For the most part, the only visual difference between this image and the first Crossing The Stream is that this one is landscape where the first was vertical, but that is not the only difference. Today’s image was processed completely using onOne Software’s new Perfect B&W from their Perfect Photo Suite 7. Being heavy into the black and white images lately, I’ve started looking at software options for conversions. Yesterday’s trials included Topaz B&W Effects, NIK’s Silver Efex Pro 2 and the Perfect B&W. Here’s some thoughts on each.
I used to be a big fan of Topaz’s products, but since changing their interface and trying to offer more selective adjustments, which are a good thing, I’ve found it very difficult to get where I want to go with any of their products, with the only exception being DeNoise. Their selective adjustments seem clunky and hard to maneuver – I know some folks love them, and that’s great, but I found the Topaz B&W Effects to much of the same and had to give up on it.
The interface with NIK’s Silver Efex Pro was very much to my liking and the control point adjustments are quite good, but I found them to be very useful for making broad adjustments, where a more selective, oddly shaped adjustment became a bit cumbersome when using a round control point. I’m sure with more trial and error this will become more adaptable to my workflow, but it did seem to produce a lot of repeat work in duplicating and applying the same control point along a long rectangular plain. Otherwise, I loved this product and will continue to play with it.
Of the three products sampled, Perfect B&W was the best. It allowed for much more localized control, as well as a plethora of global adjustments, and the perfect brush is really a game breaker. I do wish that masking was available for the global adjustments, but you can apply the most basic adjustments as a brush, you just can’t remove them as one.
Both Silver Efex and Perfect B&W worked seamlessly with Aperture, which is huge. The movement between Aperture and Topaz products is quite troublesome and I have to go through Photoshop Elements to make them work correctly.
Price points: Topaz B&W Effects $59.99, NIK Silver Efex Pro 2 $199.95, Perfect B&W $99.95 (Perfect Photo Suite 7 $299.95, but only $149.95 to upgrade from Suite 6). Based on what you get for the money, I’m still leaning towards the Perfect B&W, mainly because for another $50, because I own Suite 6, I get the entire Suite 7 along with the Perfect B&W.
I will keep playing with these products and may change my mind after doing so, but onOne is hard to beat right now. Do you have any conversion suggestions? Leave a comment below.
I’d also like to take a moment and wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. I’m very thankful for your fellowship and interaction – it means a lot to me. I will be taking the rest of the week off to spend time with the family and hopefully get some shooting in. Until next week then…