Thursday, February 24, 2011

Questions for Nik Users

I've had a few days to work with the Nik Complete Edition for Lightroom, primarily Color Efex and Silver Efex, and I'm finding some really useful enhancement tools - the Pro Contrast tool is killer.

The user manual can be hard to understand, partly because it covers both the PS and LR/Aperture editions. So I have some questions about using the tools:

  1. In Color Efex, is it possible to apply multiple filters to an image? Or is this an advantage of the Photoshop edition? I can see now how convenient it would be to place each filter in it's own layer...
  2. Is there anyway to track which filter(s) have been applied to a particular file? I create a lot of files while experimenting and need a way to know how they've been altered. Do you use metadata for this? or is there a better way?
I hope these aren't *really* dumb questions, and advice will be much appreciated...



7 comments:

benjamin gandhi-shepard said...

I found it a little confusing too when I started using Nik Software. It's hard to think without using Photoshop brain.

If you had the Photoshop plugin it would create a new layer after you finishing editing with Nik. Each time you use one of the Nik programs in photoshop it will create a new layer of the image.

While using Nik software, you can track adjustments as long as you do them using control points.

I use Nik software in Aperture when I'm just trying to do something quick. But I use Nik software in Photoshop when I know that I still want to use all of Photoshop's capabilities.

I'm sure Preston has some excellent tips too.

Ray Meibaum said...

Thanks Ben.

The 'enhancements on layers' model would be a great help, and that explains some of the added value (and cost) of the photoshop versions.

Preston Page said...

Very good questions Ray...
Because I have only the Lightroom version, I go back to Color Efex Pro with new copies each time to apply multiple filters. Once I have a finished picture in mind, I use the same workflow each time, so the file copies are in order. Adding version tags is a good idea if you're exploring a new workflow. For new workflows, I sometimes print a contact sheet with the variations and hand write notes.

We should compare workflow steps.

Ray Meibaum said...

Preston -

I will look forward to comparing workflows as soon as I develop one :)

So I'm not sure I understand: you mentioned starting with a fresh copy and then applying multiple filters - is it necessary to save & close the file each time a filter is applied?

Preston Page said...

Ray - yes, you need to save/close the Nik Tools for each filter. I kind of like having the history because I frequently go too far but don't realize it for a few days after good taste finally prevails. I also make tweaks in Lightroom and/or Photoshop between Nik tool steps.

Ray Meibaum said...

Ok, thanks.

It would be cool if Nik would record any adjustments in the file's metadata.

Then you could come back and know that you used a certain filter and settings to get a particular result.

Preston Page said...

That would indeed be neat, but most of the filters need to render a new image through the Efex engine anyway.