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Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:03 am
by deaner1971
Is anyone who is using Nik software not using Nikon gear?

From what I have read, I'll have to convert my Sony RAW files to TIFFs if I want to work on them in Capture NX2 so it looks like I would be moving to Al's recommended workflow if I want to work on that system.


Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:54 am
by autzig
Dean, I use Cannon gear but I don't use Nik software in my RAW conversion workflow. I use ACR to convert my RAW files. I open the files in Photoshop, apply the Nik filters and save as a tif files.



Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 12:43 pm
by Andy
autzig wrote:If you are burning through disk space so fast, consider deleting the RAW files that you don't like. Alternatively, move them to a DVD to free up room on your hard drive.
Delete a raw file? HERETIC :shock:

Seriously, with all of the advances in software, I wouldn't delete a raw file that you originally selected as a "keeper." I keep going back and re-visiting files as the software gets better. HDR is a great example.

HD space is probably the cheapest component of Digital these days. I have 2 1T external USB hard drives (one at home/one at the office). They are mirror-image storage. Neither is even 1/2 full yet and they have every raw file I have kept since my first DSLR, my "Master" files, and several 100 TIFF scans from film for prior years dating back to the early '90s. I don't store them on my onboard HD (which is a laptop). Its really not very expensive. Go to Best Buy or Staples and look for the deals (or online).
Deaner wrote:One question about the TIFF and PSD loss-less formats. Do they also share the white balance attributes/freedoms of a RAW file?
No. TIFF and PSD are "baked" formats. Until somebody comes up with something better, you are still always (usually) going to have to have (at least) 2 files, your raw file and the "master file." Sometimes, if I am just going to make a small jpeg for web use and know I am either going to come back to the raw file for a more detailed and careful workup, or probably never going to need anything else, I'll just make a jpeg (usually saving it for my maximum SmugMug uploadable size, just in case) and skip the "master" TIFF. I RARELY (as in never) discard the raw file. I think of them as my duplicatable "negative." The "Master File" is more of a convenience file that has some of the stuff that you can only do in post-processing on a "baked" format, that is full size, lossless and from which I can make copies for other things.

I will usually do capture sharpening, possibly cropping, spotting, straightening (though some of that can be done non-destructively in ACR/LR), basic color corrections, cloning, moving, fixing eyes, maybe some selective sharpening before saving it.

Then I make a copy and do other work from there, including sizing for purpose (mostly either web or print) and final output sharpening. That is when I would make that jpeg copy. I maintain most of the same name as the original file, but if there will be more than one size or purpose of the same file type (e.g., jpeg) I will append additional information like its size or purpose. If I decide to go back and "re-do" a jpeg, I can always make a new copy from my "Master" or from the raw file, if there is something new on that front.
I read a review that stated that NIK software was good for two installs and two installs only. So, if you install it on your computer today and then build a new one in a year, there go your two installs. Or if you HDD crashes and you install on a new one, there is your second install. Anyone know if that is true or just someone's misinformation?

I'll re-read their license agreement, but I highly doubt that. Most software license agreements allow a limited number of installs (usually 2). Their intent is to limit it to the licensed user and it is not unreasonable to think most of us will have 2 locations (i.e., desktop/laptop or work/home). They may have a "counter" (I think Adobe does), which counts your installs. But the one on Adobe also times out after a certain number of months. I have never had a problem with it. When I have had to do a third install because of a new computer or crash within a short time after installation, I have called the company and they will simply release it for new installs.

You also said Adobe limits raw development LR and PS. Technically, you cannot edit a raw file in PS. You have to convert it in ACR which is technically a plugin to PS. I THINK there is a plugin for the newest versions of Elements, too. I used to have a version of Elements about 2-3 years back and there was a way to install the plugin so you could use ACR (or something very like it) to convert and then work in Elements.


Posted: Mon Jul 09, 2012 7:26 am
by deaner1971
OK, I have only gotten to play with the demos a little bit but, so far, I am loving the Nik software. Well, I am loving Silver Efex 2.0. I am still just barely getting to know the others. I do have to say that I see some lah in response on Viveza but I still like the overall ease-of-use and layout of the software across the board.

