Author: Rod Lawton

How to apply graduated filters in Perfect Photo Suite

OnOne’s Perfect Photo Suite has a number of different modules, rather like the Nik/Google Collection. In Perfect Photo Suite, though, you can access them all from a single, central interface, rather than loading them as separate plug-ins. For this walkthrough, I’m just going to use the Perfect Effects module. Like Nik/Google Color Efex Pro 4, this lets you ‘stack’ effects using a kind of internal layers system. I’m starting with a travel shot with some nice, colourful rooftops but a rather blank sky, and I want to see if I can make it look more vibrant. 01 Add a...

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Adding localised levels and curves adjustments in Color Efex Pro 4

Nik (Google) Color Efex Pro 4 isn’t just a collection of special effects. It also has a number of powerful image-editing tools hidden amongst them, and one of these is the Levels & Curves tool. You can use this to make adjustments to your images in the same way you would in Photoshop, Elements and other image-editing programs. But these adjustments go further than you might think. Color Efex Pro 4 also offers control points for restricting its effects to specific areas of your pictures, and version 4 can also ‘stack’ effects, which means you can create as many...

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How to compare different styles with Capture One Variants

Like Aperture and Lightroom, Capture One Pro is one of the new wave of all-in-one image cataloguing, editing and RAW conversion programs that use completely non-destructive editing tools to enhance your images. This means they all have a very special ability – they can create any number of ‘virtual’ versions of the same photo without actually having to create new files and save them to your hard disk. This isn’t just very space-efficient, it’s flexible too, because you can return to any of these virtual images at any time to change the settings. Here’s a set of four different...

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Get more accurate colours with Lightroom’s Camera Calibration panel

Have you ever noticed that the colours in the JPEGs you get from the camera don’t always match up with your RAW files when you open them in Adobe Camera Raw? That’s because when you shoot a JPEG, the camera still starts off by capturing a RAW file but then processes it in camera to produce the image. The point is that Nikon (or Canon, or Sony etc) have a different idea about how to process their RAW data to Adobe’s. RAW converters are not the same! They’re like different developer formulations in the days of film – each...

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Silver Efex Pro 2

Originally developed by Nik Software and sold separately, this is now part of Google’s Nik Collection, following Google’s buy-out of the company. It’s a black and white conversion, enhancement and effects plug-in that replicates the look of traditional silver halide films and darkroom processes with uncanny accuracy and real power. There are many black and white tools on the market, and many ways to turn black and white into colour in conventional image-editors, but in my opinion (as an ex darkroom worker), nothing comes close to Silver Efex Pro 2. Like other Nik plug-ins, it’s based around presets and manual controls. Presets are displayed on the left of the screen, and they offer live previews using your own currently-loaded image. You simply click on the preset you like the look of and the effect is applied. But each effect consists of a whole series of separate adjustments, all of which are revealed in the tools panel on the right of the screen, and this is where the software’s real power and control becomes apparent. The tonal controls are highly sophisticated, going far beyond simple brightness and contrast adjustments to include ‘dynamic’ brightness control, ‘soft contrast’ and ‘amplify blacks’ and ‘amplify whites’ sliders. There’s also a ‘structure’ control to add localised contrast and give images the kind of ‘punch’ associated with black and white film. That’s just the start. You...

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Life after Photoshop is dedicated to the wider world of image-editing beyond Photoshop and its technical, image-by-image approach. Here you’ll find tips, tutorials, reviews and ideas for everything from mobile photography to asset management, from one-click effects to professional workflows. Rod Lawton

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