Friday, March 4, 2011

First Impression NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.0

The other night I download a free trial for the NIK Software, Silver Efex Pro 2.0 I have been doing my conversions to B&W in Adobe Photoshop CS5 and this allows me quite a bit of flexibility and control over the final outcome. I have been wanting to try The NIK software for converting color photos to B&W. I have read many reviews on it, and it is considered by many to be the best conversion software available.

I scrolled though a couple folders of photos I had and grabbed a photo that I had never processed or used before. This is a photo I took at the state capitol grounds in Nashville TN. A statue of Stonewall Jackson that is on a side of the capitol building overlooking the city. A harsh midday light and not much though put into the shot as I was really walking around try to find a good angle to shoot the capitol building. I processed the photo in CS5 and then took it into the Silver Efex Pro conversion software.

Processed in Adobe CS5

So like most men, I did not bother to read the directions, help file, or getting started guidelines. I just started moving sliders and playing around. I am somewhat familiar with the NIK software,  and now use their HDR Pro software. They have numerous presets to give you a wide choice of looks to your photo with one click. Or they are a good starting point to then allow you to tweak it to your taste. I have a lot to learn to get a handle on this software but found it allows amazing control of the image. Numerous vignettes and edge effects allow you great creative control.

Processed in NIK Silver Efex Pro 2.0

After playing around for about 15 minutes and trying all the tools, sliders, and effects, I created this B&W image from the original color photograph. In my humble opinion, it looks much better as a B&W. It still is not all that good of a photograph, but with more knowledge and practice, I am sure I could make some further adjustments to enhance it further. The NIK website has live web training and video tutorials for all their software products. On my first try I am really impressed with this software. I am sure I will be adding this software to my toolbox. 

Clicking on the photos will open them much larger in a new window.

Have a great weekend,


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