It’s used to apply the effect or remove it from specific areas of the image. You do this using control points, which create a resizable, circular adjustment zone. Within this zone, the software automatically selects similar areas to the one at the centre of the control point. You can think of it as an automatic selection tool, where the size of the circle is simply the maximum radius of the effect.
This works really well. Fans of Color Efex Pro 3, the previous version, will be thinking that this all sounds very familiar, but there are some major differences in this new version that make it well worth upgrading to. There are some new and very interesting filters, for a start. Dark Contrasts creates a pseudo-HDR effect from a single image, with intensified contrasts, edge glow effects and heightened saturation.
Detail Extractor works on localised contrast and rebalances highlight and shadow tones. The Film Effects in the previous version have been split up and expanded into different sections, including Faded, Modern, Nostalgic and Vintage, and the new Levels and Curves filter is extremely useful, particularly with the U Point adjustments.
Presets and combinations One of Color Efex Pro’s strong points has always been its ability to preview effects directly and simply, and version 4 takes this further by adding presets for each filter, which are accessed by clicking a button to the right of the filter’s name.
You choose a preset you like, it’s applied in the main window and you can then tweak the settings if you need to, or accept the effect as it is. The other big change to Color Efex Pro 4 is the ability to combine filter effects.
Previously, you could only apply one at a time – it would be applied in Photoshop as a new layer, complete with layer mask, but then you’d have to reopen Color Efex Pro to add another.
Now, though, you can combine any number of effects without leaving the application. Not only that, you can save these combinations of effects as Recipes – Color Efex Pro comes with a selection of great-looking recipes to give you an idea of what this new feature can achieve. The ability to combine effects in this way greatly expands Color Efex’s potential. It’s true that there have been only modest additions to the range of filters in this release, but the changes to the way the plug-in works, although less glamorous, are hugely significant.
Color Efex Pro always offered a large array of excellent photographic filter effects, but now it enables you to combine them quickly and in much more exciting ways than ever before. Verdict If you already use Color Efex Pro, version 4 is definitely worth the upgrade. And if you don’t, you’re missing out on one of the image-editing world’s truly great filter collections. It’s not cheap, but if you try out the fully-functional trial version, you’ll soon find out why.
It beats rivals such as Tiffen Dfx 3. Color Efex Pro 4 also takes full advantage of the latest graphics processing units GPUs and multi-core processors for responsiveness and fast processing.
Key new features: Filter Combinations—Add multiple filters at once, adjust opacity, and make selective adjustments to get the desired look NEW: Visual Presets—Each filter contains single-click starting points making it possible to explore creative options quickly NEW: Interface, Interaction, and Workflow—Benefit from interface and interaction improvements to filters, zoom controls, shortcut keys, and much more To watch videos and join special live online preview sessions, visit www. A list of Nik Software resellers may be found at www.
Two versions of the software will be available: Upgrades to the Complete Edition from any edition of versions 2. Customers who purchased Color Efex Pro Complete, Select or a Complete Collection bundle on or after August 7, are eligible for a free upgrade and may find all instructions for accessing their free software at www. For more information about Color Efex Pro 4, including video tutorials, feature lists, and special live online preview sessions, please visit:
Where to buy Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 Complete Edition
With an abundance of software available, knowing which ones to check out and which to skip can be too time consuming. Whilst most of what this software provides can be achieved by those with a moderate knowledge of Photoshop, this saves you the trouble of trying to remember how to create a particular effect. Everything in Color Efex Pro can be applied non-destructively as layers. In addition, the software has a clever ‘control points’ system, which allows you to target specific parts of the image to apply effects, while leaving other areas unaffected. Here’s my pick for: