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Old 09-10-2016   #1
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Having downloaded the Nik suite a while ago I decided to spend a couple of weeks messing around with silver efex and as good as it is it doesn't really offer much over LR in my opinion. Some of the presets are interesting but you can do the same in LR once you understand it and for me the grain simulator in silver efex is very poor compared to the one in LR.

I got bored with it quite quickly and was wondering how others view what it offers?
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Old 09-10-2016   #2
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It was a step up back with Lightroom 2.x, but was still a PITA moving to another program and back again, even with the integration.

But now... I didn't even install it on my new computer, I hadn't used it since Lightroom 5.x
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Old 09-10-2016   #3
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Not sure I agree with LR delivering the same. But never-the-less, LR is quite good with BW. With today's cpu's and ssd's, I don't find using 2 apps an issue anymore. NIK with LR integration is excellent.
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Old 09-10-2016   #4
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Maybe you can do the same in Lightroom. I can't.
I use Silver Efex all the time for my Imacon scans, never use the grain simulator, the presets are a good starting point and the control points are great (don't see how you ever do this in Lightroom). Since I started using Nik a few years ago, I use Lightroom only as a Library and for printing and Photoshop only for some retouching.
I don't do digital anymore, so maybe it's a bit different if you do.
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Old 09-10-2016   #5
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Silver Efex is ok for your run of the mill stuff, but i prefer to work my BW's in Photoshop, and each image is different, never the same.

"No place is boring, if you've had a good night's sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film."
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Old 09-10-2016   #6
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I was never impressed enough with Silver Efex images that I had seen to buy it but acquired it when it became free (after all why not?).

Like Keith I have tried it and now pretty much abandoned it -I find some of the presets completely overblown and custom editing awkward compared to LR.

I'm not sure whether LR will do everything but it certainly does all I need and want it to do.
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My Website - http://www.chriswaldrenphotography.co.uk/
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Old 09-10-2016   #7
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I tested Silver EFEX briefly. Wasn't impressed. I don't like using canned effects that I don't understand in depth.

LR does well for my photos. I don't use much else any more, just Flare for my border effect.

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Old 09-10-2016   #8
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I'm going to add to my previous comment.
I think I realised somewhere along the way that if I can't make my photo look good in Lightroom, then it's just not a good photo and I'd prefer not to waste time on it. At some point I feel like having too much editing software just leads to more turd polishing. But that's just me.
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Old 09-10-2016   #9
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It is certainly true one can achieve practically identical results with LR and Silver Efex.

In my case Silver Efex has a significant advantage. I can get the monochrome results I prefer much faster. I notice a huge time savings when I use Silver Efex's dodge and burn tools. I rarely use the canned effects. Godfrey, when you look at the sliders' parameters it is possible to see how they do what they do. This doesn't mean the canned effects are necessarily useful.

I use LR for initial monochrome image selection and those that make the final cut are re-done in Silver Efex.

I use Viveza the same way for color work. It is extremely useful when a scene is lit by light with different color temperatures. I need Viveza much less than I need Silver Efex. Most of my time with Viveza is spent on rendering final versions of negative and transparency scans.

The problem with NIK is you create TIFFs which increases file size. Disk space is cheap, but I prefer not to waste it. I always convert the final TIFFs back to DNGs. This doesn't recreate a 'raw' version. But the lossless compression does save space. I am aware there are many who hate DNGs and never use them. Please understand I am not interested in pro-DNG or anti-DNG arguments and am not trying to hijack this thread

Photoshop can do everything LR and NIK can do. In my particular case PS's arcane user hostile GUI makes me suicidal... so I tend not to use it often.
“To see what is in front of one’s nose needs a constant struggle.” George Orwell

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Old 09-10-2016   #10
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Silver Efex is always my starting point for conversion. I don't use the film emulations at all. I usually use the default preset, which to me gives a better starting point than LR's conversion.

I don't see an LR counterpart for the Amplify sliders, which, if used sparingly, are very nice. I also find the control point function superior to LR's brushes for some things. And I like the greater control of it's structure sliders for both global and local adjustments.

Sometimes I also explore the presets and am surprised to find a nice effect that I would not have otherwise thought to do. Although they almost always have to be turned down some.

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Old 09-10-2016   #11
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I'm not a fan of LR or SE. I have both (came with my MM) but I convert to tiff in adobe raw and tweak in CS6. For me and the way I work photoshop is more like the way I would approach and work in a traditional darkroom. If I wanted me stuff to look like film I would shoot film.
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Old 09-10-2016   #12
Richard G
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I agree with you Keith. Rarely use it. I think for the control points it's worth it, but mostly I am happy with what I do in Lightroom.
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Old 09-10-2016   #13
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my problem with Nik suite is that there are so many over the top effects, which almost bury the few usable ones. am still using it though, but not sure if I bother re-install anymore once I do next big HW or SW upgrade. when Google started to give it away for free, it was clear that further development is not highest of their priorities.
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