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Old 05-16-2017   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsrockit View Post
IF... you dig into the software and don't use canned results. I've known a few that rely on the presets to make up for the fact that they don't know enough (don't WANT to know enough) about post processing.
Well, you can lead a horse to water, and it might not drink, but that doesn't mean the water isn't wet.

Oh, and I'm reminded of the furor over Konica's first autofocus 35mm compact camera with a "P" setting!
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Old 05-16-2017   #42
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Originally Posted by fdarnell View Post
It's a FREE software that you want them to spend money on labor for programming to continue to support the ongoing development of operating systems. With no revenue?...
Actually, Silver Efex was not free — I think I paid $149 for it — until Google bought the company (Nik Software) for its own strategic reasons discussed in a post above; they then offered it for free, with no intention to develop it further. I'd be happy to pay for Silver Efex upgrades.
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Old 05-16-2017   #43
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Originally Posted by maggieo View Post
As Mitch can attest, the two of us have been chasing the best way to bring B&W into the digital world for a long time...Silver Efex Pro, like most digital tools, starts out decently enough with presets, and then becomes the closest thing to being in the darkroom again, once you fully understand the tools at your disposal.
...I mean, just look at the images. Why let go of the tool that made them possible?...That SEFXP loves Leica & Ricoh sensors and scanned film of all kinds, pretty much wed me for life to it.
Maggie - thanks for posting the images processed in Silver Efex for a variety of digital cameras, as well as scanned film images. The last one, taken with the M8, has marvelous tones that can so easily be achieved with Silver Efex, once you get skilled in using the software.

Although I no longer have the M-Monochrom, I think it's worthwhile posting a few images from this camera processed with Silver Efex because I also found it easier to get the results I wanted than with LR alone.


Leica MM | Summicron 28 | ISO 8,000 | f/2.0 | 1/90 sec

Dambulla, Sri Lanka



Leica MM | Macro-Elmar-M 90mm | ISO 1,250 | f/8.0 | 1/125 sec

Bangkok



Leica MM | DR-Summicron 50 | ISO 320 | f/4.0 | 1/180 sec

Bangkok



Leica MM | DR-Summicron 50 | ISO 320 | f/5.6 | 1/1000 sec

Bangkok

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Old 05-16-2017   #44
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Originally Posted by fdarnell View Post
It's a FREE software that you want them to spend money on labor for programming to continue to support the ongoing development of operating systems. With no revenue?
The reason that Google released the software for free was precisely to fuel posts like this.

If they'd simply said "we're discontinuing the Nik Collection" they knew there'd be an outcry from all the customers who'd paid large amounts of money for the software, and were willing to continue paying for its development.

But by making it 'freeware' they bought an army of online supporters who drowned out the protests for ever.
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Old 05-17-2017   #45
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Originally Posted by tbhv55 View Post
Although I have had the Nik collection for some time, I admit to having ignored Viveza. I think I might have opened it perhaps once or twice, and then not bothered with it again... until now, that is. I investigated it more thoroughly after reading your post, and I'm impressed. Pleasingly subtle effects are possible.

Thanks for drawing my attention to it!
Yes, thanks for the tip! I also had ignored it but gave it a try based on this and see how it can be a lot simpler for minor color adjustments etc. and will start using when appropriate. Believe it or not I have actually made some use recently of the Alanog Efex plugin, which also provides a good way of making certain global adjustments, as long as you keep the changes subtle and shut off the "film" and "scratches" filters.
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Old 05-18-2017   #46
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Props for using "inter alia" in an internet forum post...and italicizing it.
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Old 05-18-2017   #47
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I'm a LR and CC user and satisfied with them for my digital files , scans included.

It was only a few weeks ago that just for curiosity I tried to work a few files with Silver Efex and I was very surprised how easy it was to achieve the look I was desiring! And a better look than the one I could get with the mentioned products!

Personally I would be ready to pay a price to have it as a not discontinued product, but I know this will not happen! Sad that someone can buy a software appreciated by many users and let it die.

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Old 05-18-2017   #48
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I'm sorry, but it was obvious. If software is giving for free it is abandoned. Or it is G.I.M.P ish in results.

I'm not IT expert, nor I care for Mac users, but if you are running most common OS, this software will works as long as no dramatic changes are made for Windows OS. For two decades I don't see any.

I like this software, I'm using it for frames in 99% and for 1% in processing

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Originally Posted by Rob-F View Post
This does look remarkably like film! I feel I can see grain, just at the threshold of visibility!
Film doesn't give plastic, sightly over done on clarity faces.... IMO.
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Old 05-18-2017   #49
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I haven't been shooting a lot lately for a variety of reasons, but as others have suggested, I have a XP based computer with Photoshop 6.5 that handles my digital photo processing, storage and archiving. It is not connected to the internet in anyway. It also has Silver Efex. Until it dies, I still have all the processing tools I've been using for the last seven years.
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Old 05-18-2017   #50
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A bit of a digression first -- for a long time my favorite word processing program was Wordperfect for the Mac. Developed separately from the clumsy Wordperfect for Windows, it was a lean clean program. It was never updated to work on Intel versions of Macs, but a group of users, primarily someone named John Rethorst, created a virtual classic environment that they shared, and there is a Yahoo users group that continues to this day. I never tried it, because in its initial stages it seemed too complicated for me. (For a bit of the flavor, and, at least for me, the complexity, check this link:
http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/wpdos/macintosh.html

Hopefully there will be SEP users as keen to keep Silver Efex going if it gets to a similar stage vis a vis hardware and software.

Silver Efex Pro is an essential part of my workflow. One feature I don't see equalled elsewhere is the u-point technology for local corrections that is a godsend for those of us who are PS selections-challenged (although some of the PS tools updates like magic lassos have helped.) I did pay for my copy. I also bought Viveza, which I used to use more, and after reading some of the thread posts, will likely use more again, and Color Efex Pro, which I probably did not spend enough time learning.

I sometimes use Silver Efex Pro for colour images, especially for its contrast, structure and gradient features, local or otherwise. Most commonly I would use the soft light and luminosity modes, and play with the opacity levels. Examples:

Exit by sevres babylone, en Flickr

Dancing to Mr. Lewis and the Funeral Five - SXSW by sevres babylone, en Flickr

Ex-Cult at Beerland by sevres babylone, en Flickr
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Old 05-18-2017   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevres_babylone View Post
...I sometimes use Silver Efex Pro for colour images, especially for its contrast, structure and gradient features, local or otherwise. Most commonly I would use the soft light and luminosity modes, and play with the opacity levels...
I like your pictures. Do you mean that you colorize them in PS after processing in Silver Efex?
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Old 05-18-2017   #52
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The images in this thread most folks seem so happy with seem over-processed to me. I like Sliver Efex but it is so, so easy to misuse / over use.
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Old 05-18-2017   #53
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
...Film doesn't give plastic, sightly over done on clarity faces.... IMO.
Although I don't mind criticism of my pictures, I'm surprised that you see this "plastic" in my OP: I certainly don't see it in the small JPG here, nor even in the 100% view in Lightroom. I'd be interested in what others think.

Although the subject of this thread is not whether Silver Efex can produce a film look — it's about the improvement it gives to B&W images of all kinds, digital or scanned film — for me the look of film differs the most in the grain and in the treatment of highlights, especially their transition to blown-out areas, but that is not necassearlily compelling for all images.

BTW, I just finished watching the film Carol, whose cinematography I liked, and found in this article that is was shot with Super-16mm film because the cinematographer, Ed Lachman, wanted to accentuate the grain to get a 1952-look — interestingly, at the end of the article he says he reduced the color palette of the film, shooting with a lot of magenta and greens and yellows. Of course, most of this comes from the color grading in (digital) post-processing.

