Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro 3.0; Forget Everything You Know About Photoshop Plug-Ins Page 3

· Tonal Contrast allows control over the contrast (only) of highlights, mid tones, or shadows without affecting the rest of the image. You can use this filter for highly targeted control of a particular segment of an image's tonal range.

Glamour Glow

The Polaroid Transfer filter emulates the effect of using Polaroid color peel-apart films and transferring the nascent image to paper before it's fully developed, resulting in low-contrast, low-saturation, with subtle shifts to the colors throughout the image.
© 2006, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

Wrapping Up
Performance of the plug-in on my Mac Pro powered by twin 2.66GHz Dual-Core Xeon processors was perfect. Big surprise there. The plug-in is fully compatible with OS 10.4.11 (see Sidebar "System Requirements") but this version of Color Efex Pro 3.0 is not yet compatible with the newer Mac OS Leopard. It should be by the time you read this but be sure to check the company's website ( for updates. A Windows version is available as well.

As before, Color Efex Pro 3.0 is available in three versions: The Standard Edition ($99.95) includes 15 filters that are suitable for a variety of photographic styles. The Select Edition ($159.95) includes all filters in the Standard Edition and adds a set of tools, giving you control over light, color, tonality, and detail. With over 250 effects in 52 filters, the Complete Edition ($299.95) includes the whole magilla for color correction, retouching, and creative enhancements and is the version I tested. You can see which specific filters are included in each package on Nik's website.

Tonal Contrast

The Tonal Contrast filter produces a high level of control of contrast in highlight, mid tone, and shadow tonal ranges individually without affecting the rest of the image, making it a good choice for this drag racing image.
© 2005, Joe Farace, All Rights Reserved

I was crazy about how Color Efex Pro 3.0 finally got the re-sizable interface that I have been looking for since Version 1.0. You can even click the Enter key to apply the filter, a feature I've been wanting for what seems like forever. What you can't do is layer effects, as you can with onOne's PhotoTools, so if you want to apply two completely different filters, you have to open and close the plug-in twice. Nik tells me this has to do with the way U Point technology is implemented and if I have to choose between layering effects and not having U Point, I'll stay with the latter.

Color Efex Pro 3.0 System Requirements
Windows: Windows 2000 Professional, XP Home Edition, XP Professional, Vista; Pentium III 1GHz or later; 256MB RAM; Adobe Photoshop 7 through CS3, Photoshop Elements 2.0 through 6.0, or Photoshop plug-in compatible application.

Mac OS: Macintosh OS 10.4 or later, G4, G5, Intel Core Solo, Intel Core Duo, Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Xeon; 256MB RAM; Adobe Photoshop CS2 through CS3, Photoshop Elements 4.0, or Photoshop plug-in compatible application.

For more information, contact Nik Software, Inc., 7588 Metropolitan Dr., San Diego, CA 92108; (619) 725-3150;