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07-06-2011, 02:16 PM   #1
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What software do you use for B&W conversions?

Hi all,

Is there a general consensus regarding the best software for B&W conversions? I'm currently using Lightroom 3.4 but curious about Nik Software (Silver Efex). I know there are a lot of proponents of this program.

Can you tell me what software you use and why? Did any of you progress from LR3 to some other program? Did you see a significant difference/improvement?

I use a PC, not a Mac, in case that makes a difference.

Thanks for reading and for any input.

07-06-2011, 02:37 PM   #2
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There is no doubt, Nik's Silver Efex Pro is a powerful and well designed plugin that makes life easy in the B&W process, and brings in that 'wow' factor.

Most of its effects can be reproduced de novo, but requires a lot more time and effort to make it happen.

I don't have it, but Photoshop's native Black & White tool is very good and provides a lot of customisability in the conversion process. Then I utilise Duotone (if sepia/toned is desired), Curves and USM for the effect I like.
07-06-2011, 02:40 PM   #3
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Photoshop, I have a custom action and tweak the layers a bit from there. That way, they are mostly consistent in color/tone.

07-06-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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I use both

I'm using both Lightroom 3.4 & Nik Software (Silver Efex). I've found for me, that they both have advantages. I was able to download & install a number of presets for LR to converting to B&W plus other effects as well.
The advantage for Silver Efex Pro is the ablity to tweak the pic even more. However, I purchased the complete set for under $200 which I use before I even convert to B&W.

I worked on this shot all in lightroom and with Nik Software.




07-06-2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
There is no doubt, Nik's Silver Efex Pro is a powerful and well designed plugin that makes life easy in the B&W process, and brings in that 'wow' factor.

Most of its effects can be reproduced de novo, but requires a lot more time and effort to make it happen.

I don't have it, but Photoshop's native Black & White tool is very good and provides a lot of customisability in the conversion process. Then I utilise Duotone (if sepia/toned is desired), Curves and USM for the effect I like.
QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Photoshop, I have a custom action and tweak the layers a bit from there. That way, they are mostly consistent in color/tone.
Thank you, Ash, I always appreciate your input
07-06-2011, 03:28 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Photoshop, I have a custom action and tweak the layers a bit from there. That way, they are mostly consistent in color/tone.
WOW, what a powerful image
07-06-2011, 03:33 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by glee46 Quote
I'm using both Lightroom 3.4 & Nik Software (Silver Efex). I've found for me, that they both have advantages. I was able to download & install a number of presets for LR to converting to B&W plus other effects as well.
The advantage for Silver Efex Pro is the ablity to tweak the pic even more. However, I purchased the complete set for under $200 which I use before I even convert to B&W.

I worked on this shot all in lightroom and with Nik Software.


great shot here, well done. I might have to look into the complete Nik software too. It seems as though it doesn't render LR useless, but rather compliments it. If you don't mind, can you tell me where to find B&W presets for LR to download? I only have the presets that came with the software.
07-06-2011, 03:37 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Antifreez Quote
If you don't mind, can you tell me where to find B&W presets for LR to download? I only have the presets that came with the software.
Let me google that for you

07-06-2011, 04:01 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Antifreez Quote
great shot here, well done. I might have to look into the complete Nik software too. It seems as though it doesn't render LR useless, but rather compliments it. If you don't mind, can you tell me where to find B&W presets for LR to download? I only have the presets that came with the software.
Here is a link to 190 Onone Free presets.

Perfect Presets for Lightroom - onOne Software

Between, LR, Nik and the free presets, you can get just about anything you want. Of course, photoshop would be a nice thing to have as well, but for the cost, I'll stick with this for now.
07-06-2011, 04:08 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by glee46 Quote
Here is a link to 190 Onone Free presets.

Perfect Presets for Lightroom - onOne Software

Between, LR, Nik and the free presets, you can get just about anything you want. Of course, photoshop would be a nice thing to have as well, but for the cost, I'll stick with this for now.
Wow, jackpot... thanks a million.

I agree, these presets will keep me busy for quite some time. Hopefully, then, I'll be able to swing the complete Nik collection. Thanks again
07-07-2011, 12:41 AM   #11
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I am very happy using the channel mixer, once or twice I've used a couple of them with masks so different bits of the image get different conversions.

These are all done with one channel mixer. The first is fine as a print, on the screen it could do with a small crop on the RH side.

PS some were done with PaintShopPro, some with CS4.










Last edited by cats_five; 07-07-2011 at 12:47 AM.
07-07-2011, 12:45 AM   #12
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I use Lightroom most of the time, and for the really special shots I import into silver efex pro.
07-07-2011, 09:48 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by cats_five Quote
I am very happy using the channel mixer, once or twice I've used a couple of them with masks so different bits of the image get different conversions.

These are all done with one channel mixer. The first is fine as a print, on the screen it could do with a small crop on the RH side.

PS some were done with PaintShopPro, some with CS4.









these are all very well done. When I do upgrade from Lightroom, it will be a tough call between Photoshop, Nik Software, etc.
07-07-2011, 09:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
I use Lightroom most of the time, and for the really special shots I import into silver efex pro.
I've seen and admire a lot of your work, TOUGEFC, so this is good to know. I'll need to stick with Lightroom for a while but will most likely get the total Nik Software pkg in the future.
07-07-2011, 04:30 PM   #15
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