My photo software harem keeps expanding, despite all the advice to choose just one package, This monogamy is actually good advice because the major packages do have their own little foibles, and cross incompatibility, or just straight out refusing to play nicely with each other. What seems even worse is it is yet another bit of well loved software that google are abandoning. My latest addition, and she is an angel, is Nik’s software add-ins for such programs as lightroom and Adobe photoshots elements. With the re-instatement of lightroom on my HP spectre. mainly because she is behaving and is now fast, I am finding these wonderful little tools easy to evoke and bringing a little more welcome power when I am post processing RAW files.
The black and white conversion of Nik’s Silver Effect Pro is really well loved and many keen black and white devotes have long sung its praises. However it is the colour tools I am learning to love, The reproduction of old film formats can be easily set up with Analog Efex Pro, The slide film effects work in the gorgeous colours that well exposed slides could reproduce much better than any lightroom presets I have seen. The real jewel for me is Viveza, which brings advanced color control. One of the magical tools shared across the modules is control points. which is almost like a mixture of layers and luminosity masks, only it is a method of local selection of those parts of the photo with similar tone, texture and colour, once selected all the sliders from the module can be individually changed. My preference is to use this feature sparingly and it is at its most beautiful when adjusting just one colour as the center of interest or to highlight a subject. The other bit of magic is the slider called structure. It will take an entire image or just a control point selection from highly detailed to very smoothed. Its a little like the clarity slider in lightroom on steroids and across all tones not just the mid-tones. I actually prefer the dynamic contrast filter in OnOne effects because that can be separated in short, mid and long ranges textures. Like colour in Viveza this also works best when only bring in extra detail to a few carefully selected control points,
Google are now offering the entire NIK suite for free download. If you don’t already have them and have lightroom (or photoshop elements) and process RAW files then definitely go and get the free downloads. If nothing else just learn to use control points and fall in love with the structure slider, I’m sure you will find this collection of angels brings some beauty and inspiration back into your post processing.
PS She is well behaved.