Silver Efex is making me go back and see what it can do for a ton of photos where necessity dictated that I shoot in less than ideal lighting. I was rereading an article in OP and the gentleman there was saying how shooting in B&W is so freeing because he feels more free to not be beholden to the golden hours and other rules of color that apply to most outdoor shooters.

As I go back and play with Silver Efex, I can see what he is saying. There are pseudo-HDR effects that are helping to salvage areas lost to shadow even in old JPEGs. It is too hot to enjoy shooting right now so I am really enjoying this new software giving me a "photography outlet" until things cool down below Dante-esque levels.

Expect to get flooded with B&W photos where I am wanting others opinions on the degree to which I was able to bring shots back from the dead!

Now, if only someone in my family got the less than subtle hint for my birthday as regards the full version of the Complete Collection...


Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:05 am
by Andy
Dean: I don't understand this:
I do have to say that I see some lah in response on Viveza

I have never been a B&W shooter (perhaps because I lack the artistic flair and imagination). I did a stint of it while shooting for my college newspaper and yearbook - the best I can say is that I got to use (and learn) the darkroom. So, I haven't tried Silver EFX. From what I can see of Color EFX, it is basically a "filter" plugin program for PS and LR (albeit, a very sophisticated one, using their U-Point technology). I bought just Viveza for $99. I wish now, that I had procrastinated about 6 weeks, because over the past weekend NIK ran a special promo, offering all of them for $150! Should have given you a shout, Dean, but sorry it didn't occur to me.


Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 7:11 am
by deaner1971

No worries.

Yeah, that was a typo and I meant to say "lag". The sliders don't respond and then they suddenly jump. I don't have that issue with any of their other software. Might be time to add some more RAM to my system. The computer is three years old so I am due to build a new one this winter.

Silver Efex is a blast. I am taking a half day today to wait for an AC tech to do a check-up on the system and plan to just sit in my home office and tinker away.


Posted: Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:35 pm
by Andy
Hmnn. I DEFINITELY think thats a RAM issue. I am running PS at 64 bit with 8 meg of RAM. No lag here.

OTOH, I notice a definitenlag when I am asked a difficult question. May be time for a personal ram upgrade :mrgreen:


Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 7:12 am
by deaner1971
I am running a quad core with 16 GB of RAM and using the 64 bit version of LR but I thought maybe Nik software (Viveza in particular) was just that much of a hog when editing TIFF.

Weird too that it is just one of the five programs creating this issue. Then again, Viveza seems to have the most overlap with LR in term of tools so not sure that it will be used as much as the others.

Dfine is doing some wonderful things with images made from scanned negatives. Pretty much going to make its use mandatory as I work my way through digitizing my old shots.


Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2012 5:12 pm
by Andy
That is weird. Mine is only dual core, I am pretty sure. When I bought it I only had 4G installed. It really bogged down if I loaded a large TIFF image, so maybe that is where the problem is. But when I added the additional 4G, it seemed to react pretty well. The vast majority of my images were originally captured with a DSLR and using the native size NEF or DNG (which is a format I generally convert to in the ingestion process), I am noticing no lag at all. Shooting with a D700 (12 mp) and a D7000 (16mp I think). Since you only notice it with Viveza, you might want to try reloading the software?


Posted: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:07 am
by deaner1971
That is my most likely solution. The tiffs are large (50 mp) but, again, the other software is handling them just fine.

Given same system and same manufacturer, a bad install seems most likely.


Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 11:29 am
by deaner1971
OK, I got the Complete Collection for my birthday and really enjoying it. I am going to go back and look and quite a few of my old Hawaii, Yosemite and San Francisco Bay shots and see what I can do with them now. The ability to preview so many presets and techniques quickly and then spend some time tweaking is just really liberating.

The mini-manual that came with it also suggested a workflow that I think will really benefit me and maximize the effectiveness of the suite.

