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Archive 2012 · BW Conversion Software Options
  
 
CGrindahl
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p.1 #1 · BW Conversion Software Options


i work in a Mac environment with Lightroom 4 and Photoshop CS6 and am exploring alternatives for doing black and white conversions. I shoot Nikon. I recently used a demo of Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2 and it was a nice experience, but before I invest in that software I thought I'd ask folks on this forum whether there are alternatives I should be considering before making a decision. Any suggestions folks? Thanks.


Jul 24, 2012 at 08:45 PM
John Caldwell
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p.1 #2 · BW Conversion Software Options


The NIK SEP 2 is what I use these days. In the past I used LR, or occasionally Photoshop. I've found both Silver Efex and Color Efex well worth the investment.

John Caldwell



Jul 25, 2012 at 12:43 AM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #3 · BW Conversion Software Options


Thanks John. If I don't find another product that tickles my fancy, I'll likely two that way but I want to make certain I'm not missing something.


Jul 25, 2012 at 01:06 AM
benee
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p.1 #4 · BW Conversion Software Options


I think Silver Efex is the best out there. The only drawback is it is slow, especially converting,ultiple images.


Jul 25, 2012 at 01:17 AM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #5 · BW Conversion Software Options


This may be simpler than I thought... If I don't get any other suggestions I may just have to bite the bullet. Then the question is whether to buy only that one piece of software of the whole suite... mmm.


Jul 25, 2012 at 02:23 AM
unknown_photog
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p.1 #6 · BW Conversion Software Options


I might be a little bias because NikSoftware is one of my sponsors but I can honestly tell you that there is no better suite for plugins.

The NikSoftware has one huge advantage over the other options because of Upoint technology (control points). The ability to localize the effect and have complete control over the adjustments is a huge win in my book. Also, the fact that NiK also offers free recipes on their website so that you are not limited to the stock presets is also a big plus.

So as unbiased as possible, GO FOR IT!



Jul 25, 2012 at 02:44 AM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #7 · BW Conversion Software Options


I appreciate the comment. I've been reading reviews of the different plugins on B&H to see whether it makes sense to buy a suite and comments are pretty uniformly positive. I'm an amateur but enjoy post processing so this might really enrich the experience for me. From what little I've seen in the videos offered there is a great deal to learn and a great deal that can be done using these tools.


Jul 25, 2012 at 02:53 AM
hidden_Markov
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p.1 #8 · BW Conversion Software Options


I didn't really trial much beyond nik but it gets a +1 all the same. Trusted photographers on staff at my company said get the trial and have the cc ready...and they were right imo. Ran on LR then I switched to aperture. runs fine on both (adobe needed the 4.1 patch to fix an annoying bug for me though).

One of the trusted sources above for quick lighter work also recommended to me once something called camerabag. Not a dedicated b&w app, has other filters as well. I haven't tried personally as learning aperure with nik enough on the plate at the moment.




Jul 25, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Mark Metternich
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p.1 #9 · BW Conversion Software Options


Have you explored the ins and outs of advanced controlling of tone in PS? Most don't do this and opt for third party software for its ease.


Jul 27, 2012 at 07:45 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #10 · BW Conversion Software Options


Mark Metternich wrote:
Have you explored the ins and outs of advanced controlling of tone in PS? Most don't do this and opt for third party software for its ease.


I've done some conversion work with Photoshop but found that Lightroom gives me more control more easily. At the moment my demo period has ended and at the moment I'm not doing much conversion. I think having a dedicated piece of software both makes it easier and inspires me to experiment there. I perhaps owe it to myself to check PS again now that I have acquired CS 6. I'm not rushing into anything.



Jul 27, 2012 at 11:15 PM
 

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charlieboy
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p.1 #11 · BW Conversion Software Options


NIK SEP is great.... I really like Alien Exposure 4 also...it has some great B&W options, and finally Topaz's B&W effects is good also. I use all three but I didn't see the last two I mentioned talked about.


