Tag Archives: post-processing

Google Releases Nik Collection: $149 for the complete software suite

Google has rebranded the complete collection from Nik Software and is offering the entire bundle for $149 USD
Google has rebranded the complete collection from Nik Software and is offering the entire bundle for $149 USD. Save an additional 15% with code JODELL

Today, Google announced the release of the re-branded Nik Collection of photo enhancement and editing plug-ins. The complete collection of plug-ins, is now delivered by a single installer. Individual plug-ins are no longer available, but you can get the complete set of pro plug-ins for $149. That’s a steal.

Even better… if you own ANY single current Nik Plug-in, they’re going to upgrade you to the Nik Collection for free!

At this point, the only major change is the installer and the product branding to “Nik Collection by Google.” The software also has been updated to support Windows 8.

All the plug-ins remain the same as they were before. The Nik Collection includes:

  • Color Efex Pro 4 (photo filters and special effects)
  • Dfine 2 (noise reduction)
  • Sharpener Pro 3 (sharpening tools)
  • Viveza 2 (image adjustments with Control Points)
  • Silver Efex Pro 2 (monochrome conversion)
  • HDR Efex Pro 2 (HDR tone-mapping tool)

The Nik Collection can be purchased for $149 at www.niksoftware.com Use coupon code JODELL and save 15%, for a purchase price of $126. That’s a great value for something that until recently cost over $400.

The other good news is that it is clear that Google intends to support these products for the foreseeable future. I use the Nik plug-ins every day and they are simply the best quality out there.

You can also download a free 15-day trial version of the collection.

Don’t forget to check out my comprehensive set of guides to the “Efex” plug-ins, including printable eBooks and video tutorials.

Photography: Process and Practice

Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley National Park

You’ve heard it before: A new camera won’t make you a better photographer. If not, then what will? Photography is a craft that blends art and technology. Each skill on its own requires patience and practice. I can break down my process into several key components. Continue reading Photography: Process and Practice

Using Tiffen Dfx3 to Create Custom Studio Lighting Effects

I got several comments on yesterday’s post asking how I was able to create the background color and lighting effects in my otherwise boring head shot. After all, I only used a single light for the image and the background was a blank wall about five feet behind me. The trick I used was Tiffen’s Dfx 3 software, which I think is an indispensable tool for home studio photographers.

First of all, it’s important to note that I used an 85mm lens to take this image; doing so threw the background completely out of focus. That’s desirable for head shots where you want to tweak the background color/look later. I processed the RAW image (Nikon NEF file) in Lightroom 4.2 to open up the shadows a bit (note: click on any image below to see a larger view).

I did initial RAW processing in Lightroom 4.2 to open up the shadows in the image.

Then I sent the image to Tiffen Dfx 3. Side note: when using Dfx3 from Lightroom, choose Adobe RGB 1998 as your color space, as ProPhoto RGB may, in rare circumstances, cause color banding within the Dfx3 environment. Continue reading Using Tiffen Dfx3 to Create Custom Studio Lighting Effects

The Oldest Trick in the Book

Why does this image seem to "pop" off the background? I used the oldest trick in the book!

My main mission here at Luminescence of Nature is to educate photographers. To that end, there’s always lots of discussion about camera settings, RAW converters, and software settings. But even though we live in the digital age, there are some old tricks that just work. The difference is knowing how to apply the effect in your software of choice.

The effect I’m talking about is corner shading, or vignetting. This was the old darkroom trick of “burning”  or “dodging” the edges of the frame to draw attention to the center of the image. This technique can be applied via a variety of tools in your digital darkroom, but the concept is simple. Your eye is subconsciously drawn to bright, colorful, contrasty areas, and conversely avoids dark, low-contrast, low-color areas in a scene. What’s great about this effect is that it need not be applied so strong as to be obvious, and yet it still delivers a powerful impact. Let’s take a look at three different ways to apply a vignette effect in post-processing.

Continue reading The Oldest Trick in the Book

Master the Art of Sharpening in Capture NX 2

I’m pleased to announce the immediate availability of a brand-new video workshop from Luminescence of Nature Press™.  Sharpening Techniques for Capture NX 2 is a comprehensive instructional video in crystal-clear 720p HD that covers all of the major sharpening methods in Nikon’s Capture NX 2.  I’ve even made the QuickTime movie file easy to navigate, because I’ve added chapter markers to it.  The 1280 x 720 resolution of the video file means that you’ll have no trouble whatsoever seeing the menus and other screen items as I walk viewers through all the sharpening techniques in Capture NX 2.

In this training video, you’ll learn:

  • How sharpening works
  • USM Tool
  • High Pass/Overlay filter
  • Advanced control over sharpening with blending modes
  • Selective/Creative Sharpening Techniques with brushes/control points
  • Practical examples of landscape, portrait, and high-ISO sharpening in Capture NX 2
  • How to perform output sharpening for print and web destinations in Capture NX 2

To learn more about Sharpening Techniques for Capture NX 2, please visit Luminescence of Nature Press