Pre-visualization and Nik Workflow
Pre-visualization is a technique that helps us “visualize” what we want the final image to look like and convey after post-processing. It’s an important part of photography and I find that Nik plug-ins are a perfect match for the technique that I use. This post covers the following, which I hope you can try in your own workflow:
1- Pre-visualizing the final image
2- A selected image, including what I wanted it to look like
3- Nik plug-in workflow
I could do a whole post just on this topic. To summarize, I have found it useful to consider a global vision (perspective, depth of field, overall brightness and clarity, etc.) and a local vision (specific areas of brightness, detail, color, etc.). Taken together, global and local considerations make the final image.
This last point is where Nik plug-ins come into play, as you’ll see.
I was on a boat off the coast of Costa Rica at sunset. The view was fantastic and I wanted to be positioned to capture the side of the boat heading to shore. It was also important to create a vibrant scene (it was vibrant, but I wanted more), with highlights and details in certain areas. Here’s the image out of the camera with notations based on my pre-visualization of the scene. The histogram was pretty good, but I wanted much more from the image.
Nik Plug-in Workflow
I don’t believe in having a fixed or standard way of editing images because each image is unique. But I will say that I use the following workflow on many of my images. It’s just so easy and provides a ton of control. The whole process that I am about to describe took me less than 5 minutes!
Step 1- Nik Dfine (quick, easy and accurate noise control)
Just about every image has some noise. The image below shows the spots (squares) where Dfine’s auto feature found noise that helped it clean up the image. The auto feature works 90% of the time, and there’s a manual feature that provides even more control.
2- Viveza (probably my favorite for global and local control as mentioned in pre-visualization above).
The following image is the result of moving sliders for global adjustments.
The sliders show global controls that I edited, as follows:
- Brightness increased 27%
- Contrast increased 51%
- Saturation increased 33%
- Structure (detail) increased 51%
- Warmth reduced 20%
Here’s the resulting image. I found the result pleasing, but I still had some work to do. I wanted to redden the sky, enhance the light on the water and do a few other adjustments.
Nik’s U Point local controls gave me the capability I needed. U Points allow you to make local adjustments within a “sphere of influence” – such as the sky, the water, the side of the boat, etc. I applied these adjustments to the areas that I pre-visualized. See below for the image and just one of the 5 U Points that I used. Notice that I was able to brighten and redden the sky to give it more drama.
3- ColorEfex Pro (great for giving your image some “pop,” but it also has tons of preset auto adjustments and you can use U Points as with other Nik plug-ins for local control). For this image I used the “darken/lighten center” and “remove color cast” presets to add focus to the sunset and whiten the side of the boat.
4- Sharpener Pro Optional, but if you are going to upload your image to the web and/or for print, you should sharpen (even a little) as the last step in the process.
Here’s the final image:
This was very easy to do, and Nik Software is the key to the workflow!
Click on the Nik logo for product info. If/when you purchase, make sure SDREYER is in the Coupon Code field to get your discount!
These are great solutions that you will probably use every day — just like I do.