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Thread: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

  1. #1
    Boatman's Avatar
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    NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    With the recent price drop, I purchased a copy of the NIK software package. I've figured out how to use several of the applications, including Silver Efex. I'm quite impressed with the 'structure' feature. The attached two photos are of the same image; one the output from quite a lot of Lr and CS4 work and the other, the exact same image then further adjusted with Silver Ffex adding +40 structure - no other changes.

    There is quite a dramatic difference between the images. I don't think you can achieve this with LR 'clarity', though I think the two tools are related. My question (I guess this is a question) is; what are best practices for using this tool without creating freakish looking images? To me, this seems a bit like hot sauce; a little bit makes many things taste better, but too much ruins the food. How much do others like to pour on?

    (Don't fret about the apparent over sharpening of the mountains. That's a JPG conversion thing an not in the TIFF files.)

    NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    With Siler Efex +40 Structure
    NIK Silver Efex - Structure

  2. #2
    pnodrog's Avatar
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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    It has certainly lifted and increased contrast in the shadow and midtone regions.

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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    In focus areas have far better microcontrast and tonality - very out of focus areas become a disaster if you're using a shallow DoF

    I use it all the time in layers...

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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    Phil: I found that a little goes a long ways with the structure slider however I love what it can do. Sometimes I apply it with the brush so only those areas I want.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    I use the same effect in a different software application to emphasize texture. It works like a charm, though as you mention, when used judiciously.

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    dubaiphil's Avatar
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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Phil: I found that a little goes a long ways with the structure slider however I love what it can do. Sometimes I apply it with the brush so only those areas I want.

    Cheers:

    Allan
    Yes

    In the above example, everything is near or at infinity, so structure can be applied globally on the image. Put a subject in the foreground and blur the background and you will end up with halos around the clouds and a look which may not be to your taste. Increased shadow noise occurs as well.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    I would agree that structure in SEP2 is best applied via control points so that you can target it. And to train yourself to not go over-the-top in its use, I think it's better to zoom up the image to at least 100% on the area on which you want to apply it, so you can better see the effect of slight adjustment.

    The other thing is to explore the use of Fine Structure and the interplay between it and Structure. It's very easy to go 'crunchy' when you start using both, but when it works it can add that extra 'pop'. One of Nik's own webinars had a good bit on this, but I'm not able to search for that just now.

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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    I found it best to let an image rest after applying sharpening, structure, clarity types of tools. I tend to initially overdo things that I can't initially see. After a couple of days, I revisit my work and often find that I made my image too "crispy."

    Karm

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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    Thank you - all useful comments. Allen, can you explain the brush tool a little or lead me to a tutorial?I looked at it but didn't understand it well. Looks like you are either brushing the in Efex or adjusting it with a mask.

    Here's another similar image (same day, same scene) converted and adjusted in Lr then opened directly into Efex. This actually does not have much structure added, but it still gets the punch.

    NIK Silver Efex - Structure

  10. #10

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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    Homer: once you have made your adjustments, at the bottom of the right hand corner you have cancel, OK, and brush. if you hit brush than it take you bask to photoshop and creates a mask that you either brush on the effect or erase off the effect, once done than you click apply and it is applied to the image. This will not work if the image layer is a smart layer or has been converted to smart layer.

    Cheers:

    Allan

  11. #11
    Boatman's Avatar
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    Re: NIK Silver Efex - Structure

    Thanks, Allan. That was just enough explanation to get me started. Unfortunately, about 60% of the time CS4 crashes when I try to move out of panel view and use the brush tool. It may be my older version of Photoshop or it may be my mode - 8 bit seems more stable - or it may be the sequence of steps I'm doing. I can tell from my computer's fan speeds that this tool is taking a lot of computational processing!

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