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Wednesday, April 23 2014 @ 10:34 PM EDT
Nik Software and Me
 
by Richard P Schoettger
 
This Silver Efx Pro Antique Plate II filter is a dangerous one in that I tend to overuse this one....it produces some really nice effects when doing monochrome images.  The Antique Plate II places mostly a lighten edging to the frame while Antique Plate I does the opposite with a dark edge.   As with many filters, adjustments are available to further edit the image.
 
Chinese Portrait - After Applying Antique Plate II Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:48AM
Views 493 / Comments 0
 
Althought this is not the best instance to show this, I depend on the Color Efx Pro's Pro Contrast filter to apply color and contrast adjustments to more of what the image sometimes really should be.   Some images come our too red, blue, etc. and this is an excellent filter to bring the right color range and resulting contrast as intended.
 
Chinese Portrait - After Applying Pro Contrast Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:48AM
Views 449 / Comments 0
 
Another great portrait filter in Color Efx Pro, is the Classical Soft Focus filter.  The sliders can be adjusted to bring a perfect sense of softness when necessary. Although it was not my intent to soften this rugged man, it shows how the filter can apply a nice soft feel.  When applied to models and other portraits, I generally use this in the Brush mode to then keep the eyes sharp in the model.
 
Chinese Portrait - After Applying Classical Soft Focus Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:47AM
Views 1120 / Comments 0
 
This is something I normally do not do, but to show another filter in Color Efx Pro, I decided to simply apply the Indian Summer filter and adjusted the slider.  This basically makes summer time look like autumn...and the resulting colors.  Therefore, the greens in the background turned more rust/orange without adjusting the other colors.  This made the image wrap around a common color theme with the browns/rust on his face too.
 
Chinese Portrait - After Applying Indian Summer Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:47AM
Views 953 / Comments 0
 
Then as normal, I applied the Color Efx Pro Darken/Lighten filter to darken the edges slightly to draw even more attention to his face.
 
Chinese Portrait - After Applying Darken/Lighten Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:47AM
Views 473 / Comments 0
 
I immediately went into Nik Software's Viveza and applied three Control Point to this image.  My first point was on his head and face to really bring out the scares, hair, wrinkles and such.  I set this Control Point by increasing the Structure slider and doing some suble increased to the warmth and contrast.  I placed the second Control Point on the green in the background and used the sliders to darken and decrease the structure to soften it.  I wanted to insure the contrast.   One additional thing I noticed were the eyes.  I quickly applied a small Control Point around the whites of his right eye and brighten the white with a little contrast.  Then, by hitting CTL-D, the Control Point was duplicated and I then moved that same Control Point to the other eye to do the same thing.
 
Chinese Portrait - After Applying Viveza
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:47AM
Views 535 / Comments 0
 
When in Guilin, China, I was very lucky to capture this man's look as he turned back in the sunlight just as I had my camera ready to shoot.   This was at 400mm and he immediately turned and continued on.  This is the original image.
 
Chinese Portrait - Original Image
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 05:54AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:46AM
Views 444 / Comments 0
 
As another way to illustrate Nik Software, I went ahead and created this monochrome look with Silver Efx Pro using the Tintype filter.  It allowed for many adjustments, including a darkening of the edges and grain, for which I generously used here.   I would actually go back and do a simple Viveza to brighten the image up a little as too dark, but hopefully you see the effect.
 
Chinese Farmer - After Applying Tintype filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 04:56AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:46AM
Views 586 / Comments 0
 
One of my last thoughts was that the image was too flat and/or blue.  To give it more of the daytime richness, Color Efx Pro has a sunlight filter that is very simple.   My adjusting one slider it can bring into the image the correct amount of sunshine to warm up the picture.  In this case, it was quite subtle, but I believe enriched the image.  Although I would end up and actually work his face and body more to bring out more of that area, this is the final copy of a full color image.
 
Chinese Farmer - After Applying Sunlight Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 04:56AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:45AM
Views 478 / Comments 0
 
To really give the image a little more pop naturally, Nik Software's Color Efx Pro has a very good filter to apply in images with plants and other natural life.   When using this filter, you can select one of three shades of green and increase the saturation and colors around green.  In this case, the grass and other plants come to a little more life, therefore adding richness.
 
Chinese Farmer - After Applying Foliage Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 04:56AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:45AM
Views 453 / Comments 0
 
The next step for me was to bring out his face more as it was too much in the shadows.  I simply went into Viveza and placed a small Control Point around his head and increased the brightness and a little contrast.  With Viveza, with close matching colors near the object, sometimes you have to place another Control Point just outside the head (in the background) and leave the sliders as they are.  This will cause these colors and such to default back to the underlying image.  I also added a very small Control Point to the bright spot in front of his head to reduce the attention even more.   I lowered the brightness on this and actually warmed it up a little.
 
Chinese Farmer - After Applying Viveza
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 04:56AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:45AM
Views 463 / Comments 0
 
I immediately wanted to direct the eye to him and no distracting light in the back, so I used Nik Software's Color Efx Pro Darken/Lighten filter to do this.   Although a little heavy at this time, additional work will make this less noticeable.
 