I also got "Understanding Exposure" and, only a fraction of the way through it, my mind has really been opened up. My wife ran some errands with our daughter so I used the time to shoot fully manual shots of the baby (he doesn't complain about being used as my muse nearly as much as does the three year old). I haven't shot that much manually since my old Canon AE-1 days (back when aperture was on the lense) but I am starting to add a "workflow" to my time behind the view finder, just as I have to my time behind the keyboard.

I do find that even if I am balancing my speed to my aperture based on the camera's recommendation, the results still seem more consistent that shooting in priority mode. Granted, also more slowly but I'll get faster as I practice and one of the benefits to shooting the land is that it doesn't move that much :D .

Doubt I'll be hitting VT this year but I am going to trek to Hocking Hills and Cuyahoga NP this year to get some "grand vista" time in. Hopefully I get to VT next year as a much more productive photographer. Might get to do a trifecta (for me at least) of NoCal (SF, Napa and Yosemite), Gettysburg (150th anniversary of the battle) and VT so, improving my skills and workflow could not come at a better time.

Both of those gifts were as a result of recommendations here so "Thanks!"


Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 7:15 pm
by Andy
Congratulations, Dean. I have been going back and slowly re-working many of my image (including some on my website) and replacing them. I am "hooked" on Viveza.

I would suggest that you go to Amazon and order "Nik Software Captured." Its the "Manual" that doesn't ship with the software. It is a $45 book in your local store, but at Amazon, $24. Well worth it. It explains how the U-point technology works, among other things.


Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2012 9:14 pm
by autzig
Let me add my congrats Dean. I'm happy that the finance committee was so generous. The committee must think very highly of you. :D

Color Efex Pro is my plug in of choice but I do use Viveza too. In fact, I used it on the nighttime photos I submitted on the new thread. Three of the rocks in the foreground were overly bright so I used Viveza to tone them down. I love how I could just circle each rock and apply adjustments to that area alone. I also use dFine when I need to remove noise that for some reason I couldn't get fixed in ACR or if the Detail Extractor generates noise in the sky or other place.

I agree with Andy about the Nik book. It really helped me understand what is going on, especially with the U-point technology.

One of the reasons I like shooting in manual so much is that it makes you think before you shoot. That's one of the reasons I almost always use a tripod too. With automatic settings, it is just to easy to point and shoot.

What settings did you use when you shot (oops, maybe photographed is a better word :D ) the baby. Did you consider the depth of field and select an appropriate aperture? Now that you are using manual mode, I'd be interested in knowing what you are doing with it.



Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2012 7:20 am
by deaner1971
I had to keep editing out versions of "shoot" when I was writing about taking photos of Charlie too. :D

Well, I was really keeping the aperture as low as possible as I wanted the picture to be about the baby and fade the background to non-descript blends of colors (and obscure any evidence of slightly slack house keeping that might have been there :oops: ). Not really different than what I would have done before when I would have used AP at least from an approach.

I do have to admit though that actually choosing the offsetting shutter speed did make me think more as to "ok, this is a baby so, how long can I really leave the shutter open without documenting the "Further Adventures of Charlie: the boy blur"? It is moving me away from just the simplistic, "Need to isolate subject so, choose AP and pick a big aperture and then stare dumbly at output because I didn't consider the implications of the shutter speed."

Also, I feel like I am more consistently nailing the exposure. Not sure why as I am still relying on the computer to tell me what the "best" shutter speed is for my chosen aperture (i.e. relying on the same computer mind that makes the choice itself on AP mode) but it is happening. I also fel a greater certainty about what my output will be. When it is bad, it is because I took a calculated risk and it didn't pan out or I wanted to validate what I thought would be bad technique.

The real test is going to be in the fall when I need to deal with complex lighting and moving water (that is assuming that there is any water left here in the Great Buckeye Desert come fall) while managing my exposure triangle. Looking forward to the feel of control as I work through it, though.

I will pick up that book if both of you regard it so highly. Really nice that it covers all of the Nik software in total. I was wondering if you could really write a book about each piece but hadn't yet looked to see what was out there. Given that you both recommended "Understanding Exposure" and that has been so useful, I'll definitely take your advice on the Nik book.