Currys PC World here in the UK are running a series of photography challenges. They've just started with a "Smoke photography" challenge set by David Nightingale of Chromasia blog. This all fits rather neatly with the tutorial videos I made recently on this very topic so if you want to ace that competition check out my videos below and then visit the Currys PC World blog to find out how to enter.
In this, the final chapter of this tutorial we get deeper into Silver Efex Pro to show how we can fine tune this high key black and white portrait. We teak the brightness and contrast with the highlights, midtones, shadows and dynamic brightness sliders. We also use amplify whites and blacks and tweak soft contrast to change the balance of tones in the image. We use a colour filter to bring out detail and finally do some spot editing with Silver Efex control points.
In this chapter we start by using Nik Color Efex Pro for skin softening and then back to Lightroom briefly for cropping and rotation. Finally we get into Nik Silver Efex Pro to start the black and white high key portrait conversion. We begin with presets that get us quite a long way towards where we want to go.
In this tutorial we'll take a nicely lit studio portrait and turn it into a dreamy high key image fit for a magazine cover. We'll start off using Lightroom 4 in this first chapter to fix some levels and colour issues and produce a rather nice colour version of the picture. Then in chapters 2 and 3 we'll use Nik Silver Efex to turn that into a bright, clean high key black and white image.
This tutorial was recorded in 2012 but not released until 2013. When it was recorded Lightroom 4 was still pretty new and Google hadn't bought Nik Software yet.
Adobe recently announced that the only way to buy Creative Suite products like Photoshop from now on will be through their Creative Cloud. In the wake of that announcement I've heard nothing but criticism from Photoshop users with a great many looking for viable alternatives. Corel must have heard them too because they're very wisely offering CS users special pricing on the Corel suite of creative products which include Corel Draw and Paintshop Pro. In their press release Corel promised that they would continue to offer both subscriptions and perpetual license "boxed copy" style purchasing options.
“We strongly believe that users should be able to choose how they would like to purchase their software,” said Nick Davies, EVP & GM Graphics, Digital Media & Productivity Software at Corel
So if you're one of the many upset Photoshop users looking for a product to switch to you might be wondering how Paintshop Pro holds up? I'm happy to report that it's a pretty smooth switch over. Paintshop Pro emulates much of the way Photoshop works with layers and most of the keyboard shortcuts are the same. Best of all Paintshop Pro has 16-bit per channel colour support so there's no need to compromise the quality of your images like you would with Photoshop Elements.
I'd say Paintshop Pro is well worth a look. Check out their page for CS users looking to switch. You can see the prices and download a free trial there. Paintshop Pro is Windows only.