Scratching the Surface of Nik Color Efex Pro 4 to Work


About a week ago Google made its complete Nik Collection suite of plug-ins for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements available as a free download. In an earlier post I explained what was in the collection and where to download it.

In my last post on this subject, I illustrated how the Dfine 2 plug-in can be easily used to reduce the noise that results when an image is captured using an extremely high ISO.

This time, we take a very brief look at what  Nik Color Efex Pro 4 can do. It has so many presets and effects that there is no way to do it justice in one short blog post. So instead, I’ll just illustrate what I did to pretty overexposed image. I chose to use Photoshop Elements 14 for this post, but earlier versions of Elements, and of course Photoshop could be used as well.

  1. First, I added one of the image Border presets in Color Efex Pro 4.
  2. Then I added one of the Color Efex Pro 4 Tonal Contrast presets.
  3. At that point,I added a traditional Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer.
  4. I then merged these layers into a composite layer using Ctrl+Alt+Shift+E.
  5. Finally, I applied the auto profile setting of Dfine 2, since the adjustments I was adding to this small JPEG image were beginning to take its toll.

Shown below is the layer stack I ended up with.

Efex Pro Layer Stack

A couple points are worth noting here. First I had set the Options in Color Efex Pro 4 to apply each effect on its own layer. Among other things, this allowed me to tweak the impact of the effect by adjusting the Opacity of the layer. Also, note that you can intermingle Color EfexPro 4 layers with layers dealing with Photoshop Elements commands. Think of the multitude of presets embedded in Color Efex Pro 4 as starting points for you to adjust to create your own vision of the captured scene.

The figure below compares my before and after for this simple example.

Efex Pro Before After.jpg

I hope you found this post helpful. If so, click on the Like and share it with others using the buttons below. Also, let me know what you think of the Nik Collection in the comments below.

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