Color Efex Pro, part of the Google Nik Collection, is a terrific plug-in with an amazing array of filter effects, each of which has its own controls. Some of them have uses which are obvious straight away, but some… well, not so much. So now and again I have a trawl through the list to see what I can find, and I discovered the Photo Styliser is rather good at creating a warm, … [Read more...] about Try Color Efex Pro 4’s Photo Styliser for a rich, warm landscape
Google's home-grown photo software is Google Photos, a cloud-based photo storage and sharing service which you use via your web browser on a desktop computer but which has its own apps on iOS and Android mobile devices. A while back, Google acquired Nik Software, its Nik Collection plug-ins and its Snapseed image effects app. The Nik Collection has now been taken over by DxO, while Snapseed has evolved into a powerful iOS and Android photo editing app. The desktop version of Snapseed has long since been dropped, alas.
Here's a technique I use quite often to add a little extra drama and contrast to a scene. I use a graduated filter effect to darken the sky, and then a second graduated filter to darken the foreground. Using two graduated filters creates a powerful lighting effect and increases the tonal contrast of the picture – it's really effective where you have an image that already a full … [Read more...] about Graduated filters can go up as well as down!
I'm a huge fan of Nik plug-ins, and while many (including me) were a bit concerned when Google bought them out, the Google Nik Collection itself seems to be working pretty well – the addition of Analog Efex Pro at no extra cost was a bonus too. But the way Google manages downloads, updates and licences is quite different – in fact it's downright confusing. You have to dig … [Read more...] about Google Nik Collection updates explained
If you're anything like me, you spend a lot of time dabbling with one special effect, moving on to another image, trying another effect and keep on experimenting without a specific aim in mind. Wouldn't it be better to put the effects you like already to some constructive use, rather than continually roaming your effects library for others? That's where the batch … [Read more...] about How to batch process special effects with the Google Nik Collection
Despite the name of this site, I've got nothing against Photoshop! Even if it doesn't have all the effects filters and organising tools you might be looking for (hence this site), it's still worth having in your software armoury, especially if you get a good deal on an Adobe Photoshop CC subscription. Lightroom CC/Photography plan trial version and offers Photoshop has … [Read more...] about How to make Lightroom, Photoshop and Smart Objects work together
I've got to be honest. I'm compiling a list of my top ten worst Color Efex Pro filters (yes, there are some duds in amongst the great ones), and the Sunlight filter was on it. But in a spirit of fair play I thought I'd better find out for sure what it actually does and whether I was missing something. And you know what? It's going to get a reprieve, because it did turn … [Read more...] about Add some sunlight with Color Efex Pro!
Just in case anyone thinks I have something against Photoshop... I don't! Photoshop is really good at what it does, it just doesn't do everything I want from a digital imaging application. But it is really good 'host' application for plug-ins. One reason is that I'm having a few problems with Aperture and Google Nik plug-ins at the moment, but the more important one is that … [Read more...] about How Photoshop Smart Objects and plug-ins can work together
I love film. It's what I grew up with, and it's what I made most of my photographic discoveries – and mistakes – with. I love its richness, depth, unpredictability and character. So I'm especially interested in any film simulation software which promises to replicate the look and feel of traditional silver-based films. But I'm also a bit sceptical, because many of the film … [Read more...] about Which film simulation plug-in is best?
Viveza 2 is part of the Google Nik Collection, and I think it's in danger of being overlooked in favour of the newer, flashier or more versatile plug-ins in the collection. Viveza 2 is designed to offer localised adjustments for your digital image using the 'control point' technology now found throughout the Google Nik Collection. Viveza 2 control points combine adjustments … [Read more...] about Who needs HDR when you’ve got Viveza 2 control points?
I admit that Silver Efex Pro, part of the Google 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. … [Read more...] about Topaz B&W Effects basics: is it as good as Silver Efex Pro?