The Nik Collection is now free but unsupported. I spent many years in real darkrooms back at the beginning of my career in photography. I think that having that background allows me to have a deeper appreciation of what is possible to do with digital images today on a computer. We are living in a golden age of photography where the possibilities for creating incredible images is near limitless. Anyone who is serious about black and white photography needs to try this excellent plug-in.
Intuitive Flexibility and Versatility This software can be as intricate or as simple as you would like it to be, making it a solid choice for both amateur and professional photographers. Open up a colour image in Photoshop The Silver Efex 2 workspace The workspace is divided into 3 basic parts: The Presets The Image Preview The Adjustment Panel or Tools While you get a somewhat passable result in the neutral, there is no one button solution to creating a striking black and white image.
The quick and easy way is to test some of the presets. If you want a quick conversion then one of the dozens of presets may very well be all you need to use. If however, you are more like me, then starting with one of the presets is a good place to begin before fine tuning the image with the robust adjustment tools at your disposal.
Each preset contains adjustments in brightness, contrast, structure, tone, film grain, and more. The serious photographer can use some of these presets as a starting point but will want to edit and fine tune the image more specifically to his or her needs. Knowing when to stop is one of the keys of producing high-quality digital photographs. Global Adjustments Global Adjustments In this panel, you control the typical brightness and contrast within the image.
Two excellent features within this panel our dynamic brightness and soft contrast. The unique algorithms within the software assesses the different areas of your image and takes that information into consideration to give you a much smoother blending of overall brightness.
The soft contrast slider also will intelligently assess the overall contrast of your image and allow you to make subtle yet striking changes to the photograph you are working on.
You really have to play with this slider in order to fully appreciate what you can do for you. It is a great addition to the plug-in. Structure is one of my favorite parts of this software. The Nik Collection is now free. Control points allow you to selectively manipulate global adjustments in specific areas of your image. You can add as many control points as you wish to the image you are editing and control the size of each one individually.
The top slider is the size slider which controls the area that you wish to adjust. The adjustment area is represented by the circle you see in the photo above. Dragging the slider left and right allows you to increase and decrease the size of each control. Below that slider are the enhancement sliders that give you full control over global adjustments in each individual control point.
With pinpoint precision, you can adjust everything from brightness, contrast, structure, and even add color back to specific parts of your image. The selective adjustment control point tool is a very powerful feature yet amazingly easy to use. Filter Efects Filters Back when we were all still using film cameras, it was customary to use coloured filters on our lenses in order to achieve certain books to our black-and-white images. The same effects can now be achieved in Silver Efex Pro 2 with the colour filter palette.
Once again starting with the presets is a good starting point but certainly not a one-button solution. Carefully selecting hue and strength allows you to have incredible control over the colour filter tool. Using the colour filters in conjunction with global adjustments, selective control points, film grain, and toning allow you to make stunning black-and-white or monochromatic images. Silver Efex Pro 2 Grain Grain Engine Like so many of the other features in Silver Efex Pro 2, the grain engine is extremely versatile and delivers near unlimited possibilities in terms of grain structure within your black and white images.
When are used to shoot with film I was a big fan of high grain films from Kodak, Fuji, and Ilford. Today I gravitate much more towards high definition low grain images. There still is a place for grain in photography though, especially in black and white photographs. With precision control of the grain engine it has never been easier to create beautiful high grain black and white digital photos. This is just one more reason why I love working on digital imaging which gives me far more versatility and is far better for the environment as well.
Like the other tools in Silver Efex pro 2 the toning tools are quite extensive. You can use any of the 24 different presets for toning your images or create your own unique tones and save those as presets as well. Using the vignette and burnt edges tool allows you to darken or lighten the edges of your photo with good accuracy.
Once again you can start with one of several presets and fine tune the results quite nicely with the different adjustment sliders. Image borders are tricky and also very subjective in terms how people judge them. Is a border really necessary? They just risk looking tacky. While I do like the use of image borders in iPhone or Android photography, those are just fun and playful ways of sharing snapshots. These borders are customizable to a degree. There is room for improvement here though. Learn more Presets Silver Efex Pro 2 allows you to use any of its already existing presets but you can also create your own.
Now with one click you can re-create your favourite overall looks on any new image that you are working on. Creating and naming your own custom presets by using the selective tools can be a great time saver for future projects.
On the plus side.
Jun 28, - The original version of Silver Efex Pro was created by a company called Nik Software and retailed at $ You could also buy it as part of the Nik Collection (a suite of six plugins) for around $ Recently, Nik Software released a major revision, Silver Efex Pro 2 (SEP2). The original Silver Efex Pro delivered outstanding conversions to black and white, . Silver Efex Pro, version 1 and version 2, are available for purchase from B&H. While programs like Lightroom, Aperture, and Photoshop are quite capable of You really have to play with this slider in order to fully appreciate what you can . I've been wanting to share my Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 review for a while now but I.
