This section of the panel provides shortcuts to some handy effects that Steve has taught in various courses and videos.

Each of these effects work by simply pressing the button and masking the resulting layer in or out of your image.

If a selection is active when you press an effect button, that selection will be loaded into the layer mask of the effect.

If no selection is active then the effect will be added with a black layer mask, concealing the effect. You will then need to mask the effect into your image.

Orton Effect

This button simply runs through the steps required to create the popular Orton Effect, which adds a nice saturated glow to your photos.

To see this effect in action and to learn the manual steps this panel button replaces, click here.

Sun Haze

This button shortcuts the process of adding a glowing hazy light to your image. This is best used when:

  • Shooting directly into the sun.
  • The sun is just out of frame and you want to enhance or add a hazy directional light pouring into the frame.

To use this effect, first press the button to create the sun haze layer:

The panel will then automatically select the brush tool with a white foreground. So next you need to enlarge the brush size to around 50% the width of your entire image (or as large as possible if your image is too big to do this).

Then, click once on your image to add a “ball” of light on top of the sun (or where the sun would be if not obscured).

Your sun haze layer should look something like this:

And the result on the image something like this:

Once the ball of light has been added, you can then modify it in a number of ways.

  • Become more selective about where it is applied by brushing with a black brush into the layer mask.
  • Reduce the strength of the light by reducing the Sun Haze 1 layer opacity
  • Try some alternative blend modes such as Soft Light, Overlay and Hard Light
Blend mode changed to Overlay, and masked out of the shadows in the image.

Fake Grad Filter

This effect button can be used to shortcut the steps required to perform the Fake Grad Filter effect. Click here to see an old video showing the manual steps required.

To begin, you need two bracketed exposures, with the dark exposure on top.

Then, click on the “Dark” layer in the layers panel and press the Fake Grad button on the panel.

This adds a layer mask in the form of a gradient to the Dark layer:

You can then adjust the position of the gradient transition up or down by using the move tool (see the above mentioned video for further demonstration).

Contrast Vignette

This effect creates a curves adjustment with a specific setting that darkens an image while at the same time reducing the contrast in the shadows.

This has been specifically designed as an effect that you can selectively brush in around the edges of your image to create a more subtle vignette effect than just darkening alone.

To use it, simply press the button to add the effect layer to your image.

Then use a white brush to brush into the effects layer mask to reveal it in the desired areas of your image.