For today I have for you few simple tricks, on how to get more from Nik Color Efex pro plug-in for Photoshop. If you never used it before, you should give it a try, and you can find more about it in my Color Efex pro review.
1. Use multiple effects
You will quickly notice, that if you change the filter selected, you will loose the one that was selected before, and all its settings. So in case you want to use more than one filter on a particular photo, you either have to do one effect at a time, or use the Add Filter button. with it, you can add as many filters as you want at once. I actually prefer to add one filter at a time, as I like to apply a layer mas after each filter, and just use the effect where I need it.
2. Use recipes
Color Efex does not allow to change default settings for the filters. But what you can do, is create the settings you want, and then save them as a recipe. You can even apply multiple filters, and save them all as one recipe. This is particularly great, if you are editing multiple shots from a series, and you want the same effect to be on all of them.
3. Favorite what you use
With so many available filters, there is a very small chance that you will be using them all regularly. So what you can do, is add the ones you like the most to you favorites, and so reduce the list substantially. Just click on the star icon next to the filter, and then choose the favorites group to just see them.
4. Protect highlights/shadows
A lot of the filters effect the shadows and the highlights of your photo. A lot of times this is desired, but sometimes it’s not. To avoid this, you can simply adjust the Shadows and Highlights sliders. This should be done gently, as it’s very easy to make them look gray. If this is the result you are getting, it’s better just to use layer masks, and remove the effect from those areas.
5. Use the selective tool
When you install Nik plugins, you will also get the Selective tool. It’s used to run the specific plugins, but it has one specific function you can’t get from the filters menu. If you open the settings here, you have an option to choose, on what is the plugin applied. It’s either the selected layer, or a merged copy of all the layers. If you open the plugin from the filters menu, you can only use it on the selected layer.
6. Use the control points
As I mentioned before, I prefer to choose where the filter is applied later with a layer mask. But if you want, you can partially effect it directly in Color Efex by using the control points. You have a + and a – control point. Easily just place the point if you want to add the effect only on a specific are or remove it. You can then change the opacity and size for that control point.
One more tip, a little more specific :) If you are running a Windows 10 installation (like I am right now), and Color efex causes Photoshop to crash, there is a simple fix for that. Open Color efex on any photo and under setting/GPU dissable GPU processing. The drivers for Windows 10 are just still in beta and not stable enough.