Normally, if you want to create any kind of black and white effect with the Google Nik Collection, you’d go straight to Silver Efex Pro. However, Color Efex Pro has some black and white effects of its own. The effects are different to Silver Efex Pro’s, so although the tools aren’t quite as sophisticated, you might still be able to achieve some unique ‘looks’.

There are actually three ‘black and white’ filters in Color Efex Pro. There’s the B/W Conversion, near the top of the list, and Paper Toner further down, which applies a black and white conversion and a toning effect at the same time. The one I’m going to look at this time, though, is the Old Photo filter.

This isn’t just for black and white. In fact it comes with six black and white effects and six colour, and both sets are interesting. To show what they look like, I’m using this shot of a fabulous old Antonov An-2 at an air show.

Color Efex Pro Old Photo effect

Here’s the same shot (below) with all twelve effects applied – black and white effects on the top row, colour on the bottom.

Color Efex Pro Old Photo effect

You don’t have to use these effects just as they are. The Old Photo filter offers a small selection of tools for modifying the effect, and Color Efex Pro now lets you ‘stack’ effects to create your own custom ‘Recipes’.

01 Choose your Style

Color Efex Pro Old Photo effect

When you click on the Old Photo effect (circled on the left here), you’ll see  its tool panel over in the right sidebar. At the top is a drop-down Style menu where you choose the effect you want to apply. These are split into two groups, with a set of six black and white effects at the top and six colour effects below. You choose the effect you want and then set about adjusting it to suit your image.

02 Change the Grain

Color Efex Pro Old Photo effect

If you want to adjust the amount of grain in the picture, it’s best to zoom in using the Zoom button on the top toolbar before you start adjusting the Grain slider. You can drag the smaller marquee in the Navigator panel to pan around and check different areas of the picture.