Nik Silver Efex Pro – Straight Dope Review!

Nik Siver Effects Pro = 4/5 stars

Silver Effects Pro

UPDATED: 04/10.

We’ve worked out a deal with Nik and you an save 15% on any of their products with promo code PPS.

I finally got a chance to play with Nik’s new Silver Efex Pro. It’s a Photoshop/Aperture plugin for making Black & White images from color one’s. Here’s the straight scoop! The interface follows Nik’s fairly clean and simple window style that graces the rest of their plugin’s. When it open’s you’ll be greeted by your image; a sidebar on the right that gives you control over the effects being added; a sidebar on the left with some easy preset effects,  and a few other tools around the screen that control the preview, etc.

Overall I liked the plugin. It suffers the the problem I find with most PS plugins, that causes me to stick with actions and presets for most images. When you open an image in the plugin you have to wait a few seconds and then use the tools in another window. Essentially PS goes away for that time, and when you commit those changes you are returned to your regular work environment. There’s nothing really wrong with this, it’s just not great for a workflow with large quantities of images, but more designed for those great images you want to spend extra time with.

I did find what’s inside to be simple and effective. There’s various preset options for making B&W images fast. You have color tones, film type, color filters etc to give you full control over making a nice piece of art. There’s also the ability to add some great looking grain effects is so desired, and the plugin; like many Nik products includes the U Point option that allows you to easily control effects on specific portions of the image (See Viveza)

BOTTOM LINE: I won’t be using Silver Effects for my everyday B&W images, because presets in Lightroom and actions in PS do most the the B&W effects I need, with more speed. I can also get most of the effects that the Silver provides by using the built in tools that PS provides (though with a bit more work)
All this said I think Silver is a good tool for getting great B&W effects on those images you want to spend some extra time with. It’s also great for trying out various effects with a lot of control and precision. I knocked off a half star because, Silver, at $199.00 costs twice what it probably should. Still if you have 199 to spare, and want a great tool for really fine tuning B&W images then pick it up (you can of course try Nik’s short 15 day demo).

Gavin Seim

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