What’s in a name? Preset effects typically have names to give you an idea of the kind of subjects they might work with, but in reality you should just choose a preset that gives you the ‘look’ you want. For this dramatic seascape I turned to the Hollywood Glamour preset in Silver Efex Pro, one of the key plug-ins in the DxO Nik Collection.
Silver Efex Pro displays a library of preset effects in its left sidebar, organized by category, and I could see straight away that the Hollywood Glamour preset gave me just the effect I wanted, even though it didn’t sound like the obvious choice!
In fact, this preset does deliver the depth and richness of classic Hollywood noir films, but that treatment works just was well on this seascape.
I shot it just a couple of weeks ago, struck by the symmetry and scale of the scene and the contrast between the blue sky and clouds. I use a wide-angle lens to exaggerate the perspective and the drama of the sky but had the idea that it might work even better in black and white.
So what settings were changed to get this transformation? Here’s what the Hollywood Glamour preset did to the image – and some little tweaks I added myself.
01 Hollywood Glamour preset
Here I’m using Silver Efex Pro 3 from the Nik Collection 5. The Hollywood Glamour preset is from Silver Efex Pro’s 25th Anniversary Portrait collection. It would probably work really well on portraits, but it works well here too.
02 Brightness and Dynamic Brightness
Over in the tools panels in the right sidebar you can go through the adjustments made by the preset in the Global Adjustments section. This is split into sub-sections, and in the first, Brightness Adjustments, the preset has increased the Brightness, which has made the clouds very bright, but it has also reduced the Dynamic Brightness. This gives the picture its dense, rich tones without dulling the highlights.
03 Contrast Adjustments
In this section, the Hollywood Glamour preset has increase both the regular Contrast value and also the Soft Contrast. Soft Contrast adds a kind of richness and ‘glow’ to the scene. It’s a dynamic adjustment that works on some areas more strongly than others.
04 Structure Adjustments
These are local contrast enhancements that bring out object outlines and enhance textures, and to some extent these play off against each other. The main tweak here is to the Fine Structure slider which really makes details and edges look clearer.
05 Tonality Protection
This is an adjustment I added manually. When applied unaltered, the preset was ‘clipping’ the brightest clouds, but by pushing the Highlights Protection to maximum I was able to bring these back within range. I also gave the shadows a small protection value just to stop them disappearing into blackness.
06 Selective Adjustments
This is another manual tweak. I decided the gangway to the lighthouse needed just a little more detail and I achieved this with a control point placed right in the center. I thought it might need a Brightness adjustment, but in fact I got the result I wanted by increasing the Contrast and Structure values. Note that in Silver Efex Pro 3, the control point sliders are now in a Selective Adjustments panel in the sidebar, not attached to the control point.
07 Colour Filter
I made one other manual change. The Hollywood Glamour preset uses an ‘unfiltered’ color to black and white conversion, but I chose a yellow filter effect from the Colour Filter panel to simulate the effect of a yellow filter in black and white photography, darkening the blue sky and blue sea tones.
08 Vignette effect
This is the final adjustment applied by the Hollywood Glamour preset. It’s in the Finishing Adjustments panel in the Vignette drop-down, where you can choose from a variety of vignette effects or make your own manual adjustments.
Saving custom presets
If you achieve an effect you like that you might want to use again, why not save it as a new custom preset? It’s super easy to do – just click the yellow Save button in the bottom right corner of the screen and give your new preset a name. You’ll be able to find it again in the Custom section in the Presets panel in the left sidebar.
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