Skip to content

The Efex of Silver

Another One Coming into the Corner - B&W

Today’s post is not really a tutorial, but it will be tutorial like.  I thought I would show you what Silver Efex Pro 2 by Nik Software looks like and some of the possibilities that can be done with it.

First of all we need to select an image.  Another One Coming Into the CornerWe might start by doing one of the cycling images.

The image needs to be opened in Photoshop as Silver Efex Pro 2 is a plugin and you can get it for Photoshop or Lightroom.

sep1You can see there how to open up Silver Efex, go to Filters, then down to Nik Software, click on Silver Efex Pro 2.

sep2This is what it looks like in Silver Efex.  The image is changed to Black and White straight away.  I have highlighted in red, on the left, all the presets that come with Silver Efex.  There are many more, but you have to keep scrolling down to see them.

sep3I have selected High Key 1 for this, just to show you a different one.  It obviously isn’t any good for this image, so I will change it.

sep4I have decided to go with Low Key 1, which is one of my favourites.  Once the preset you want to use is chosen, then you can make more adjustments about what you want.  I have shown in red where you can make some global adjustments.  I have made a few adjustment.

sep5Another thing you can do is make Selective Adjustments, so select an area to make adjustments too.  To show this better I have darkened the entire image and I am going to attempt to lighten just one section.

sep5-1This is to show you what you see on the screen a little better.


You can see the area with the circle, that is the area Silver Efex will work in, you can make it smaller or larger, using the slider that extends from yellow dot, that you can see in the previous image.  A video tutorial would show it better.

sep7-1Under the yellow dot are the Brightness, Contrast and Structure.

sep7Hopefully you can see how I have lightened that middle rider so she stands out more than the others.

sep8On the right side there are more changes.  You can add a color filter, which doesn’t give the image any colour, but it will change the colours that were in the image.   Again, it is a matter of playing around and seeing what you get.  I haven’t change any for this image.

sep9One of the things people have loved about film is the different effects you could get from the different films.  Silver Efex allows you to have some of that again.  You can select a film type and the effect of that film will be given to your image.  I recommend you try them all and see what you think.  If you want to go back then merely select none.

sep10You can change the Levels and Curves.  To demonstrate I made it darker, then changed it back, I was fine with how the image was.

sep11Now we can start looking at some of the Finishing Adjustments.

sep12You can add a tone, where that yellow part in the side bar is, if you click on there.  There are a number of tones to choose from.  You can decide on how strong you want it, and if you decide you don’t want it, then just click off.  I did that.  I don’t really want the image toned.

sep13You can add vignetting, choose which type, black or white.  The you can decide the Amount, Circle and Size.  Again, if you choose you don’t want, then simply select off and it goes away.

sep14There is a selection of borders that you can add.  Again, you make decisions abut the size, spread, and clean.  It is good to play.  With all the drop down menus you only have to hover over them and you will be given a preview of the selection.  I decided on off for Border.

That was pretty much all the selections I did.

sep15Once OK is pressed then the image is opened up in Photoshop.  It is saved, resized and ready for you to look at.

Another One Coming into the Corner - B&WThe final image.  I don’t know about a black and white version of this.  I have never been that enthralled with cycling photos done in black and white.  One of the wonderful things about the sport are the colours that they wear.  It is so colourful, so it always seems a shame to take the colour out of it.

I hope those of you considering Silver Efex have enjoyed this tutorial.  I will be doing a video tutorial of this later today, so if you are interested then keep an eye on this page, Video Tutorials.

43 Comments Post a comment
  1. so good of you to share your knowledge through tutorials on your blog :)

    January 15, 2013
  2. I would like to eventually get this software. Wonderful tutorial. Thanks, Leanne.

    January 15, 2013
  3. these types should be in color, I agree.

    January 15, 2013
  4. Great tut… I love this program as well. It’s awesome!

    January 15, 2013
  5. Thanks for posting this. I have been thinking about getting Silver Efex – you’ve convinced me that it’s the way I need to go!

    January 15, 2013
  6. This is one of my favorite plug-ins to use by far.

    January 15, 2013
  7. I downloaded the trial version and tried it out a couple of years ago. Although I really liked it, especially its local adjustment feature, I didn’t end up buying it. I do most of my B&W conversions in Lightroom, and find it to be quite good for what I do.

    January 15, 2013
  8. That was an interesting tutorial even if I never use it. It’s way over my capabilities right now. I really liked the circle of light around the center person. Very cool stuff. :)

    January 15, 2013
  9. The b&w conversions are fabulous they add power = to the energy these cyclists are putting into their race.

    January 15, 2013
  10. Very interesting. I have Silver Efex and was interested in getting the second version. I might just have to pick it up now.

    January 15, 2013
  11. Awesome … thank you

    January 15, 2013
  12. Hi Leanne- I’ve been a fan of your work for so long that I simply had to nominate you for “Blog of the Year 2012!” Best of luck for 2013, take care!

    January 15, 2013
  13. Love it! I have been a fan of Nik for awhile and use this software just about every time I want to convert my images to black & white.

