Nik software. Does it still make sense in 2016?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by josvaneekelen, Mar 28, 2016.

  1. I have downloaded and installed the Nik Collection. For the moment I’m testing it together with LR6. Before delving deeper into Nik and spending a lot of time with it I would like to hear your opinion about this software.
    Does it really add something to LR’s possibilities or is it surpassed by Adobe’s developments? I realize that this may differ per Nik module so your ideas about all of these is appreciated. I hope that with your help prospective Nik users can speed up the process of (not?) using Nik.
     
  2. Nik Silver Efex Pro is still the best tool I've ever worked with for producing state of the art BW images.
     
  3. Very much a personal thing, I've had the Nik Collection for some time and find that I use Color Effects and Dfine but rarely if ever go to the others. That said I have heard some swear by Silver Effects for Black and White processing. I think they do expand the possibilities in Lightroom, no experience with PS so can't comment.
    Now they are free ~ perhaps I should have waited! ~ installing and trying is not a problem and probably worth doing, if the time exists to play. They integrate well with Lightroom and as far as I know with PS and Elements.
     
  4. From a workflow, image processing standpoint, just keep in mind that ANYTHING that Nik affects in LR is being done on rendered data (not raw data). From that POV, wouldn't make any difference if you applied Nik in Photoshop or Lightroom in terms of the data.
     
  5. I do think Silver Efex Pro and Vivesa are useful programs, and if I don't like them I suppose I could demand my $0.00 back. I don't use Vivesa often, but there's a couple of things I do like it for. Silver Efex on the other hand works pretty well. As Andrew says it works in rendered data and you will have an extra file when you close and go back to LR or Photoshop.
     
  6. Silver Efex Pro 2 is the reason why I downloaded the free version last week.
     
  7. I almost exclusively used to use silver efex for BW conversions, but trying to switch to LR now. I don't like to have extra tiff
    files just for BW effect where I cannot reverse any changes if I want to. I have tried to recreate the look obtained from
    silver efex in LR for several of my images, and in most cases it works. However, silver efex is still quite versatile, and
    have some great transformation routines to convert color space into BW while maintaining contrast between diverse color
    shades. Such conversions may be possible in LR, but I am not that expert to comment on it. Also, I like the soft contrast
    feature of silver efex, and not yet figured out the corresponding feature in LR. The color filters are also easier to use in
    silver efex than in LR.

    Another program I use sometimes is color efex, where I mostly use the "extract details" and "Pro contrast" features. While
    details can be enhanced in LR using the clarity slider, the "Pro contrast" feature of color efex gives great result.
     
  8. it

    it

    I use it for BW. Very handy.
     
  9. Does anyone have a favourite online (or otherwise) tutorial for Silver Efex? I've heard such great things about it that I downloaded the collection primarily just for it, but I've no idea where to start with it. And as my time right now is very limited, meaning I can't just play around with it to learn by trial and error at the moment, I was hoping someone might steer me to the best of the many online guides that seem to be available for it. Thanks!
     
  10. Hi Bernard,
    Google Nik collection website has good tutorials on silver efex, in the form of youtube videos. Just click on "learn" from the homepage of nik collection and then navigate to "silver efex pro".
     
  11. I've tried the Nik collection when it still was paid for, and decided not to pay for it. While it makes a number of actions really easy, and speeds up things considerably, it wasn't worth the money to me.
    Silver Efex seems to get the highest praise here. While I've tried it several times now, I fail to see what's so special about it. It does nothing I cannot get done in Photoshop Elements, CaptureOne or given a bit of time Lightroom (which I do not use, hence I need the time). Yes, it has some pretty great presets, and that's a time saver, but to me, technically, it's not a plugin I'd spend much money on.
    Viveza and Dfine probably have a lot less immediate appeal, but they're to me the big timesavers. Especially Viveza, which uses the same technology as I was used to in CaptureNX2... it's a very intuitive and immediate way of making selections. But I feel it's more at home in an editor like Photoshop, or at least, that's how I'd use it more often.
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    It does nothing I cannot get done in Photoshop Elements, CaptureOne or given a bit of time Lightroom​

    My versions of Lightroom and Photoshop don't have borders and edge burning like Silver Efex. What versions are you using?
     
  13. i agree with the Silver Efex software...it's expensive but easy to use and I found it worth the expense...I have the color efex pro which is also very good but i rely on it less and can often get the effects with my editing software (photoshop)...
     
  14. i agree with the Silver Efex software...it's expensive but easy to use and I found it worth the expense...​
    Isn't it free now?
     
