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Author Topic: When to use Silver Effex Pro 2, Lightroom? Photoshop?  (Read 3308 times)
Eric Brody
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« on: June 09, 2013, 01:42:51 PM »
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I am interested in people's opinions and practices on when to use Silver Effex Pro 2, as a Lightroom plug in, or, as I have been doing for some time, as my first layer above the background (as a smart filter so it can be modified in the future)?

I have been working on my image in Lightroom, as if it were to be ultimately a color image (even though I know I'm going to convert it later), doing all my usual LR adjustments. I then import it into Photoshop CS6, and do the conversion first thing, so that all the layers above will be modifiable.

I have just started trying the other approach, working in LR, and converting using the LR plug in prior to sending it over to PS.

I wonder if there are any advantages, technical or esthetic to one or the other approach. I realize this may be trivial, compared to the Creative Cloud discussions, but remain curious.

Thanks.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2013, 01:49:46 PM »
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As a smart object. So from Lightroom, Edit With, Smart Object in Photoshop. Then select the smart object layer and invoke SFX. The advantage is in keeping your SFX work as a smart filter which you can fine tune. As it's also a raw file smart object, you can fine tune the raw conversion by double clicking and launching ACR.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2013, 02:28:27 PM by johnbeardy » Logged

StephaneB
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2013, 03:28:45 PM »
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As a smart object. So from Lightroom, Edit With, Smart Object in Photoshop. Then select the smart object layer and invoke SFX. The advantage is in keeping your SFX work as a smart filter which you can fine tune. As it's also a raw file smart object, you can fine tune the raw conversion by double clicking and launching ACR.

This is exactly what I used to do until recently. I don't anymore because it only adds to the pile of files that I will not be able to edit once my current version of PhotoShop stops to work after an OS revision.

I now use SFX as a LightRoom plugin, accepting the U-Points will be lost after I save. After that conversion, I can make corrections with LightRoom local adjustments.

It is still worth it to use SFX, because I find LightRoom's B&W conversions to be inept.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2013, 03:48:54 PM »
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This is exactly what I used to do until recently. I don't anymore because it only adds to the pile of files that I will not be able to edit once my current version of PhotoShop stops to work after an OS revision.

I now use SFX as a LightRoom plugin, accepting the U-Points will be lost after I save. After that conversion, I can make corrections with LightRoom local adjustments.

It is still worth it to use SFX, because I find LightRoom's B&W conversions to be inept.
I'd agree about the subscription being an elephant in the room, and it's put some doubt in my mind too. But I can't agree about LR's B&W conversions being inept - Auto is indeed useless, but you can do excellent B&W with Lightroom alone.
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BigBadWolfie
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2013, 04:06:09 AM »
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Unlike many others I like to send a flat image to CS6 and use Nik filters rather than do as much as possible inside LR4.  I think you should stick with what you are doing now.  Using Silver Efex in LR just seems like an extra step you don't need to make.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2013, 08:32:33 AM »
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It is still worth it to use SFX, because I find LightRoom's B&W conversions to be inept.

Then this video is exactly for you: http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244

It's free too.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2013, 09:34:16 AM »
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Then this video is exactly for you: http://mulita.com/blog/?p=1244

It's free too.

+++1

George Jardine IS the master.  Lots of free info.  His fee tutorials are more than worth it.  The best I have seen.  His current one on tone/contrast manipulation is a must watch.
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John
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« Reply #7 on: June 11, 2013, 01:37:03 PM »
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"the scoop on converting our images to gorgeous black and white images" YMMV
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bretedge
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2013, 07:25:47 AM »
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I fall into the camp of those who prefer to keep the workflow within Lightroom.  The major advantage of doing any Nik work within Photoshop is the ability to save layered files for later adjustment.  That isn't a concern for me.  I save the image that's been processed with Nik stacked next to the original, LR processed RAW file.  Just easier for my own personal workflow.  I wouldn't say that one way is better than the other - they're just different.  Whatever works for YOU is the right way.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2013, 07:59:25 AM »
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Whatever works for YOU is the right way.
A line that justifies any workflow, no matter how inefficient, inflexible, shortsighted....
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 08:25:42 AM by johnbeardy » Logged

bretedge
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2013, 08:23:19 AM »
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A line that justifies any workflow, no matter how inefficient, inflexible, shortsighted....

There's always one in every group. Thanks for stepping up!
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2013, 08:26:05 AM »
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One what? I'll pretend you hadn't said that but watch it, I bite back.

I'm not saying your method is so, but not all ways are equal. One way can be best once we each evaluate criteria such as quality, flexibility, repeatability, the CC issue, file size etc. Of course, it's an individual choice how many of those criteria one ignores.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2013, 08:51:24 AM by johnbeardy » Logged

PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2013, 03:39:33 AM »
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I have been working on my image in Lightroom, as if it were to be ultimately a color image (even though I know I'm going to convert it later), doing all my usual LR adjustments.

Try doing it the other way round. Irrespective of whether you use SEP2 as a plug in for LR or a layer in CS, do your SEP2 work BEFORE making any adjustments in either LR or CS. In fact, when using SEP2 direct from within LR, I not only avoid making any LR adjustments first, but I also "kill" any adjustments made automatically by LR on import - e.g. take the sharpening right back down to zero.

