Plug-in creates amazing black-and-white images
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Plug-in creates amazing black-and-white images


By Steve Baczewski

Nik Software (http://www.niksoftware.com) recently released Silver Efex Pro 2 (US$199.95), updating their powerful black-and-white conversion software with impressive new features and special algorithms for finer tonal control and faster processing.

They’ve added new presets with image thumbnail previews, and now there’s a well-designed History Browser to let you compare your current image with previous states and possibly pick up from an earlier point. Emulation of classic film types has been expanded with more controls for increased accuracy.

The finishing section has been updated -- you can now add borders and endlessly adjust them until you’re content. New stylized print tones have been added, and along with Vignette and Burn Edges controls, you can effectively direct the viewer’s eye to any part of your image.

But the main refinement is a higher level of tonal control and quality. Photoshop and Lightroom have very good black-and-white conversion tools but not like Silver Efex Pro. The new algorithms target specific areas both globally and locally increasing tonal separation, giving your image more depth, and all with a remarkable ease and precision that’s truly user-friendly. The amazing U Point technology that allows you to create precision masks has been expanded with new sliders that now let you amplify black-and-white contrast or add color back into your image with the creative Selective Color slider.

Silver Efex Pro plugs into Photoshop, Lightroom, or Apple Aperture. The interface looks essentially the same. The large centered preview window can be configured to let you compare before and after views. On the left are 38 thumbnail presets of your image, which are now organized by styles: Vintage, Classic, Modern, etc.

These are excellent as a point of departure. You can also create and add your own presets or download new ones from Nik’s website, which also offers frequent webinars and teaching videos. Their Web support is exemplary.

On the right side of the image window are the goods -- an expanded, all-inclusive toolset for manipulating your grayscale images. Formerly Brightness, Contrast, and Structure (detail) were uniform controls that globally adjusted the image. This has been expanded, with subsliders that refine specific areas. Brightness can now be applied separately to highlights, midtones, and shadows, adjusting a specific tonal range with precision. The new Dynamic Brightness slider allows adjusting the overall brightness without loosing detail and blowing out the highlights and shadows.

Contrast has also been broken into finer increments with sliders that let you amplify and accentuate highlights (Amplify Whites) and shadows (Amplify Blacks) separately without clipping while preserving the midtones. The new Soft Contrast slider looks for specific tones and increases the contrast separation dynamically. The Structure sliders are all about bringing out texture and detail in an image by looking for fine lines and increasing the contrast. Now Silver Efex Pro’s Structure sliders let you separately control highlights, midtones, and shadows. And the new Fine Structure slider goes down to an even finer level to create texture without discernible artifacts. More than before, Silver Efex Pro milks an image for more tonal separation and dimensionality.

My only criticism of version 2 is that there’s a visual lag time when moving many of the tonal sliders. There’s a pause as you wait for the image in the preview window to catch up to your adjustment. Silver Efex Pro 2 is a beautifully designed, comprehensive start-to-finish, professional black-and-white laboratory with all the tools you need for global and local tonal adjustment -- download the trial version and see for yourself.

Rating: 9 out of 10

This review is brought to you courtesy of "Layers Magazine" (http://www.layersmagazine.com .

 
AAPL
$95.01
Apple Inc.
+0.99
GOOG
$682.74
Alphabet Inc.
-0.83
MSFT
$49.41
Microsoft Corporation
-0.75
MacNews Search:
Community Search:
view counter

view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter

Check out the new Pirate Attack update i...
Love pirates and board games? Well, you'll love the new Pirate Attack themed update that just launched in Game of Dice. It adds a bunch of new content themed around pirates, like an all new event map based on a pirate ship which revamps the toll system to better suit the rogueish nature of the seafarers. [Read more] | Read more »
Splash Cars guide - How to paint the tow...
Splash Cars is an arcade driving game that feels like a hybrid between Dawn of the Plow and Splatoon. In it, you'll need to drive a car around to repaint areas of a town that have lost all of their color. Check out these tips to help you perform with flying colors: [Read more] | Read more »
The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to make loops, and then arrange those loops into complete songs with cut, copy, trim, paste, reverse,... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful tips and tricks on surviving as long as possible. [Read more] | Read more »
Dreii guide - How to play well with othe...
Dreii is a rather stylish and wonderful puzzle game that’s reminiscent of cooperative games like Journey. If that sounds immensely appealing, then you should immediately get cracking and give it a whirl. We can offer you some tips and tricks on getting started too! [Read more] | Read more »
Kill the Plumber World guide - How to ou...
You already know how to hop around like Mario, but do you know how to defeat him? Those are your marching orders in Kill the Plumber, and it's not always as easy as it looks. Here are some tips to get you started. This is not a seasoned platform player [Read more] | Read more »
Planar Conquest (Games)
Planar Conquest 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $12.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: IMPORTANT: Planar Conquest is compatible only with iPad 3 & newer devices, iPhone 5 & newer. It’s NOT compatible with iPhone 4, iPad 2 and earlier devices. | Read more »
We talk to Cheetah Mobile about its plan...
Piano Tiles 2 is a fast-paced rhythm action high score chaser out now on iOS and Android. You have to tap a series of black tiles that appear on the screen in time to the music, being careful not to accidentally hit anywhere else. Do that and it's game over. [Read more] | Read more »
All contents are Copyright 1984-2010 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.