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Keep Shooting! Photography Assignments (04 Feb 2013)
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Anyone Tried Silver Efex Pro 2
and has anyone used any of the other Nik Software programs?
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.
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!!
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?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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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