Monday, February 4, 2008
Add dramatic effects and visual impact to your images without spending hours in photoshop
Color Efex Pro 3 is a typical Photoshop plug-in in that it installs in Photoshop and can be called up from the Filters menu. It launches on top of Photoshop in its own workspace, offering a large library of preset photographic effects, some of which simulate traditional photographic and darkroom techniques, and others that replicate popular digital techniques used in art, movies and advertising.
What's different about Color Efex Pro is the ability to localize and control adjustments using Nik's U Point technology. You can apply filter effects to the entire image or constrain your enhancements to selected areas only using Control Points. Add Control Points anywhere on your image and change their radius and opacity using simple sliders until you get the look you want. This is all done without the usually tedious task of masking.
The Color Efex Pro workspace is clean and easy to navigate. A column on the left side of the screen displays a menu of all the preset effects from which to choose. On the right side of the window are the controls to customize the selected effect and to add Control Points to the image.
The simplicity of the workspace is one of the best features of this Photoshop plug-in. Select an effect, and you instantly see the results of the default setting. You can adjust the preview window to show the effect on the entire image, split the image vertically or horizontally or view side-by-side, before-and-after previews.
Available in three editions, the Complete Edition of Color Efex Pro 3 includes 52 filters, each with customizable settings. When you apply an effect, you're returned to Photoshop and the effect is created on a separate layer. This not only gives you the peace of mind of nondestructive edits, but also provides another level of control as you can reduce the opacity of the effect layer to lessen its impact or edit it with other Photoshop tools for virtually unlimited options. Pile on layers of effects for some wild combinations.
The best thing about Color Efex Pro 3? Speed. If you're happy with the default settings, it literally takes two clicks to apply an effect. If you want custom settings, Control Points and adjustment sliders make that fast, too. For making dramatic image enhancements without spending hours creating your own effects, this is one Photoshop plug-in you'll want to check out. List Price: $299 (Complete Edition).
Contact: Nik Software, (888) 284-4085, www.niksoftware.com.