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Creating recipes in Color Efex Pro

From: Nik Creative Effects Workshop

Video: Creating recipes in Color Efex Pro

Color Efex Pro 4 is a collection of a large number of filters that can be combined together into something called recipes. When you first open the filter you will notice there are a set of pre set recipes that are included. Let's take a look at some of these. The first one here called Black Gold as you can see is a combination of total contrast, detail extractor, reflector effects, levels and curves, and colorize. Each one of these, as you go through, you'll see is a combination of a variety of different filters. Some have just a few of them, and some have quite a lot. But of course, the real power is not in using the built in recipes, but in creating your own.

Creating recipes in Color Efex Pro

Color Efex Pro 4 is a collection of a large number of filters that can be combined together into something called recipes. When you first open the filter you will notice there are a set of pre set recipes that are included. Let's take a look at some of these. The first one here called Black Gold as you can see is a combination of total contrast, detail extractor, reflector effects, levels and curves, and colorize. Each one of these, as you go through, you'll see is a combination of a variety of different filters. Some have just a few of them, and some have quite a lot. But of course, the real power is not in using the built in recipes, but in creating your own.

So let's have a look at how that's done. To start, clear out any existing filters by simply tapping on the x next to each one to remove it from the list. Until you end up with one empty filter. As you can see we're now looking at the original image with no effect applied. Then go to the filter list. You can narrow down the filters by clicking on these different categories. And it's worth noting that you may find some of the same filters listed under multiple categories. Or we can simply look at all of them together by tapping on the All button. To add a filter simply click on it to select it. And as you can see that filter is now added over here on the recipe stack. Every time you click on another filter the current filter will be replaced with the one that you just selected.

To add an additional filter on top of the current one, you need to first click on, Add filter, which creates a new empty filter container. And then you can click on another filter to add that to the batch. Going through this process, you can add as many different filters as you want to create your own customized effect. It's also worth noting that the order of these effects could greatly affect the final result. For example, here I have Film Effects, Faded at the end. But let's see what happens if I move that to the top. Simply click and drag it to the top and as you can see the image has changed.

Once you come up with a combination of the effects that you want, to save it simply click on Save Recipe. You can then enter a name for that, and save it out. But before I do, there's something else that you need to see. You may have already heard about control points. For example, if I wish to add a control point to this image, and drop it right in the center here, it's going to effect how this image looks. However, when you save a recipe, the control points are not going to be saved. That's fine, because control points are usually very image specific. But there's a very important thing to realize here.

By adding that plus control point, I've just set the overall opacity to zero. When I save this recipe, since the control point won't be added, the overall opacity will still be set at zero. And so this particular filter will, for all intents and purposes, not even be applied. Let's take a look at that happening, so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. I'm going to go ahead and remove all of the effects here, once again by tapping on the x button. Then I'll add something really obvious, like black and white conversion, and add a simple control point into the middle of the scene. What I've just done is controlled a black and white conversion over just this one area.

Let's put it right on the leaf. So now, I've made a black and white leaf, and if we expand the Control Points control, you'll see that the opacity overall, is set to 0. And I have a Control Point added here. Now, let's go ahead and save that as a recipe. I'll save that as My Black and White, and click okay. Let's go ahead and reset this again, just to ensure that we have a clean starting point. And now as we can see over here, my black and white recipe doesn't have any effect applied to it. In fact, if I click on it to apply it, we'll see the black and white conversion added, but the image hasn't changed.

That's because, once again, the control point has not been saved and yet the opacity set at 0 has. So it's very important to insure that you do set your control points effectively. And here's a little tip. Let's say that you've created a complex recipe that involved a particular filter like black and white that you added control points to. And before you applied that recipe to your image by clicking Save, you wanted to save it. So you went ahead and clicked on Save Recipe. But then later, you realized that you had applied this effect with the control point which wasn't saved. And unfortunately, one of your sliders was set at 0% opacity. We don't have to redo everything.

First, go back into the filter and reload the recipe. Then make the correction you need. For example, here, by taking the opacity up to 100. And then back over here on the recipes and you can click on the Refresh button to update this recipe with the current settings. When you click on that, the filter will ask you to confirm that you want to replace the existing recipe, click on yes and as you can see that recipe effect has now been saved. If you want to move your recipes to another system, you can export all of them by clicking on the Export All button, or export an individual one by clicking on the out arrow here.

This will allow you to create a file containing these recipes which you can then move to another system, or even put them on your website for others to download. Recipes are a fantastic way to save some of the hard work that you may have come up with while going through the various filters inside of Nik's Color Efex Pro 4.

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Nik Creative Effects Workshop

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Joseph Linaschke
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