StudioMagic I & II
One-Click Compositing Suite for Photoshop
Review by Rod Harlan
Photoshop User, February 2016

StudioMagic I & II is a full-fledged, robust compositing suite built into Photoshop panels. For novice Photoshop users, StudioMagic will allow them to push the limits of their creativity beyond the level of their Photoshop skills. For advanced users and working professionals, it will save time and money by greatly accelerating their visual effects workflow.

The StudioMagic Designer Set caught my attention as much for what it’s not than for what it is. It’s not a collection of actions or a big pile of filters to further clutter up your Photoshop panels. It is a very clever group of lengthy Photoshop scripts tied to one-click buttons on grouped Photoshop panels, which all work together to make dramatic images as quickly and easily as possible. Basically, StudioMagic harnesses the power of Photoshop under its hood, and reduces many of its most complicated tasks to a few simple mouse clicks, so that anyone can create the look of Photoshop masters in a fraction of the time.

It starts with StudioMagic I Pro-Panel that includes CutOut, ShadowCaster, and LightBrush, the foundational tools need to ready your subjects for compositing.

CutOut takes the guesswork out of Photoshop’s Refine Edge command by using industry-tested professional defaults, simple sliders, and checkboxes. CutOut can cut out and replace skies or remove subjects from backgrounds in seconds, even with detailed edges or flying hair.

ShadowCaster is the logical extension of CutOut. It easily creates an accurate shadow so your subject is believable and anchored in its new scene. Change a shadow’s direction, opacity, and softness to match scene lighting, or create shadows based on time of day, and then copy the same shadow settings to multiple subjects in the same scene.

Lightbrush takes flat-looking images and adds focus and drama by painting with light (which is really just a layer mask). If you make a mistake, just click a key, and paint back the light you removed.

StudioMagic II includes the following five major compositing toolsets for enhancing your images or working with StudioMagic virtual sets:

Enviro turns a summer landscape into a snowy blizzard, creates a drenching rainstorm, or fills a field with thick morning fog. You can even change daytime to sunset! The Enviro toolset includes: Season Shifter, Let it Snow, Rain Maker, Fogged In, and Sunset.

LightingEffex creates that magical moment when light breaks through the clouds or a sudden beam streams through a window. The LightingEffex toolbox includes: Color Match, LightRays, LightBeams, LightBursts, and Edge Light.

Reflections is one of the most powerful scripts. In just a matter of seconds, it creates slick mirrored effects and controllable water ripples that usually take much longer to produce. The Reflections toolset includes: Water Reflect and Mirror Image.

Compositor places a selection of commonly used photographic enhancements at your fingertips so you can add them to an image with a click of the mouse. The Compositor toolset includes: Cloud Creator, Moon Clock, Over the Rainbow, Starry Night, Lightning Strikes, and Birds & Flocks.

HyperZap is a module inspired by contemporary sports images, magazine covers, and movie posters. It’s the closest thing that this package has to a filter set, but it delivers an image style that’s both contemporary and commercial. The HyperZap toolset includes: Grunge Boost and Color Pop Effects.

All in all, the StudioMagic I & II Designer Set, bundled with 12 Virtual Studio Sets, is a good deal at $249, both for Photoshop novices who want to produce better work than their current skillset, and for advanced users who want to save hours producing these same effects from scratch. And if you use the special Photoshop User magazine promo code “PUser-2016,” you can save 20% through March 30! And if you’re a KelbyOne member, be sure to visit the Discounts section at KelbyOne.com for even more savings on LayerCake products.

Click to see some great offers on StudioMagic!

Company: LayerCake, Inc.
Price: $249 Designer Set
Web: www.layercakeelements.com
Rating: ♦♦♦♦♦