  15. Since I use Photoshop Elements 11 (having just recently upgraded to 14), I have found the NIK bundle to be extremely helpful.
    Bernard, I suggest you try youtube.
     
  16. Barry: Yes, to repeat, it is free as mentioned in my comment above.
     
  17. "Nik software. Does it still make sense in 2016?" Yes it makes a lot of sense because it's free!
    Try it and do some experimenting and make your own evaluation.
     
  18. I have tried to recreate the silver efex effects in LR, and while most of them can be achieved, one effect could not be. That effect, called 'soft contrast' in silver efex has no equivalent in LR. If someone has figured out how to create the same effect in LR, I would be interested to learn.
     
  19. Thanks for your replies so far. I downloaded Nik software and was underwhelmed by the results. Now I have a bit more information on where to look for the best parts of the software.
     
  20. Just a reminder... Seeing that I have over a thousand Raw images and assuming others do as well, I'm not eager or tolerant having to manage duplicates of all my thousands of Raw images since I'll have to work on a 16bit tiff using NIK software.
    So I'ld suggest you see if it's worth it to get that extra "punch" or enhancement at the expense of adding another level of complexity to an already complex workflow editing so many images that might end up looking the same as everyone else using the same "Jerry Bruckhammered" software image enhancements.
     
  21. Laziness and hard-disk space are not acceptable excuses not to reach a state of the art result (the extra "punch", like you named it), unless it could be "perfectly matched" through the use of the "plain" LR as well.
    Even going through Photoshop will produce a duplicated raster image. And, honestly, for most fine-art productions LR is just (and only) the first step of the workflow. A workflow that proceeds till the equally crucial choice of the perfect frame for the final print. :)
     
    likes this.
  22. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    Tim has to be joking
     
    likes this.
  23. ted_marcus|1

    ted_marcus|1 Ted R. Marcus

    Absolutely. I use Color Efex and Viveza all the time, DFine when I'm scanning film, Silver Efex when I convert to black and white, and Sharpener Pro when I make prints. A bargain at $150. Even more of a bargain at $0.
     
  24. Tim has to be joking​
    No, I'm not joking.
    Someone post a before and after sample image applying any of the free Nik software that makes an image look like something new and unique and never seen before out of the trillions posted online.
    Really! I'm serious. I don't think it's worth the added complexity in my workflow having two versions of my Raw images.
     
  25. Is that your standard, new and unique? I suppose it depends on how you use it. Working in LR, its not any big complexity in workflow. You rt click, edit in silver exfex, do your conversion and save, it ends up right next to the original image in the film strip. Depending on how often you convert to b/w it does take up more space. But the complexity of workflow is basically in your mind. I try to take interesting pictures, I don't need to create unique and never before seen b/w conversions...I prefer good tonality appropriate to the photo.
     
  26. I started using Nik software the first time Goggle offered it for free, which was a few years back. While I do not often use any of the "canned" presets I often use various tools from the different programs and Silver efex is still my go to program for B&W.
    I'm not sure what Tim is on about but using these programs in my workflow does not add any files that I have not already created. After working up the raw image in LR I export to PS where any Nik adjustments are done on layers. When I'm finished I save the file and it shows up in LR alongside of the original. Of course, I do not process every image I shoot, I will perhaps work up one or two files from a folder so the additional files are minimal. The only way that Tim's concern would make any sense, as best as I can tell, would be if a person converted every file in LR? which would be silly.
    Does anyone know if the recently offered Nik suite is an updated version over the one offered a few years back? My understanding is that since Google took over Nik there have been no updates to the programs. If I'm wrong about this I'll download the recent offer.
     
  27. I agree with Tim. It's not worth learning another program on top of Lightroom with the extra image files, etc.. I tried Silver Efex and own Topaz BW. While both are interesting, LR provides all (for me) the editing sliders to do what I need. Why complicate things with a second program that essentially does the same thing? Since I don't use the presets and edit each picture to its taste, LR does the job. Of course being free, you could try Silver Efex and make your own conclusions.
     
  28. Gordon, there have been minor updates, so it could be worth it to check which exact version you have installed today, and update to the latest build. But generically, yeah, no massive changes in the last few years.
     
  29. I don't think it's worth the added complexity in my workflow having two versions of my Raw images.​
    But that's not what's happening! There's only one raw. And there's possibly one rendered version with edits applied that for whatever reason, someone can't produce using just LR.
    The only way to end up with only one raw file is do 100% of your work in the raw converter and NEVER render the image outside it. That's possible in LR of course. You'd print from it, and never render the raw for other editing outside the raw converter.
    IF you ever take a raw into Photoshop or similar to edit further, Nik or otherwise, you've now got two files (one raw, one rendered).
     
