Home / Articles / Viveza 2: Perfecting Contrast and Color with Precision

Viveza 2: Perfecting Contrast and Color with Precision

  • Date: Sep 20, 2011.

Article Description

This article is the fourth of five that focuses on the focused on plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture, from Nik Software and Alien Skin Software. Here, Photoshop expert Dan Moughamian, author of Adobe Digital Imaging How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques for Photoshop CS5, Lightroom 3, and Camera Raw 6, examines how Viveza 2 is a great way –once you’ve wrapped up your raw edits- to apply localized tweaks to color and contrast, in a short amount of time.
Editing the Shot

Editing the Shot

When you’re ready to edit the shot, uncheck the group’s mask preview to reveal the photograph. From this point, we can click and drag the controls on the U-Point “group tree” to make the changes we need in all three selected areas. For this example, I reduced the brightness value slightly and also increased the Saturation slightly. This had a more natural effect (Figure 7) than adding blue to the sky, even in tiny amounts.

Figure 7 Grouping Control Points speeds workflow by ensuring you only have to apply one set of edits for multiple points intended to create the same change.

Next, I wanted to follow the same process for adding a simulated “blue reflection” on the water. This enhanced the look of the photo by providing more color contrast for the orange-like paint on the lake house. Again, I clicked the Add Control Point button and clicked a spot on the lake. From there, I turned on the mask preview again and dragged around the lake surface until I found a spot where most of the lake’s central area was selected, but little else was.

From that point, the easiest way to add a bluish reflection to the water was to shift the Blue value to roughly +35% and reduce the Red value to roughly -25%. This produced a realistic looking sky reflection without oversaturating things (Figure 8).

Figure 8 Selecting and editing large, contiguous areas of similar pixels is quite easy in Viveza. Compare the lake surface to the shot in Figure 7.

To balance out the bright spot on the side of the lake house, I made a new Control Point and made sure to select only the brightest panel. The neighboring panels had a bit of transition (grey) to them, so they were not completely unselected, but this was OK as it would preserve a more realistic fall-off effect.

To make this edit, I simply reduced the Brightness about 20%, and then added warmth. This ensures that the viewer’s eye isn’t drawn as much to the “bright spot” in the image, while enhancing the color contrast in the scene even further (Figure 9).

Figure 9 Toning down bright spots and enhancing their color can turn a potential distraction into a positive aspect of the composition.

Figure 10 Using Split Preview or Side-by-Side comparisons is an important part of the Viveza workflow.

The final change I decided to make was to blur some background groundcover and foliage (near top-left and top-center). These two areas (Figure 11) were sufficiently detailed (and also sufficiently insignificant), that I didn’t want them to be a potential distraction. By blurring them and modifying their contrast slightly, it helped to keep the eye in the central part of the photo.

Figure 11 Selected background foliage, ready to be blurred.

Once these areas were selected, I reduced the Structure enough that all the “edges” on the plants seem to blur, and then reduced the Contrast value substantially. The final image is shown in Figure 12. With just a few simple steps, Viveza 2 allowed me to: produce a less washed out sky; add a pleasing color contrast and reflection to the water; as well as blur unimportant background details. When you’re finished editing, click Save and Viveza will process the image and open it in your editor (Aperture in this case).

Figure 12 The same photo, after Viveza 2 edits.

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