I should add, however, that digitally shot movies like Gone Girl as well as HBO’s Big Little Lies and The Night Of, and B&W Polish movie Ida also have great cinematography. The point is that, like still photography, wonderful cinematography can be achieved both by shooting film and digitally.
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Old 05-18-2017   #54
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Originally Posted by Art Vandalay View Post
Props for using "inter alia" in an internet forum post...and italicizing it.
Art Vandalay - Yeah, it was George who told me, “Don’t wear your learning lightly”; but Elaine and Kramer weren’t so sure.
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Old 05-18-2017   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
Although I don't mind criticism of my pictures, I'm surprised that you see this "plastic" in my OP: I certainly don't see it in the small JPG here, nor even in the 100% view in Lightroom. I'd be interested in what others think...
It was addressed in another comment. #52. Maybe author of this comment is also real film shooter as well as me. Maybe even darkroom printer. We don't need to see if image is overprocessed on larger than you have posted.
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Old 05-18-2017   #56
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Had no idea what you meant when you wrote that the face looked "plastic". Seems you meant "over processed", which is a different thing — and largely a matter of taste.
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Old 05-18-2017   #57
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Yes, sometimes faces gets plastic look by the camera sensor and the Siver Effex might fix it, but in the case of the photo in OP is seems to be plastic due to overprocessing (M10, M9, M8 doesn't give this on BW).

Yes, I can't criticize anything here. My initial comment was addressed to another comment where image in OP was described as with film look and film grain. But I don't see it... as film shooter .



The print on the left is BW next to SOOC in camera JPEG1. On this I dare to see film look and like film grain. Print on the right is from the film scan.
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Old 05-18-2017   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowhereman View Post
I like your pictures. Do you mean that you colorize them in PS after processing in Silver Efex?
Thank you. No, I don't colorize them afterwards. Also, I think I may have confused people when I said I generally used the soft light mode "and" luminosity mode. I meant "or."

After applying the silver efex filter, don't flatten the file.
Change the blending mode from "normal" to another mode.
I have really only had success with "soft light" or "luminosity." I've tried "hard light" but haven't liked the look.
After changing the blending mode, play around with the opacity slider until it looks the way you want it to look.
I may sometimes you the "eraser" brush to lessen the effect on certain parts.

If I am then going to apply an adjustment layer, like curves, afterwards, I would flatten the image first so the adjustment isn't just applied to the silver efex layer.
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Old 05-18-2017   #59
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MM Hexanon 50/2. Processed in Silver Efex Pro with a custom setting to match the curve and print colour of Plus-X printed on Kodak Medallist developed in Selectol (not Selectol Soft).

Simple in Silver Efex, extremely tedious every other way I tried.

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Old 05-19-2017   #60
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Many interesting comments here. My feeling is that until we reach the point where we're all sitting around a table and passing prints to look at the subtleties in any software are immaterial.
I use SEFX regularly but lately I've found myself using LR CC with Thomas Fitzgerald's Monolux and Monolith presets as a starting point. These presets work with the LR Develop module so the controls are very good.

[IMG]PRT20310 by Paul Rybolt, on Flickr[/IMG]
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Old 05-19-2017   #61
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I think we should take this thread for what it is - simply a statement of frustration at the situation we find ourselves in, when immense corporations buy and discard the tools we use in our everyday workflow. Bickering about whether SilverEfex is good or bad is beside the point.

On the other hand, the situation is what it is. If and when SFX or Viveza or any of the other tools stop working the way we want - and for me this would be true of other applications, like SilverFast and ColorPerfect - then we'll just have to find new workflows or keep legacy systems running for as long as possible.

And maybe next time a massive corporation buys up the software you've bought and makes it abandoned freeware, more of us could write and complain directly to the source - as I did in this case. It probably won't help, but at least it might make them realize that the process isn't completely free of risk (although naturally Google don't give a rat's ***)
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Old 06-15-2017   #62
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This article by Thom Hogan indicates there will be problems with the NIK plug-ins in late 2019 for Mac users using High Sierra.
http://www.dslrbodies.com/accessorie...ransition.html
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Old 06-15-2017   #63
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I'm fairly new to using Silver FX, maybe less than a year? Anyway, I enjoy using it, but I find I'm not doing anything I couldn't do in LR with a little work. I have a lot of practice doing B&W conversions in PS and LR though.

