How to use Color Efex Pro by NicSoftware

In this article we introduce you to the plug in Color Efex Pro.

Hello my friends! Good to see you here! Hope you are ready to learn some cool tips and tricks! Today I am going to introduce you to Color Efex Pro and I am going to show you some example so you can apply it on your photos! Click here to purchase the plug in, it use to be very expensive but since it has been bought by Google it is way cheaper so don’t hesitate to get them because they are really good plug-ins. I am going to create a foggy high key look on a photo to demonstrate what you can do:

As usual, if you want the RAW files for this tutorial and all my other free presets and goodies; just subscribe to my newsletter here. You can also follow along on my video tutorial for this lesson here.

This is a long exposure I did in Clearwater, Florida:

First I am going to retouch the photo in Lightroom:

Step 1. Adjust the Highlights and Shadow. First thing I did was I brought the Shadows to +100 as usual but I put the Highlights at -10 because I want to create this High Key effect. (If you’ve read my tutorials or watched my videos, you know this is part of my workflow. You can get a more complete statement on why I do this in almost all my photographs by reading this how to article here.)

Step 2. Exposure adjustments. I want to boost the Exposure +0,45 to make the overall photo brighter.

Step 3. Adjust the Blacks. Next I will lower my Blacks to -35. I don’t touch the White to keep the high key look. (If you’ve read my tutorials or watched my videos, you know this is part of my workflow. You can get a more complete statement on why I do this in almost all my photographs by reading this how to article here.)

Step 4. Adjust White Balance. On this photo I am going to choose Cloudy so it contribute to the high key look:

Step 5. Clarity adjustments. I put Clarity at +21 that is really going to define the edges and give more character to the photo and because Clarity take some Vibrance out I am going to add some +18:

Step 6. Import the photo to Color Efex Pro 4. I right click on the photo and I select edit in > Color Efex Pro 4:

Just press okay when it ask you if you want to download the photo with the Lightroom adjustment:

Once you are in Color Efex pro, you have different filter and categories on the left corner so I am going to show some of them not all of them because there is a lot:

If you want to favorite a filter you just have to click on the star and it is going to make it in the category of favorite:

On the right corner you have some option to retouch your photo there is the Detail Extractor that can be very cool it gives an illustrative look to your photo I am going to set it at 35 to not have a too illustrative look:

I want to create an effect where the foreground is very sharp and the background more foggy so for that I click on the + next to control point to control:

I set the Saturation at 59 and then I click where I want to apply the effect and so the effect will be only in the circle where I clicked:

I can even decide on the opacity of the circle:

So then I press on add a filter to continue with another filter:

I want to try an effect called Graduated Fog:

You can play with the Opacity I set it at 84 and see how much fog you want:

You can even choose the type of fog you want; I choose the type number 1:

If you move blend to the right it is going to apply the fog everywhere and on the left it is going to apply it only on the upper part of the photo so I set it at 23:

Virtual shift is the same it define where it is going to be apply and the rotation rotate the effect but it doesn’t work for this photo because we want to be align with the horizontal line I set it at 46:

Now I want to try a crazy filter to see how it looks, Bleach bypass, it looks very desaturated and grungy:

But what if I want to use this affect only in the foreground? Well I use the control point to center the filter only where I want it:

If you think it is too much, you can just move the Brightness at 12 and the Saturation at -17 to make it more contrasty:

Here is another filter, called Bi-color User Defined:

You can even decide the upper and the lower color you want. I choose a light blue for the lower color:

And for the upper color I choose a red color:

I play with the blend (88) to make it look better:

I set the virtual shift in a way that the blue is at the very bottom of the photo:

I want to change my red so I click on the red and I make it more orange:

I am just playing around with the colors and the Opacity:

You can just play around forever with this plug-in and so I am happy with what I have now it is like a 500px photo, so I save it and go back to Lightroom:

So here is the before photo:

And this is the after:

I love to double process my photo so let’s retouch it again:

Step 7. Adjust the Shadows. I set the Shadows at +79 to make the photo even more contrasty.

Step 8. Adjust the Blacks. I lower my blacks even more to -20 it is really going to bring some darkness:

And here is the final result:

I like this photo because it is very different that the usual where my sky is very intense and dramatic with a pretty smooth foreground where here I did the opposite.

I hope that you enjoyed those tips and that you will use Color Efex Pro because it is worth it. If you enjoyed this article then there is only thing that you can do.. Share it!

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter here to get all the RAW files and other free goodies! Thank you for your support and Au revoir!

blog comments powered by Disqus