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TOPIC: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2

Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #965

  • Tim March
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So has anyone tried Silver Efex Pro 2? Any thoughts on it, I'd like to use it in conjunction with Lightroom. Black and Whites are my favorite so I think this will add a new dimension to my work. I'll probably download the trial and go from there but I'd like to see if anyone has any thoughts on it. Oh and if recommending it keep in mind I can get it for $100 instead of $199 because of student discount!

and has anyone used any of the other Nik Software programs?
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #966

  • Zoltan Martel
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I have Silver and Color Efex Pro. I got them because of the film simulation curves inside, but they are more useful for very precise local adjustments to an image, just like what Capture allows you to do, but then better. They are also installable as plug-ins for Capture, which is also by Nik, which is the way I first used them. I only use the film simulation presets and the local correction tools (which are really great actually, Lightroom 4 still doesn't have the same functionality, although it is getting closer), the rest I find works better with the Lightroom tools. I'm using it less now that I'm using Lightroom than when I was using Capture, but still like it because I need fine correction tools because I use the software to correct filmscans.

You asked for thoughts on SEpro and think that it might add a new dimension to your work. That is a personal thing of course, but without wanting to bring this too far, I would want to share what I think about SEpro in particular for digital BW photography:

Eventually, in my opinion, Lightroom out of the box will have all the same functionality but more userfriendly and productive. That would be the first arguement I would put forward in favor of not buying Silver Efex Pro.

A second arguement I would put forward not to get Silver Efex Pro is more subjective and more a general thought on the state of image processing software technology. I find that it's still difficult to get to the same quality feel of B/W film pictures using digital cameras and software. It's the limitations of the film and the print paper, and of the old lenses that are a lot less sharp than modern lenses for digital cameras, that make film B/W prints so sexy. In traditional B/W film photography, the film gives you a lot more stops dynamics than a digital camera, even though every film has another rendering of those dynamics. When that very dynamic image is printed onto paper, it is compressed, because the paper only has a 5-6 stop usable dynamic range, which is less than half of what a neutral low ISO BW film can register. Because this is analogue, and because the dynamics data of the film is so high to begin with, this compression is very natural and has a liveliness to it that still hasn't been reached by digital gear and software. Pretty much the same as in the audio world, where analogue strips and compressors are often preferred to digital solutions because it sounds more "alive", notwithstanding the emulations of all these analogue units that have been made with plug-ins. I think it will take another couple of years before digital image editing software comes close enough to the analogue process to not only offer more resolution like it does already, but also more of that "alive" feeling, and I think Silver Efex Pro is not the software that will bridge that gap. I think that if you're looking for the feel of traditional analogue BW prints, that you'll be disappointed by SEpro, because in my opinion, the emulation is not good enough yet. I think lightroom will probably catch up with Nik and provide better tools faster by not concentrating on emulation, but simply on better processing in general. Just what I think though, as I said it's a personal thing what tools get a person the best results.
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #971

  • Tim March
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Thank for your thoughts! I think I'll probably download the trial (after midterms haha) and see what its like then I'll make my decision. I think you make an excellent point that Lightroom will soon enough catch up to Silver Effex pro and offer the same tools with more usability.
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #985

  • Christian Udarbe
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I actually own the Complete Collection from Nik Software.

I find the Silver Efex Pro quite useful for those serious black and whites; those that LR or PS might fail to do.

I like it even more so as it is a light program that can be used as stand alone, or in my case, as a plugin with LR or PS. That way, I can attempt my edits at LR or PS and if I just need more precise adjustments here and there, load up Silver Efex or the other programs.

I'm sure you'll enjoy those programs as much as I!

Good luck on your midterms! I have been away from the forums for quite awhile because I have my midterms too! LOL 3 more exams and I'm freeeee!!

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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #992

  • Tim March
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oh man mid-terms are killer, i had one today and i have 3 next week....

1 question about sliver effex as a plugin for lightroom. does silver effex edit the raw file or do you have to export it first and then edit it and then re-import it?
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #1021

  • Christian Udarbe
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Hi! Sorry for the late reply; was busy with classes and some family problems arose :(

Anyways!!

When you have added your desired tweaks on your RAW file via Lr and decide to use the Silver Exex plugin (by right clicking and choose "Edit In"), it would first convert into a TIFF format. Your prior tweaks using Lr will be passed on to the TIFF during the conversion, that is, if you chose to "Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments". Once you save it inside Silver Efex, it will automatically be imported back to Lr as a TIFF (I think you have to check the box "Stack with Original" or something like that; it's also in the same dialog box when you choose to edit with Lr adjustments). :)

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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #1032

  • Tim March
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k, thanks for that. i'll hopefully get the trial next week
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #1040

  • Christian Udarbe
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You should also look into other Nik Software products :)

I got the complete collection so I got alot to choose from for most any photo.

They are good programs as standalones, but certainly nowhere near as versatile as Lr or Ps. But coupling the Nik Softwares with that of Lr or Ps, then it becomes a great one-two punch IMO.

That being said, I still, however, use Lr ALONE around 85% of the time; the remaining is either using Ps or Nik Software as plugins. :)

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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #1043

  • Tim March
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I'll definitely look into silver effex and if that goes well I may look into some of the others.

Also, what are your (or anyone else's) thoughts on photoshop? I don't have it yet and i'm debating on buying it. I can get it cheap (like $300 instead of $1000 for CS5 Extended) with my student discount. Is it worth while as well? I only have a little bit of experience with the elements of version.
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 10 months ago #1057

  • Christian Udarbe
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I have both Lr and Ps; for me, along with the Nik Software, they complement eachother quite well. There will be some photos that Lr alone can't edit (those more complicated edits), and there will be photos where Ps will be overkill for those simple edits.

I forgot where I heard it, but it goes like "if you have a ton of photos to edit, use Lr; if there is a lamp or something you want out of your photo, use Ps."

Granted, I use Lr more than Ps, but when those times I need more options such as Channel Mixer, then I am glad to have Ps. Plus I use Ps for watermarks and other such causes. :lol:

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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 9 months ago #1061

  • Zoltan Martel
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I agree, Lr, Ps and C/S FXpro have a different approach. Lr is all about efficiency and workflow specifically for pro photographers, it's a necessity in my opinion for any photographer and miles ahead of any competing product, and basically, so is Photoshop, but then not in the developing department but in the pixel pushing department. S/C FXpro is more retouch software, it has already developed a procedure for local darkroom-ish retouching, which is a feature that Adobe is just beginning to develop in Lr4. I do think that the Adobe programs are compiled way better than Nik software products, they are a lot more fluid and fast running, and I think that it will not take very long for Lr to completey catch up with C/S FXpro in terms of retouching functionality.
I think it's a matter of the right tool for the job that needs to be done, all three have their place in image production/post-production.
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Re: Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2 4 years 9 months ago #1064

  • Tim March
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I think I'll hold off on buying photoshop until CS6 comes out, (I still have at least another year of school left so I'll still qualify for the discount). It sounds like photoshop and lightroom are essential and silver effex may be a nice addition for editing. I'll have to see.
Canon T2i (550d) 24-70 f/2.8L, 50 f/1.8
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