The Power of Nik (Razorbills and Puffin)

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January 2010 Version Above/June 2009 Version Below

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RAZORBILLS ABOVE/PUFFINS BELOW

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January 2010 Version Above/June 2009 Version Below

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Over the past several years I upgraded to Photoshop CS4, added then upgraded Lightroom, added plug-ins like Neat Image and the complete Topaz Suite, none of these has impressed me as much as the Nik Software Complete Collection. For those of you unfamiliar with Nik’s series of plug-ins for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture, let me say this: they are pricey but oh so very impressive in what they allow you to do with an image.

Nik Dfine is the noise reduction plug-in and works almost automatically. Click on it, it opens, assesses the image, filters the noise and all that is left to do is to hit OK. And then it is off to Nik Viveza 2, the color, brightness, contrast, texture enhancing plug-in. A little more work than Dfine but the results are well worth. Color Efex Pro is a plug-in with over 50 different filters that allow you to create all kinds of wonderful effects. Silver Efex Pro may be the best black and white conversion software available. And Sharpener Pro is an excellent image sharpening plug-in.

I don’t work for Nik. I am not  a Nik professional. I am not an expert with Nik. I bought Nik Complete out of my own pocket. I’ve only had it a month but it has wowed me. Many, probably all, of my posts from the past month have been touched, in one way or another, by Nik.

The images above were made back in June of 2009 on our trip to Machias Seal Island. In both cases (Razorbills and Puffins), the first image is the image reworked with Nik while the second is the image that I had posted back in June (processed in Lightroom and CS4). To my eye the differences are dramatic. I reworked both images using Dfine to reduce any noise; Viveza 2 with their control point technology to selective manipulate colors, tones, brightnesses and textures; and Sharpener Pro to… well, sharpen the image.

This has got me thinking about the possibility of adding another feature to my website – a “How do you do that?” page where I would select an image and take us through the process, often fairly simple but sometimes not, of getting from Point A (in camera) to Point B (ready for print). That may be coming in the not too distant future so if you are interested, keep an eye out.

7 comments to The Power of Nik (Razorbills and Puffin)

  • Ed!!!! Gorgeous – those birds look so proud! I’m going to have to check into that software. ooooh – I’ll be a kid in a candy store!!! And YES! I’m totally into an addition of “How do you do that?” sections!!! Sign me up – NOW!

  • Wow! The differences are impressive!

  • They look great Ed. I haven’t read too much up on the Nik’s, but know a lot of people like them.

  • I have been only vaguely aware of Nik software, but I need to check this out. I can tell a definite difference. It really stands out to me that there are more details in both the shadows and the highlights where you used Nik.

  • Ed: I could tell the difference right away, without reading your post. The recently processed images are definitely better–the enhanced detail and texture especially. Thank you so much for sharing this experiment with us. If you choose to post how you got there info, that will be most interesting.

  • Wow Ed, now you are dangerously making me jealous!! Mate, these shots are great and the update did it very well. These are FANTASTICO-SPLENDIDO pictures…. I love them and would like to get them so nicely!!!! Gorgeous! Every birders dreams to get them like this!!! Well done mate.

  • You are always one step ahead of me. I am currently trying to wrap my head around the Topaz suite, now impressively demonstrate the powers of the Nik software.
    I tried out Viveza, but I am unclear why I couldn’t achieve the selective effects with layers? All other features (contrast, saturation) didn’t strike me as impressive as those of Topaz? What is your opinion on this?

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