Chinese Farmer - After Applying Darken/ Lighten Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 04:56AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:44AM
Views 496 / Comments 0
 
While in Yangshao, near Guilin, China, I was hiking through the country side and discovered this man doing his daily farming duties.
 
Chinese Farmer - Original Image
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Oct 02, '10 04:56AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:44AM
Views 457 / Comments 0
 
After looking at the last image, I wanted to subtly bring out the lemur more so the attention was given to him better.   I went into Nik Software's Viveza product and applied a Control Point in the lemur and did a little brightening and increase the structure to apply more fineness to the fur.  I was thinking to then add the Darken/Lighten filter in Color Efx Pro next, but I ended up happy with this.
 
Lemur at Singapore - After Applying Viveza
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 11, '11 06:35AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:43AM
Views 556 / Comments 0
 
I wanted to give a monochrome feel to the image, so I went to Silver Efx Pro and used the Sepia filter to apply a mild sepia mono look to the image.  In this case though, I wanted to leave the eyes as they were, so instead of clicking OK when finished, I clicked a Brush button that added an other layer and allowed me to get into a Paint mode.  I then simply used the Photoshop Brush and clicked a couple of times around the eyes to bring the original layer through.
 
Lemur at Singapore - After Applying Sepia
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 11, '11 06:35AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:43AM
Views 458 / Comments 0
 
This is the original shot of a Lemur at the Singapore Zoo awaiting for me to promptly not to disturb him.
 
Lemur at Singapore Zoo - Original Image
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 11, '11 06:35AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:43AM
Views 483 / Comments 1
 
As another option, I took the final image (before Moonlight filter) and applied the Color Efx Pro Bleach Bypass filter.  This comes up very strong, so most sliders must be slid down to keep an effective level of adjustment.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - After Applying Bleach Bypass
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 05:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:43AM
Views 477 / Comments 0
 
Just to present some more unique filters in Color Efx Pro, I continued with the image by applying the Midnight filter.  I find this a fascinating filter in certain conditions as it gives the heavy moon-lit quality to an image if done well.   When the filter is opened, it is very dark, so normally I adjust the Color and Brightness to the far right and continue with more minor adjustments to the Contrast and Blur sliders.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - After applying Midnight Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 05:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:42AM
Views 480 / Comments 0
 
Again, as I normally do, I add a final kick to the colors using a slight adjustment with the Color Efx Pro Glamour Glow filter.    In this case, it was very slight to emphasize the saturation and not soften or "glow" the image to take away from the work done by the tonal contrast filter.  I would then normally consider this my final color image to keep.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - After applying Glamour Glow
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 04:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:42AM
Views 456 / Comments 0
 
As I usually do in my workflow, I wanted to give a little emphasis to the statue, so placed a Control Point on the statue using the Color Efx Pro Darken/Lighten filter and darkened slightly the area around it.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - After applying Darken/Lighten Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 05:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:41AM
Views 442 / Comments 0
 
Typically I use Viveza to do all the work, but I wanted to show another strong filter in Color Efx Pro that I like a lot.   To add even more depth, color and edge to the complex colors in the buildings and statue, I used the Color Efx Pro Tonal Contrast filter.   Four sliders are available here to adjust the amount of contrast you want at three different levels and the saturation.  As with this, I typically bring down the sliders to around 10 or under to not give it too much adjustment.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - After applying Tonal Contrast
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 05:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:41AM
Views 471 / Comments 0
 
With my standard workflow (unless I crop and straighten), I used Viveza here just to bring out the colors and texture of the buildings by using the saturation, contrast and structure sliders.   I also did not like the original upper left corner with the bland sky, so I placed a Control Point over that and quickly darkened it along with sliding the Warm down and adding to the Blue slider.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - After applying Viveza
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 04:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:40AM
Views 449 / Comments 0
 
The day I was in Bangkok visting the Grand Palace grounds, it was a very flat day.   This is the original image from the camera that I used with my workflow to get the next images.
 
Grand Palace in Bangkok - Original Image
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 05:55AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:40AM
Views 432 / Comments 0
 
I then wanted to get a little carried away and totally black out the background and just show the crowned crane.   This was a very simple move to darken the background and keep all the feathers sharp by using Nik Software's Viveza.  I simply place a Control Point on the background green and took the slider bar for brightness down to zero.   In addition, I decided to add another Control Point on the bird (center) to further define the feathers and give them more rich colors.  I did this by applying a little more saturation and adjusting up the Structure slider.
 
Crowned Crane - After Applying Viveza
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 04, '11 03:50AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:39AM
Views 486 / Comments 1
 
After the Glamour Glow, I decided I really wanted to have the image concentrate on the crowned crane more to emphasize the richness of his colors and isolate this away from the background more.  I did this with the simple Color Efx Pro Darken/Lighten filter, again one of my favorite to bring the eye's attention to the subject.
 