  30. Wouter, Thanks I'll do that.
     
  31. People complicate their workflow to whatever degree is needed to get the job done. If I need the benefit of layers, as I often do, then I export to PS. Alan gets what he needs in LR. No doubt there are people who think Alan's workflow is too complicated because they shoot jpeg and that is all they need.
     
  32. Barry Fisher[​IMG][​IMG], Mar 31, 2016; 04:50 a.m.
    Is that your standard, new and unique? I suppose it depends on how you use it. Working in LR, its not any big complexity in workflow. You rt click, edit in silver exfex, do your conversion and save, it ends up right next to the original image in the film strip. Depending on how often you convert to b/w it does take up more space. But the complexity of workflow is basically in your mind. I try to take interesting pictures, I don't need to create unique and never before seen b/w conversions...I prefer good tonality appropriate to the photo.​
    Exactly. At least for me (and from the sound of it, Barry as well), using Silver Efex Pro isn't about mass producing the same (or a "special or unique") look. I have many custom presets in both Silver Efex and LR, and none of them can be used universally. Some of them can be used as starting points to achieve a desired look, feel, or tonality, but it still requires further work and refinement to best serve a given photograph. Quality post processing requires work, thought, experience, and instinct. It is never about pushing one button, slider, or preset and being done. I think Barry hit the nail on the head with these words: "appropriate to the photo".
    The work flow is very simple for me, but that doesn't mean anyone else has to use it or believe in it.
    When it comes time to make prints, specifically for B&W, I have found that Silver Efex Pro gives me a much more satisfactory result than LR alone. I have my high end prints done at Digital Silver Imaging and they highly recommend using Silver Efex before getting the prints made. I do so not because they said so, but because after some trial and error I believe they are entirely correct in making that suggestion in terms of the quality of the final print.
    I also sometimes use Analog Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro depending on the final result I am trying to achieve.
     
  33. Is that your standard, new and unique? I suppose it depends on how you use it. Working in LR, its not any big complexity in workflow.​
    What's your standard, Barry? Old and uninteresting? I don't understand your question. Call me an optimist with lofty goals in what I consider creative challenges.
    Yes, I don't see anything wrong with wanting to see results that don't make an image look like the next guy did it using the same image enhancement software.
    I never said LR or ACR offers a complex workflow. Having to manage two versions of my Raw images is. And I see no one's yet posted any examples to show that the results make it worth the hassle working this way.
    I mean I'm currently re-editing shots in CS5 I did in CS3 back in 2012 and I'm still not done and I PAID money to get the improvements I see in CS5. So now most here are suggesting I should really consider an outside pixel editor to work on those images even further?!
    ARE YOU KIDDING?! I HAVE A LIFE!
     
  34. I'm not sure what Tim is on about but using these programs in my workflow does not add any files that I have not already created. After working up the raw image in LR I export to PS where any Nik adjustments are done on layers. When I'm finished I save the file and it shows up in LR alongside of the original.​
    You just contradicted yourself, Gordon. What are you on?
    You have a Raw file and now you have a tiff. That's two versions of the same image. You first started out spending time editing one Raw file and now you have an additional tiff version you spent more time editing.
    When you update your Raw converter in the ensuing years getting the added benefits of its editing tools maybe 5 or so years down the road you'll have to remember and wonder if it will be compatible with what was done in Raw to get you to the finished point that required you to do further edits with the layered tiff because it now may not be so great looking as you thought.
     
  35. Tim,
    it's the opposite.
    By working with Silver Efex 2 I spare a lot of time. There are a lot of really well done presets, I simply choose the one that is nearest to what I want to achieve and then refine the settings to the final result.
    It's way faster than having something in mind and starting from zero (like in Photoshop) trying to achieve what's in mind.
    Not counting settings like the "Soft Contrast" and the "Dynamic Brightness", the film emulations and the realistic grain simulation that are really difficult to reproduce in LR/Photoshop.
    In my personal workflow Silver Efex Pro 2 is faster and the prints look better. That's having a life! .)
     
  36. Tim,
    it's the opposite.
    By working with Silver Efex 2 I spare a lot of time. There are a lot of really well done presets, I simply choose the one that is nearest to what I want to achieve and then refine the settings to the final result.​
    Show me.
     
