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Nik Software's plugins are loaded with powerful tools that can be combined in endless ways. In this workshop, photographic storyteller Joseph Linaschke takes a creative and personalized approach to these plugins, showing you how he uses them to create amazing skies, gorgeous skin, vintage film looks, perfect white backgrounds, custom recipes, and so much more using Color Efex Pro, Viveza, and Silver Efex Pro. He also explains how to use Silver Efex Pro 2 to make gorgeous black-and-white images and teaches a unique non-HDR compositing technique for HDR Efex Pro. Along the way, get tips on using Nik's zone system and U Point technology and be introduced to the fun new Snapseed app for the desktop.
When preparing a file to send to any of the Nick plugins, it's a good idea to send a file that's as clean as it can possibly be. If we look at this file closely, it actually looks pretty good. We Zoom into it even and start panning around, chances are, we're not going to find too many spots that need retouching in here. And as I look around here, there really doesn't seem to be much of anything. So I'm going to go ahead and Zoom out, and just open this up in one of my favorite plugins, Silver Effects Pro 2. For me, when I'm converting an image to black and white, I like to go really dark and crunchy. If we look at some of the presets in here, for example, you can see that we can do some pretty dramatic things with our black and white image.
So for example here, the sky has gone almost completely black, the clouds are really bright and poppy, and so on. This is a little bit overkill. But what happens when we start picking some of these presets is sensor spots become really, really obvious. Take a look up here. Let's just Zoom into that for a moment. I'll just scan up to the top of the screen. As you can see, there are a number of sensor spots that have become quite apparent that we didn't really see before. There's a couple more over here in the top left corner. There's one and another one, and I also know there's a big one right on the arch itself.
Let me take this filter down a little bit so it's not quite so contrasty and maybe we'll see some of these others spots that are hiding around in there. There's one right there, if we Zoom into that. Pan over, there's a couple more in the sky. And here's one that's sitting on the arch itself. So as we can see there are a quite few spots in here. This is not ideal of course. We don't want to have to deal with all these sensor spots in here so it would be better if we did our retouching before we got over to any of the net plug-ins. We could of course do the retouching afterwards but it's my preference to do the retouching beforehand so that we're always dealing with the raw file. So we have the most data possible for doing our retouching. If I just cancel out of here and go back to aperture and start looking for these spots.
Chances are I'll miss them again because I missed them the first time, so why should I see them this time around. So what I like to do is utilize an effect like this in Silver Effects Pro 2 to make the spots really come out. And then render this back to Aperture and use this as the reference point for retouching all those spots. Let me show you what I mean. I'll go ahead and click on Save here. And this is going to create a new version of the image and rendered this back into Aperture. So, if we look at our Viewer Plus browser view, we'll see both the original and the one that we just created. Let's just go ahead and Zoom into this a little bit. Let's Zoom down here at the bottom and as we can see, there's a couple of spots. If I tap on the picture before it, the original.
We're looking at the same spot, and well, look at that! There are those spots but they sure weren't easy to see. Let's look at another example. If I go up here in the clouds I think we'll find some more spots up here. Here we go, up towards the top, there's a whole row of them. Again, looking at the original image, almost impossible to see those spots there. One more example over here in the corner. Again, two various obvious spots there. But looking at the original, well, there they are, but they sure were hard to see. If you're using Photoshop for your work, what you could do is take a look at this photo and use it as an example and keep referencing back to the original and doing your retouching here, while looking for the spots here.
However, in Aperture, it's even easier, because we can utilize something called Lift and Stamp. Lift and stamp allows me to take any adjustment applied to this image, lift it or copy it off of this one and then stamp it or paste it onto another. Let me show you what I mean. Let's go into the Viewer only mode, so that I have a little bit more space. And I'll get my retouching brush from here. And I also want to make this brush a little bit smaller. You can see it's quite large here for the spots that we'll be dealing with. I could take this down to about the right size, and then start clicking on here,. I'm currently using a Wacom Pen Tablet, and I really like using these for a lot of work in Aperture, but when it comes to retouching I don't want a pressure sensitive brush applying to the retouching on here.
What I really want is just one single solid click on there, so when I'm going to do my retouching work, I usually revert to using a mouse or a track pad. Let me just Undo the retouch that I just added and I'll switch to my Track Pad here and now I'll just start going over the image and clicking, just one little click or tap to retouch the spots that I want to get rid of. This allows me to apply a 100 percent strength tap no matter where I go. There we can see we got rid of those spots. Let's go to the ones down at the bottom there. They were pretty obvious. Here we go. Find those, and once again, I'll just tap.
This one's a bit bigger here. Let's make that a little bit of a bigger retouch and spot that out. And then let's go up to the top and get rid of a couple of these. Here we go. So there's one more there, there, there and there. So obviously I haven't gotten rid of all the sensor spots on this image, but for the purpose of this presentation, you can see that we've retouched a fair number of these spots and I'm now ready to lift and stamp these onto the other image. So, just again as a point of comparison let's go back over here to this image, get rid of my retouching brush. And as we can see the spots are now gone.
Yet, if I tap the left arrow to go to the previous image, the spots on the color one on the original one are still there. So here's what we're going to do. Let's go ahead back into our Split View and Zoom out so we see the whole image. And in fact, I'll just put these two images side by side. And now what I want to do is just Lift and Stamp the effects from this photo and stamp them onto this one. To do that, click on the Lift icon here. That opens up the Lift and Stamp dialog. And as you can see it's already lifted all the data from this picture. You'll notice that it's also lifted IPTC data.
Which in this case I don't actually need. So I'm going to go ahead and just disable that. I also don't need the Rating, so I'll disable that. If I open the Adjustments, we'll see that I have the Retouching and that's the one that I want. There's eleven strokes that we've added and we are going to with just a couple of clicks, take all eleven of these, or it could be a hundred or a thousand of them, and stamp them onto this image here. So it's already lifted, so now all we have to do is click on the target image and then click on Stamp selected images. You'll want to take special note of this drop down here, whether is says add or replace. If I choose replace, it will replace any other adjustments I may already have on that image, which is probably not what you want to do at this stage.
So, make sure that you have it set to add. So it adds this retouching without removing any other adjustments you already may have applied. So, that's all set up. I simply click on Stamp selected images, and we'll close out the Lift and Stamp dialog box. Now, let's go ahead and Zoom into both of these side by side and we'll be able to see the spots are gone, in fact, on both images. So here they are across the top, and there's one that I haven't gotten rid of yet. And if we go back down to the bottom we'll see here, of course they're all retouched out as well. So by doing this, you're able to very easily identify all the censor spots that you need to get rid of.
Do the work on an image where it's much easier to see them, and then simply Lift and Stamp the corrections over to the other image. Once you've done that, you're now ready to take this image off into Silver Effects Pro or any other plugin, knowing with confidence that all of those nasty sensor spots have been retouched away.
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