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Posts tagged ‘Nik software’

The Bluestone Building

There are more film clips today, however, I have chosen ones that don’t have much talking and they run for a very short time.  It seems there was something I forgot about when I put the clips up, how will deaf people hear them.  Such a silly mistake and I would like to apologise to the deaf community for that.  At this stage, I can’t get captions or subtitles for them, but we are working into it.  So, as I said, the clips for today are very short and don’t have a lot to say.

Leanne Cole - The BluestoneI took the above image a few weeks ago.  It is easier to take photos of the building for Deaf Children Australia now that it is winter here.  The trees have lost their leaves, and through the bare branches you can see the building.

Here are a couple of clips that were done the same time as the one from last week.  They talk in the clips how the building was about to celebrate 100 years of helping the deaf, so that would mean it was taken around 1960.

That is all they talk about really, how the building was about to celebrate that.  The clips are so short so you don’t really get much.

I have also mentioned how I want to change my blog around, and I am thinking of changing the day that I post about Deaf Children Australia, and I am going to start doing it on a Friday instead, starting next week.  Which also means there will be no more Friday reworks, though, I may do one on another day from time to time.

Leanne Cole - Bluestone with Color EfexI have upgraded to the Creative Cloud for Photoshop and it seems there are problems with Nik Software and Topaz.  You have to go through a bit to get it, but then I had Nik Software, I could open it, but then it would save it, so I had to go back to CS6, hopefully it will all get sorted soon.  The above image is done with Monday Morning.

GPO Three Ways

The internet and WordPress has been buzzing with the latest news from Nik Software by Google.  I thought it was time for me to keep you up to date with what is happening.  You can now get all of their programs in a special package for $149.  That is really amazing and a fantastic deal.  So to remind you of some of their programs, today I thought I would show you an image from my early morning in the city the other day and process it with some of the software.

GPO Done with Camera Raw

I processed this image as a HDR and then put it through camera raw in Photoshop.  I darkened it a big, maybe too much looking at it now.  Though for the next images I used the undarkened image.

GPO Done with Color Efex ProThen the image was processed with Color Efex.  I love the different looks you can get.  It is really nice.  The filter sunlight was used for this one.  It has given it a lovely soft glow.  I might have to use this one more often.

GPO Done with Silver Efex ProYou don’t get points for guessing this one.  I used Silver Efex and the low structure filter preset.  I will admit that I use the low structure one the most and then make my own changes to it.

I haven’t been using the programs from Nik Software a lot lately, I have really engrossed in other work I have been doing and they weren’t needed for those.  It is nice to play with them again.  I have been playing with the HDR program a lot more.  There are some issues that I have been finding with Photomatix that I don’t really like, and often HDR Efex, in some situations works out better, though I need more time to work with it.

If you have been thinking about getting any of the programs by Nik Software by Google then now is a perfect time.  I have to say putting it altogether in one package for such a great price is a brilliant strategy.  So I hope you will go and check it out.


I did something today I haven’t done before, I opened a shop on Etsy for my postcards.   I thought it might be an easier way to get the word out about them.

It is such an interesting idea to try and sell your work.  It is a lot harder than you think it is going to be.  I am hoping that while people won’t buy a canvas print or a print, that they might consider buying a postcard.  I know I often buy them.  They can be a good way to support an artist, and you get a small thing to put up on your wall.  I have a space on my wall near my desk that I put postcards up on.

So if you would like to check out my Etsy store then click here to go and take a look around.  There are only 3 postcards there, but I will be putting up more soon, I have sent 3 more images away to be printed, so more soon.

Sorry, this weekend must just seem like product reviews, I didn’t mean it to be that way, I promise tomorrow won’t be.

Dfine-ing Your Images

Wednesdays, I think at this stage, are going to be about me trying things.  The things can be a new trick in Photoshop, or trying out some software, or learning something completely new.  I find this gives me motivation to actually experiment and doing this for you last year on the few occasions I did it, were very rewarding and I learned a lot.  Maybe you will too.

Recently I have experienced some problems taking images in low light.  My camera, the Nikon D300s is not very good when you get into the high ISO selections.  The higher you go the more noise you get and sometimes it can seem to almost ruin your images.  I can’t afford to get a camera that would help with that, so for me, the only option is to look for software that can help reduce it.  Let’s take a look at an image I have shown you before from the Melbourne Town Hall.

Council Chambers

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The Efex of Color

Since I showed you Silver Efex by Nik Software last week, I thought today we could look at Color Efex Pro 4.  It is interesting software.  You can get some interesting effects from it, not always what you want, but that is going to be the same with any software you use.  I think this is similar to using Instagram with all its filters, but the main difference, and a big difference it is, is that you can change and make the filter work the way you want it to.  You have a lot more control over it.  That is something that I like a lot.

cep-1To use Color Efex, it is the same as Silver Efex, you have to open an image up in Photoshop, or the program that you have it as a plugin.  The website has information about what programs you can use.

cep-2To open it you go to Filters, Nik Software, then Color Efex Pro 4.

cep-3Here is what Color Efex looks like.  You can see a list of filters down the left side, over the on the right is a list of functions that you can do with the filter that is choosen.  The filter for this image has been circled in yellow.

cep-4I have changed the filter to Film Efex: Faded.  You can see on the right all the different things that you can change.   In the above image, nothing has been changed yet.

cep-5I have changed a few thing here, not much, but enough to make the image more to my liking.  I also changed the film type.  Again, like Silver Efex, when you have a drop down menu if you hover over the top you will see how each one changes the images.

If you play around with one filter and then decide you don’t like it, you can click on another one and it will change everything for that new filter.  What you did previously is erased, which also means if you go back to the original one, you will have to make all the changes and adjustments again.

cep-6There are also a heap of recipes that you can try out.  Or you can make your own and save them.  Again, just because someone has done one, doesn’t mean you can’t make some adjustments to it.

cep-7This is nice, it comes with a history, or rather you can see what you have done to the image as you went along.  That is a great feature.

cep-8When you are finished, you can just click OK and your image will be transformed in Photoshop.  You can also click Brush, and then in Photoshop you can brush the effect on the areas that want.  I haven’t really played with that very much.  Of course, if you don’t like it and don’t want it, you can simply press Cancel and go back to your original image.

I have a few images now, well the same image, but it has been processed with different filters in Color Efex.

CEP - Film Efex: FadedThis image was processed with the filter Film Efex: Faded.  I actually like this one.  It gives it a very retro feel.

CEP - Paper TonerThis was using the filter Paper Toner.  You can get different tones or different coloured tones.  Remember in the days of black and white printing and we all tried different toners to give our images a slight tinge in colour.  I can remember using Tea, Coffee and, my favourite, beetroot.

CEP - Indian SummerThis is Indian Summer.  I can see this one being used a lot.  I like it.  I wanted to try Monday Morning, but it just didn’t work with this image.

CEP - SolarisationHere is the Solarisation Filter.  Pretty cool effect and a bit of fun.  Not really sure what you would use it for, though I used to know a guy that painted images that looked similar to this, they were pretty amazing.

There are many filters and some recipes.  It is fun to play with and I have used some of the filters to great effect, you have seen some.  For me it is just as important to have as Silver Efex.  Next week we might look at another Nik Software product, Dfine.  It is apparently very good at reducing noise in your images.  That is something I need to look at, since my camera can produce quite a bit when I go up the ISO.

I know that Topaz have some similar products, but they haven’t been great with allowing me to have extra time to try the stuff out.  I downloaded all the software before Christmas, and of course didn’t have enough time to try them out, now the trial time has run out and I can’t try them.  Oh well.  Perhaps if they read this, they might let me have an extended trial period, then again, I am enjoying the Nik Software products.