SEP2 will do a much better job if you give it the maximum amount of unadulterated data to play with. It will also do a much better job than LR on some of the basic functions. Once you have taken the SEP2-processed Tiff back into LR, you can make any final adjustments, including using the new LR5 straightening, radial gradient and other tools if you wish.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2013, 04:16:21 AM »
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Surely your "any" is far too strong and you've got to distinguish between corrections and more interpretative (your "final") adjustments? Capture sharpening, like highlight recovery, dust spots, lens corrections, noise reduction etc are best done first in LR/ACR so you can copy them to other images and work more efficiently / consistently, and avoid "turd polishing" in SFX. I'd largely agree with you though about interpretative adjustments like radial filter, clarity, HSL panel, partly because you're duplicating what you may as well do in SFX, but mainly because I feel it's good to provide yourself (SFX doesn't care) with a reasonably-neutral LR/ACR treatment, a blank slate for your own interpretation.
 
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 04:56:48 AM by johnbeardy » Logged

BigBadWolfie
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2013, 08:09:09 AM »
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Try doing it the other way round. Irrespective of whether you use SEP2 as a plug in for LR or a layer in CS, do your SEP2 work BEFORE making any adjustments in either LR or CS. In fact, when using SEP2 direct from within LR, I not only avoid making any LR adjustments first, but I also "kill" any adjustments made automatically by LR on import - e.g. take the sharpening right back down to zero.
I would still adjust overall exposure in LR first.

I fall into the camp of those who prefer to keep the workflow within Lightroom.  The major advantage of doing any Nik work within Photoshop is the ability to save layered files for later adjustment.  That isn't a concern for me.  I save the image that's been processed with Nik stacked next to the original, LR processed RAW file.  Just easier for my own personal workflow.  I wouldn't say that one way is better than the other - they're just different.  Whatever works for YOU is the right way.
I think that's fine if you don't mind having a bunch of Tiffs.  One of the biggest advantage of working within Photoshop is that you can work with layers and see the overall effect before saving.
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PhotoEcosse
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2013, 09:25:46 AM »
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Surely your "any" is far too strong and you've got to distinguish between corrections and more interpretative (your "final") adjustments? Capture sharpening, like highlight recovery, dust spots, lens corrections, noise reduction etc are best done first in LR/ACR so you can copy them to other images and work more efficiently / consistently, and avoid "turd polishing" in SFX. I'd largely agree with you though about interpretative adjustments like radial filter, clarity, HSL panel, partly because you're duplicating what you may as well do in SFX, but mainly because I feel it's good to provide yourself (SFX doesn't care) with a reasonably-neutral LR/ACR treatment, a blank slate for your own interpretation.
 

We'll need to disagree on this one John.

In my experience I get far better results in SEP2 when starting with a completely "unenhanced" image. This is especially the case when using control points to selectively treat different parts of the image with different degrees of "structure" (positive or negative). Any sharpening or NR applied in either LR or ACR at a prior stage can lead to unpredictable results. Other things can simply just waste time - for example, removing dust spots before taking the image into SEP2 as, very often, dust that was invisible or barely visible in the original will become accentuated in SEP2 processing and need removed afterwards (same applies to processing in other Nik and Topaz programmes). Although the "visualise spots mask" in LR5 may help a little for this.

But if you get decent results with a different workflow, by all means stick with it. There are no absolutes in this game. You will note that I began my original contribution with the words "Try doing it the other way round". All be can do is share our experiences. It's not a case of me being right and you being wrong (or vice versa).
« Last Edit: June 14, 2013, 09:31:04 AM by PhotoEcosse » Logged

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john beardsworth
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« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2013, 09:56:54 AM »
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A Ferrari is objectively better than a TT (regardless of which is which), once you've added up all the factors on each side. That said, the best car for you might be different from mine because of the number of those criteria that each of us chooses to ignore or discount. There is a best way, whether it's mine or yours.
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kencameron
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« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2013, 07:50:22 PM »
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There is a best way, whether it's mine or yours.
What is the difference between this proposition and "whatever works for you is the right way", which you denounce? What works for me is what best meets the criteria that are important to me. How else to understand it?
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2013, 02:06:10 AM »
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What is the difference between this proposition and "whatever works for you is the right way", which you denounce? What works for me is what best meets the criteria that are important to me. How else to understand it?
What I mean is that the best choice for any individual may not be objectively the best method. Aren't YMMV or variations like "different strokes" usually just a tiresome way of beating a retreat and avoiding analysing the criteria we each ignore?
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kencameron
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« Reply #19 on: June 17, 2013, 05:06:53 AM »
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I see what you mean, and I certainly think that the method a person is currently using may not be the best method, given his or her criteria.  I still have some difficulty with the notion of something that is "objectively the best method" in a context like this, as I think that the best method for anyone is inherently subjective and there is no best method for everyone. We may not disagree about this.

I am still experimenting with when to use Nik Plugins and how much to do in them as against Lightroom and Photoshop. The best method for me will be the one which minimises unintended consequences and maximises my ongoing engagement with the image. I would rather stay in one application, but Lightoom isn't there yet.
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