Nik Collection: What are Control Points?

     Every single piece of software in the Nik Collection uses control points. Control points are little pins that you drop on a photo where they look at the color, texture, and tone of whatever they are placed on. Immediately they make a "selection" (you don't see it, and you can't edit it) of other parts of the photo that are similar in those three aspects. All control points have an adjustable radius that they will affect, however, they do not strictly adhere to the circle of influence. Then after you adjust the radius, you are able to change what effects the control point make with sliders like any other program. Control points have two main advantages: their selection is photographic, and they are smart.

     Control points make smart selections that fit in with the photograph perfectly. Even though you can set their radius of influence, they don't make circular selections, and they sometimes don't even say inside their circle. This makes it somewhat hard at first to learn how to use them, but as you learn they become more and more powerful. Their real power comes in their ability to blend their edits in seamlessly with the photograph. Because they are looking at the textures, colors, and tones, the edges of their selection are the same as the edges in a photograph. This means that wether you are selecting a complicated design, or a sky, they will pick out only what you place them on—which is where the smartness comes in. Their ability to "see" your photo and make selections is amazing, sometimes I feel like they are reading my mind. It is amazing how they pick out the element in a photo that you wan't and integrate the edits so it is impossible to see a seam. It takes some practice to learn how to use them, but in the end they open up new doors, and save time.

     A control point:

     The radius being set on the control point:

     That control point's area of influence. See how well the control point selects just the glowing spines in the area? That is exactly what I wanted!

     A new control point's area of influence. Notice the black where the other one is? That is because the first control point is masking that area.

     This video shows a graduation between turning off and on the bottom control point. Notice how the selection is seamless even though the edit is drastic.

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- Graceson Aufderheide

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Image of GracesonMy name is Graceson Aufderheide, but you have probably figured that out already. I am currently a senior in high school who photographs, teaches, and makes jewelry. I have always been creating, that is what I do.
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