For those interested, todays image of the Thistle was taken in the Kitchen Garden at Heide last Saturday.

ReWorking Scraggy and Craggy

For those that have been following me for a while might remember this tree.

Scraggy, Craggy Tree I took this image on a trip to Daylesford with my daughter.  I first saw it when we were going, and on the way back I stopped to take photos of it.  The image was first posted in June.  I also had a couple of goes workings with it.  The image was a HDR that was processed in Photomatix, and turned into black and white in Photoshop.

Since getting Silver Efex Pro 2 from Nik Software I have been playing with it quite a bit, and I thought today it might be fun to try some images, or one anyway, that I had done in black and white previously and do it using Silver Efex.

First of all I had to redo the HDR, so this time I used HDR Efex to do the HDR conversion.

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - HDRThis is the image straight from HDR Efex, I didn’t do any other processing to it.  I am quite happy with this.  I have tried some other images and got the horrible halo, but it isn’t here, and even the areas around the branches have been processed well, something that Photomatix can struggle with.

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - Silver Efex 1This was the first attempt in Silver Efex.  I did use the Add Control Point tool to give more detail around the tree trunk, but I quite liked what the preset did to the sky.  I used Low Key for this, it is becoming one of my favourites.  Once it was back in Photoshop I used the gradient tool to do some vignetting.

I like the darkness and the scariness of this one.  I went back past this tree when my daughter and I were coming back from the Daylesford Market, and I stopped to take some photos, but it didn’t look as good any more  it had leaves on it.  It was beautiful, but it didn’t have that scariness about it any more

Scraggy, Craggy Tree - Silver Efex 2This attempt was done using the preset High Structure, and a little Add Control on the trunk as well.  I also used the gradient tool, but not as heavily on this one.

I do like the Silver Efex ones more.  Though, if you didn’t have Silver Efex you could probably do a lot of this stuff in another editing program.  I think Topaz Adjust would help a lot too, you can get some detail in that.

While I was looking for this image I found a lot of photos that I could rework, I couldn’t believe that I had once thought they were so good, makes you question lots.

Disappointment and Nikon

The D5100 is being picked up today, sometime.  It was nice having a go at it.  I also found out today that Nikon is not going to sponsor me, not for anything.  I am so disappointed, but then again, most of my dealings with Nikon have been disappointing.  They are terrible at responding to emails, and you are often left in the dark with no idea what is going on.  The first email I sent them, actually the first two, got no response until I told them that Canon were lending me cameras.

I did ask about sponsorship, and I will admit I thought there would be more discussion than simply getting a no.  I thought they would want to know more information about the blog and what my plans were for it.  I don’t think they even looked at me or my blog seriously.

When I got the email, my first thought was “I knew it”, then I got really angry and disappointed.  They sponsor some crap things, and things that can’t possibly help them, so why not me.  They sent me some crap merchandise the other day, and I will admit that all I wanted to do was throw it in the bin.  Here is a brand that I have been using and talking about for over 15 years, and this is how I get treated by them.

I even started considering how I could sell the gear I have and jump ship to Canon, which at this point I would really consider, except that I can’t afford it.  So, from now on, when people ask me what brand of camera they should buy, they will get an honest answer and consideration will be given to other brands as well.  I will have to start doing research.  I am no longer a Nikon girl, and Nikon no longer deserve my loyalty.  In my book loyalty works both ways.

Disappointment is a terrible thing.  Would I buy a D800 now, no, my research into the camera has led me to believe it would probably be a disappointment.  I would probably be better off staying with what I have right now.

The Efex of Colour

Two weeks ago I played with Silver Efex Pro 2 and fell in love with it.  Since I now have Color Efex Pro 4 from Nik Software I thought it was time I had a play with it as well.  Can I just say, I am so impressed.  It is really good and the things you can do are pretty wild.

I first did this image in July.  The processed image has become one of my favourites, this was the original image.  It is hard to know what image to use when using software for the first time, but I decided that this one would be good for it.  I like the composition and the colours are nice.

