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Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2 - Released

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by john1027, Feb 25, 2011.

  1. john1027

    john1027 SC Regular

    187
    Jul 11, 2010
    Alexandria, VA
    • Like Like x 1
  2. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    This program is rather popular and I do not doubt its quality. But after watching some videos on their homepage, I do not see much, what I cannot do in Lightroom, too. Even the film simulations can be done in Lightroom easily, since there are a lot of free Lightroom presets which do just that. I think, that I have collected a lot of free film presets for Lightroom, maybe even more than Silver Efex offers. I am really interested in that program, since so many people seem to be really fond of SilverEfex, but I would not see any reason for buying this product, if it does not offer much more than Lightroom does. Maybe someone can help me.
     
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Pictor - I felt the same way about Silver Efex relative to Aperture. But I did the trial version of Silver Efex and came to like it a lot. Technically, I could end up with pretty close to the same results with Aperture as with Silver Efex. But once I got competent with Silver Efex, I'd process a given RAW file with both the tools within Aperture (including a bunch of presets for various film types, effects, etc) and with Silver Efex. And almost without exception, I liked what I came up with in Silver Efex more. Once I had a Silver Efex version I liked, I would sit there and play with the adjustments in Aperture and could eventually get pretty close to the same results, but it took a while and I'd have never gotten to the same place just using Aperture. I also really like the way the tools in Silver Efex work - they're so geared to working with B&W that they just fall right into place. So I had VERY similar feelings to yours, but experience changed my mind and now I use Silver Efex for almost everything (although I still have a couple of IR presets in Aperture that I occasionally prefer to the IR results I can get out of Silver Efex, so I still use those occasionally). The other thing is I can't control grain in Aperture and I can control it down to the last detail in Silver Efex - I don't know if this is true of LR as well, but for me this alone was nearly enough reason to buy it.

    There is one big downside to Silver Efex, relative to either LR or Aperture. Which is the programs creates a TIFF file to work from rather than working directly from the RAW file and just saving a group of settings as a given "version" (not sure if LR uses the same nomenclature but I think the basic process is the same as Aperture). These TIFF files are huge, 5-6 times the size of the original RAW file. And once you've worked on it in Silver Efex and then hit "save", its fully cooked. You can't really go back in and edit what you've done except in VERY limited ways. So its not always a live version, as anything in Aperture or LR are. So the workflow and file situation is a bit of a downside. Once the TIFF file has been processed to my satisfaction, I always save it to a JPEG and then trash the TIFF because a typical full size jpeg is maybe 3-4 megabytes, the original RAW is around 12-15 megs, and the TIFF is up around 60+ megs. Since the file is basically finished once you save it, no reason to hold onto all of those huge TIFF files.

    There are definitely downsides to using Silver Efex rather than just LR, but there are upsides as well. After using it a while, I found the upsides much bigger than the downsides. Its at least worth working with the demo for a couple of weeks to see what you think...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Hi Christian and Ray. I don't have time to write much now but I have to tell you that once I started using Silver Efex, I have never looked back. It is excellent. I use Lightroom and, as for me Ray, I am in very big disagreement with this experience of yours
    . I edit all the time with a TIFF file. Specifically I either edit in LR on the TIFF after I receive it from Silver Efex (or Color Efex) or even more often I take the TIFF file from Color Efex into Silver Efex...via LR, over and over...hence my wonderful file that say Edit-Edit-Edit 3...,etc. I am rather obsessive about trying slight changes before I decide on anything... So anyhow that is not an issue for me. Neither is size.

    I have never used any video tutorials. I know I should but I just haven't. I experiment and make up my own keywords system to help me remember what I did.

    So this is my rambling response for this morning.:biggrin:
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I know you can do SOME things to it after you save it. But you can't really undo or change the things you did to it in Silver Efex. For example, if you apply some grain, you can't change it or remove it, although I suppose you could add another layer of heavier grain to it if you wished. Once you save it, your controls points are cooked into the image and you can't go back and change what you've done except by opening a NEW control point and editing over the olde edits. Its fundamentally different than the approach in LR or Aperture where no adjustment is permanent - they can always be changed, tweaked, undone, whatever. Its a fundamentally different approach that gives you great editing tools but limits what can be done once you've saved the image....

    You're right of course that some additional edits can be made, but for someone who's experience is using either LR or Aperture full time, its a significant enough change in approach that I thought it was important to point out...