These are done in LR without Silver FX. I'm happy with the results.







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Old 06-18-2017   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevres_babylone View Post
This article by Thom Hogan indicates there will be problems with the NIK plug-ins in late 2019 for Mac users using High Sierra.
http://www.dslrbodies.com/accessorie...ransition.html
Thanks, sevres_babylone. I only saw this just now. So, now we know that, on the Mac, if we upgrade to High Sierra (to be available in October), Nik Software will not be usable from late-2019. For me the best solution will to run El Capitan, or an earlier OS X in emulation. Not a convenient solution, but one that should work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gnuyork View Post
I'm fairly new to using Silver FX, maybe less than a year? Anyway, I enjoy using it, but I find I'm not doing anything I couldn't do in LR with a little work. I have a lot of practice doing B&W conversions in PS and LR though...These are done in LR without Silver FX. I'm happy with the results...
gnuyork - that's fine for you but others, including myself, despite a lot of experience, have found that we couldn't get the results we wanted in LR or PS. As mani stated in post #61, "I think we should take this thread for what it is - simply a statement of frustration at the situation we find ourselves in, when immense corporations buy and discard the tools we use in our everyday workflow. Bickering about whether SilverEfex is good or bad is beside the point."
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Old 06-18-2017   #65
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I find it to be one of the few vital and irreplaceable bits of software I own, and will maintain a separate dedicated computer running the current Mac OS, Photoshop CS6 (even though I use PS CC now), and the NIK suite, if I have to, though I would rather not.
I had considered starting an online petition to Google, and the original NIK developers, to keep it alive, but somebody has already done that. Signing on would be the least we could do:
https://www.change.org/p/google-inc-...nik-collection

It is perfect the way it is, so it doesn't need more features or additional "development" outside of being updated to 64 bit so Apple doesn't kill it, and some occasional incremental updates p.r.n.to keep compatibility with PS CC updates. Not talking about a huge bit of coding.
Those who depend on the software don't expect this to be done for free, just that it be done by someone.
If you don't feel you need the NIK suite, and are happy with the results you get using alternative software, none of this presents a problem for you, and that's great. The rest of us wouldn't mind if you signed the petition anyway
Can't hurt.
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Old 06-18-2017   #66
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I wouldn't hold my breath on the petition. Google killed Google Reader, a very popular RSS reader, a couple of years ago, and left millions of users high and dry. I eventually shifted to an alternative reader, but the transition was painful.
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Old 06-18-2017   #67
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Thanks, sevres_babylone. I only saw this just now. So, now we know that, on the Mac, if we upgrade to High Sierra (to be available in October), Nik Software will not be usable from late-2019. For me the best solution will to run El Capitan, or an earlier OS X in emulation. Not a convenient solution, but one that should work.

gnuyork - that's fine for you but others, including myself, despite a lot of experience, have found that we couldn't get the results we wanted in LR or PS. As mani stated in post #61, "I think we should take this thread for what it is - simply a statement of frustration at the situation we find ourselves in, when immense corporations buy and discard the tools we use in our everyday workflow. Bickering about whether SilverEfex is good or bad is beside the point."
Emulation. I think I mentioned it here, but it could have been elsewhere, my bemused admiration for a small group who kept Wordperfect for the Mac going, with emulation. I will also be looking at emulation, because unless something changes in how I work between now and 2019, which is possible, Silver Efex is an essential part of my workflow.

gnuyork - for me, it's not just the black and white emulation, but the way the u-point technology allows for the easiest local corrections, especially for the selections-challenged like me. Which is not to denigrate the black and white emulations; one good thing is that even if you start with a pre-set, the plug-in is transparent enough that you can see what it's doing, and easily customize the look.
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Old 06-18-2017   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sevres_babylone View Post
This article by Thom Hogan indicates there will be problems with the NIK plug-ins in late 2019 for Mac users using High Sierra.
http://www.dslrbodies.com/accessorie...ransition.html
Thanks for posting this link! Very helpful to see the under workings of what's going on. This will be expensive for us old-timers that don't want rented software.
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Old 06-18-2017   #69
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Geeeeees, this is upsetting. The very idea of losing NIK is down-right depressing.

