Nik Software’s Viveza 2; Fast Lane Adjustments Of Color And Tone Page 2

While I prefer the speed and ease of working inside the image with the control points on the slider, Nik includes another option. If you prefer the traditional interface of slider controls, you can accomplish exactly the same adjustments in the filter panel on the right (#7). Of course, you must first click to add a control point inside the image and adjust the size of the circle. If you don’t first use a control point, the adjustments made in the panel will be global, affecting the entire image.

#7

Now it is time to work on the building’s shady façade. I click the Add Control Point button at the top right and then click on a central area of the building. Then I drag the top slider to the right to enlarge the circle so it covers the entire building. Next I drag the Brightness slider to the right to 68 percent to lighten the building and the palm tree (#8), as well as pump up the contrast 75 percent and saturation 40 percent, all via the control sliders from right within the image.

#8

With buttons on the top right of the V2 window, you can group or ungroup control points. To select multiple points that you’ve established, shift-click them, then click the Group button so that any adjustment you make will be synchronized with all the other selected control points. I don’t want to use that here because the sky and the façade require different adjustments. With some images, grouping could speed productivity.

When you click OK, this Nik plug-in thoughtfully places its adjusted image on a new layer named Viveza 2 in Photoshop, maintaining your original image untouched on its original background layer (#9). From within the plug-in, if you click on the Brush button at the lower right of the V2 window, you are taken back to Photoshop with a layer mask active so that you can brush the effect on or off selected areas, or fine-tune the edges of the effect.

#9

My finished image (#10) looks like it was shot on a sunny day in South Miami Beach. The pale cloudy sky has been turned to a richer but realistic blue, and the originally dim gray building now glows with pastel hues. The once near black palm tree has been transformed into shimmering green, as if struck by late afternoon sunlight.

#10

Observations
When there is good color and tonal contrast between the areas you want to enhance and adjacent areas and backgrounds, V2 can work wonders. However, if the color and tone of the area you want to adjust are similar to the background, you may encounter problems. This was the case with the first two images on which I tried V2. One was an image of a great blue heron against a background of water that was, like the bird, a gray-blue. Try as I might, the tones were so similar that I could not use V2 to darken the water without seriously darkening the heron at the same time (I did use multiple control points). The second image was a seaside scene with a surfer on the beach looking out over the dark blue water beneath a very light blue sky. I wanted to darken the sky and increase its color saturation, but since both sky and water were blue, V2 wanted to darken them both.

In cases like these you could use the V2 Brush Tool to limit the effect to the area you want. But for difficult shapes with similarly colored backgrounds, you may be better off using one of Photoshop’s Selection tools, such as the Magic Wand with its tolerance settings or Color Range, which offers fuzziness control, in combination with Refine Edge. Or you may want to use a plug-in designed specifically for masking.

For many images, however, V2 works well and is very fast. With a point, click, and drag of your mouse, V2 can transform your workflow for adjusting and enhancing tone, color, and contrast without spending a lot of time creating selections and masks. Furthermore, you can make these adjustments from within your image for maximum efficiency.

Go to the Nik website (www.niksoftware.com) for more information on system compatibility, videos, downloadable guides and tutorials, and for a free 15-day trial. Viveza 2 costs $199.95, while an upgrade from Viveza costs $99.95.

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