  37. The only way to end up with only one raw file is do 100% of your work in the raw converter and NEVER render the image outside it. That's possible in LR of course. You'd print from it, and never render the raw for other editing outside the raw converter.
    IF you ever take a raw into Photoshop or similar to edit further, Nik or otherwise, you've now got two files (one raw, one rendered).​
    You're missing the point about the finished results of the Raw image verses what was done to it in pixel form. Those are two completely different images.
    I'm not talking about output versions of the Raw image for example downsized web uploads which are an exact unedited copy of the Raw image in pixel form. We're discussing creating two versions of the same image that look different from each other because someone's creative vision just can't manage to get it all done in the Raw converter.
    Here's a tip...Learn to do it in the Raw converter. It's possible but no one wants to spend time finding out.
     
  38. I think Barry hit the nail on the head with these words: "appropriate to the photo".​
    Appropriate is a form of conformity to a vision that points back to the source of what is considered appropriate which suggest at least for me copying a look that has come before it, placed in the mind to become the familiar. Once that thought or version of conformity is planted in the creative's mind it can't be removed and thus what the creative person thinks is original and unique is really based on a standard way of looking/interpreting what is appropriate.
    Using the same process that everyone else uses is a guarantee it will look just like the other guy's sense of appropriate since they took the same path to get to that point. How about plow your own path?
     
  39. You're missing the point about the finished results of the Raw image verses what was done to it in pixel form. Those are two completely different images.​
    And two completely different files! Something you've objected to (and incorrectly stated were both raw). The raw file itself isn't an image per se, certainly something anyone would want to look at. You've got to render it! So you have two options. End up with two files (raw and rendered, the later being edited outside the converter) OR one raw file that is only edited within a converter. So, like in LR, you could stick with one file; the raw. You could produce a slideshow or a print but everything has to be done in LR. You want to edit outside LR? You've going to have two files. Doesn't matter if you want to edit it in PS to add a layer or Nik to add an effect. Two files.
    We're discussing creating two versions of the same image that look different from each other because someone's creative vision just can't manage to get it all done in the Raw converter.​
    You could have a 1000 variations with ONE file (the raw) in LR using virtual copies! But you're 'stuck' doing 100% of the processing in the LR engine (or ACR).
    This is real simple Tim. You have a raw. IF you only want one file, you have to do 100% of the processing in a raw converter. Duh. IF you want to use any other product, you need to render the raw to a new file and process that data. Two files. Big deal.
    Learn to do it in the Raw converter.​
    There are editing functionality that isn't available there, now what? Layers, blend mode, editing in CMYK, retouching using pixel precision, content aware technology etc; can't be done in LR/ACR. You can't learn to do it in the raw converter if the raw converter can't produce that functionality. OTHERWISE I agree 100%; do as much as you can in the raw converter. For some images, that's 100% of all the editing needed. For many images it isn't.
    A raw, parametric editor like LR and a pixel editor like Photoshop are absolutely NOT on parity in terms of their functionality. Not even close!
     
  40. By working with Silver Efex 2 I spare a lot of time. There are a lot of really well done presets, I simply choose the one that is nearest to what I want to achieve and then refine the settings to the final result.​

    As an avid user of silver efex, I agree with Marco 100%. In most cases, silver efex saves time at the cost of hard drive space. If you have 20 starting points as opposed to 5, it is quicker for you to achieve the desired look.

    Right now, I mostly use LR for BW conversions, only because I don't want extra tiff files for every image. Only if I am not satisfied with LR conversion (I am quite new to LR), I would try silver efex which has extra features to play with.

    Show me.​
    Tim,
    I am just a beginner in LR, you probably have more experience than me. I am giving an example where I could not get a satisfactory conversion in LR, and silver efex gave a more desirable result. Here I used the 'soft contrast' feature of silver efex to make the shadow areas lighter without loosing internal contrast, at the same time reinforce features in the brighter areas. With LR, I could not achieve the same result using the shadows/highlights sliders. I am not saying it is impossible, may be someone with better knowledge can make it work in LR. Anyway, you wanted an example, so here is mine.
    00drSU-562075184.jpg
     
  41. Here is the silver efex version.
    00drSW-562075284.jpeg
     
  42. Tim, I am already creating another file if I want to edit beyond what I can do in LR so using Nik only adds a layer to that file. I'm not sure what your are not grasping?
    I can and regularly do revisit previously edited file to tweak them. I find that saving the file as a smart object with layers offers me plenty of wiggle room. If that is not enough or if I want a radical departure, I can simply return to the raw file and begin anew.
    As for your implication that if we were all as skilled as you are, we would not need Photoshop and could do everything we would ever need to do in Lightroom, I want some of whatever you are high on.
     
