Thursday, August 6, 2009

Quick Tutorial - photoshop and Nik Silver Efex Pro

We've had quite a few people asking what I'm doing in post processing on my images. Back in the days of wet darkrooms it would have been dodging and burning, multiple exposures, etc. Now it's Photoshop and other plugins.

Here's the original image. Color is pretty good, but needs some pop. Some zing!

Original Image: nothing changed or altered... straight from the camera.

In this image, I have used Nik Color Efex Pro, using the Tonal Enhance setting. By adding some punch via tonal enhancement and cranking the color saturation just a bit, this starts to pop.
But I want more.

This is a typical black and white image made in Photoshop by desaturating the image. You could also achieve this by choosing just one color channel. Not enough depth for me (and I want this quick and fun!)

Enter Nik Silver Efex. I love this software. Lots of settings to work with. You can adjust just about everything you can imagine. From contrast, brightness, density, grain, vignetting, etc... it's all in there. Plus you can adjust the toning of the image for silver tone effects, or cyanotype or sepiatone. FUN FUN FUN.

At this point, I have two or three images to work with... so I layer them. In this case, I have the second image (tonal enhance) on top of the original, and then the Silver Efex image on top of it all. By dialing back the opacity I can keep some of the vignetting, which I love, add some richness and texture to the image, retain the color and still get some POP!

Hope this helps folks who were asking me how I was post-processing my images sometimes. I definitely dont do this for everything (too much time invested)... but now and then, it really helps make the image something closer to what I see in my head.


Anonymous said...

hi alex... fun indeed. photoshop was my tool of trade in a previous life, you can get lost in there.

Alex Solla said...

Same here. Every now and then, someone tells me they "know" how to use photoshop, and I smile. I have been using this software for the better part of twelve years, daily, and I learn new tricks EVERY week. I have probably 14 books on photoshop and retouching... and I still struggle sometimes.

But it is fun!

Carrie said...

Nice work, my friend.