Nik Software Captured: The Complete Guide to Using Nik Software's Photographic Tools (Anglais) Broché – 25 novembre 2011
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Styled in such a way as to resemble the way photographers think, Nik Software Captured aims to help you learn to apply all the features and functionality of the Nik software products. With Nik Software Captured, authors and Nik Software, Inc. insiders Tony Corbell and Josh Haftel help you use after–capture software products easier and more creatively. Their sole aim is to ensure that you can apply the techniques discussed in the book while gaining a thorough understanding of the capabilities of programs such as Dfine 2.0, Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4.0, Silver Efex Pro 2, Sharpener Pro 3.0, and HDR Efex Pro.
- Helps you learn all the features and functionality of the Nik family of products
- Shares tips and techniques on retouching and exposure
- Offers a solid understanding of the importance of light
- Explores ways to save time in the digital workflow
- Answers the demand from readers to compile a variety of techniques conceived to help when using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, and Apple′s Aperture
With Nik Software Captured, you′ll quickly benefit from the array of helpful techniques featured in this single resource.
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1) The first chapter covers some aspects of capturing photos and selecting photos to edit in post-processing. I felt that this chapter was unnecessary, because its space could have been used to talk more about the software. There are plenty of other books dedicated to the topic of capturing photos (composition, etc.) and selecting photos. Even this book states that this topic "could fill volumes" (page 3). The book may have been better off providing a short bibliography for such topics.
2) The images that show off the Nik Software interface are too small, as other reviewers have mentioned. For a book about teaching the reader how to use the software, it is essential that the images of the software interface be readable. Not everybody has good vision. In addition, the authors do not highlight parts of the interface when talking about a particular function like other photography software books. For example, the author would talk about a function and then refer to Figure X.Y. When you go look at Figure X.Y, it's hard to tell what in the interface has changed. The book should circle the area in question, use a callout, or some similar technique.
3) My main interest was in learning about all of Color Efex Pro 4's controls. On page 144, it says "With 55 filters and a pretty good online help system, we won't go into what each slider does in this book." Unfortunately, most people buy these books, because the online help is bad! Software vendors have spent so little money and effort on their instruction manuals that customers have become accustomed to them being bad.
To be fair, I did check out Color Efex Pro 4's online help. It shows you an HTML version of the interface with hot points that you can click to bring up help for it. The content in the online help describes what the controls do, but it is still basic. For example, when I checked out the Global Contrast control for the Bleach Bypass filter, the online help says, "Controls the overall contrast of the image." That is somewhat of a "captain obvious" description, and something I have come to expect from an online help system or software manual. This is why I would have expected this book to delve further on topics like that, but the book does not sadly.
4) The book's writing is very good. The writing is not too dry and also does not try to get too funny like some of Scott Kelby's books.
In conclusion, I can't but feel that this book should have been the software manual. The biggest letdown is the Color Efex Pro 4 section, since it does not cover every control of every filter. I suspect another author will be publishing a book about this, to which people will have to pay again. :-(
When the software maker publishes a book about their own software, I expect it to be comprehensive and go beyond the software manual or online help. This book isn't there yet.
It's into this vacuum that Cobell and Haftel have stepped. The book opens with chapters on editing basics and digital workflow and then reviews the editing environment (including host software Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom and Aperture). There is a discussion of NIK's standardized interface and its special feature, U Point technology. Chapters, which included examples, followed on NIK's programs: Dfine 2.0; Viveza 2; HDR Efex Pro 3.0; Color Efex Pro 4; Silver Efex Pro 2; and Sharpener Pro 3.0. The authors present several examples of the joint application of several of the programs and then provide a brief history of digital photography and the history of NIK.
My experience has been primarily with HDR Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro 4, so my review of the software chapters emphasized those. The overall description of the interface, U Point technology and the individual interfaces for HDR Efex and Color Efex was far more comprehensive than anything I'd been able to learn from NIK's online help, including its extensive collection of videos. I certainly learned a few new tricks, especially about control points. On the other hand I wanted more, particularly about the 55 individual filters in Color Efex. Each of these filters has a different effect, and creates different results with their particular sliders. The software allows you to use presets to get a general idea of what each of the filters does, but to really get the most out of the software one needs to understand what individual sliders do. Although the authors provide a few examples, they acknowledge that it's hard to learn and understand what each filter does and how to manipulate it, but they suggest a lengthy process of playing with the filters. They did not even suggest going to the NIK web site where one can at least find a filter list with a description of each filter and its settings. (As a side note, I've got a permanent link to this page pinned on the taskbar in Windows.) The discussion of the sliders in HDR Efex was a little more detailed but still not comprehensive.
It could be suggested that such an explanation would have been too lengthy for the book, but it seemed to me that a fair number of pages were devoted to basic image processing concepts with which a user ready to apply NIK filters would be well familiar. so that these pages could be devoted to something more useful.
I have to confess that although I do not use the full suite of NIK software, just reading about the elements that I do not use gave me an opportunity to consider acquiring these powerful pieces of software.
If your eyesight is weak, you may want to read this book with your magnifying glass at hand since not only is the NIK interface a dark grey on black but the screen captures were too small for convenience, and sometimes several pages removed from the relevant text.
This book did not mention much of what I wanted to know, but it certainly introduced me to some new ways to utilize the software. Moreover, as of this writing, it's the only book that covers this area.
The book starts off discussing digital editing and workflow. One thing I found particularly valuable was a description of the pros/cons between the Lightroom/Aperture plug-ins and the Photoshop plug-ins. Had I known this earlier, I might have made a different purchasing decision. It's actually somewhat sad that this information isn't made more obvious in Nik Software's own website.
A good description of the overall interface, and the crown jewel of the Nik Software tools (U point technology) comes next. I found it refreshing to get a more technical description of how U Point works, and some commentary on how it should be used. Again, it's disappointing this information isn't really described well in other sources from Nik itself.
The next several chapters discuss each of the various tools Nik offers, with a tour of the interface and examples on how to use each product. The weakest of these chapters is probably the one on Sharpener Pro. Although there was some detail given motivating the need for the tool, I didn't find the explanations on when to use pre-sharpening vs. output sharpening very clear. It's still ambiguous to me after reading the descriptions given.
The final chapters give example sessions/workflow on example portrait and landscape photos. There are a few good ideas given, but there was nothing particularly remarkable about these topics.
If you are looking for a way to maximize your understanding (and value) of the Nik Software tools, this is a very good resource. None of the tools are particularly complex to use, so your alternative is to just play with stuff and examine the results. However, it's likely if you just experiment with the product, you'll be left puzzled on exactly how some things should be used (or even leave some of the power of the tools unexploited). So, although this book really isn't needed beyond a quick initial read, there is value you'll likely get out of it. Recommended.
Considering that the tech details of much software are closely guarded proprietorial secrets, the book does a fabulous job of detailing things like how and why to best place a Control Point for desired effect, whether one should merge that HDR image beginning in Photoshop or in Lightroom, or how this filter was used to accent that detail and why it acted like it did. Those familiar with the company's online webinars will recognize some of the images used in the book. And that is good here. Whether one learns best by seeing, reading, or doing, this book, those free webinars, and the content on the NIK Software website all add up to an effective total learning package. But, the book gives the most detailed explanation of the editing process and how the software really accomplishes the rendering intent of the user.
One last bit of praise--I use NIK Software products most days. And reading this book has increased my skill level doing that.