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Nik Software Captured: The Complete Guide to Using Nik Software's Photographic Tools 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1118022221
ISBN-10: 111802222X
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review




Sample Photos from the Authors: Yosemite, California

Color Version
(Click on photo to zoom)
Black and White Version
(Click on photo to zoom)

This recent image taken in is a good example of how an understanding of techniques within the digital workflow can change the outcome of your image in the most positive ways. Here is a color image which based on the tonality was pre-determined to make a nice black and white. In this case we used Nik Software Silver Efex Pro 2 to change the photograph into a black and white fine art image that might sell in a gallery. First we moved the Dynamic Brightness to a lower value and increased the Soft Contrast to an increase of 30 percent. And finally we increase the Structure slider to increase localized details and give the look of more textures.

Sample Photos from the Authors: Portrait

Before
(Click on photo to zoom)
After
(Click on photo to zoom)

Often a portrait needs a simple enhancement. Here we added a little help from Nik Software Coor Efex Pro 4. First, we direct the viewer’s attention by adding Darken Lighten Center to lower the brightness of the edges. Next, we added the filter called Remove Color Cast to reduce the warmth in the image. Finally, Image Border was added suing selection #4 in the default position.

Sample Photos from the Authors: Los Angeles, California Building

Before
(Click on photo to zoom)
After
(Click on photo to zoom)

This beautiful structure in Los Angeles was the perfect example of how a little increase in control can elevate image quality. Here we again use Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 and a filter called Brilliance and Warmth. First we moved the saturation slider to the right to increase the value and then also increased the warmth slider by moving to the right. We finished it off by sliding the newest feature, Perceptual Saturation, to the right to add a unique color value to the image. The difference from before to after shows an increase in image quality and took a total editing time about approximately twenty seconds.


Review

'Good enough to be considered essential, even if you only own one of the tools covered. (Digital Photography Enthusiast, Febuary 2012)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 111802222X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118022221
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #468,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Tang on December 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book, because I found the Nik Software Collection's built-in help to be very perfunctory. The built-in help summarizes what a particular tool does and briefly describes the controls. However, it doesn't always describe what the ramifications of changing those controls do to the photo. That is why I wanted to buy this book. However, the book ends up being a mixed bag.

1) The first chapter covers some aspects of capturing photos and selecting photos to edit in post-processing. I felt that this chapter was unnecessary, because its space could have been used to talk more about the software. There are plenty of other books dedicated to the topic of capturing photos (composition, etc.) and selecting photos. Even this book states that this topic "could fill volumes" (page 3). The book may have been better off providing a short bibliography for such topics.

2) The images that show off the Nik Software interface are too small, as other reviewers have mentioned. For a book about teaching the reader how to use the software, it is essential that the images of the software interface be readable. Not everybody has good vision. In addition, the authors do not highlight parts of the interface when talking about a particular function like other photography software books. For example, the author would talk about a function and then refer to Figure X.Y. When you go look at Figure X.Y, it's hard to tell what in the interface has changed. The book should circle the area in question, use a callout, or some similar technique.

3) My main interest was in learning about all of Color Efex Pro 4's controls. On page 144, it says "With 55 filters and a pretty good online help system, we won't go into what each slider does in this book.
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Format: Paperback
Many photographers, after learning to use image processing software, start to think about getting a further edge in picture improvements. Quite often they turn to the filtering software of NIK Software, Inc. Unfortunately, the various pieces of software don't provide robust help facilities and the NIK website has plenty of training videos but most don't have a lot of depth.

It's into this vacuum that Cobell and Haftel have stepped. The book opens with chapters on editing basics and digital workflow and then reviews the editing environment (including host software Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and Aperture). There is a discussion of NIK's standardized interface and its special feature, U Point technology. Chapters, which included examples, followed on NIK's programs: Dfine 2.0; Viveza 2; HDR Efex Pro 3.0; Color Efex Pro 4; Silver Efex Pro 2; and Sharpener Pro 3.0. The authors present several examples of the joint application of several of the programs and then provide a brief history of digital photography and the history of NIK.

My experience has been primarily with HDR Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro 4, so my review of the software chapters emphasized those. The overall description of the interface, U Point technology and the individual interfaces for HDR Efex and Color Efex was far more comprehensive than anything I'd been able to learn from NIK's online help, including its extensive collection of videos. I certainly learned a few new tricks, especially about control points. On the other hand I wanted more, particularly about the 55 individual filters in Color Efex. Each of these filters has a different effect, and creates different results with their particular sliders.
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Nik's software plug-ins are fantastic tools, although documentation is sorely lacking, and the online videos only give hints at what functionality is available or how the tools can (and should) be used. "Nik Software Captured" does a good job filling this gap to provide the insights into the Nik Software plug-ins that you will have a hard time finding described elsewhere.

The book starts off discussing digital editing and workflow. One thing I found particularly valuable was a description of the pros/cons between the Lightroom/Aperture plug-ins and the Photoshop plug-ins. Had I known this earlier, I might have made a different purchasing decision. It's actually somewhat sad that this information isn't made more obvious in Nik Software's own website.

A good description of the overall interface, and the crown jewel of the Nik Software tools (U point technology) comes next. I found it refreshing to get a more technical description of how U Point works, and some commentary on how it should be used. Again, it's disappointing this information isn't really described well in other sources from Nik itself.

The next several chapters discuss each of the various tools Nik offers, with a tour of the interface and examples on how to use each product. The weakest of these chapters is probably the one on Sharpener Pro. Although there was some detail given motivating the need for the tool, I didn't find the explanations on when to use pre-sharpening vs. output sharpening very clear. It's still ambiguous to me after reading the descriptions given.

The final chapters give example sessions/workflow on example portrait and landscape photos. There are a few good ideas given, but there was nothing particularly remarkable about these topics.
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