Verdict: 10/10 For fans of black and white photography, Silver Efex Pro is just superb. It recreates the depth, intensity and ’soul’ of black and white in a way few other tools approach, and its controls are geared firmly towards creative photographic processes and visualisation rather than pixels and technicalities. What is Silver Efex Pro? Silver Efex Pro is a … [Read more...] about Silver Efex Pro 2 review
Silver Efex Pro
I admit that Silver Efex Pro, part of the Nik Collection, is my favourite black and white conversion plug-in, but I like to keep an open mind, and I thought it was about time I took a look at some others. I have reviewed Topaz B&W Effects in the past, but it's been a while since I used it properly, so I've downloaded the latest version to give it a quick test. This isn't a … [Read more...] about Topaz B&W Effects basics: is it as good as Silver Efex Pro?
The Zone System was invented by legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams. He hit upon the idea of splitting the full range of tones in a black and white image into eleven distinct brightness zones, which he then went on to define very carefully. I'm paraphrasing this from the Wikipedia entry: Zone 0: Maximum black, no detail Zone 1: Near black, no useful detail … [Read more...] about How to apply the Zone System in Silver Efex Pro
You can use Silver Efex Pro perfectly effectively by choosing a preset and then modifying the settings as necessary using the tools panel. What you may not realise is that Silver Efex Pro simulates specific film types very closely. In fact, you can choose your film manually in the Film Types panel. And if that's not enough you can create a black and white film of your own with … [Read more...] about Create your own films with Silver Efex Pro Sensitivity settings!
Silver Efex Pro comes with a large range of varied and powerful black and white presets, and one of my favourites is the Silver Efex Pro Film Noir effect. This does every bad thing we're told to avoid with our high-quality digital images! It reduces the sharpness of the picture, adds a hefty dose of grain, darkens the edges of the frame with a powerful vignette effect and clips … [Read more...] about Exploring the Silver Efex Pro Film Noir effect
Successful black and white photography sometimes gets its power from strong contrasts and graphic shapes, and sometimes it relies on subtlety and control. Silver Efex Pro, now taken over by DxO in the Nik Collection, can do both. In principle, you should be able to do all these things in Photoshop, but in practice I think plug-ins like this do a much better job – and I hope … [Read more...] about Try out this Silver Efex Pro tutorial for subtle black and white portrait effects
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 … [Read more...] about How to bring out textures with the Silver Efex Pro Structure slider
Black and white photography relies heavily on dodging and burning to add emphasis to certain parts of the image, to balance or contrast areas of tone, and improve the overall composition – and Silver Efex Pro's control points let you do this in moments, without masks or selections. You don't always need them. Silver Efex Pro's edge burning tools, vignettes and other options … [Read more...] about How to use control points in Silver Efex Pro
Nik Software must have discovered some unknown digital alchemy when it developed Silver Efex Pro. Suddenly, here was a digital imaging tool that really could replicate the look, feel and even the 'soul' of silver-based black and white. And one of the favourite tools of traditional black and white photographers was the 'contrast' filter. These mostly came in yellow, orange, red … [Read more...] about How to create a red filter effect in Silver Efex Pro
Fine art can mean a whole lot of different things, but here I'm just going to show how to turn a colour image into a simple graphic composition that could work quite nicely when you hang it on your wall. There are two things you need in order for this to work. One is an image with a strong, simple composition that's going to work well at different viewing distances. Big, bold … [Read more...] about How to create a fine art effect with Silver Efex Pro 2