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This is hot! How many of you out there have a D100 or D2H? Have you noticed there is no B&W mode? One of the coolest things I liked about digital was I could instantly switch from color to B&W and take it a step further and do B&W infrared. Yeah, you can do it in Photoshop but let's face it, that's one hell of a time commitment. I'm here to tell you that the folks at Nik Software felt our pain because they've made our lives one heck of a lot easier, and more fun!

nik Color Efex Pro II is a new suite with more filters than you can shake a stick at. Polarization, Graduated filter and Skylight that I wrote about in BTJ vol 8, Issue 3 are still there, but there are some new ones that excite me to no end.

The updated B&W Conversion is stunning! You no longer have to create a bunch of layer masks or go through channels to get full tonality B&W images. The new User Interface gives you the ability to create a B&W image exactly how you would in a wet darkroom. And if that's not enough control over your B&W image, there are two other B&W conversions. But this isn't even the tip of the iceberg as far as I'm concerned.

My original love affair with the darkroom had to do with special effects, infrared to be specific. The folks at nik were challenged to come up with infrared filters that would exactly duplicate the look of infrared film. Man, did they blow that challenge out of the water!

BeforeAfter

What you see here are just two out of the TEN possible B&W and Color Infrared filters! Ten, can you believe that? It's not any more difficult than using any other nik filter. You launch the infrared filter, select the infrared spectrum you want to work with and then using the sliders, create the infrared image you want. The example you see here is the Infrared: color using #2 option. Using the sliders to change highlights, contrast and brightness, I dialed in exactly what I desired. I really liked this old refrigerator door but it didn't come to life until I could finish the image using the infrared filter. It's pretty darn close to an old image I made long ago of basically the same subejct but with infrared film and hours in the darkroom.

The other image was created using the Infrared: black and white option#2. The beauty of the nik infrared filters is you can dial in the highlight brightness that you desire. This in combination with the contrast, you have complete control over a process you had really little control over in the wet darkroom.

AfterBeforeLook closely at this image. Notice how the highlights are bright and vibrant while the tones of the cabin have held beautifully. This quality was achieved with just a couple simple clicks! Is your imagination going wild...the fun is awaiting you in the new nik Color Efex Pro II!

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