    EDIT - One thing I should mention is that all of these points are relevant to LR or Aperture, but if you're a Photoshop user, all bets are off (or perhaps, on!) Photoshop uses layers and, as I understand, it each of the Nik programs creates its own layer. I think once you've "saved" a layer, the same limitations apply as far as making changes to what you did with that Nik editor, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't put any limitations on any of the other layers you might be working with for that image. How the layers work together to create a blended image is something I have no idea about, but the workings of the Nik plug-ins relative to edits with the host program and/or other editors appear to be very different in PS than in LR or Aperture.

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. pictor

    pictor SC All-Pro

    Jul 14, 2010
    Ray, many thanks for your answer! I will test the program and then decide, if I want to buy it. Until now I was rather sure, that I do not need it for the reasons I mentioned, but you made me very curious.
     
  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    Understood Ray. I just wanted to make it clear that I do all sorts of stuff to my TIFF files after being in either of the NIK programs. Your points are well taken.

    Now I need to get my upgrade.:wink:
     
  8. LisaO

    LisaO SC Regular

    123
    Jul 11, 2010
    If only the download link they sent me would work....works now.
     
  9. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    I haven't used it yet, however the new controls and adjustments look as though they're going to be really good: Silver Efex Pro 2 Help :th_salute:
     
  10. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I just downloaded it and have played around a little. There are a LOT of controls with this version - its gonna take a while to get to know all of the little sub-sliders and what they do and when (and when NOT) to use them. They also don't have any IR presets, which is a drag because I found the IR presets in the last version good starting points for some shots. I'll have to try to recreate the settings and save them as my own presets. The funny thing is they warn you to back up all of your custom presets before uninstalling the old version. Which I did, including re-saved versions of the IR ones. But you CAN'T import them into the new version! Which makes sense given how many controls the new one has that the first didn't. But what was the point of saving them in the first place if you can't use them?

    Should be fun once I get used to it...

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Andrewteee

    Andrewteee SC All-Pro

    Jul 8, 2010
    I tried it yesterday. So far, I really like it! Much better than the previous version with some useful updates. I like the edges/frames, but my only niggle is that they crop the photo instead of being applied outside of it.

    I'm starting to save custom templates as a way to process several photos in the same style. I too was surprised at the size of the TIF files, and just as I've been trying to delete photos in order to increase available disk space. Speaking of PSD and SEP, you can have several SEP layers over the original image, but I'm not sure what this would do to the file size.

    It's not clear to me yet whether there is an upgrade price or just one price.
     
  12. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    The upgrade is basically $100, the full product is $200.

    -Ray
     
  13. john1027

    john1027 SC Regular

    187
    Jul 11, 2010
    Alexandria, VA
    Ray,

    There are some additional pre-sets optimized for the new version that can be downloaded. I pulled some down last night as there were several from additional pre-sets under the old version that I used regularly. There are some IR pre-sets in those available. When you add the pre-sets within SEP, they will appear on at the top left and will be found under the custom tab. It may just be me, but I think overall it is a bit faster. I am glad that they added an additional control for selective color which is not that easy to do within Aperture itself. I think I will have to take one of the webinars again to get a better grasp of all the additional features.

    http://www.niksoftware.com/addons/i.../0/11/0/0/page:1#/color+sepia/0/11/0/0/page:1

    I just noticed that they have also posted a few specific new SEP2 features videos which should be helpful.

    http://www.niksoftware.com/learnmore/usa/index.php/webinars/archives
     
  14. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    You're quicker than I am John. I just talked to Nik support about that and a couple of other questions and have already loaded ALL of the IR presets, which are more plentiful than before. So I'm good!

    Thanks very much - this should be helpful to others!

    -Ray
     
    • Like Like x 1
  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    BB
    I haven't uninstalled my old version yet...but didn't have any presets. I've just used it as well for the first time, Ray. At first it was weird, I think just because it takes an old dog more time to learn new tricks. I'm missing seeing the histogram up with the shadows and highlights but I do see it down below where one can choose between Loupe and Histogram. I'm sure it's going to take time to get it down but we'll do it! Here is my first try with it: snow fence. I did try out a white border which doesn't look so hot visually on the forum...but it looks good on a black background.

    Perhaps you should call Customer Service - they're extremely helpful on the phone.