Jul 30, 2012 at 11:13 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #12 · BW Conversion Software Options


I downloaded Topaz's B&W effects plug-in but it was quite clunky compared with Silver Efex Pro 2. There did appear to be quite a variety of controls for different looks but it was very unresponsive in Photoshop CS 6. Perhaps they need an upgrade. Alien Exposure looks interesting but it is definitely a pricey suite, more than a full complement of NIK products. I'll perhaps download a demo just to see what it is all about. I appreciate you mentioning these other products. Thanks.


Jul 30, 2012 at 11:55 PM
mogul
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p.1 #13 · BW Conversion Software Options


Matt has 4 B&W presets for LR 4 in Lightroom Killer Tips .http://lightroomkillertips.com/


Jul 31, 2012 at 01:20 AM
charlieboy
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p.1 #14 · BW Conversion Software Options


CGrindahl wrote:
I downloaded Topaz's B&W effects plug-in but it was quite clunky compared with Silver Efex Pro 2. There did appear to be quite a variety of controls for different looks but it was very unresponsive in Photoshop CS 6. Perhaps they need an upgrade. Alien Exposure looks interesting but it is definitely a pricey suite, more than a full complement of NIK products. I'll perhaps download a demo just to see what it is all about. I appreciate you mentioning these other products. Thanks.


Hmmm.... Topaz runs fine in CS6 on my machines but I know how things can vary . Heres a link I found for the demo for Alien Exposure.

https://app.alienskin.com/downloads/



Jul 31, 2012 at 05:05 PM
ScooberJake
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p.1 #15 · BW Conversion Software Options


I didn't want to shell out the cash for Nik, so I use Topaz. Not great, but not bad.


Jul 31, 2012 at 05:51 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #16 · BW Conversion Software Options


Another vote for NIK SEP. The control points give you so much flexibility. I'm able to do complex dodging/burning/local contrast adjustments that I could have never done in the wet lab.


Jul 31, 2012 at 07:09 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #17 · BW Conversion Software Options


The referral above to presets from "Matt" led me on an online adventure and I downloaded a number of presets, none of which were particularly compelling but it watching Lightroom moving sliders hither and yon encouraged me to become a bit more adventurous on my own. It is actually quite easy to create one's own presets. I think before I invest in anyone else's conversion software I'll do a bit more playing in Lightroom and see whether I can create a suite of presets for myself. Thus far, NIK SEP really is the only software I've used that tickles my fancy. I may end up there but until then I'll have some fun delving more deeply into Lightroom.


Jul 31, 2012 at 09:43 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #18 · BW Conversion Software Options


CGrindahl wrote:
Thus far, NIK SEP really is the only software I've used that tickles my fancy. I may end up there but until then I'll have some fun delving more deeply into Lightroom.

It would be an interesting exercise to do an image with SEP II, then try to duplicate it with LR. I don't think I have the LR skills to achieve the same thing.

I prefer using the NIK filters in Photoshop, since it places the effect on a separate layer. This makes tweaking very easy.



Jul 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #19 · BW Conversion Software Options


dmacmillan wrote:
It would be an interesting exercise to do an image with SEP II, then try to duplicate it with LR. I don't think I have the LR skills to achieve the same thing.

I prefer using the NIK filters in Photoshop, since it places the effect on a separate layer. This makes tweaking very easy.


That certainly is appealing. I hadn't thought of that. I tend to do virtually all my post processing in Lightroom, then send a TIFF file to Photoshop for resizing, a final pass of Smart Sharpen and conversion to JPG for saving. When I've done layer work in PS it has always been related to special projects rather than photo processing. I know I'm missing out on much that makes PS such a powerful program. I'm rather scratching the surface.



Jul 31, 2012 at 10:24 PM
skibum5
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p.1 #20 · BW Conversion Software Options


I like Nik Silver and color fx



Aug 02, 2012 at 02:26 AM





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