Working with U-Point
My first task was to make the sky slightly darker and slightly bluer, without impacting other areas. To make any localized (or “selective”) adjustment in Viveza, we need to create one or more Control Points first. These are part of the U-Point technology developed by Nik Software. U-Point allows users to interact directly with the photo preview, to determine the exact location and scope of edits.
To start, click the silver, CD-like icon at top right. When the crosshair appears, drag it over the region that you want to edit and click. A small circle or dot will appear that is connected to several control sliders with abbreviations (Figure 4). This “control tree” (near top-left) represents the following Global Adjustments: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Structure, Shadow Adjustments, Warmth, Red, Green, Blue, and Hue.
Figure 4 Clicking the silver icon and then clicking on the preview displays a controller widget for making your edits.
The dot at the top of the tree is the Control Point and represents the center of a larger, circular selection region, which is hidden by default. Click and then drag the dot to see its scope, and to place the circle over the region you want to edit, respectively. To make the selection area smaller, click and drag the top-most slider towards the dot. The circle will shrink as you do so.
The real power of U-Point becomes clear when you view the selected area not as a preview with a circle overlaid, but as a black and white mask. To do this, open the Control Point List and click the empty check box under the mask icon (Figure 5). When you do this the image is shown as a mask, and as you move the Control Point, the mask data will update on the fly, allowing you to fine-tune the selection.
Figure 5 Viewing Control Points and selections as a mask is the best way to precisely define the area(s) you wish to edit.
As with Photoshop, pure black areas are masked from your edits (for a given Control Point), pure white areas are 100% selected, and grey areas provide the transition between the two, applying partially transparent edits.