Split-toning is a traditional darkroom technique for black and white images where the paper is dyed one color, and the silver emulsion is toned a different color. The paper toning shows through in the image highlights, while the silver toning shows through in shadows and midtones.
I wondered if I could re-create this effect using just Nikon’s Capture NX 2 software. As it turns out, with prudent use of the Colorize filter and leveraging the “Darken” and “Lighten” blending modes in the Opacity Mixer, you can make your own custom split-toning effects. It’s not quite as straightforward as using Nik’s Silver Efex Pro, but it works and it’s done in a non-destructive editing environment.
Packing for a photo trip is never as easy as it seems. You either A) over-pack and make yourself miserable schlepping a 45-lb bag through airports, or B) forget some seemingly innocuous piece of kit that you wish you had. Of course, there is also option C) you bring too much stuff and still forgot something important. Here are some packing tips that I still need to remind myself about from time to time, so I figured blogging it would help get me straight.
It seems like no matter what you do or where you go, you can never escape the incessant drone of “my product is better” posts out in cyberspace. Name a photo product, and you’ll find fanboys (and girls) trumpeting the merits of their particular choice in gear, software, whatever. We live in a world where product diversity and competition is fierce, but one thing is completely evident to me: when it comes to RAW processing software, you really can’t go wrong with most of the popular choices out there right now.
The one thing that has started to irk me, though, is the beating of drums from people who claim Product A is superior to Product B based on no provable fact. Case in point: Nikon’s Capture NX. In 2005, I compared all the major RAW converters from a Nikon user’s perspective as part of a multi-part segment for The Image Doctors podcast. At that time, we were able to discern clear rendering quality differences between Capture NX and Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Ah, but times have changed.
Since 2005, ACR has evolved better demosaic algorithms, new features, and camera profile settings that give you results that are at least as good, in my opinion, as what you can do with Capture NX2. The same is true for Aperture, Capture One, and other RAW processors. While there is no doubt that Nikon’s engineers understand the NEF format best, the argument that CNX2 somehow produces a superior conversion to everything else has gotten pretty weak over time. When I look at NEFs I’ve converted with Capture NX2 using standard settings and compare them to ACR conversions with similar settings, I don’t see anything between the two resulting images that would indicate that one is somehow “superior” to the other. What I see are two slightly different images, but neither one is “better” or “worse” in terms of detail, artifacts, or other obvious quality issues.
This two-part, 111 minute training video is presented in crisp 720p HD format, and is viewable on any computer running QuickTime or Real Player.
Part 1: HDR Efex Pro Workflow and Interface
Here I’ll take you through every menu, button, and slider in HDR Efex Pro. I’ll show you how to launch the plug-in from Photoshop, Bridge, Lightroom, Aperture, and as a stand-alone application. You’ll also learn how to make complex selections quickly and easily with Control Points.
Part 2: Tone-mapping HDR Images
In Part 2, I will walk you through the artistic process to create the finest HDR images in a variety of styles, including natural, artistic, black and white, and single-image tone-mapping. You’ll see all the control settings and how I use Control Points to perform local adjustments.