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Monday, November 17, 2008

Silver Efex Pro

Nik software brings control point technology to black-and-white conversion

This Article Features Photo Zoom

silver efex proFor fans of Nik Software’s intuitive U Point-powered Control Point technology, creating black-and-white images is made easier with Silver Efex Pro. If you’re new to Nik Software, Control Points let you apply adjustments selectively to particular areas of an image without needing to create complicated, sometimes time-consuming layer masks.

With Silver Efex Pro, you start with a basic conversion of a color image to black-and-white. Then, you simply drag and drop a Control Point directly onto a specific area of an image and use the point’s sliders to control area size, brightness, contrast and structure for adjusting contrast locally. From there, you can apply some 20 preset styles, including ambrotype and tintype, artistic renderings, high-contrast, soft focus and grain effects.

Silver Efex Pro is available as a plug-in for Photoshop or Aperture. For Adobe Photoshop users, the Selective tool provides instant access to Silver Efex Pro, allowing you to brush filter effects into your image using any brush tool available in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. Layers and layer masks are created automatically for quick, easy enhancements. The app also is Smart Filter-compatible for fine-tuning images after effects are applied. Aperture users can take advantage of that program’s ability to work on multiple images at once. List Price: $199.Contact: Nik Software, (888) 284-4085, www.niksoftware.com.

Filter Display Modes
Click the Image Only button to display the Image Preview and filter controls only. The Image + Style Browser button opens an additional palette next to the Image Preview and shows the list of preset styles that can be applied.

View Tools
Three viewing modes—Single Image, Split and Side-by-Side Previews—are offered. The latter two options give before-and-after previews of your adjustments.

 

Style Browser
The Style Browser shows each available style applied to a thumbnail of your image. Choose from the preset styles or create your own.

Zone View
Click to see each of the zone areas (identified by red diagonal lines) in your image to fine-tune adjustments for each zone.

Control Point Technology
After calculating hue, saturation, brightness and image detail, each Control Point creates a unique set of U Point Pixel Characteristics for itself. These characteristics are factored into a central, intelligent blending function that becomes smarter as more Control Points are placed on the image, allowing for even more refined and precise changes in the image. The Control Points are interdependent and communicate to combine and blend adjustments naturally.

Enhancement Controls
You can adjust tonality, Control Points, the color filter and film types. Functions include:Color Filter. Choose from various colors and control tonality by adjusting the strength of the Hue slider.

Film Types. Roll over a list of favorite black-and-white film types like Agfa APX Pro 100, Ilford Delta 400 Pro and Fuji Neopan Pro 1600, and see the effect on your image instantly. The films are organized by ISO. Instead of overlaying a grain pattern on your image, the grain engine re-creates the image out of grain, mimicking the traditional silver-halide process for a more natural look. You control how much of this effect you want using the Grain Per Pixel slider.

Stylizing. Select from preset toning effects such as sepia, selenium, split-toning and user-defined colors. You also can add a classic vignette and burn in the edges with tools inspired by a traditional darkroom.

Navigator Loupe
Use the Loupe to view close-ups of any area of the image. In the zoom-to-fit view, the Loupe mode displays details under the mouse cursor at 100 percent.


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