Saturday, February 13, 2010
85 Oozing Nik-aliciousness
Ummm ... no ... that's not a reference to some kind of festering sore or the creme-broulee center of a chocolate bon-bon. Nik Efex is a great suite of plug-ins for Lightroom or Photoshop.
So I chiseled-me some pesos from my Pay-Pal account and purchased the Nik Efex Pro Complete Suite for Lightroom including: Silver Efex Pro, Vivenza, Dfine, Sharpener and Color Efex Pro. Here are some reactions after having used these for a couple of days.
First let me say ... I LOVE working in Lightroom! It just feels like home to me surrounded by my photos all within easy reach. And the fact that these plug-ins just auto-magically show up under Photo > Edit In > ... is fun-tastic!
Maybe this post I'll talk about Nik Silver Efex Pro first. So once you've found your image in lightroom and twiddled your favorite knobs or pulled your favorite curves and you've gotten your color to that perfect white balance and "density" (high-key, low-key or latch-key), you decide it's time to see it in B&W. You hit the drop down menu and voila, SEP opens up and asks you if you want to edit the original, a copy of the original or a copy of the adjusted image after applying your LR settings. I pick the latter. SEP makes a copy so that we don't offend the "Society for Protection of Cruelty to Photographs" or ... ummm ... SPCP for short. On a side note ... I've be seeing a lot of photographs lately that have been severely abused. I really need to take this matter up with the SPCP.
Once in SEP, you now have a set of quick settings from which to choose including a preview of what would happen to your image with each one. You really have to pick at least one to start because it defaults to the first on the list otherwise. The names are totally old-school and I could almost smell the developer, acid baths, fixers and hundreds of other toxic chemicals we used to breath. Names like "Push N+1" at least help you to pretend you're going old-school. Once chosen, from here you can do just about anything you want.
Some of the really nice options include a good long list of "film type" selections that intend to emulate the characteristics of the classic films. This is one of my favorite features. HP5, or Tri-X or Pan. How wonderful! You can add grain to-taste with control of grain size and softness. Of course you can modify the tone-mapping on a per-color basis as you would expect. Vignetting and border burning are provided.
Oh, and of course the Nik U-Point technology that they are most known for allows you to quickly dodge, burn or tweak to your hearts content.
One thing I miss, however, is a history list. In fact, I've not yet even found an undo. Not to fear, though. Your settings aren't saved until you hit "save" and you can always start from the beginning again if need be. They have taken the approach that you can undo by simply moving the sliders back where they started.
All-in-all ... I love SEP. But of course the proof's in the pudding. Here is an example pic. More to come. We'll see if they ooze silvery drama ... or just ... errr ... ooze.
This one uses only Lightroom.
Nik Silver Efex Pro
- Film Type: Agfa APX Pro 100
- Split tone
- 3 control points (hair and two on jacket)
- Vignette and grain
And just for fun, here's a special effect ....
Nik Silver Efex Pro
- Antique Plate II
- That's it ... no other processing
Next ... Nik Color Efex Pro