  43. I suspect we are degenerating to one of the classic stupid war of principles.
    Maybe it would be better to stop discussing (we are too clever to repeat the same error again, right?) and synthetise our
    thought to the OP.

    I think that the general consensus here is: if your workflow does't have the strict constraint of dealing only with the RAW
    file, then the Nik Efex Pro suite is still worth a try, to unconventionally create the conventional (or the exact opposite). :)
     
  44. And two completely different files! Something you've objected to (and incorrectly stated were both raw).​
    I did not incorrectly state they were both Raw. One was Raw and one was a tiff. Maybe I should've said both are completely different looking versions of the same image. I don't know where you read I stated they were both Raw.
     
  45. You could have a 1000 variations with ONE file (the raw) in LR using virtual copies! But you're 'stuck' doing 100% of the processing in the LR engine (or ACR).​
    I and I'm sure quite a few others don't have the time to come up with a 1000 variations. No one can be that obsessive over an image hardly anyone on the planet is going to give 2¢ worth of attention. If it takes that many variations the Nik Collection isn't going to fix that level of indecisiveness. There's seriously something wrong with the photographers vision and/or editing skills.
     
  46. I did not incorrectly state they were both Raw.​
    IF you didn't (see below), you need to work on your writing skills:
    I don't think it's worth the added complexity in my workflow having two versions of my Raw images.
    I'm not eager or tolerant having to manage duplicates of all my thousands of Raw images since I'll have to work on a 16bit tiff using NIK software.​
    The bottom line is clear to most if not all of us; I'm not sure why I have to repeat to you again:
    The raw file itself isn't an image per se, certainly something anyone would want to look at. You've got to render it! So you have two options. End up with two files (raw and rendered, the later being edited outside the converter) OR one raw file that is only edited within a converter and viewed there.
    I and I'm sure quite a few others don't have the time to come up with a 1000 variations.​
    Fine. I'll alter the comment which expresses the same fact: You could have 10 variations with ONE file (the raw) in LR using virtual copies! But you're 'stuck' doing 100% of the processing in the LR engine (or ACR). And viewing it there too!

    You want only 1 file? Do 100% of all the work in the raw converter, view the image only in that application.
     
  47. Oh and Tim, since you might want two files (one raw, one rendered), to avoid the limitation of working 100% in the raw converter, you could of course make that 2nd document a layered image, or one with Smart Objects that can provide multiple renderings/versions of the image.
     
  48. Here is the silver efex version.​
    That's an over cranked HDR effect, Supriyo, and the very thing I avoid even in ACR/LR especially in CS5. LR4's PV2012 helps avoid it.
    Overcast cloudy light doesn't behave that way unless you were going for some type of stylized gritty, contrasty look. I mean you have those thick dark overcast clouds but in that one spot in the foreground it's producing a ton of diffused spot light to make the concrete sidewalk and rock sculpture to almost glow just as bright as the water but not enough light to bounce underneath the benches that are completely black.
    I've seen Silver Efex tuts where there are settings to avoid that look as well. Most of the tuts show minor tweaks to tonality that could've been done in ACR/LR. It leaves me scratching my head as to why they just couldn't do it in the Raw converter.
    I find it puzzling that folks pay for Raw converter software and don't bother to figure out how to make it work for them to where they have to resort to doing it in third party pixel editors.
     
  49. IF you didn't (see below), you need to work on your writing skills:
    I don't think it's worth the added complexity in my workflow having two versions of my Raw images.
    Oh, so you couldn't make the leap that I implied that the duplicate was a tiff seeing that's what the argument is about. You need to brush up on your skill at discerning contextual references in a discussion.
    I guess if they didn't put the plate of food right in front of you, you'ld starve. Right, Andrew?
     
  50. I am just a beginner in LR, you probably have more experience than me.​
    I just checked your PN gallery and I'm not seeing a beginner at being able to take command of an image editor. You seem to be quite aware of the behavior of light on objects as well like these...
    http://www.photo.net/photo/18033123&size=md
    http://www.photo.net/photo/18158236
    And the gradual shadow roll off of the foreground shrubs in this one...
    http://www.photo.net/photo/17919202
    So I'm not sure why you needed to render the posted sample the way you did.
     
  51. What's your standard, Barry? Old and uninteresting? I don't understand your question. Call me an optimist with lofty goals in what I consider creative challenges.​
    Wow! Is that my only two choices?
    ARE YOU KIDDING?! I HAVE A LIFE!​
    You probably need a time out now Tim, you're are getting way too unhinged here.
     