I've been a NIK fan for about a year. There's no way I could breath the same kind of life into my photo's without SE. While working in the program there are times when a new vision come alive. Real depth and luminous qualities. It's almost like magic. There are times when I'll save the photo and come back to it in a day or so, and there it is again. Who knows what qualities SE has built in it, but it's there all right.

Thanks Nowhereman for standing your ground.

I'm a film guy, dedicated to "stand" processing. New to this forum. Will post photos when I figure out the steps.
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Old 06-18-2017   #70
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnuyork View Post
I'm fairly new to using Silver FX, maybe less than a year? Anyway, I enjoy using it, but I find I'm not doing anything I couldn't do in LR with a little work. I have a lot of practice doing B&W conversions in PS and LR though.

These are done in LR without Silver FX. I'm happy with the results.
Happy? Those are fabulous images! Thanks for posting.

I have had very good experience with the LR & PS BW conversions as well.
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Old 06-18-2017   #71
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Quote:
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I'm fairly new to using Silver FX...I enjoy using it, but I find I'm not doing anything I couldn't do in LR with a little work. I have a lot of practice doing B&W conversions in PS and LR though...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColSebastianMoran View Post
...I have had very good experience with the LR & PS BW conversions as well.
Both of you are writing "dog bites man" headlines as far as this thread is concerned. Both of you are happy with what you can do with Photoshop or Lightroom: that's great, but some of us feel that Sliver Efex, at least sometimes, can give us results that cannot be produced from PS or LR, with which most people would be happy. For example, while I have no probelm with gnuyork's pictures above, they don't have the look that I would want from them. Not a question of better or worse, but a matter of preference or taste.
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Old 06-18-2017   #72
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For those still wondering why Nik plugins are so good, my take is that the biggest benefit is their power to apply effects selectively using that little round selective tool (I forget what it is called). This tool is common to every Nik plugin. Believe me, I used to use Photoshop and it was a real pain to create layers for everything and layer masks to selectively apply effects and edits in different parts of the image. With any Nik product its power to apply selective effects speeds the process of post processing exponentially making the whole thing much more efficient. Try processing 200 images made from a longish days shoot and you will know what I mean. (And I press the shutter button much more carefully than many do - it is not unusual for some pro photographers to take perhaps 5 to 10 times that number of images in a shoot.

I now use Lightroom running Nik effect plugins for quick / basic edits or Paintshop Pro (the Corel alternative to Photoshop but quite similar to it) running Nik effects when the complexity of the post processing on a specific image demands it (there are somethings that are just clunky with Lightroom even when used in conjunction with NIk plugins). The latest version of Paintshop Pro does not support later versions of Nik plug ins so I have stuck to a slightly earlier version of Paintshop Pro simply because I want the facility to edit using Nik tools and value that ability that highly. Although the day may come (OK the day will come) when some future version of Windows will no longer support my editing software, I fully intend continuing to use this combination for as long as I possibly can - it is that good. There is no way I want to have to go back to the old and clunky Photoshop editing methods which are powerful but difficult to use efficiently in many cases.

The following may not look it but they entailed considerable processing using Nik Silver Efex. Tweaking of images is essential for good outcomes.

