New Toy: Color Efex Pro

I’ve been happily using Silver Efex Pro from Nik Software (now owned by Google) for over a year now, so recently I took advantage of Google’s offer to owners of any one Nik application to upgrade to the entire Nik Collection for free. I’ve just now started playing around with Color Efex Pro 4, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how much fun it is. It has plenty of filters for subtly enhancing or correcting color, contrast, detail, and lighting. There are also lots of filters for radically reinterpreting images in more heavy-handed, but hopefully “artistic” ways. You can stack multiple filters, using presets or customizing them as you please, and save these stacks as “recipes” to reuse and customize further in the future. Here are a few examples (these all happen to be from the UC Davis Arboretum):

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Bench with Ginkgo leaves

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Caution sign in lake

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Horse

What I like most about Color Efex is that it’s encouraged me to revisit some photos I had passed over previously — images that may have had some interesting feature, but were just not interesting enough overall, with relatively straight processing, to finish and share. Some of the Color Efex filters resemble the treatments offered in the many photo apps for smart phones and tablet computers, but with a lot more options and flexibility. The images above were raw files pre-processed in Lightroom, then opened and cleaned a bit more in Photoshop, exported to Color Efex Pro 4, saved as a new layer in Photoshop, and in some cases blended slightly with the background layer.

Just for kicks, here are the original (pretty bland) versions of the 3 images above:

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 P1020472-bench

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P1020492-caution

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P1020404-horse

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Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
Copyright © 2013 Tim Messick. All rights reserved.

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About Tim Messick

Photographer, cartographer, and botanist/naturalist. Home is in Davis, California. Home-away-from-home is the eastern Sierra Nevada. Compiling a flora of the Bodie Hills.
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