If you decide it is time to start tweaking or even create your own template in the PRO version you will find in many places in the Template Editor something called “Reactor”.
What is this mysterious Reactor?Reactor refers to a Mediachance own virtual plug-in system. This effect can be a very simple one such as adjusting colors of image or a very complicated system that would be normally a job for editing software like PhotoShop.The virtual plug-in itself is created with Mediachance Photo-Reactor and this allows us (or the users) to add special effects across many places in Dynamic Auto Painter without hardcoding them into the software - these effects remain fully editable.Dynamic Auto Painter comes with hundreds of such plug-ins pre-installed and if you click on them in the template editor you will be presented with few options that can be changed.
Up to this point all this can be done without actually having Photo-Reactor installed. But there is also an “Edit Effect in Reactor” button:
This step and everything after it require you to have full version of Photo Reactor installed. Upon clicking on this button the effect will be opened in the Photo Reactor and this is where the real fun starts. You will be presented with something that may either look oddly familiar or be a completelly alien looking. It all depends on how you feel about nodal editing.
What is nodal editing ?Nodal editing is the perfect way how to describe a very complicated editing process, that would normally require a written guide with screenshots and/or a “How to..” tutorial video. If the effect is simple, we can just say for example: “adjust sharpness to 50% with radius 2 pixels” and that’s it. But what if the effect is a little bit more complicated and require you to create copy of layers where each will have another effect applied then merging them and mixing them together at various points in time and in certain sequence?For example the very simple Orton effect for “dreamy look” would be described in Photoshop as: Duplicate Background Layer, use Apply Image and set blending mode to Screen, duplicate that layer again and blur it with a radius 10-20 pixels, select both duplicate layers and merge them then change the blending mode of the result to multiply. Simple, right? Maybe yes for some, maybe not for others, but wait! What if you want to adjust the orton blur effect by using a different value? You have to actually undo last few steps, re-apply the blur and then repeat merging and setting to multiply. And it still may not be what you want, so repeat again and again?In fact orton effect is a very simple effect. Much more complicated effect will take a full page to describe and you probably need some screenshots or it would be very hard to follow. And yet, if you decide at the end to change something you had done in the middle you can as well start from beginning.The same Orton effect in Photo Reactor is created as this:
If you look at the image above, it elegantly describes the very same effect,. And it actually makes a lot of sense this way than trying to follow the wordly ”How to…” explanation. But what is even more important: it is dynamic. We can at any time change any of the parameters of those blocks. If I decide to change the blur value - well, I just change the blur value. No need to undo anything. That’s why nodal editing is an ideal way to create very complex effects. In Photo Reactor I can say at the end: put the “Blur Value” and “Multiply Opacity” as two sliders - since these are the parameters I may like to tweak often, and export it as an effect. And then it can be used in Dynamic Auto Painter as a “plug-in”:
As with everything, it starts to be more complicated as you add more stuff. If you look at the effect imported from Dynamic Auto Painter it is far from simple Orton effect. But the lesson is:, nodal editing is not some accademic invention to make things look more complicated than they are. It is often the only way to properly describe complex effect where there are multiple paths that mix at various times and in different order.
So how does this go back to Dynamic Auto Painter?Dynamic Auto Painter uses many of these Reactor made effects (also called VFBOX, because that is the extension of the file) at many places during the painting process. There is already nearly 160 of different Reactor effects in the current version.It can be used to prepare the input image, it can be used as a mask for various painting steps, it can be used as Dry Reveal step or it can be used at many other junctions through the process. You can reuse these premade effects for other templates and you can also change some of the paprameters that the effect let’s you to change. And that’s all inside Dynamic Auto Painter.But if you decide to actually tweak those effects inside or create your own then you will need the editor to do so: Photo-Reactor.Photo Reactor has many advanced tricks in its sleeve. While for most users it is a fully visual tool, for hard-core geeks like us there is also a fast C++ interpreter included inside so you can create your own special effect down to the pixel level.
Editing effects for Dynamic Auto Painter is not the only task Photo-Reactor can do. In fact it is not even strictly speaking it’s main taks. Photo Reactor can be used to edit photos as a standalone editing program or you can get a PhotoShop plug-in and use it to create effects for Photoshop.
If you for example go to Plugins/U-Paint and look into the “Change Poster” plug in, you will see that the horizintal lines the effect produces are created by simple C++ script.