The new Dark Contrast filter in Nik’s Color Efex Pro 4 amplifies details and adds crunchy texture
to images to create a dramatic look.
tweaks to this digital filter and photo
enhancement plug-in, to make me think
it has another winner on its hands.
COLOR IT IN
The biggest improvement I noticed
off the bat in Color Efex Pro 4 is how
much faster it feels from the previous
version. Part of that has to do with the
new GPU Processing and Multi-Core
Optimization in the software, which
is designed to take advantage of the
latest processing engines to provide
faster performance. The software’s
interface is also better organized with
tabs that group filter effects under a
variety of categories including Nature,
Portrait, Wedding and others. (You can
also create your own categories.)
I flew through the lengthy filter list
in Color Efex Pro 4—now 54 in all with
numerous subsets—including eight
brand-new filters and ten filters that
have been revamped from the previous
versions. Just click on a filter from the
list on the left and you can see the effect on your photo either as a single image, a side by side comparison or a very
cool “split preview,” which lets you click
and drag a red line across your image to
see the before-and-after effect.
My old filter favorites are here includ-
ing Bleach Bypass, which simulates the
old-school process of bleaching out the
silver during film processing to produce
a low-saturated, high-contrast effect.
New filters in Color Efex Pro 4 include
Dark Contrast, which amplifies details
and adds crunchy texture to images to
create a dramatic look. Works great with
cloudy skies, architecture or for por-
traits where you want to make a person
look more sinister.
Speaking of diving deep, you can also
stack as many filters together as you’d
like just by clicking and dragging them
to create a range of combined effects.
(The stacking feature is similar to layers