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I'd like to buy a plugin from Nik Software; which is the better plugin between Silver Efex Pro and Color Efex Pro?

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Actually, I usually work with Lightroom (sometimes Photoshop : textures or some B&W conversions), it seems indeed to be a good idea buying the complete collection for Lightroom (link), cheaper than only Silver or Color but with 5 plugins ! thanks a lot for your advices. –  Olivier DUVAL May 1 '11 at 17:55
    
And here is non-bitly link, if Libyan addresses start to disappear or if someone wants to know where they are really heading at: webshop.niksoftware.com/4DCGI/… –  koiyu May 2 '11 at 12:59
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Better for what? Why do you want to buy a plugin in the first place. –  mattdm May 4 '12 at 20:46
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5 Answers

I have the Nik Software Complete Collection for Lightroom, and I've found that I use Color Efex Pro a lot more than Silver Efex Pro. Silver Efex Pro provides some nice templates for B/W conversions, but I've found that the B/W conversion in Lightroom coupled with the channel mixer to provide me with enough control over the B/W conversion process. As such, Silver Efex Pro is rarely used.

Color Efex Pro on the other hand, has loads of useful filters that produce effects that cannot be done using Lightroom alone. I do lots of portraits, and I've found it an invaluable tool.

Example portrait This is an example that was processed using Color Efex. The skin was softened, eyes were enhanced and some touch ups were done to the exposure. While eye enhancements and skin softening can be done in Lightroom/Photoshop, I've found that Color Efex produces the most pleasing effects (i.e. not too over done) with minimal effort.

It's not just useful for portraits. This is another photo that I edited in Color Efex to bring out the autumn colours while leaving the subject (the lady pushing the pram) untouched.

Lady in Red

In summary, I cannot recommend Color Efex enough. It's a fantastic bit of software for your toolbox. I know that this is not part of the question, but if you're after another plug-in from Nik I would highly recommend Viveza.

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The skin stuff is great, I've used that a lot - what do you use on the eyes from CFX? –  Kendall Helmstetter Gelner May 2 '11 at 6:36
    
Possibly not the best approach as Lightroom has an adjustment brush for eyes, but I use the contrast only filter and set the "Apply to whole image" slider to 0%. Then I add a 100% control point for each eye and play with the contrast/brightness/saturation and opacity until they suit me. –  CadentOrange May 2 '11 at 9:11
    
Interesting technique, I'll try that out. I've been using Viveza2 on the eyes for essentially the same effect (adjusting contrast and brightness). The only reason I may keep doing that is I also use Viveza for large scale adjustments to background brightness too. –  Kendall Helmstetter Gelner May 2 '11 at 14:22
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SilverEFX has a lot of fine grained control over B&W conversions for images.

ColorEFX is like a super-general toolbox, good for all sorts of things. It does have B&W conversion modules as well, though they are more limited in adjustment than SilverEFX. It also has stuff like skin smoothers (that works really well), custom color changes (like washing out colors) and many other interesting things.

Both can be downloaded as a demo, so you can try them out and see what you think. As I said, note when you play with ColorEFX that each module is different with different adjustments, whereas in SilverEFX the presets are all just different settings of the same controls.

I agree with jon2512 though, that buying the whole set is a good idea... if you are willing to work with them as plugins in Aperture/Lightroom it's a lot cheaper than the Photoshop versions.

One tip around Nik software, is that if you want to buy one you should sign up for a webinar on the Nik website - when the webinar completes you'll be given a discount code at the end that gives you 10-15% off the software. It's good for the specific software discussed in the webinar, and I think possibly on the whole suite also (not sure about that).

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I bought the "complete solution", and you had right, I have got 20 % off on this last one after I had watched a webinar - thanks for your advice –  Olivier DUVAL May 19 '11 at 12:53
    
Thanks, did not remember it was as high as 20%. I think that may be the usual discount. –  Kendall Helmstetter Gelner May 19 '11 at 13:54
    
there were 2 discounts : 10-15 % for one product and 20 % off for the "complete solution" –  Olivier DUVAL May 19 '11 at 20:05
    
A reader has warned (in a deleted answer) that this discount might be only applicable to residents of USA. –  Imre Mar 20 '12 at 6:06
    
Ahh, very possible. But still it is worth trying one of the free webinars to see if the discount you will get will work in your country. –  Kendall Helmstetter Gelner Mar 20 '12 at 11:51
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SEP is for B&W while CEP is for colour photos. It's like comparing apples and oranges. That aside though, I would recommend getting the whole suite as it's cheaper that way, plus Define and Sharpener is actually pretty useful.

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I do not own a copy of Colour Efex but I do own a copy of Silver Efex Pro 2 (together with Elements 9) and from the two pics below I am happy to say that i have no regrets buying it.

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5148/5678836122_336ab7e5e4_z.jpg

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5308/5672665131_52b05fc0d0_z.jpg

to be honest, these two programs are very different animals as Colour is primarily for colour and Silver Efex is primarily for B&W.

Pros of Silver Efex 2, the simplicity of usage, even for a newbie like me. you just need to watch the official youtube video and you are ready to go. A pic will take less than 5 mins for me to process.

I do agree with the previous post that alternatively you can buy the complete suit package but if costs are your concern, i would recommend you getting a "student package" / alternatively you can go to the Niksoft website and look for the authorized dealers, i got my for USD $120 for version 1 (with free upgrade to version 2), market price is selling at a much higher price.

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they're very different products. Silver Efex pro is really for black and white conversions only. Whther you need it depends on how much black and white work you are doing (or will do). If you're doing a lot of it, you'll find it hard to do without.

But if you're doing occasional black and white, then color efex pro is the better value. But they are both great tools in what they are designed for. Color Efex can be used for occasional Black and white conversions and is amazing for color imagery, but if you're doing lots of (and/or serious) black and white, that's when silver efex really shines.

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