Using NIK Software on Fall Colors

January 09, 2013  •  1 Comment

A recent cold snap caused the leaves in my Flowering Pear to finally go yellow/orange/red and start to drop. I took a picture in the shade one afternoon. I processed the image using Adobe LR4 and CS6, NIK Dfine 2.0, Color EFX Pro 4 (CEP4) and Silver EFX Pro 2 (SEP2) and posted it to the Google+ NIK Software community. A member of the community liked the image and asked if I used a black and white layer behind the color layer to bring out the detail. I decided to describe how I created the image in this blog update. By the way, the short answer is no.

Here is the image, "Fall Leaves", and link to larger version.

Fall LeavesFall Leaves I captured a raw file using a Canon 7D, ISO 1600, 50mm lens at f/8 for 1/100s.

The following description sounds complicated but it took less than 5 minutes to do these steps and produce this image. I imported the raw file into LR4. I 'auto' adjusted the image in LR4 ( exposure +.75, contrast -4, whites +23 and blacks -10). I then opened the file in CS6. The first thing I did in CS6 was to open a Dfine layer to clean up the noise. I made no adjustments to the automatic noise reduction settings (I really like Dfine 2.0). I then opened a CEP4 layer and used the Detail Extractor and Tonal Contrast filters to pull out detail and make the image pop. I like SEP2 to control highlights so I opened a layer in SEP2. In the neutral preset, I use the loupe and histogram to find the zone 10 highlights. If the highlights look good, I cancel out of SEP2 and discard the layer. If I think the highlights will be distracting, I add a single control point and reduce the brightness. I save off the layer and then select the SEP2 layer in CS6, set the layer type to Multiply and reduce the opacity of the layer (in this case to about 15%) to bring back the color. I then merge the layers and save it off.

That's it. I know it seems like a lot of work and I'm sure there are many other ways to get the same results but I find this method simple and straight forward.

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Comments

Darlisa Black(non-registered)
I love the end result, and now there are a bunch more PS terms and layers I need to learn about! I have CS5, not sure if it has all the same choices or not. Are some of those things plug ins for Photoshop? Dfine, CEP4, Sep2?
Boy I sound like a rank amatuer!
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