Viveza 2 - Removing the Distractions
I’m a big fan of the Nik Software suite of photo editing applications and plugins. I’ve used each of them for a bunch of shots though none of them more often than Viveza 2. Viveza works as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture and lets you pinpoint adjustments to specific parts of images without having to do all of the masking that, while possible in Photoshop, tends to take so much time. With Viveza, I can easily emphasize or de-emphasize parts of an image with just a couple of clicks and that is critical when you’re going through the touch up phase after a big shoot — you need to know whether that picture that’s almost perfect can end up in the winners bucket or the trash bin.
In the sequence above, I started with an image of a few orchids. The original has two primary flowers but lots of stems and parts of a third orchid in the background. I really wanted to focus on the main flower with the second one as a sort of an echo of the first but the stems coming in from the left were really distracting. I also wanted to have the center of the main flower to pop a bit more. With Viveza, I added a “control point” which is really just the center of the area that you want to effect to both of the stems. Then I could adjust the size of the area that it covers so that it just affects the stems and I moved the brightness control all the way down which worked well because the background is already black in this image. Viveza does the equivalent of building a mask based on the content at the center of the control point and then applying the brightness change just to that area so that the petals on the main flower don’t change much but the stem itself disappears.
Next, I did the same thing for the petal in the bottom right and then added a control point to the center of the flower so I could add a bit more saturation and warmth to it so it pops a little more. The whole process took less than a minute and since I opened the file originally from Lightroom, when I save the picture it goes back into Lightroom as a new image that is linked to the original photo.
Viveza can control a lot more than brightness (read about all of the features here). You can also adjust contrast, saturation and structure (think of it as sharpness & clarity) and if you access the advanced options you can fine tune the shadows, R/G/B, hue and warmth values for each section or the overall image. If you want to make the same change to several parts of the same image (like when you’re adjusting the sky across an image), you can group the control points and adjust them all at once.
I love that Viveza doesn’t try to be the ultimate editing plugin. I really appreciate it’s focused set of features that let me make quick adjustments that target specific parts of an image. If you’re editing your photos in Photoshop, Viveza can be used as a Smart Filter, which means you can go back and tweak the settings even after they’re applied without adding more layers. If you’re looking for a simple tool that makes it easy to be a little more targeted than what Lightroom or Aperture provide but don’t want to go all the way to masking and editing in Photoshop, Viveza is definitely worth checking out.