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Author Topic: Silver Efex Pro 2  (Read 1108 times)

pflower

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Silver Efex Pro 2
« on: March 02, 2019, 01:15:52 PM »

I have never really looked at this until quite recently, and am becoming quite enamoured of it.

One question.  When I open a Hasselblad X1D file in it - exported from Lightroom - I notice that Silver Efex states that the image it is working on is some 50MB in size.  Now the real size of a 3fff file is in excess of 80MB.  Silver Efex then saves a 16 bit Tiff with the normal size of some 240MB.

So what exactly is Silver Efex working on before I save it?  It doesn't appear to be the full Raw file - so is it some halfway measure particular to Silver Efex or is something else going on?

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john beardsworth

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2019, 05:16:40 PM »

It's working on a TIF, but you can see for yourself by looking in LR at the External Editor (Preferences).

I like Silver Efex too. In general, my advice is not to open it from LR. Instead use Edit With > Edit as Smart Object in Photoshop, then launch SFX in PS. The file size is bigger, but you retain raw editing capability and the SFX adjustments remain editable, so you can fine tune your SFX work in later sessions.

pflower

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2019, 05:33:00 PM »

It's working on a TIF, but you can see for yourself by looking in LR at the External Editor (Preferences).

I like Silver Efex too. In general, my advice is not to open it from LR. Instead use Edit With > Edit as Smart Object in Photoshop, then launch SFX in PS. The file size is bigger, but you retain raw editing capability and the SFX adjustments remain editable, so you can fine tune your SFX work in later sessions.

Interesting.  You say that EFX is working on a Tiff - that is indeed what is supposed to be exported from LR - a 16bit Tiff with resolution of 240 (I don't pay any intention to the resolution).  But then why is it reported in SFX as being so much smaller than the Raw file - let alone a real 16bit Tiff.

 OK, I'll look at your suggestion - although I have to say that whilst I do occasionally export from LR to PS and then invoke Silver Efex Pro that is normally because there are other things I want to do in PS - normally have layers etc.  I have never looked at Smart Objects, but your suggestion that SFX adjustments remain editable is really interesting.  I often save in SFX Pro, have another look in LR and decide that I didn't get it right and then delete the resulting Tiff and start again.

I will explore this myself, but can you explain a bit more about how the SFX Pro adjustments become editable?

Once again many thanks for your help.

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john beardsworth

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 05:08:39 AM »

Can you show me where SFX says the wrong number - screenshot.

Re editability, with your method you end up with a flattened TIF file and, as you say, you have to start all over again if you change your mind. Now with the LR > PS SO method, my TIF might have a single layer but it is a smart object layer with the SFX adjustments shown as a smart filter (see attachment). So tomorrow I see the TIF in LR and decide I want to change a control point. I open in PS, choose Edit Original, and PS opens. I double click the smart filter, SFX opens, and all my control points and other SFX settings can be changed. I find this so useful that it's my default way of working with SFX.

There are other advantages of using smart objects. For instance, in PS you can drag the SFX edits (the smart filter) from one image to another, great if you're doing a set of images with a common look.

Another example is if I am already in PS to do "other things" such as cloning, but then want to apply SFX and keep the adjustments editable. I'll select all the layers, convert them into a single smart object, then launch SFX. The result is like the attachment and I can double click the SO to go into the layers, or double click the smart filter to change the SFX settings.

pflower

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 07:59:38 AM »

Can you show me where SFX says the wrong number - screenshot.

Re editability, with your method you end up with a flattened TIF file and, as you say, you have to start all over again if you change your mind. Now with the LR > PS SO method, my TIF might have a single layer but it is a smart object layer with the SFX adjustments shown as a smart filter (see attachment). So tomorrow I see the TIF in LR and decide I want to change a control point. I open in PS, choose Edit Original, and PS opens. I double click the smart filter, SFX opens, and all my control points and other SFX settings can be changed. I find this so useful that it's my default way of working with SFX.

There are other advantages of using smart objects. For instance, in PS you can drag the SFX edits (the smart filter) from one image to another, great if you're doing a set of images with a common look.

Another example is if I am already in PS to do "other things" such as cloning, but then want to apply SFX and keep the adjustments editable. I'll select all the layers, convert them into a single smart object, then launch SFX. The result is like the attachment and I can double click the SO to go into the layers, or double click the smart filter to change the SFX settings.

