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Balancing levels

From: Nik Creative Effects Workshop

Video: Balancing levels

When opening an image in any of the nic plug-ins. You always want to ensure you're sending off the best quality file possible. Notice we are working with a RAW image here. Regarding if you are working in Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture. If you're starting with a RAW file, before you can send it off to nic plug-ins, the file is going to be converted to a TIFF, a PSD, or some other format. If we send the file as it is, often add plug-ins, as you can see, we're not really going to be sending off the maximum amount of data. Look at all the shadow detail that is simply not showing up in here. We have a big gap of the shadow area, where we could stretch this histogram out, to fill in the full width of the histogram, and get a lot more detail in there.

Balancing levels

When opening an image in any of the nic plug-ins. You always want to ensure you're sending off the best quality file possible. Notice we are working with a RAW image here. Regarding if you are working in Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture. If you're starting with a RAW file, before you can send it off to nic plug-ins, the file is going to be converted to a TIFF, a PSD, or some other format. If we send the file as it is, often add plug-ins, as you can see, we're not really going to be sending off the maximum amount of data. Look at all the shadow detail that is simply not showing up in here. We have a big gap of the shadow area, where we could stretch this histogram out, to fill in the full width of the histogram, and get a lot more detail in there.

Now, it's true that I could open this as a TIF file Internet plugins. And then using the curves in there to stretch this out. However, I'd be stretching out an essentially flattened file. Whereas, if I'm working with the raw data, and I stretch the file out before I send it off, I'll get a much better result. So, you can do this using either curves or levels. I personally prefer to use curves, but it doesn't really matter for something quite this simple. As you can see in here, there's the histogram. Here's my black point. And all I really needed to do is take my black point and drop it to the bottom of the mountain.

Now in this particular image this gets quite dark down here in the shadow areas and frankly, it's a little bit too dark for my personal taste. So I'm going to go ahead and slide this back up just a little bit, just to open up those shadows a touch. I'll probably end up crunching those shadows quite a bit more in one of my plugins. However, for now, this is the type of file that I want to send off. Again, it's important to send off as much data as you possibly can. Just ensuring that you're getting the image quality that you deserve when you're working inside ofINAUDIBLE plugins. If you happen to be working in Aperture, you need to make a decision about what type of file you're going to be sending off. By going to the export plug in.

You'll see that you have some choices here for your external folder editor. As well as what type of file format will be sent off to the editor. Now in this case I'm not actually sending it to Photoshop. I'm going to be sending it to a Nick plug in. However the extender editor file format is still used when I choose to open with a different plug in. With an aperture you have the choice between psd for Photoshop or Tif. These can be 8 or 16 bit files. It's up to you what you want to send. If I'm sending a file to Photoshop I'll always send a psd file so I can take advantage of Photoshop's layers.

If I'm sending it to a plugin like Nic then I'm just going to set it to Tif. I can also choose between eight and 16 bit, but for the most part eight bit is going to be just fine. Now when I right-click on the image and I choose to edit with a plug-in, and I choose any plug-in such as Silver Effects Pro 2, as you can see Aperture is going to generate that tif file for me. A similar process will happen whether you're working in Lightroom, or in Photoshop.

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Nik Creative Effects Workshop

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Joseph Linaschke
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