  52. Appropriate is a form of conformity to a vision that points back to the source of what is considered appropriate which suggest at least for me copying a look that has come before it, placed in the mind to become the familiar.​
    You can twist my words all you want, but your statement seems to insist on connecting dots that don't exist, in other words a complete pile of hooey. In fact, if you are interested in facts, my statement states pretty much the opposite. Appropriate to the image, to me means treating each individual image, well, individually. Just the opposite of what your rather snarky comment suggests. I've found that I get there faster in b/w conversion in silver/efex than in LR or PS.
     
  53. Tim,
    It's OK if you don't like my edit, and it is a bit overboard also. I do a lot of experiments, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. The point is, I find the soft contrast feature (which is probably a blurred contrast mask) of Silver Efex quite useful and cannot achieve the same functionality in LR, unless I go for the complex path of local adjustments. Perhaps some features just don't exist in LR? I like the effect of soft contrast better than the shadow/highlights adjustment in LR. It preserves the internal features of large shadow areas better while introducing light into those areas. And BTW, I am indeed a beginner in LR, I have had experience in Photoshop before.
     
  54. Supriyo, it's not about me liking your edit. I specifically described what I saw as it relates to what I tried to understand what you wanted to enhance in the image in relation to its inherent character of light.
    Nik Collection calls it a soft contrast feature which I'm not seeing in your edit. The broad white edge halo along the top roof edge is what I get in CS5 applying the clarity slider. I get rid of it by applying an adjustment brush set to -50 Clarity and adjust its slider accordingly afterward.
     
  55. In fact, if you are interested in facts, my statement states pretty much the opposite.​
    The term "appropriate to the image" doesn't sound very factual to me, Barry. Maybe interpretative? To me it's a wishy-washy open ended term that brings up more questions than it answers. My response was an attempt to give it a direction from my understanding and take on it sourced from my 40 years making images as a fine art painter, cartoonist, illustrator, graphic artist and now digital photographer.
    You interpreting it as a snarky response is not my problem.
     
  56. Oh, so you couldn't make the leap that I implied that the duplicate was a tiff seeing that's what the argument is about. You need to brush up on your skill at discerning contextual references in a discussion.​
    "Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another." - Napoleon
    Seems your peers here Tim believe, and I agree, you've failed.
     
  57. Failed at what, Andrew? Answering the question whether free Nik software makes sense in 2016?
    I think I've been a success at stating my case better than you. I really don't care what others believe. I have no control over that.
     
  58. Failed at what, Andrew? Answering the question whether free Nik software makes sense in 2016?​
    Nope, not even close Tim. You failed to present text that's taken seriously! Notice how many people here have had to stop and ask: Tim, are you serious/kidding/joking? I'm in their camp as well.
    Consider:
    The reason there's so much ignorance is that those who have it are so eager to share it. -Frank A. Clark
    Should the OP thank you for sharing and or joking around?
    I think I've been a success at stating my case better than you​
    Of course you do.
    I really don't care what others believe. I have no control over that.​
    I don't care either but where we now disagree is that you do have control over your language as I attempted to point out to you.
    All your text above is premature Tim as TODAY is April Fools Day; you have the floor.
     
  59. Tim,
    I obtained the overcranked HDR effect by adjusting the soft contrast and increasing the intensity of whites in silver efex.
    While I agree that was somewhat overboard, I would like to achieve a similar effect in this image, if not to that extent as
    shown here (so that the lighting is consistent as you said). However, I could not achieve it in LR.

    I gave this example because, to answer the question whether Nik collection is still relevant in 2016, I think we need to
    judge whether we can achieve what we want in LR alone, without going to silver efex or other plugins. Silver efex has lot
    of presets that make the job faster, but some of that can be achieved in LR. However, the soft contrast is one feature I
    have used quite often, and I cannot find a simple slider in LR to achieve that.

    Hence my question is, if you compare the effects set of silver efex and LR, are they 100% comparable?
     
  60. The term "appropriate to the image" doesn't sound very factual to me, Barry.​

    It's not a statement of fact, it's a statement of relation. The statement of fact was my comment that you interpreted it incorrectly and continue to do so.
     