So, decision made, image chosen, just need to open up Color Efex and see what I can do with it.

I hope you can tell that I have done something to it.  Color Efex, like Silver Efex has a whole heap of filters, or presets, and you can go through them and see what each one does to your images.  Some are pretty wild, and some are really good.  This one is the Classical Soft Focus.  One of the things I also like is that you don’t have to settle for the filter, you can change it as well, you can add more focus, or take out strength, you make it what you want.

Here is another filter.  This one is Film Efex Vintage.  Does it look like a really old photo.  Love the whiting around the edges.

This filter is Low Key, and has made it look dark, again there are lots of things that you can do to change or tweak the image to exactly what you want.  Then if you do work out what you want with the changes, you can save them so you don’t have to remember them all the time.

Paper Toner is what this one is called.  There are also a lot of different tones that you can add to the image.

I am amazed at how many filters there are.  If you like playing with your images, this is a lot of fun.  I also like the Efex because they don’t turn your image into something silly and the results give you something that you can leave as it is, or work on some more.  I must try and incorporate some of these into my art images.  I know I will be using that first one a lot.  I love that one.

Like Silver Efex Pro 2, you can download a trial version and test it out, just go to Nik Software and try it out.

I haven’t done a lot with it yet, and I will try it out more in the near future.  This has been a really crazy week.  I have job on that is making me travel all over the place and it is tiring me out.  It has been good, but exhausting.  It is the constant trying to work out what images to take and how to take them.  I also have my last class this Saturday and I have to write some notes on Portrait photography, and I just don’t know what to say.  I will come up with something.

I am sorry about not responding to all your comments, but I will get onto them soon.


I have been nominated for the Reader Appreciation Award from mightyturk.

You can check out the post here

Thank you very much mightyturk, I am honoured.

Entry Through the Side Door

The side door to the school.  It was our first realisation that the school was open, that all the doors were open.  The door at the front was open, but I initially thought it was because there were people in there, there was a car parked in the carpark.  We went around the side, we saw the door open and then further up another door was.

This is the side entry of the school that I have been showing the last first weeks.  One of the first images I showed was the stairwell that is inside of this structure here.  The windows here are the graffiti covered windows that cast the wonderful shadows on the wall.  It doesn’t look so grand on the outside.

I loved the tall structure.  We don’t see many three story school buildings here, there are many two stories, but not three.  It is very unusual.   Our schools are very functional, but rarely are they architecturally interesting.  I do like the stairwell though, and the curved building, it is nice to see something interesting incorporated into the building.

This image was processed in Photomatix Pro, with four images, I then processed it in much the same way as many other images.  I have done many layers, and blurred some.  I made the image warmer again.  In some ways I am disappointed that the sun wasn’t shining as well.  It had been the previous week.  There is the original image on the right.  I haven’t really done that much to this one.  I quite liked it as it was.

I processed this in Silver Efex Pro 2.  As I have done in the past few weeks, I have given you the option of seeing it in black and white.  There are so many options in Silver Efex, that each time I go into it I find new things to try.

Now for the sepia version.  Again, this was processed in Silver Efex with a different preset and then a sepia tone was added to it.

Again, many choices for you to choose from.  I do like them all, though I wonder if the black and white this time might be a little better than the others.

Nik Software

My trial period for Silver Efex Pro 2 is almost finished, and I have really enjoyed using it.  I am very happy to say that Nik Software have given me a special license to be able to continue using their software.  I have downloaded HDR Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex Pro 4 now, so I will begin experimenting with them and you should see some images processed with them soon.  I am excited to start playing with both.

I did go out this morning to take some photos.  I used my new backpack, it was wonderful and very easy to use.  It really is comfortable on. I also took the Canon EOS 600D with me, and my Nikon.  I tried to do photos so that the same images were taken with each camera.  I thought it might be nice to compare images.  You will see those images tomorrow.