Crowned Crane - After Applying Darken/ Lighten Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 04, '11 04:50AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:39AM
Views 424 / Comments 0
 
With the crowned crane, I decided to reverse the workflow a little and started with the Nik Software Color Efx Pro Glamour Glow filter to a little bring out the colors and richness of the bird from the original image.
 
Crowned Crane - After Applying Glamour Glow
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 04, '11 04:50AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:39AM
Views 463 / Comments 0
 
This is a Crowned Crane I took at the Singapore Zoo using my 100-400mm lens.
 
Crowned Crane - Original Image
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Fri Feb 04, '11 04:50AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:39AM
Views 469 / Comments 0
 
Using Adobe Bridge, I selected the prior three raw images and via Tools, selected the Nik Software HDR plug-in.   It first prompts with a window to see if you want to align and adjust for movement.  Once hitting OK, then the software will take a few seconds to merge the image resulting in a window opened in Photoshop.  Within the window there are about 20 or more filters that offer a variety of merging techniques.   I selected the Balanced filter and adjusted some sliders to bring out the satuation and contrast a little more.  The sliders are available to also control the "realism" of the image to try not give it the HDR look, but in this case, I stlil preferred to leave a little bit of the HDR effect as I liked it better.  You can then continue with the workflow process.
 
Esplanade in Singapore - Merged HDR Image Using Nik Software HDR
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Aug 03, '10 02:25PM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:38AM
Views 1399 / Comments 0
 
This is the third of three unaltered images I took with Auto Bracket set to +/- 1.
 
Esplanade in Singapore - Third of 3 images +1
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Aug 03, '10 01:25PM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:38AM
Views 567 / Comments 0
 
This is the second of three unaltered images I took with Auto Bracket set to +/- 1.
 
Esplanade in Singapore - Second of 3 images -1
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Aug 03, '10 01:25PM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:37AM
Views 527 / Comments 0
 
This is the first of three unaltered images I took with Auto Bracket set to +/- 1.
 
Esplanade in Singapore - First of 3 images Exposure -0
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Tue Aug 03, '10 01:25PM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 01:37AM
Views 533 / Comments 0
 
Although I would not normally apply this to this image, this does illustrate well what the Nik Software's Silver Efx Pro does.  Using the High Structure filter (one of around 30 filters), this brings out the veins and structure nicely in the flower when becoming a monochrome image.   Silver Efx Pro has several sliders and adjustments that can be applied once a filter is selected.
 
Flower - After Applying Silver Efx Pro High Structure Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 09:31AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 12:33AM
Views 481 / Comments 0
 
One of my favorite Color Efx Pro filters is Glamour Glow.  Extremely effective on portraits, I use it a lot on images with flowers such as this as it really brings our the colors and creates a nice, soft glow.   The three sliders are very effective to manage the glow, saturation and warmness of the image.  Typically this is one of the last filters I use in the workflow.
 
Flower - Applying Color Efx Pro Glamour Glow
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 10:31AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 12:33AM
Views 441 / Comments 0
 
A popular filter amongst many photographers that I use occasionally is the Nik Software's Color Efx Pro Contrast Range Filter.   It allows so much to be applied to the image to bring out the colors and contrast according to the color spectrum.  In this case, I still wanted to bring out the contrast in the veins more in the flower, therefore applying three sliders to quickly adjust the image.   This is a filter that when you first click on it, it does not present itself well.   You have to get used to adjusting the sliders to benefit from this filter, but once you get acclimated, it is quite powerful.
 
Flower - After Applying Color Efx Pro Contrast Range Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 09:31AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 12:33AM
Views 487 / Comments 0
 
One of my favorite filters in the Nik Software Color Efx Pro is the Darkening/Lightning filter.  By simply using a single Control Point, you can control the light to better bring out what you intend in the image.   I use this in most of my images to insure that the eye goes to where I want the eye to go to and many times is a very subtle, but effective change.  In this case, I wanted to even bring out the flower more by placing the control point over the flower and then adjusting the Darkening slider down.   This took my less than 10 seconds to adjust and I like this much better then vignetting.
 
Flower - Applying Color Efx Pro Darkening/Lightening Filter
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 08:31AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 12:32AM
Views 457 / Comments 0
 
Typically one of the first steps I take is to process the image through Nik Software's Viveza, a powerful tool to manage the satuation, brightness, structure, colors and weave them together to bring out what you want in the image without masking.  In this case, I softened the background by darkening it and using a Structure slider to soften by using their Control Point process.   I then applied a second Control Point to the flower and gave it more structure and saturation to bring out the veins and contrasts.  This process took me less than 20 seconds.
 
Flower - After applying Viveza
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 10:31AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 12:32AM
Views 475 / Comments 0
 
This is the original image of the flower prior to starting my Nik Software workflow.
 
Flower - Original image
Photograph © Richard P Schoettger
Captured Sat Apr 02, '11 10:31AM
Posted Sat Apr 16, '11 12:31AM
Views 508 / Comments 0
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