Experimenting with Nik Silver Efex

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.

First candidate for B&W conversion, the Tree Stump shot – click to view a large version

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?

First B&W conversion using the Fine Art Preset – click for large size

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

Click for larger size

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?

OMG! – click for big version

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

Added Push Process N+1.5 and three control points – click for large version

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!

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About lensaddiction

Mad keen photographer figuring it out as she goes!
This entry was posted in For Beginners, LR & Photoshop, Waffle and Burbling and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Experimenting with Nik Silver Efex

  1. Leanne Cole says:

    You have done a great job. How easy is the software to use. I really understand why so many people like it.

    • lensaddiction says:

      I would have scratched my head a bit over the control point, they are similar to LR, but without your tut to explain so clearly, definately would have floundered a bit there. And its tuts like these that HELP make the software easy to use 🙂

      You inspired me to have a go !

  2. nzrileynz says:

    I really love what B&W does to the sky in all the photo’s, really adds some emotion to it. I’ve shied away from B&W for now, I’m just so in love with colour 😉 However your post has piqued my curiosity quite a bit 🙂

  3. Katrina says:

    I like the B&W version of the first picture. The second one I’m not so sure about. It looks almost surreal with that dramatic sky. I like the color version of the third one better although the B&W version is nice too. I think I’d like the B&W version better if the sky was clear. It seems like the clouds are more dramatic in the B&W versions and that distracts me.

    • lensaddiction says:

      I like the colour version of the third one more too, the orange of the chimney against the sky has more impact. In the second one I am going to work on toning down some of the very bright areas in the sky, I like all the detail in the clouds but I should do another version that has less of it and see what it looks like.

      The fun thing is with this software you can play and tweak 🙂

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