Posts tagged with Silver Efex Pro

blocking Free Nik

Yesterday Google announced that they are making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free.

Google may not have made significant improvements to the Nik desktop apps since they acquired them, but I don’t see any downside here. I’ve always been a fan of Silver Efex Pro, and only really questioned its price. Now it’s free, I can’t see any good reasons why you wouldn’t get it.

“Readable and inspiring”

My Advanced Digital Black and White Photography is now available. “Readable and inspiring”, says Amateur Photographer magazine.

What’s your workflow to Nik software?

What’s your workflow to Nik software?

If you own Lightroom and Photoshop, Photoshop “smart objects” are the best way to use Nik apps.

The workflow is easy. Do all your corrections in LR then select the image, right click and choose Edit In > Open as Smart Object in Photoshop. Then in Photoshop select the smart object in the Layers Palette (F7), invoke Silver Efex, and afterwards save as a TIF.

Why is this?

Send to Photoshop as a smart object avoids baking in the raw conversion adjustments
Smart objects means the Silver Efex work remains editable as a smart filter
TIF because non-proprietary and there’s nothing a PSD can do that a TIF can’t do just as well

Any downsides?

File size is bigger – but why economize on space when extra drives are cheap?
Cost – you need matching versions of Lightroom and Photoshop

“Edit in” or “Open as Smart Object” in Photoshop?

Unless you’ve a good reason, I would always choose Open as Smart Object. Good reasons might be you’re running out of hard drive space, or you have an earlier version of Photoshop than your version of Lightroom.

OK, now why? I tend to assume there’s a fair chance you’ll want to fine tune the raw conversion at some stage in the future. For example, a new version of Camera Raw may have better noise reduction and you may want to rework the picture. Alternatively, you may have overlooked some dust spots and prefer to correct them at the raw level rather than with a retouching layer, or you might notice a lens aberration of some kind. Smart Objects let you do this.

Secondly smart objects allow you to adopt some very effective ways to work. For example, filters are applied as smart filters which unlike regular filters are non-destructive, so you can more…

Silver Efex Pro 2

I’ve never been one who photographs in colour and occasionally dabbles with black and white. It’s very much the other way round, and I often look at pictures I’ve left in colour and think they’re rather monochrome anyway. But I’ve never seen doing a lot of b&w work as a reason why I would want to buy Nik’s Silver Efex Pro (SEP) or any of the other dedicated black and white plug-ins that it has now overshadowed. It’s not that I felt SEP1 deficient in any way – quite the contrary. SEP1 was a very polished piece of software, produced good results quickly (even if I doubted the film simulations), and I could certainly see why people liked it so much. I simply felt its price was steep, and I’ve not feel any real need for it.

Nonetheless, I was looking forward to seeing Silver Efex Pro 2 and these seem more…

B&W from different angles

There’s an interesting comparison of doing black and white in Capture One 6, Silver Efex 1, and Lightroom 3 by Mike at The Intuitive Lens. It’s a two parter with Capture One vs Silver Efex and then both vs Lightroom.

I’m not sure it proves much, if anything, other than one if one tries to do so one can produce similar results in different products!

Leaving settings at default is a little odd, and there’s no real attempt to use the b&w conversion process to separate neighbouring colours into distinct tones – eg those in the left woman’s blouse or between the brown briefcase in the foreground and the middle person’s red sweater.

Why didn’t he use Lightroom’s targeted adjustment tool, for example? I’d argue that it alone produces better b&w images because you’re keeping your eyes on the image. But it is an interesting exercise.

Update

See discussion here and here.

My view is that more…

Mileage varies

Ben Long reviews Silver Efex Pro and correctly points out one of its best features

The Black and White adjustment in Photoshop is very good because it allows you to make changes to specific color values in your image. The problem is that if you tell it to darken the blue tones in an image, every blue tone will be altered. Silver Efex scores over Photoshop?s built-in Black and White [JB: or Lightroom or Aperture] because it can alter tone and contrast of specific areas, based on color, but constrain the alteration using an automatically created mask.

You could achieve the same effects in Photoshop using multiple Black and White adjustment layers, each configured differently and constrained using hand-built masks.

That’s what I do, and I don’t find it too troublesome.

At the moment Silver Efex Pro’s probably the best b&w conversion and grain utility around, though its film & grain recipes don’t take more…