Inspired by this post from Leanne Cole I decided to get my demo copy of Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 loaded up as some of the images I processed yesterday had potential for a B&W conversion.
Having briefly played with Nik Color Efex before Xmas, I was reserving judgement, as I was not initally overwhelmed by Color Efex. To be fair I may not have used the best image to test it on, and haven’t done a deep dive into its capability.
However on opening up Silver Efex I was very surprised, the quality of the basic default image processed into B&W was fantastic! I would have been happy with that, but I scrolled through all the preset selections, experimenting with a few that I liked the look of.
I preferred the more classic stylings for the images I worked on, and did tweak them slightly from the default. As Leanne notes in her Tutorial, one of the very nice things about the Nik Efex range is they do a lot of the heavy lifting for you with a selection of preset options to choose from *and* then give you quite a lot of control to tweak and customise further. I believe you can even create and save your own presets for future use.
So, what did our first conversion look like?
I chose this preset because I liked how it pulled all the texture and lines on the stump, suddenly made it much more real and present as the focus of the image. What do you think?
And the second image I processed was the row of macrocarpa trees all windswept and interesting
Now I really like this image, but I struggled in my processing to balance out bringing down the highlights in the sky and keeping some in the light tree bark, but not too much. So I compromised on making it a little flat. What would a B&W conversion do?
As the image says OMG! This is fabulous, so much more texture and detail, and the colour is no longer a distraction. I love the drama in the sky, the balance of the dark bottom third against the bright top 2/3 (I didn’t even notice how balanced I had it until now LOL). This was processed with the High Structure preset.
Clearly I am happy with this, but what do my readers think? Good, bad or indifferent to the concept of B&W conversions?
Finally I am going to use some of the Control Point techniques in Leannes tutorial to do a conversion on the Chimney image
And here is the B&W conversion
Using Leannes tutorial, I created three control points, one in the dark top left corner to lighten it up and bring back some contrast. The other two were in the dark section with the foxgloves under the pile of wood. I lightened those areas, bringing some structure back in and capturing more detail.
It is only a quick play but I must say I am very taken with Nik Silver Efex, I would definately use this software in the future and it has been very easy to use and get a nice response quickly. Unfortunately it *is* somewhat expensive so I will have to put it on my Most Wanted list
If you want to try Nik Silver Efex they have a free limited time demo you can download for most of the range. Go, have fun!