as designing new backgrounds for digital photos and other images and creating personalized watermarks. When you have a little time to spare, be sure to check out the trial version and test it on some of your own photos.