Silver Efex Pro 2, Image Preview Options

The complete SEP 2 Tutorial is here.

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This is the 2nd in a SEP 2 tutorial series. Previously –

  1. SEP 2 Introduction

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The default SEP 2 opening screen is shown below (click to enlarge). This post will address the areas labeled #1, #4 and #7.

  • #4 is the area where your image is previewed.
  • #1 provides preview options
  • #7 provides preview details in terms of a Loupe or Histogram plus a Zone System Map

In the previous SEP 2 post, which introduced this screen shot, a link was included to the Nik SEP 2 site which contained an explanation of every element of the above image. I suggested that reading this was important and that I didn’t plan to regurgitate it. Of the 16 people who read the post yesterday, only TWO clicked through to the Nik site. Surprising – but it’s not too late. 😉

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Preview Options

The default interface shown above shows the appearance of your current image and reflects the effect of your adjustments to this point. SEP 2 provides several alternative ways to preview your work. These are controlled by buttons in interface area #1 as shown here (see upper left in the first image in this post for context).

First, the preview area can be expanded by hiding the areas to the left and right of the main area (#4 above) as shown below. Whether or not this provides any real benefit depends on the aspect ratio of your image. (Keyboard shortcut – Tab key)

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You can also view side by side (or over/under) before-after comparisons. The after usually will be the current state of your image. The before can be any prior stage. Both before & after can be controlled by the History Browser which will described later in this post. Here are several different SEP 2 preview comparison views. What I’m comparing is the SEP 2 default conversion (Preset = Neutral) with the image after applying SEP 2’s Overexposure preset. Which is which is obvious.

Single image with side by side comparison Before|After

As above except over/under

Side by side as above except with a different “split”

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In addition to the above single split image comparisons, you can go for two separate images – one before & one after.

or

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If your preview window is the default (no side by side comparison) you can still check your work with the interface’s Compare button to toggle between before and after.

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I mentioned that both the before & after preview is controllable via the History Browser (whoever at Nik came up with the HB should get a big bonus). Among other things the HB allows us to compare any two steps in our SEP 2 workflow history – and not just the beginning and final images. In fact the HB default “before” image is Preset = Neutral which is a B&W conversion, but what if you wanted to compare a conversion with the original color image? Enter HB!

Now we can compare any number of possibilities. Here’s the original color and our current image –

Split

and side by side

and two interim steps in our workflow history which are neither the first nor the last image.

Has this illustration of some of the benefits of the History Browser (which is also the ultimate UNDO capability out there) captured your interest? I hope so, but to learn more you’ll have to view a 1+ minute video (when you get to the Nik video site click on the History Browser video). As when I referred readers to the Nik site for an explanation of the SEP 2 interface, Nik’s HB video is far better that anything that I can add. Take a minute because it’s worth it. Let’s see if we can get more than 2 out of 16 clicking through this time.

Another HB option is to read this SEP 2 Workflow post to see how I use it.

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Loupe, Histogram and Zone System Map (area #7 of the interface image at the start of this post, buried at the bottom right of the screen – small and hard to see)

You can examine areas of your image with a loupe.

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You can view the histogram for the current version of your image.

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If you’re familiar with the Zone System, made famous by Ansel Adams, you can check which areas of your image are in which zone (and make subsequent adjustments to match your vision). Note the dashed red lines.

You’ll need to click on this next image in order to enlarge it enough to see what’s going on.

The dashed red lines can be hard to see. Hopefully Nik will be able to change these to solid and/or flashing based on beta tester comments.

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Here’s a screen capture from the Nik site with a few words of wisdom about zone mapping (for the 14 of 16 viewers who would not click through if there was just a link to this site ;-))

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Next >> SEP 2 Presets