LR 5 vs. Nik Collection – Selective Adjustments

Summary – Often, adjustments are needed only in certain parts of an image, so-called selective or local adjustments. The general technique for doing this is called masking – an analogy with masking-tape used when painting a room. Programs each deal with masking in their own way. This post compares masking in the Nik Collection plug-ins with Lightroom 5.


When it comes to selective adjustments

LR5 is the cake; Nik is the icing

Who likes cake without icing? :-(

9-12-2013 4-23-14 PM

Excuse the hand-made “art”

Green field, blue sky, white squirrels, tree & leaves

Nik mask is black

Black areas totally unaffected by adjustment

White just the opposite

Gray – somewhere in between

LR5 mask is pink (other colors available)

Pink areas totally unaffected by adjustment


Lightroom 5 has become a widely used program

Similarly, the Nik Collection is very popular

Both allow selective adjustments to images

Using what is fundamentally a masking method, but

Each creates a mask in very different ways

(I don’t mean the pink & black color differences)

In the next few posts

I’ll mention pro’s & con’s between the two alternatives

I’ll show comparative results using both on the same image

I will not give a detailed tutorial on how to achieve the results

Scott Kelby devotes an entire chapter to this topic

Adobe has on-line tutorials including this video

I posted a detailed explanation of Nik’s approach


Preliminaries (in-depth to follow in later posts)

LR5 has three selective adjustment tools

Located near the upper right of the LR5 window

9-12-2013 10-34-25 AM

Only #3, the brush, is a true selective adjustment tool

The two filters are global, not selective

Their only claim to selectivity is they restrict their global adjustments

to only a portion of the image

Within that portion the adjustments are global, i.e.,

They affect everything


The Nik Collection has 50+ filters (analogous to LR’s two)

Instead of a brush, Nik uses a Control Point

The control point is used to

Selectively enable or disable a filter’s effect


I know this is as clear as mud

The mud will be cleared away as we address

Each of the three LR tools & compare them to Nik


Next Post – The Gradient Filter

Followed by the Radial Filter and

And – saving the best until last – the Adjustment Brush

The latter being by far the most useful

It can do most of what the other two do

AND – More Selectively

Adjust brush created the featured image’s mask


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