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Software Review: Silver Shadows 2 From Seim Effects

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Gavin Siem’s Silver Shadows 2 is a series of black and white processing presets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. It will work with Lightroom versions 1, 2, and 3 on either Mac or Windows platforms. It was made with the intent of being the most refined and complete collection of black and white presets available for Lightroom.

With over 100 organized silver tools that you can mix and match, customize and tweak giving you precise control of tones, shadows, highlights and tonality over your black and white workflow. Silver Shadows 2 has been re-done and expanded to take advantage of the latest features of Lightroom and create an essential black and white toolkit.

Silver Shadows 2

Four years in the making, this package is categorized into style-based categories.

Utilities (10 presets) are a set of basic tools for refining your black and white images that includes grain tools (these only work with Lightroom 3), vignettes, as well as a quick reset button.

Silver Classics (15 presets) are a set of everyday power presets that present a “quick start” selection that cover a wide variety of images types.

Channel Silver (18 presets) are presets that leave non-channel setting entirely alone and mixes well with previously applied effects.

Dynamics Silver (14 presets) presets tweak the tonalities and dynamic ranges of an image in various ways. Ranging between bold and subtle, these presets give you control in situations where the light and dynamic range need greater refinement.

Gentle Silver (14 presets) are less obvious in their effect, but are useful when the contrasts, light, and black levels need a more gentle touch.

Hard Silver (14 presets) are for when you want a more dramatic effect, bold contrasts, intense channel mixes, and infrared-like effects.

Silver Tones (23 presets) are color tints for black and white. Some convert to black and white, but most are new independent tone effects. These will not convert an image to black and white, but are meant to be added to give a color hue. You apply any conversion preset, and then add the tone you want to that effect. They can also be used on color for gentle toning.

The presets are also broken down into several types that help describe things about the preset. Ones with no notation will leave exposure alone, but may use any combination of settings to achieve their effect. (Xi) Presets are tone independent and leave all settings above the clarity slider alone. (Cp) presets work on RAW files as do the rest of the presets, but these Channel Process presets also work well on JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files as well. These effects work using only channels like WB, Color or Mono sliders. They do not alter any tone settings. (G) presets work by applying gradient filters.

Silver Shadows 2

So what is new with Silver Shadows 2?

Work directly with the file instead of having to export the file to a plug-in that leaves the original file behind. Working through a plug-in can slow things down and you can potentially leave out valuable information from your file. Also, when using the channel process (Cp) presets, you can also work with JPEG, TIFF, and PSD files as well.

A new workflow gives you the ability to work with large batches as easily as working with single images. Because the presets are well organized, it gives you a lot of versatility when working with your images and by giving you a lot of options, the possibilities are endless.

Better control over your images right from the start. By being able to apply changes to control the subtle intricacies of black and white, you can better control the tonal values through the use of burn, dodge, as well as other techniques that will bring out the best in your images.

Collaboration with Silver Shadows 2 and Siem Effects Power Workflow 3 and Color Fantasies preset packages will help keep you organized and in better control of your results.

Styles & Tones from classic bold to bold, portraits to infrared styles, subtle vignettes to gently hued image tints that can be applied independently. By having all of this in one place, there is no reason to go outside of Lightroom.

Endless combinations give you the ability to mix and match presets until you get it just right. If you don’t like what you have done, just use the provided one-click reset and start over again.

Silver Shadows 2 is really easy and fun to use. Just choose the image or images that you want to work with and apply the preset. You want to tweak it a little bit – a lot, go ahead you have a lot of freedom here. You want to add more presets? Just go for it. If you don’t like it you can back out through the history panel or do a reset. It is really that easy.

A couple of other things that I also like about Silver Shadows 2 is that it is really easy to install – there is a small install PDF that can walk you through it as well as an online video that will show you how. Included are three sample images that you can play with as well as tutorial videos online that will show you how to use these presets.

If you want to do more with your black and white images, but don’t want to pay a lot of money to get great results, then you really owe it to yourself to check out Silver Shadows 2. The price for Silver Shadows 2 is $54 USD. If you want to play with some of the effects, there is a Sampler Pack available that contains 6 free effects. I found Silver Shadows 2 to be a really complete set of presets, easy to use and very effective and so I very highly recommend this product.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.