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New U-Point

Now that we’ve seen some of the great Color Efex presets in action lets take a quick look at how the U-Point technology in Color Efex Pro 4 has been updated. As described in the recent HDR Efex Pro article, U-Point is designed to help you automate the process of masking specific regions of your photo (usually based on their tonality or color), so that you can make tweaks to that area of the shot while leaving the rest of your edits intact.

To do this I’ll open a brand new preset called Infrared film; U-Point can be used to apply any adjustment to isolated regions of a photo. Here it can be used to apply the effect to the water but not the clouds. Once a preset is applied, you can start by clicking the silver, CD-like icon (the one with the plus sign), in the adjustments panel to create what’s called a “Control Point”.

When cursor changes to a crosshair, drag it over the region of the preview that you want to edit and click once. This “anchors” the widget to the preview, so that you can drag it into the exact spot you want. Next click the Show/Hide Control Point option at right (Figure 16). This will turn everything to a grayscale mask, making it much easier to see where the affect will be applied. Anything that is white or light grey will be impacted by the preset as before. Any portion of the photo that shows up as dark grey or black will be less affected or not affected at all, respectively.

Figure 16

Figure 16 U-Point masks are a great way to quickly isolate your effects to smaller areas of your image, usually based on their tonality or color.

Once the mask position and range are nailed down, we can turn the Control Point mask off again to see our color preview, then use the Opacity slider on the U-Point control to influence the color of the water, shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17

Figure 17 The finished shot, combining the Film Efex (Provia 100F) preset and using U-Point to add a creative Infrared effect to the ocean waves.

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