They allow a range of effects to be applied quickly and easily to images. As a result, the software became very popular with photographers and designers. Silver Efex Pro was especially popular thanks to its ability to replicate black and white darkroom effects. DxO PhotoLab 2. It enables automatic corrections of optical problems as well as allowing global and local adjustments to be made to images. However, the Elite edition offers a bit more such as DxO Clearview Plus to help deal with haze, Anti Moire tool, Colour rendering profiles, multiple exports and customisable palettes.
In September , Google acquired Nik Software. At the time this was largely thought to be to enable Google to get hold of Snapseed, an excellent and popular mobile image editing app. Nik Collection continued to be popular, possibly helped by the fact that in early , Google made it free to download.
DxO , the developer of the widely respected optical correction software now called PhotoLab, announced that it had bought Nik Collection from Google. Silver Efex Pro: Analog Efex Pro: Color Efex Pro: HDR Efex Pro: Sharpener Pro: These can be used as one-click adjustments or you can tweak their settings to tailor the effect to your image. They have been added to the four colour and monochrome processing packages. Like many photographers, however, I stopped using Nik Collection at one point because of compatibility issues.
Nik Collection by DxO now has all its most recent functionality. After using the various software packages, I can confirm that they work as they should. All you need to do is click on the plug-in you want to use. You can see the whole list of Filters, or click on one of the groups Landscape, Wedding etc to see a more restricted range.
The new En Vogue presets are located in the Recipes section. Just click on a preset see its impact applied to a preview of your image. There may also be sub-options to chose between — also on the left of the screen. The refinement and local adjustment controls are located on the right of the screen with the preview in the middle. One of the great things about Nik Collection is that the effects can be applied globally, or you can select the Brush option to paint the effect on your image.
If you make a mistake as you paint in the effect, you can click on the Erase option to brush it out and start again. The effect is also applied as a layer so you can reduce the opacity if you wish. Silver Efex Pro 2. As soon as you open it, the image preview switches to monochrome. Just click on the preset that you like the look of to apply it to your image.
Edit the image until you get the look that you want. Enter a relevant name in the box that appears and hit OK. Adjusting an image in Silver Efex Pro 2. Click on the triangle to the left of the group name to expand and collapse the stack to reveal or hide the controls. These allow you to adjust the highlights, midtones and shadows separately, as well as the overall brightness.
After selecting a control point by clicking on the tool in the column on the right, click on the part of the image that you want to adjust. This adds a point with four controls coming off it. Just click on one to reveal the full scale and adjust as necessary. The top control governs the size of the area affected. You can also add other control points to limit the impact of the first control point.
Helpfully, you can duplicate control points to apply the same adjustment to different areas of the image. A filter brightens its own colour but darkens the opposite colour. Selecting the red or orange filter, for example, darkens a blue sky.
You can target specific colours for brightening or darkening by tweaking the hue slider to find the precise colour filter you want to work with. Just scroll through them to find the one you want and apply it to your image. If you want, then use the Grain, Sensitivity and Levels and Curves controls to get exactly the look you want. Sliding the control to the right brightens areas of that colour. Finishing Adjustments All the toning, vignetting and edge effect controls are located in the Finishing Adjustments section.
You can select from a range of traditional toning effects to apply and then adjust it to your satisfaction. As well as the strength of the toning, you can change the silver hue and tone strength as well as the paper hue and tone. Applying the Adjustment Silver Efex Pro 2. The first applies the effect just as you see it. Helpfully, the effect is applied as a layer so you can adjust the opacity and paint it in or out if you like.
Simply use the Photoshop Brush controls to paint in or erase the effect on your image. Its strength is the ease with which it allows complex adjustments to be made. I tend to use the Film Types as the starting point and then adjust the image until it looks as I want it to. I then create a Custom Preset so I can apply it to other images. As the effect is applied as a layer, you have an extra level of control.
Interestingly, DxO has done lots of research into film emulsions to enable it to replicate the appearance of a traditional film with its FilmPack software. As well as reproducing the sharpness and contrast characteristics, DxO FilmPack can mimic the distribution, size and shape of the grain.
The aim is to produce an image that looks like it has been captured with an old camera. You can even as scratches and dust marks if you want. The starting point is the is to pick from a series of thumbnails on the left of the screen to apply a preset treatment to your image.
Actually, some of these effects are probably best described as faults — Lens Distortion, Light Leaks, Dirt and Scratches etc. Selecting one applies a basic treatment to your image, but you can tailor and refine it using the controls on the left of the screen. Bokeh, for example, allows you to position a target over the area that you want to be sharp.
You can also specify the size of the graduation between the sharp and blurred areas. Each effect reveals a different set of controls. The parameters available under these Control Points varies depending upon the effect.
And of course, just like Silver Efex, Analog Efex applies its effects as a layer.