Creating Outstanding Black and White Images

In a slight change of plan to the one described in our previous Nik blog post, this week we’ll be looking at how to create outstanding black and white images using Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

In a nutshell, Silver Efex Pro 2 allows you to turn any digital image (colour or otherwise) into black and white one.

Inspired by the darkroom, Silver Efex Pro 2 is arguably Nik’s flagship product. Whenever we’re at a trade show it’s more often than not one of our most recognisable and liked products on show. Indeed, many of our staff here with a keen interest and experience in photography express how good and powerful Silver Efex Pro 2 is. EISA agreed too; awarding it ‘Best Product’ in their photo software category 2011-12.

So what makes Silver Efex Pro 2 so complete?

Black and white effects can create a timeless, classic feel to images. Silver Efex Po 2 quickly and effortlessly transforms digital colour photographs into artistic, sophisticated black and white images. By taking advantage of intelligent tools and presets, and Nik’s U Point Technology, you can open up a range of precise, creative and experimental options for black and white images.

Silver Efex Pro 2 includes a host of features, effects and presets to get the best out of your imagery:

‘Dynamic Brightness’ ensures that different areas of your image receive different brightening adjustments based on the tonal values of that area. This means that darker areas within an image can get brighter without affecting the lighter areas of the image and visa-versa. Traditionally this process would take time to do in Photoshop, but Silver Efex Pro 2 does this in minutes.

‘Structure and Fine Structure’ adjustments enhance light and dark uniformity throughout an image using Structure Control. This works by working precisely ‘between’ edges and defined lines within an image, consequently bringing out textures and details. Crucially, it does this without creating an over-sharpened look, which can cause an un-natural or over-saturated looking image.

A ‘Grain Engine’ feature helps you set the mood of an image. Using powerful algorithms, Silver Efex Pro 2 allows you to layer grain on an image using grain settings pre-defined by you. This results in a more ‘natural’ looking, nostalgic image.

These are just a few of the features contained within Silver Efex Pro 2, there are many others that make it a supremely powerful tool for editing images. For a complete feature run-down, the Nik Software webpage details exactly what you get in the software.

There’s also further descriptions here.

In two weeks time we’ll continue our bi-weekly feature on Nik Software, taking a closer look at the Nik plug-in range as a whole, and more importantly, why you need them.