Author: Rod Lawton

How to bring out textures with the Silver Efex Pro Structure slider

The Structure tool is one of Silver Efex Pro’s secret weapons. It helps to give black and white images that indefinable ‘bite’ that we’re always trying to recapture with our digital images. You can think of the Silver Efex Pro Structure control it as a kind of ‘coarse sharpening’, which acts over a slightly larger radius than conventional sharpening tools. It exaggerates the ‘micro-contrast’ around outlines and details – though I suspect there’s a little more to it than that because I’ve never been able to replicate it directly with regular sharpening tools. Strong structure settings can produce halos...

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Create a two-shot Elements Photomerge panorama!

When you hear the word ‘panorama’, you usually think of sweeping, letterbox-shaped vistas which are about ten times wider than they are high. Panoramas this wide, however, are very difficult to print and display effectively, and often lack the visual impact you meant them to have. In fact, traditional ‘panoramic’ cameras didn’t always go this wide. The celebrated Hasselblad XPan camera, for example, produced images 65mm wide and 24mm high, which is just under twice the with as wide as the 3:2 ratio of a 35mm camera or digital SLR. It created images with a wide enough ratio to...

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How to get started with OnOne Perfect Portrait

To be honest, I don’t use portrait enhancement plug-ins that much. It’s too easy to end up with something that looks like a porcelain doll rather than a real person. However, I do like shooting portraits, and I do realise that sometimes the lighting or your own technique doesn’t do your subject any favours – so I thought it would be a good idea to take a proper look at OnOne Perfect Portrait, which is included as part of the Perfect Photo Suite. The first question to ask is whether its enhancements really do make your subjects look better –...

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Add drama to your shots with the Dark Contrasts filter in Color Efex Pro

Nik (Google) Color Efex Pro 4 has a number of contrast enhancing filter effects which work in subtly different ways. The Tonal Contrasts filter boosts contrast within specific tonal ranges, while the Detail Extractor can be used to produce HDR style effects. And at first glance, so does the Dark Contrasts filter, though the net result is a darker looking image… I’ve tried this out on lots of different pictures, and I’ve decided the best way to characterise this filter is to think of it as an ‘adaptive darkening’ filter. It applies a darkening effect to the highlights and...

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Straighten up your shots with the DxO Force Rectangle tool

DxO Optics Pro uses custom-made lens correction profiles to fix the distortion issues inherent in nearly all lenses, but it goes further than that – it can also correct the perspective distortion created when you photograph a rectangular object at a slight angle, thanks to the DxO Force Rectangle tool . You often don’t notice this kind of misalignment at the time, only later on when you’re looking at the picture on your computer. • Note that the latest versions of DxO Optics Pro do not have perspective correction built in – you now have to buy the separate...

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