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Thread: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    My starting point for this B & W conversion was the 'Film Noir 1' preset in Nik's Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in. I then started adjusting sliders, etc from there. The long exposure flattened out the water and gave the cloud the effect I wanted.

    I'm normally not really in to adding grain into a digital image and very rarely do it (we spent years with film trying to reduce the effect of grain!). But in this case, it seemed appropriate. Your thoughts?

    Cloud brushing Ben Lomond

    Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets
    40D, 70-200mm f/4L IS @ 70mm. ISO100. 5m32s@f16. Singh Ray Vari ND
    Last edited by Donald; 27th June 2013 at 06:59 AM.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    A very nice image donald. My only question is , how does it print? How it looks on screen, and how it prints, are two different things. (After all, the print is what we are really after )

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Donald, a very nice image.

    Bruce

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    I like long exposures in B&W and I do like this image.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Hi Donald - I know exactly what you mean about the grain - but, we have to learn to relax and enjoy the new processing abilities instead of being held back by our old ideas and feelings (about film). I really like it - the composition appeals to me and I love the clouds!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    A very nice image donald. My only question is , how does it print? How it looks on screen, and how it prints, are two different things. (After all, the print is what we are really after )
    Don't know, Steve. Haven't tried it yet., I suspect that I'll have to do another version and wind back on the grain count.

    Thank you all for commenting. Your correct, Susan, It is about a creative process and we should use the tools at our disposal.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Donald;

    I like this image a lot and applaud your creative attempt here! I have been back to the image a couple of times as there was something nagging at me and I think that it is the strength of the vignette on the bottom corners and sides. I wonder if making that a bit more subtle might work better on this image?

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by ShaneS View Post
    ... I think that it is the strength of the vignette on the bottom corners and sides. I wonder if making that a bit more subtle might work better on this image?
    Thanks for commenting Shane. It's a good point. It's something that I would normally never do; i.e. go as far as this with a vignette. Indeed, I pulled it back quite a bit from what the 'Film Noir 1' preset in Silver Efex Pro 2 puts in.

    It leads to a very interesting question about vignettes.

    My 'rule-of-thumb' is, when I do apply one, is always to go for a vignette that is barely noticeable. However two photographers whose work I greatly admire, Michael Kenna and Josef Hoflehner, both often use heavy vignettes such as I have used here.

    Interesting to get other views about this.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Donald...this is only my very humble opinion and doesn't count for a even half hill of beans in the light of your expertise.

    The vignette bottom left and right gives an almost triangular look and makes me think of album photo corners and that makes the eye look for the ones on the top corners instead of enjoying the pic.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by Daisy Mae View Post
    Donald...this is only my very humble opinion
    Humble opinions are always welcome. They are usually suggestive of the fact that the commentator has given some considered thought as to what he/she is about to write.

    The vignette is centred, so the effect at the top is the same as at the bottom. But I agree that it doesn't look like that. Mmm?
    Last edited by Donald; 28th June 2013 at 03:42 PM.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    I had a good photographer tell me that if you can see the vignetting, it's too much. I agree with him if you are trying to guide the viewer towards a specific object or area of the image. I think a noticeable vignette is acceptable if you want to create a frame, such as image below (which is not a good image and only intended to show the concept). It might also work for artfully hiding distracting elements in the corners or edges. My two cents worth...

    Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Curtis View Post
    I had a good photographer tell me that if you can see the vignetting, it's too much. I agree with him if you are trying to guide the viewer towards a specific object or area of the image.
    Ken - I'll have to disagree with you on that one. The main reason I use vignetting is specifically to guide the viewer's eye to a specific area of the image.

    Without vignetting the bottom corners of the image in Donald's edit, the light tones in the water would cause the viewer's eyes to wander. The vignetting helps focus the eyes on the subject in this image. Our eyes are drawn to light areas, so the only way to de-emphasise them is to darken them up and direct the viewer's eyes inward.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Vignetting is a very powerful tool. It doesn't have to be obvious to be effective. (I'm on the side of the fenc,e of not obvious, looks better ).

    There are lots of ways to make a vignette. I regularly use 3 different vignettes in my edits, and they aren't very obvious, yet have a big impact. Using layers is the key, to a good vignette.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    Ken - The main reason I use vignetting is specifically to guide the viewer's eye to a specific area of the image.
    Hi Manfred. Sorry if I was not clear. I agree that vignetting is a good way to guide the viewer's eye to a specific area of the the image. I use it all the time for this purpose. I was trying to say that if you can see the vignetting, as you can in Donald's image, the vignetting is too strongly applied. The vignetting can be more subtle, not noticeable to the average person, and achieve the guiding result.

    It might be interesting to see what Donald's image would look like with a much weaker vignetting.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Using layers is the key, to a good vignette.
    I believe Donald was using Silver Efex Pro 2 to make multiple adjustments in converting a color image to a black and white. I use the program and love it. If memory serves me correctly, SEP2 has controls for the vignette to set the strength, blend and size. If Donald wanted a vignette, he might have tried a much lower strength, so corner was not as dark, and a different blending, so the transition from darker corner to lighter center was more gradual. BTW, I am only talking about techniques for vignetting. I am not making a judgement about whether Donald should or should not have done the vignetting the way he did.

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    Re: Getting adventurous (!) with Silver Efex Pro 2 presets

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Curtis View Post
    I believe Donald was using Silver Efex Pro 2 to make multiple adjustments in converting a color image to a black and white. I use the program and love it. If memory serves me correctly, SEP2 has controls for the vignette to set the strength, blend and size. If Donald wanted a vignette, he might have tried a much lower strength, so corner was not as dark, and a different blending, so the transition from darker corner to lighter center was more gradual. BTW, I am only talking about techniques for vignetting. I am not making a judgement about whether Donald should or should not have done the vignetting the way he did.
    I've never cared for vignette sliders...............................your subject isn't always round or oval, so why should the vignette be? A good vignette, can direct the viewer 'anywhere' in the image. It can take the exact shape of the subject, or loosly fit around the subject, or both.

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