Author: Rod Lawton

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

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...

Read More

Perfect Photo Suite 7.5

This is a collection of plug-ins from OnOne Software, and of all the programs I feature on Life after Photoshop, this is the one I know least well. I want to include it, though, because it offers an important alternative to Photoshop for those who use Aperture and Lightroom. The key to this is the Perfect Layers 3 component. You can use this to combine and blend separate images, which is one of the few things you can’t do in Aperture and Lightroom. It’s backed up by a Perfect Mask component designed to offer powerful selection and masking tools for creating cutouts and blending layers. There are other useful components in this suite: Focal Point 2 offers extensive blur control tools for deliberate defocusing, shallow depth of field and tilt-shift effects. You’ll find tutorials for this and Perfect Layers on this site. You also get Perfect Effects 4, which is a large collection of special effects, film ‘looks’ and digital versions of favourite darkroom processes. These can be layered and combined in quite sophisticated ways. It’s similar to Nik (Google) Color Efex Pro 4 in this respect, though I don’t like Perfect Effects 4 as much myself because I find it more difficult to use and the effects somewhat cruder. I might warm to it in time, though. Perfect B&W is an alternative to Nik (Google) Silver Efex Pro...

Read More

Color Efex Pro 4

Color Efex Pro 4 is a image-effects plug-in for Photoshop, Elements, Lightroom and Aperture. It was originally published by Nik Software as a standalone plug-in, but now that Nik has been bought out by Google, it’s being sold as part of the Google Nik Collection, a suite which contains all of Nik’s plug-ins at a much-reduced price. Color Efex Pro doesn’t just offer one effect but a whole multitude, accessed via a list on the left-hand side, and each effect comes with one-click presets which can preview the results on the current image and give you an instant grasp of how your images can look with different treatments. Each effect also has its own adjustment tools, displayed in a panel on the right. Some have relatively few adjustments, but some are extremely powerful. What makes this plug-in special, apart from the range and quality of the effects, is the way these can now be ‘stacked’. You can combine effects in different ways and save them as new, user-defined ‘recipes’. Color Efex Pro 4 also use’s Nik’s clever ‘control point’ system, where you can make adjustments to specific areas of the image using auto-masking technology that only selects similar tones to those under the control point. With these, you can remove effects from specific areas or paint them in so that they only apply to localised areas. Its such a...

Read More

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,353 other subscribers