Faces of Bali 4 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Faces of Bali 2 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Faces of Bali 1 by Life in Shadows, on Flickr

Cathedra by Life in Shadows, on Flickr
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Old 06-19-2017   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Cloetta View Post
Signing on would be the least we could do:
https://www.change.org/p/google-inc-...nik-collection

It is perfect the way it is, so it doesn't need more features or additional "development" outside of being updated to 64 bit so Apple doesn't kill it, and some occasional incremental updates p.r.n.to keep compatibility with PS CC updates. Not talking about a huge bit of coding.
Those who depend on the software don't expect this to be done for free, just that it be done by someone.
Thanks for the link Larry, I signed the petition (though fully aware that Google have absolutely no interest whatsoever in listening to what a mere 12-15,000 photographers think: a mere gnat bite, when disapproval begins to register when it tops the tens of millions).
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Old 06-19-2017   #74
Joe Crumley
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Pete M, Thanks for sharing. Impressive portraits.

Using this software is a very interpretative process. It's not for everyone. I can't imagine being without it.

Thanks to Larry for the petition.

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Old 06-19-2017   #75
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Good luck with your petition, but if you like your no-longer-supported software
be prepared to keep your old computer/OS when next you upgrade.

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Old 06-19-2017   #76
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Would it not be possible to make it open-source?

Cheers,

R.
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Old 06-19-2017   #77
mani
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Quote:
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Would it not be possible to make it open-source?
This would be ideal, but the reason it's never going to be open-sourced is because the underlying technology is used in Snapseed - the mobile image-editing software that was Google's original target for the entire purchase.

Ironically, Google hoped that they could somehow build a 'social community' around Snapseed to rival Instagram (which Facebook had recently acquired at the time), and since this hasn't happened, my bet is that they'll just abandon Snapseed as well at some time in the future. Yet another innovative product that'll end-up on the trash-heap of strategic corporate acquisitions.
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Old 06-19-2017   #78
Luke_Miller
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Try Topaz BW Effects. I have used it for years with great results for converting color digital to black & white. Its cheap, only about $60 and its still being supported and developed.
I agree. I've been using a trial version to see if it can replace SilverEfx Pro when the time comes. The interface is very different and I am still trying to master it. So far I am satisfied with the results , but it is early days.
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Old 06-19-2017   #79
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For those still wondering why Nik plugins are so good, my take is that the biggest benefit is their power to apply effects selectively using that little round selective tool (I forget what it is called). This tool is common to every Nik plugin...
Peter, I'm not much a fan of your soft focus examples, but I agree the control points function is excellent. I wish we could paint with it, as we do with PS/LR brushes. But I often copy/paste a control point onto irregular shapes, which accomplishes pretty much the same thing. It's feathering algorithm always seems just right.

Only recently, after years of use, did I discover there is a drop down arrow at the bottom of the control points menu. Duh!

The main Silver Efex functions I am unable to replicate in LR are Dynamic Brightness and Amplify Whites/Blacks. I find them very valuable, used in moderation, of course. The description on the Nik site explains some of their advantages over other tonal controls, and I agree.

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Old 06-19-2017   #80
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The NIK Collection is extremely convenient. Identical effects can be achieved with significantly less convenience using PS. The inconvenience level is so high it's unlikely a diverse set of PS Actions can be a practical alternative.

This situation is a presents a significant opportunity. Investors could purchase NIK rights limited to monochrome rendering on non-mobile platforms. A completely different approach would be to create a new plug-in from scratch that emulates NIK renderings. Either way, a niche market would be served.

The real problem isn't OS updates obsoleting NIK. The problem is NIK enthusiasts are a niche market. The financial rewards for serving this market are unattractive.

Google purchased NIK for it's Snapseed technologies. If the source-code for NIK does not compromise Google's investment in Snapseed's intellectual property, Google might make it open-source.

For OS X users there is a simple but inconvenient solution using one computer. It is straightforward to set up dual-boot internal storage partitions. Or a fast external storage device could be used. One would run Sierra for legacy (32 bit) applications. The other would run High Sierra.

Eventually the High Sierra (and it's successors) will have important security enhancements. So using Sierra would only be for NIK (and other legacy apps) while disconnected from the internet.
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