    January 15, 2013
  14. Very timely as I have been playing with black and white recently and this looks like a flexible system! ( not that I know enough to compare it with anything much, but it’s nice to get a quick runthrough) .Thanks!

    January 15, 2013
  15. Still thinking about getting this ….. but my PC is also on it’s last legs and I’m considering a move to MAC ….. decisions, decisions!

    January 15, 2013
  16. waterhealthsolution #

    Reblogged this on waterhealthsolution.

    January 15, 2013
  17. Thanks for the tutorial and thanks for the honest reflections you provided earlier about photography as a business (the move to charge for video tutorials and booklets, for example) versus the free access that has carried Leanne Cole Photography to this point. You are at a critical junction, you have all of my support, and I wish you the best of luck … I know you can do it. You’ve got talent, ambition, and a number of very dedicated followers. Now, as the Nike slogan says, Just Do It! The first sign that you were drifting away was the request for a password when I clicked the tutorial link this morning … this is indeed the beginning of the end … but that’s a good thing (sniff, sniff), we all evolve and change is good. Thanks … D.

    January 15, 2013
  18. you make it seem so easy Leanne…I found GIMP to be challenging…right now I’m using PhotoScape …simple to use for someone who is beginning and doesn’t really know what they should be doing! Silver Efex would be something I could get into after a couple of years of practice!

    January 16, 2013
  19. really cool. I have been a big Lightroom fan, but always looking for new photo editing software… let’s just say now i’m intrigued!!!

    January 16, 2013
  20. Interesting and a lot of work on this tutorial, thanks Leanne!

    January 16, 2013
  21. I have nikfx HDR & Colour, and was considering the B&W which looks fab, have held off though as I also have Topaz and that has a great B&W processing programme, the thing I like about Topaz is it has really sensitive brushes for making adjustments to areas rather than the little spots with sliders, and I do like brushes, but nikfx stuff is fab and you’ve done a grand job, fab semi-tutorial!

    January 16, 2013
  22. Very cool.

    January 16, 2013
  23. This is on my software list for 2013. LR4 still does not cut the bill for B&W edits. Good tutorial.

    January 16, 2013
  24. Nice transformation from color to B&W. I agree that it should be left in color. Sports unis and outfits have become quite colorful. If everything was still “tennis white”, perhaps B&W would work.

    January 16, 2013
  25. thanks for posting this! it really seems like this software is becoming (or has become) the standard for black and white conversions. very nice work!

    January 16, 2013
  26. Great tutorial I also use this software

    January 16, 2013
  27. How perfect!!! I was JUST on their site looking at that. Thanks Leanne. Once again you save the day. :D

    January 16, 2013
  28. WOW ! You’re technical know-how just blows me away. I really really need to learn this stuff. This is a wonderful post and so easy to follow. Thanks Leanne.

    January 16, 2013
  29. Fantastic of you to share your knowledge with us – you give us your time too. Don’t use any of the programs, but I know so many are – what an amazing tool you’re for them.

    January 16, 2013
  30. petit4chocolatier #

    I love the changes in each frame. You are amazing :)
    I actually really like the B & W !!

    January 16, 2013
  31. I enjoyed seeing! Great post!

    January 16, 2013
  32. lensaddiction #

    Hey Leanne, I used your techniques on my first experiments with Silver Efex, really found the tutorial useful, esp the control points :)

    January 16, 2013
    • I am just looking at it now, looks great, you did a great job with your images.

      January 16, 2013
      • lensaddiction #

        Thanks I really wish I could sit you down next to me for a couple of hours tho :)

        January 16, 2013
  33. Great shot of the bikes Leanne. Looks like a wide angle from pretty close, very brave!!

    January 17, 2013
  34. Oh my goodness that’s crazy! You’re so amazing, I don’t know if I have enough patience for all that, I hope I do someday though haha! That’s so cool :D

    January 18, 2013
  35. Very exciting and well-done, for not really being a tutorial (tongue stuck in cheek here, Leanne!)…and Silvr Efex certainly seems to be a logical piece of software, unlike some I’ve used in the past.

    Though your final image IS well-done, I have to agree that, for cycling, the B/W does take away a bit of the ‘intensity’ which is the major point in cycling…I think ?

    January 18, 2013
  36. Wow ! Interesting.

    January 18, 2013
  37. I like what you did to this image, the final image is great. I use color efex pro 4 and I really love this plug-in !

    January 18, 2013
  38. Reblogged this on arjunsantosh.

    January 20, 2013
  39. I love your bike racing photos. This one works very well in black in white with the shadow border emphasizing the line of the riders. Good luck to Cadel in the Giro

    May 14, 2013
    • Thank you Pat, I got some good shots at that event, haven’t been doing much since. Go Cadel.

      May 15, 2013

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Experimenting with Nik Silver Efex | Learning to See Light

Discussion and comments are encouraged here, as long as the spirit is the same as this blog.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 35,504 other followers

%d bloggers like this: