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Studies in Black and White using nik Silver Efex Pro

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by beaucamera, Jul 24, 2008.

  1. Today I downloaded the trial version of nik Silver Efex Pro.
    The interface is very similar to Viveza, which I already use.
    I've been curious about the software ever since it was announced a week or two ago.

    Here are a couple of sample effects I tried using different film types and options.
    It was an interesting exercise, but I'll need to try more before I decide whether or not to buy the software.

    Comments appreciated.

    aka beaucamera

    A feather blowing in the woods is the original image I started with.
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    Feather #1
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    Feather #2
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    Feather #3
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    Feather #4
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  2. RayGuselli


    Oct 18, 2005
    Hi Virginia

    Interesting software.....

    Do you think that you could get the same effects in photoshop...I just never cease to be amazed by that program.....

    I like what it does but somehow keep thinking back to photoshop.

    Could save a few dollars perhaps?

    Good to see the effects thougha nd thanks for posting...

    Best wishes

  3. IMHO you lose the feather in the B&W pics. Stands out better in the color shot.
  4. I have to agree with Ray.
    If you convert a lot, and it saves time, great!
    But I really wouldn't think it does anything you can't do
    in PS, with a little practice.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 24, 2008
  5. Virginia, I think the last one works best, but there is still too much visual competition between the tones of the feather and those of the brighter portions of the background. In B&W, we have only tonal value (and sharpness) to help us distinguish objects. In my opinion a better image can be obtained by isolating the feather from the background; darkening the brighter tones of the background; brightening the feather some, and then converting to B&W. Personally, I think I'd prefer to leave the blue-gray of the feather as is.:smile:
  6. Virginia,

    All very interesting .... but I prefer the color version.

  7. Hi, Ray

    You're right you can do a lot of this in Photoshop.
    What's different about this software is the U-Point technology.
    From a user perspective, it makes adjustments pretty simple.

    Maybe this wasn't best picture to do experiment with!

    Thanks, Roger.
    One thing the Silver Efex Pro has is film settings you can use to emulate particular types of film and paper. That's one thing that wouldn't be as easy to do in PS. A couple I tried were Ilford HP5 Plus 400 with a blue filter, Selinium 15, Agfa AXP400 and Kodak ISO32PhotomicX.

    If I had more familiarity with these film types, I, perhaps, could have made
    better choices.

    Thanks, Bob, I always appreciate your comments because you really think about things.

    Thanks, Bob

    I recommend you download the trial and give Silver Efex Pro.
    I'd really like to see what somebody else can do with it.

    aka beaucamera
  8. Virginia,

    As one who is really enjoying learning BW conversion, the thing I can say with certainty, for my own work: no one method works. I had initially had an interest in actions for PS, but have decided that I prefer to hand-tweak each photo to bring out its best. I play with both channel mixer (not as much) and gradient map (preferred method currently), and then use levels/curves to add any desired punch.

    I personally like my BW pretty contrasty. Therefore, I think #2 and 3 really fail.....to me, they are not black and white but shades of grey. The first one has good contast, but something about the original image bothers me, and its accentuated in this conversion. I'm not sure if its CA, softness, or too much cropping, but the edges of the leaves/sticks and feather just aren't crisp, and the contrast in this conversion seems to play that up. My eye is restless in this version.

    I too was interested in this when I first read about it. Haven't had time to DL and play with it, but I think for myself, I'll just stick with PS, as I don't do enough BW conversion to make it worth spending a lot of money. :smile:
  9. Hi, Gretchen

    Black and White conversion run the gamut, I agree.
    There are so many ways to do them!

    There is a control called "structure" in the Silver Efex Pro software that I may have used on the first image.
    It accentuates detail. I probably should have upped my shutter speed or ISO on the original image. The wind was blowing and the feather was moving.

    I'll probably try this again with a different image, but, so far, most of what I want to in B & W I can do in PS.

    aka beaucamera
  10. Hi Virginia

    I have been playing with Silver Efex also and like it a lot. Your last image works best for me. I would recommend doing some more tests on different subject matter to get a greater appreciation of the software. Also as you have indicated, the "structure" control can be used to good effect. Yes, these effects can be reproduced in PS and if you only convert a small number of images the the cost is probably not justified. For me, I like the speed of being able to see a large number of variations and being able to control "grain" size and "structure" quickly, so it is worthwhile. Have you looked at any of the Tutorials on the Nik site? I found them interesting.

  11. I just went to the Nik site and perused the Silver Efex Pro software. It looks pretty good but the price is a killer. I will have to think about this one.
  12. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I was a beta tester for Silver Efex. I really think it produces excellent conversions, but like all Nik plug-ins, the price is steep . . . :confused: 
  13. Thanks for the tip Tom,

    Just played with CNX2's black and white features a bit and found that the Monochrome Color Control allows adjustments for filters, toning, contrast and brightness as well.

    The Black and White conversion adjustment in NX2 works as well. Combine it with the add grain/noise filter to make an image with the look and feel of black and white film.

    Color EFEX pro 3.0 has slightly more elaborate versions of the Black and White Conversion and the Grain filters with shadow and highlight protection.

    Interestingly enough, a friend of mine called today raving about the trial version of Silver EFEX pro and how much he liked it. I was considering downloading the trial until I started looking closer at what was there in CNX2.

    As for my friend, he has Canon equipment so he will have to buy a copy to use in Photoshop :) 

    Warm regards,
  14. waltny


    Mar 27, 2008
    Reno, NV
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017


    Apr 30, 2005
    Nice work Virginia, I will have to dl the trial version and give it a try :) 
  16. waltny


    Mar 27, 2008
    Reno, NV
    Where can I find those setting for download and what versions are they compatable with? I have 1.2 on my laptop and 1.3 on my wife's.
  17. Example with D700 Image

    I couldn't resist trying nik Silver Efex Pro on a D700 image.
    Here's a shot I took this afternoon with the D700 and Tamron 28-105mm f/2.8 lens.

    I haven't given up on this yet.
    Still got a few more days on my trial!

    aka beaucamera

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  18. waltny


    Mar 27, 2008
    Reno, NV
    Tom I was still not able to find the landscape settings on the nikon website. Could you point me in the right direction?
  19. wbeem


    Feb 11, 2007
    Sanford, FL
    William Beem
    I just downloaded the trial version of Silver EFX today and decided to give it a shot. The color version I used with my OnOne PhotoTools Suite. I think I like the OnOne tools better. but I'm finding Silver EFX a bit interesting.

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  20. satelite seven

    satelite seven

    May 14, 2006
    Virginia I have just bought a copy of silver efex I think it is a great piece of software, I have it as CS3 plug-in, here is my first couple of attempts

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    View attachment 226102
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