My mistake.  I probably need new glasses - actually I do need new glasses.  In the bottom right of the SFX screen various information is shown - Camera type, iso setting etc.  The first one for my X1D files is 49.7MP.  I am so used to keeping an eye on the file size in Photoshop that I misread this as MB.  Clearly it is referring to the mega pixel size of the image.  Although why that should be of interest is not entirely clear.

However I am very glad I started this thread as your workflow for SFX in Photoshop solves a lot of annoyances I had with the program.  Yes it will result in very large temporary files but I can live with that.

Many thanks for the insight.

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john beardsworth

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2019, 01:03:26 PM »

Do experiment with the smart object technique. While I described them in terms of SFX,  they're a great feature that has many uses.

mseawell

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2019, 05:51:48 PM »

Thanks John! I work with SFX a lot but I've never used it the way you do. Learn something new every day!

Mark
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john beardsworth

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2019, 03:19:54 AM »

On a basic level, I think most people want the chance to fine tune SFX work, Mark. But I think it's important to understand that SFX is just one practical way to use smart objects. Let's say I want to correct converging verticals using Edit > Transform - applying the transformation to a smart object keeps the changes flexible. Smart objects aren't just for geeks!

John

Garnick

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2019, 08:22:33 AM »

On a basic level, I think most people want the chance to fine tune SFX work, Mark. But I think it's important to understand that SFX is just one practical way to use smart objects. Let's say I want to correct converging verticals using Edit > Transform - applying the transformation to a smart object keeps the changes flexible. Smart objects aren't just for geeks!

John

I couldn't agree more John.  I use Smart Objects almost daily in my workflow, for various reasons and in numerous situations.  I do a variety composites etc for my customers, which call for numerous images being added to the initial image file, some blended in and some not.  Of course these images always need to be resized within the base image, and with a smart object I can enlarge or reduce images to fit without losing resolution and quality.  So yes, there are many situations where the SO becomes an integral part of the workflow and some filters and plugins are just a couple of examples.  I would also advise Mark to take a long look at how SO's work and the degree of flexibility they offer.  Of course there are certain restrictions to SO's, since they will not accept direct edits such the Healing Brush, Clone Tool or any sort of work one might need to do directly on the image.  However, a new layer added above the SO will of course accept any and all such edits as if working on the original image.  The same procedure I always use when invoking such tools, never work on the original image layer, "background" or otherwise.

Gary       
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john beardsworth

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #9 on: March 14, 2019, 07:37:00 AM »

I suspect Adobe struggle to convey that it's a technique for everyone. It should be an easy sell though - just a matter of showing everyday uses.

mseawell

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2019, 03:56:54 PM »

Good info! I'm starting to use PS a lot more and I've been using SO but in a VERY limited way. Thanks Gary, I didn't know about how to edit the SO. That has been very annoying!

Mark
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Garnick

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Re: Silver Efex Pro 2
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2019, 09:24:57 AM »

Good info! I'm starting to use PS a lot more and I've been using SO but in a VERY limited way. Thanks Gary, I didn't know about how to edit the SO. That has been very annoying!

Mark

You're very welcome Mark.  When I first started working with SO's I also found it to be annoying to say the least.  You think you have covered all of the necessary pixel based edits, convert to SO and after you have used some filters which then reside within the SO, you find another area that has to be retouched etc.  Of course you would think you have to rasterize the SO layer to do the pixel based edits, which of course bakes in the filters you have used in the SO.  Occasionally I will rasterize the SO layer, do what's necessary and then convert back to SO, but only if I catch the problem in time.  Otherwise, as mentioned, a new layer above the SO layer will accommodate any pixel based edits you might need.  The only issue I find with SO's is the occasional situation where I have not created a proper plan for the layer stacking on a rather complicated image, which can be a problem with further retouching etc.  But of course that's my fault by not paying attention to the intricacies of the final image.

One more little suggestion, although you are probably aware of this.  Grouping layers in Photoshop is an excellent way of keeping the layer stack to a minimum.  For instance, if you have a lot of individual text layers they can become a real nuisance, but by grouping them they are all in one "folder" within the layer stack and out of the way of all the other image and adjustment layers.  Within the "Group" you can also move the text layers to create a more logical order.

EDIT: To stay within the OP reference to SFX, I have recently started doing some research into this as well and I'm finding it to be quite an interesting method of converting to B&W, as well as a number of toning presets.  As time permits I will continue my research and experimentation and also keep an eye on this thread, which is rather timely for me.  Over many years I've owned various iterations of NIK plugins, but the latest is from DXO.   

Gary       

 
 
 
   
« Last Edit: March 17, 2019, 09:31:53 AM by Garnick »
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