Nik Collection vs. LR 5 – The Nik Graduated Filter

Summary – The 2nd of several LR5/Nik selective adjustment comparison posts. This one looks at the Nik Collection graduated filters (plural) and making selective adjustments within the filter.


Today’s post illustrates Nik’s approach to

Selective adjustments in general

Using graduated filters as a specific example

By comparing this post with yesterday’s LR 5 version

You’ll see the similarities & differences in approach


Rollover mouse for the before-grad-filter

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A Classic Graduated Filter Application

Mimic real-glass grad-neutral-density filter


Graduated filters in Nik’s Color Efex Pro

Details are available below –

Grad neutral density filter

More complete than the

Nik/LR comparison post you’re reading

Control Points & Selective Adjustments


Click to enlarge screen captures so settings can be read


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Figure 1

This picks up where yesterday’s LR 5 post left off

We’ll skip the simple (no tree) image

The initial result shown above looks similar to LR5’s

The big difference occurs in the next step –

Solving the problem

LR5/Nik similarities –

Overall the initial results are the same

Also, both suffer from the unwanted darkening (tree) problem

Both allow the filter to be applied multiple times

At same or different angles and strengths

Differences –

Nik can lighten top & darken bottom with a single filter

LR 5 either darkens or lightens; both requires two filters

LR 5 can apply many different effects with the same filter

Nik’s grad ND filter is limited to just lightening/darkening

However, Nik has a number of different grad filters

Not just neutral density, thus allowing similar results by

Applying several different filters

At this point, the Nik/LR choice is a toss depending on your workflow

There are no result differences

If there are no “tree-like” problems


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Figure 2

Here is where the significant differences occur

Between Nik & LR 5 graduated filters

How do you selectively adjust the filter’s effects?

We saw yesterday that in LR 5 you

1st – closed the grad filter result

2nd – opened the adjustment brush

created a mask

applied a “fix” to the dark tree

3rd – closed the adjust brush result

4th – repeated the 1-3 process for any other problems if they exist

The Nik solution is to use control points as shown above

“One-stop-shopping”; no need for the repeated open close

Plus – control points are easier & faster than the brush method

If you’re curious, you must read the above link


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Figure 3

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Figure 3a

And here is where we end up

The end result, as with the initial result,

Is similar between Nik & LR

Same origin & destination, but

The road traveled is quite different


Here is Nik’s Color Efex Pro’s Graduated Filter menu

They all follow the same general principles as the Grad ND

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and here’s an example

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Grad is grad

Useful & straight forward

Cleaning up problems? That’s another issue.


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