Turning Day Into Night with Color Efex Pro 4

Creepy! I created this image by using multiple filter effects in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4. Read on to see the step by-step instructions. Click to see a larger image.

I created this image using multiple filters in Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 4. The following article is an excerpt from The Photographer’s Guide to Color Efex Pro 4, where you can find many more recipes for creating unique image styles and 29 custom preset files. I’ve provided a download link at the end of this article if you want to try the “moonlight” recipe described in the text.

Example #7: Moonlit Cabin

Here’s an image that I shot in full daylight. I decided to give this cabin a creepy look as though I had come across it on a midnight stroll. I think I’d better keep on walking!

The original image was shot in full daylight.

Step 1: Global Adjustments

I started by opening the image in Color Efex Pro 4, and I used the “Moonlight” recipe to establish the dark, moody look. I made minor adjustments to the Contrast Only filter to fine-tune the image. I temporarily disabled the Vignette filter so I could better see what I was working on.

I started by applying the “Moonlight” recipe to add a dark, cool cast.
I made fine-tuning adjustments to the Contrast Only step to add a little more fill light.

Step 2: Local Adjustments

I next decided that I wanted to preserve brightness and detail in the bathtub and animal hide. I used minus Control Points to remove the Midnight filter from these areas selectively. I also reduced the opacity of the Photo Stylizer filter in the same areas with Control Points.

I reduced the Midnight filter effect from the specific subject areas.
I also reduced the Photo Stylizer effect with Control Points on the subject.

Step 3: Detail Extractor

I appended a Detail Extractor filter and moved it into the stack before the Vignette effect. I applied the effect selectively with Control Points so it affected only the bathtub and animal hide.

I appended a Detail Extractor filter and moved it before the final Vignette step in the filter stack. I used Control Points to apply the filter only to the primary subject area.

Step 4: Finishing Adjustments

I toggled the Vignette filter on and fine-tuned its effect by adjusting the Size and Opacity sliders to taste.

Want to try this recipe? Download the custom settings file!

Moonlight.NP (Zip archive).

Download the ZIP file and extract the “Moonlight.NP” file. Open an image in Color Efex Pro 4 and then use the Import function in the Recipes panel to add the custom recipe file.


Master all the effects in Color Efex Pro 4 with The Photographer’s Guide to Color Efex Pro 4 by Jason P. Odell plus get all 29 custom presets!

Save 15% on all Nik Software products! Use code: JODELL at checkout (Offer valid for residents of USA/Canada).

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