  61. Hence my question is, if you compare the effects set of silver efex and LR, are they 100% comparable?​
    Not if you're going to produce monster sized white halos along dark edges as in the Efex correction. LR4 and up PV2012 put a stop to that, but at the sacrifice of linear behavior when increasing brightness using Exposure slider to override the dim dark Raw preview.
    I suspect this is why you're having trouble getting the tonemapping of midrange detail. Those sliders now dovetail between tonal zones which get highlighted in the histogram hovering the cursor over each slider that affects each individual zone.
    It's the dovetailing characteristic that I'm having problems with because I don't focus on each tonal zone when I edit. I look at the overall appearance of contrast and brightness attempting to make the image look as my eyes saw the scene. Focusing on individual tonal zone I've found produces the cartoonish HDR effect because my eyes adapt to that one zone without considering how it blends with the rest of the image.
    This is why I edit most of my Raw images in CS5's PV2010 and use the point curve to bring out midrange clarity when the dynamic range of the image causes Exposure slider to blowout highlights too quickly before midrange has a chance to brighten. LR divided this linear behavior between Highlights and Whites slider where the White slider acts more linear and Highlight/Exposure compress highlight detail depending on the image's dynamic range.
    00drXw-562094184.jpg
     
  62. LR also has a curves dialogue that you can use instead of sliders.
     
  63. I made the above image even brighter and more defined in the tree leaves tweaking the existing custom curve and creating a custom Parametric curve in ACR PV2010.
    As a comparison and to show that getting to know how different combinations of slider and curves act on the preview I applied a different edit just using the Basic Panel and default Medium Tone Curve. Note the definition differences in the background trees on the right and foreground tree leaves. I wish there was just one slider that did this by just moving it to the right because all I'm doing is brightening the image. See below.
    Doing this in Lightroom is going to take the same experimentation and exploration.
    00drZK-562096284.jpg
     
  64. Here are the custom Point and Parametric curves...
    00drZO-562096384.jpg
     
  65. Here's a comparison using LR4's PV2012 editing tools to try to get a close match. I'll post the settings and parametric curve I had to create along with the PV2010 larger size to A/B against in a layer in Photoshop.
    00drb9-562101984.jpg
     
  66. Here's the settings...
    00drbA-562102084.jpg
     
  67. And the PV2010 version in CS5 at the same size for comparison. Note the white halos around the background trees on the right compared to the LR4 version.
    00drbE-562102484.jpg
     
  68. Tim Lookingbill: Appropriate is a form of conformity to a vision that points back to the source of what is considered appropriate which suggest at least for me copying a look that has come before it, placed in the mind to become the familiar. Once that thought or version of conformity is planted in the creative's mind it can't be removed and thus what the creative person thinks is original and unique is really based on a standard way of looking/interpreting what is appropriate.
    Using the same process that everyone else uses is a guarantee it will look just like the other guy's sense of appropriate since they took the same path to get to that point. How about plow your own path?


    Tim -- It's unfortunate that this thread has turned snarky, but I do not say this to pile on or criticize you, I just think that in this case you are misinterpreting what I mean by "appropriate to the image". It means exactly what you seem to criticize it for: "plow your own path". You selected one small section of my post, without considering the other words which elaborated upon it. It does not mean appropriate based upon some imaginary, collectively agreed upon standard (there is no such thing) so that everyone's work conforms to the same unoriginal look, it means appropriate to the personal vision of the individual photographer. As the taste, ability, style, and experience of a photographer grows and matures, their post-processing becomes more sophisticated, subtle, and serves their own personal vision. Some of us believe that for black and white work, Silver Efex Pro gives us the tools sufficient to meet that personal vision. As I stated, it does not mean pushing one slider, or using someone else's presets so that everything looks the same. It is plowing one's own path.
     
  69. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    I'm not eager or tolerant having to manage duplicates of all my thousands of Raw images
    Someone post a before and after sample image applying any of the free Nik software that makes an image look like something new and unique and never seen before out of the trillions posted online.
    Really! I'm serious. I don't think it's worth the added complexity in my workflow having two versions of my Raw images.
    IF you didn't (see below), you need to work on your writing skills:​
    I agree with Andrew. (Did I really just say that?). It sounds like Tim is under the impression that Nik creates another version/duplicate (like dng) of every single one of his 1000 raw files. Strange.
    We're discussing creating two versions of the same image that look different from each other because someone's creative vision just can't manage to get it all done in the Raw converter.
    Here's a tip...Learn to do it in the Raw converter. It's possible but no one wants to spend time finding out.​
    Tim, it's not possible to achieve in the raw converter what you can get, for free, in the Nik suite. With the amount of arguing you've done in this thread, you could have found this out for yourself
     
  70. It always fascinates me how long these threads get once conflict arises.
    Any tool makes sense if it helps you achieve your objective. I have Nik software, but I learned most of my post processing with photoshop. I come from that school that believes photography should be fun, and the only thing in the end that matters is that you're a better photographer today than you were yesterday. There are so many roads to learning. Some start out as good visionaries, and learn the technical parts as they go. Others learn from the mistakes at the end of the process. Vision and desire keep us going. Cameras, mediums, and software are merely oars on the boat.
    At any rate, they are just aids to help us get there. Obsolete or not.
     
