Dreamy Cosmos

Podcast 267 : Silver Efex Pro in Use (Video)

Having used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2, among other plugins for around a year and a half now, I have been meaning to talk more about this amazing plugin for some time. So today, we’re going to touch on some of the times that I reach for Silver Efex Pro, and I’m also going to walk you through a black and white conversion as well today.

You can also view the embedded video right here on your iPad, thanks to a recent Vimeo update!

Note that there is an iPod/iPhone version of this video in iTunes, but watching on a computer, the video above is better.

Here are the images that we looked at in the video, just for reference.

My Favourite Biei Tree

My Favourite Biei Tree

Bright Pink Comos, in B&W

Bright Pink Comos, in B&W

Dreamy Cosmos

Dreamy Cosmos

Another Dreamy Cosmos

Another Dreamy Cosmos



UPDATE: Silver Efex Pro 2 is now in its second version, and if you decide to buy a copy, use this link, or the code MBP15, for a 15% discount. [Discount code no longer valid]

Podcast show-notes:

Music created and produced by UniqueTracks.

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Martin Bailey
Martin Bailey is a nature and wildlife photographer and educator based in Tokyo. He's a pioneering Podcaster and blogger, and an X-Rite Coloratti member.
  • Doug
    Posted at 01:17h, 09 November Reply

    Nice walk-through of Silver Efex Pro. I thought I’d mention a really effective use of Silver Efex Pro for color images that I picked up from some other random blog. One of the great features of Silver Efex Pro is the Structure control. For images that have a lot of texture or need to have some, well, “structure” pulled out of them, perform a Silver Efex Pro conversion using something along the lines of the “High Structure” preset, and then selectively apply that with Luminosity blending mode, masking and adjusting opacity as needed. I often do several Silver Efex Pro conversions with different Structure settings and color filters and apply those to different portions of the (color or B&W) image.

    I’ve found that this simple technique replaces a lot of work that I used to do with selectively applied contrast, local contrast, sharpening, and curves adjustment layers.

    In general, it is worth noting the value of performing multiple B&W conversions (often one roughly along the lines of “High Structure” preset and another more neutral) and combining them.


  • Andrew Cooper
    Posted at 21:10h, 12 November Reply

    Hi Martin, really enjoyed the silver efx pro walkthrough. I bought this a while ago and have enjoyed using it so much. I followed you and bought viveza2, are you likely to do a similar beginners guide for this as i am sure that I’m not getting the most out of the software. As you have tried the hdr, how does it compare to photomatrix?
    I found the episode on signing your work very informative as I have been approached to provide some photographs for an area at work and the episode was very well timed. Keep up the excellent work
    Regards Andrew

  • sherry resnick
    Posted at 21:01h, 04 December Reply

    I have bee using Silver Effects for several months and like the results but I learned a few new techniques which adds to my knowledge. So thank you. sr

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 21:34h, 04 December Reply

    Hi Andrew,

    Sorry for the late reply! I somehow didn’t see this.

    Glad you enjoyed the work-through. I actually don’t have Viveza 2 yet, though I’d like it. I didn’t upgrade because I haven’t really used Viveza 1, that came with the complete set that I bought originally. I’m thinking that I will be good until Nik releases another full set with upgrades for everything.

    I did try the HDR plugin, but for now I actually went back to Photomatix, as I couldn’t get the results I wanted quickly enough. I’m kind of impatient with these plugins, and if it requires much time to figure things out I go back to my tried and tested method until I can make time to play.

    Glad you liked the episode on signing prints too. It’s a subject I’ve not seen many tackle, so I thought I’d give it a bash.

    Hi Sherry,

    I’m glad you learned a few new techniques with this too. I was using SEP for over a year before I learned some of these techniques, so I totally understand.


  • debi anderson
    Posted at 22:07h, 04 December Reply

    I’ve been using silver efex pro for a while, BUT thank you for First showing me some BEAUTIFUL photography with your lensbabys (which I have – but seldom use – need to dust those off!)

    and, second, you explained some features in silver efex that I never quite understood – so I hope you do some more of these pod casts.. great job!!!

  • alan
    Posted at 22:57h, 04 December Reply

    Nice video. And I’m finding your Lightroom 3 book very helpful.

  • Martin Bailey
    Posted at 10:14h, 06 December Reply

    Thanks Debi! I’m pleased this was useful, and thanks for the kind words about my work! I’ll certainly do more of these, intermingled with my regular audio podcast episodes.

    Thanks Alan too. I haven’t actually released a Lightroom 3 book (I wish I had!) so you might be mixing me up with someone else, which I appreciate. 🙂


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