Post-Processing » How to Use Nik Collection Viveza 2 (2021)

How to Use Nik Collection Viveza 2 (2021)

Controlling and fine-tuning colors often means dealing with a lot of layers and masks. However, with the U-point technology available in the Viveza software plugin from Nik Collection, this task becomes considerably easier. The Viveza 2 plugin works with Photoshop, and other editors like Affinity Photo, Capture One, and Lightroom.

In this article, I will show you how to use Nik’s Viveza plugin for enhancing your images. I’ll use Viveza 2 as a standalone plugin, instead of using Viveza from Photoshop CC in this tutorial.

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What Is Viveza 2 Plugin from Nik Collection

Viveza 2 is the plugin from DXO Nik Collection which allows you to enhance colors in your photos. It allows you to make both global adjustments and precise adjustments that target specific areas of the image.

What Can You Control in Viveza 2

In Viveza you can control everything from adjusting brightness, contrast, saturation, structure, shadow adjustments, levels, and curves, and image adjustments like color balance (red, green, and blue, plus hue). You can decide when the adjustments should be global or local. So far it doesn’t sound like anything special, but as soon as you get started with creating selections you will get to appreciate this approach.

Viveza 2 user interface
In this photo, I have enhanced the structure in the main subject and removed the structure from the background.

How to Use Control Points in Nik Software?

Control points are the method used by Nik Collection plugins to create precise and accurate masks to allow further enhancing an image. When placing a control point on an image the Nik plugin analyzes the image data in the area covered by the control point periphery in terms of contrast, color, and tonal value as a basis for creating a mask.

You can combine multiple control points and detract other points to further fine-tune the mask. Once satisfied with the mask you can make modify the parts of the image affected by the mask. It is the different plugins that decide what controls you have for modifying the image. Control points take a whole different approach to creating precise masks than what you know from Lightroom or Photoshop.

All of the plugins from Nik Collection use control points, no matter whether you use Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro or HDR Efex, or any of the other plugins.

There are minor differences between how they work in each plugin, but once you know how to use them in one of the plugins like Nik Viveza 2, you will quickly be able to create very precise masks in any of the Nik Collection plug-ins. If you learn to work with control points in i.e. Viveza 2, you can effectively use them in each of the plugins.

You can think of Viveza 2 as a substitute for the local adjustment brush that you know from Lightroom. but, it is easier to create very precise masks in Viveza 2.

With this image, I want to enhance the texture and details of this bird, but leaving the blue sky untouched.

To open Viveza 2 from Lightroom, just right-click the image and choose Edit In…Viveza 2.

Edit images in Viveza 2 from Lightroom

Once Viveza 2 has started you can begin to add some control points, which will help you to create a mask of the areas you want to enhance.

Add control point button in Nik Viveza 2

Click on the Add Control-point and then click on the subject that you want to select for enhancing. Nik Viveza 2 will create the selection based on the color, contrast, and the similarity of other objects and areas nearby. You can control how large a selection to make by using the size slider for each control point.

To add more points hold down the Option key (Mac) / Alt key (Win) and click and drag on any existing control point. This copies the settings from the existing point to the next point.

If you are going to apply the same settings to a number of control points, you can group them together, so you only have to make the enhancement to one control point within the group instead of all of them. You can select several control points and press CMD+G put them into one group, or you can use the Group button in the right-side panel.

Let us take a look at our selection so far by clicking on the show/hide selection icon in the control point list in the right-side panel.

Show selection Nik Collection

Everything in white is selected and will be affected, while every area shown with black color is not affected by the changes we are going to make. Everything that is gray will be partly selected, like the sky just around the seagull.

How To Limit Selections from Spilling Into Surrounding Area?

In order to make the selection more precise, you should add some neutral control points in the sky area around the seagull and add them into a new group. These will cancel out the effect of the control points that are placed over the bird.

Click the show selection icon again, and you will see the selection for both groups of control points. However, if you just deactivate the group of control points in the sky around the seagull, you will see that the selection for the seagull is much more precise now.

Selection in Viveza 2

Now that the control points are in place you can begin to create the enhancements we would like to apply. In this example, we will try to increase the brightness and contrast a bit, but especially the details which you control with the structure slider.

Nik collection: Settings for control points placed on seagull

Since we have grouped the control points for the seagull, we can pick any of them and modify the sliders and Viveza will apply the same settings for all control points within a group.

To enhance the details within the selection, pull the structure slider to the right and increase it to around 51%.

These changes can be very subtle so you might want to zoom in a bit using the zoom tool in the upper right part of the window.

If you switch to split preview in the upper left corner of the screen you pull the before and after split line back and forth to see whether you are satisfied with the effect.

Split view button in Nik Collection plugins

Depending on your subject you would want to play with more of these sliders. However, the main focus of this tutorial is to show you how to work with control points in Nik Viveza 2.

When you are satisfied with the modifications, click save and Nik Viveza will save the image and import it back to Lightroom as a new file. Note that if you open up the Viveza 2 plugin from Photoshop the changes made will appear in a new layer.

Concluding words

Making quick and precise selections is one of the great benefits of using the Nik Collection plug-ins with software such as Lightroom, Photoshop, Capture One Pro or Affinity Photo. The force in using Nik is learning to apply the filter effects or sliders as local adjustments using control points rather than applying it to the whole image.

If you regularly use Nik Collection to enhance your photos, I suggest that you take a look at the Nik presets & recipes packages, that will help you get an amazing and unique look in no time.

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