  71. It sounds like Tim is under the impression that Nik creates another version/duplicate (like dng) of every single one of his 1000 raw files. Strange.​
    I never said that, Eric. And I was never under that impression.
    I said now for the fifth time that I don't think it's worth it to spend the time learning a third party image editing software to work on a tiff version of a Raw image that's malleable enough to apply the edit in the Raw converter on the Raw file.
    Nik works only on pixels, not the Raw file. You want to keep those Nik edits you'll have to save it to the tiff version of the Raw image which now creates a second file, the tiff. Raw plus a tiff means there are two files of the same captured scene.
     
  72. >>You want to keep those Nik edits you'll have to save it to the tiff version of the Raw image which now creates a second
    file, the tiff. Raw plus a tiff means there are two files of the same captured scene.

    And for the forth or fifth time, that the case of ANY edit outside the raw converter! Never edit in Photoshop Tim?
     
  73. Tim -- It's unfortunate that this thread has turned snarky, but I do not say this to pile on or criticize you, I just think that in this case you are misinterpreting what I mean by "appropriate to the image".​
    You and others here seem more bent out of shape about it than I am. It's a term. I see something, I say something about the term. Just because it contradicts or is not what people want to hear doesn't make it an insult, snarky comment or BS. I really don't care what someone thinks of what I say. I know what I'm talking about. It's not my responsibility to convince others of that. Movin' on!
    Still no one else besides Supriyo posted a before and after example of a Nik software edit to show it couldn't be done in a Raw converter and actually improved the image. I think that speaks louder than words figuratively and literally about whether Nik software still makes sense in 2016.
     
  74. There are 3 NIK modules that are my constant tools
    • HDR Pro - it's one of the very best in terms of ghost eliminations and allows me to produce very natural HDR images
    • Silver Efex - it's the best B&W conversion tool I've every used
    • Sharpener - The last step in my workflow before printing - takes much of the guess work out of things
    Mind you, I bought them back about 10 years ago before Google bought them out, I think the package cost about $249. It's free now - to me it's a simple no brainer. REALLY great tools at zero cost.
    Hint - watch video tutorials on how to use it, I learned a lot from them on how to get the most out of the tools
     
  75. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    You want to keep those Nik edits you'll have to save it to the tiff version of the Raw image which now creates a second file, the tiff. Raw plus a tiff means there are two files of the same captured scene.​

    Of course it does. Most of us open files in photoshop and then save our works as a tif/psd. A layer of a Nik filter, that can be turned off/on/blended is inconsequential. Do you instead only have a hard drive full of raw files and then export to jpg when you need to print or send to web?
    Still no one else besides Supriyo posted a before and after example of a Nik software edit to show it couldn't be done in a Raw converter​
    I'll gladly post a raw nef in a public dropbox folder for all of us here to access and use Nik filters. You, Tim, can show how us to duplicate it in ACR. Up for it?
     
  76. Been using NIK with Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 for probably under 15 hours. I do about equal amounts of B&W and color photography, and have a pretty fine critical eye in post-processing.

    So far, I've gotten best results where I begin my 'developing' in Lightroom, then go into NIK - either directly through Lightroom, or through moving the image to edit in Photoshop and then into NIK. Then sometimes I like to do a little further touch-up in Lightroom. When I did that, the image would flash on and off, be slow to take on adjustments, and really heat my up my Mac.

    I realized while working in NIK via Photoshop that it was carrying layers. Not sure if that's the case in Lr, but still had the flashing problem - though a bit faster to control it seemed (still bogged down).

    I luckily realized that the best thing to do was start in Lr, move it to edit in Ps, open NIK, work it up, save the NIK image. Then still in Ps, I could go Layers > Flatten, then Save and reopen in Lightroom. There I can function further with it in Lightroom beautifully.
     
  77. Hi Jeff,

    as far as I remember, there is an option in the Silver FX settings page which lets you chose whether to put the filtered
    image on a new layer or just apply the filter to the current layer.
    Once saved, the option will keep your choice for all future uses.

    Regards.
     
  78. Very short answer : yes it does !
    90% of my images are processed with NIK.
     

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