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Nik Software Viveza 2: Review

by Adam Smith. 19 Mar 2010

Nik Software Viveza 2

Nik Software Viveza 2

Precise selective photo editing with just a few clicks

The latest Photoshop plug-in from Nik Software promises to revolutionise the way in which you selectively edit your images, offering unprecedented control over colour and light.

Nik Software Viveza 2: Review

Building on the success of its first-gen predecessor, Viveza, Viveza 2 incorporates the same unique U-Point technology, designed to bring professional control to less experienced image editors or seasoned pros who simply want to accelerate their workflow. It helps to bring together all of the tools you would usually use in Photoshop, but in a much more streamlined fashion.

As with the original version, the new software centres around the innovative use of Control Points – simply pick the areas you want to enhance, placing Control Points around your image, then use the sliders that appear to adjust the selected area without affecting the rest of your shot. In addition to the tried-and-tested interface of Viveza, Viveza 2 incorporates a
range of innovative new features designed to help you enhance your images more efficiently than ever before.

Control Points

To adjust a selected portion of your image, there’s no need for tricky selections or additional layers. All you need to do is place Control Points in the areas you want to change then move the sliders that appear, tweaking the brightness, contrast, saturation, structure, shadows, red, green, blue, hue and warmth without affecting the surrounding parts of the frame. You can even group Control Points together or copy and paste Control Points to apply enhancements across a wider area. This not only saves time but also simplifies the whole process of applying complex adjustments to selective areas of an image, making professional results easily achievable for less experienced image editors.

Nik Software Viveza 2: Review

Control Points: A very simple editing solution – just click and slide

Photoshop integration

The software is compatible with Photoshop’s Smart Filter system, so you can tweak enhancements you’ve already applied with ease. By default, exporting your image as a Smart Object means all the alterations you make in Viveza are converted to Smart Filters, so you can just double-click the area you want to adjust further to re-open it in Viveza 2 and continue from where you left off. You can also make use of the Selective Brush tool to edit any colour and light changes made in Viveza 2, with automatic creation of layers and masks. For those who need it, there’s a handy new Interactive Help System, which is lesson-based to help you master the new features of the software rapidly.

Interface and performance

The interface has been tweaked and honed, but still closely resembles that of its predecessor, with evenly spaced tools that are accessible and easy to locate and use. You can also alter the background colour to suit your taste or to complement the tones of the image you’re working on. Viveza 2 offers multiple image file support, meaning you can have more than one image open at a time, without a reduction in performance. On opening more than one image file, Previous and Next buttons materialise, making it easy to toggle between images and copy and paste settings across from one to another. The software handled multi-image-editing tasks well, with no discernible effect on the efficiency of the software.

Shadow Adjustment

The Shadow Adjustment functionality proved useful for retrieving seemingly lost detail from underexposed images, particularly backlit scenes where digital cameras are often fooled into silhouetting their subjects. It works in a similar way to Photoshop’s Shadow/Highlight option, but being able to combine this effect with U-Point technology takes its functionality to a new level. This and the other features make Viveza 2 a powerful addition to Photoshop’s tool set. It’s a sophisticated yet easy to use piece of software that will particularly benefit Photoshop users with a heavy image-editing workload.

Nik Software Viveza 2: Review

Shadow Adjustment: Find lost detail in subjects using Nik Software’s U-Point technology

New features

New to Viveza 2 is Global Image Adjustments; apply image-wide adjustments in a couple of clicks, then fine-tune selected portions using the Control Points. Placing a Control Point on top of an area with a Global Adjustment applied doesn’t make it revert back to its original state either, so it’s easier to create a uniform look across your whole image with subtle enhancements applied to specific areas.
Structure Adjustment is another new feature, which lets you heighten or diffuse fine details. This can work wonders for flat-looking images that should feature a lot of texture, like the brickwork in buildings, blades of grass in a field or clouds in a stormy sky. Boosting the Structure Adjustment slider really helps to add a 3D quality to your images, making them pop.

For more information log onto www.niksoftware.com

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