I have received a lot of questions about the ZSE Raw and the ZSE Panel.

Here is my attempt to answer all of them.


Is the ZSE Raw a Free Upgrade for ZSE Panel Owners?

No.  The ZSE Raw is its own set of presets and video education discussing the RAW level use of Zone System Style Masks.  It comes with its own “system” of presets and video education and is therefore separate from the ZSE Panel.

Do we still need to use the ZSE 7 Panel in Photoshop if we use the ZSE RAW?


Raw workflow is raw workflow.  It is beneficial to get your image to look the best at the raw level, but it is still met with many limitations.  We don’t have Blend Modes, Opacity, Fill, or the ease of use of Masking + Blend If at the raw level.

Furthermore, the ZSE 7 Panel is FAR more than just luminosity masks for your image.  You have irreplaceable effects and workflow tools that you just can’t use at the raw level.

Watch the video in this post to learn more.

Is the ZSE Raw a Panel for Lightroom and ACR 14?

No, you cannot make panels for ACR or Lightroom.  The ZSE Raw is a “system” of presets that you will find in the presets folder within ACR or Lightroom.  That does not make it a panel, they are still presets listed as presets would be.  You can only use Panels in Photoshop.

Where does the ZSE Raw fit into my workflow?

The ZSE Raw was intended for your RAW level editing phase.  This is what I consider the 2nd phase of the workflow with the first phase being taking the picture on location.  You would use the ZSE RAW to get your initial tones and colors looking good.  

I typically stop editing at the Raw level when I have reached the limitations of the software.  As soon as the RAW software is incapable of matching my artistic vision for the piece I am working on, I move forward into Photoshop, the third and fourth phase of my workflow.