When to use Viveza vs. Color Efex Pro?

Viveza and Color Efex Pro

Are two popular Nik Software products

Users sometimes ask what their differences are

This post will attempt to answer that question


Summary (over simplified)

Viveza – Local selective adjustments using control points

CEP – Global changes using filters


Blue Ridge Mountain Scenery


A bit of foreground, midground & background

Each contributes a corner of a triangle (lily, boulder, tree)


Much of what follows depends on an understanding of Nik Control Points.

You may think that you know all there is to know about CP’s

For many users, that’s not true

Here’s a Control Point tutorial.


What’s the difference between Viveza and Color Efex Pro?

(Click any image below this point to see what’s going on)

Viveza control points enable you to enhance an image by applying different light and color changes to selected objects (not the entire image).

Note well –

Control Points = Viveza = Control Points

There is nothing else in Viveza – just Control Points

Color Efex Pro applies traditional and stylizing photographic filters to an entire image. CEP’s control points (if used at all) set the strength of a filter’s effect to apply to a selected area.


How do control points differ between Viveza and CEP?

Control Points in Viveza enable you to directly apply different light and color enhancements to different object/areas as well as to adjust shadows and structure.

Note that the control point allows adjustment of 10 different parameters via sliders

Brightness, Contrast, Saturation,………, Hue

We’ll see, in a moment, a CEP control point has only ONE slider

Opacity (i.e., strength from 0 to 100%)

In comparison to Viveza, Control Points in Color Efex Pro determine how much of a filter’s effects to apply to a specific object or area – it controls filter strength & nothing else. This is in stark contrast to the Viveza control point above. An CEP example is given below.


CEP Tricks to Emulate Viveza

While it is next to impossible to use Viveza to create the same global filter effect as shown in the CEP example above (and most other CEP Filter effects as well),

It is possible in some cases (not all) to do the reverse –

Achieve a Viveza like localized effect using CEP

Here is an example –

The top image shows what the CEP filter is designed to do.

The bottom image shows how I used this filter – plus control points – to achieve the same result as earlier in Viveza.

The overall technique is simple –

Find a CEP filter that does what you want to your “selected object”

Change the color of the pin wheel in this case

Obviously, if you can’t figure out a filter that does the job – game over

I used the Graduated User Defined filter

and chose a color that matched what was needed for the pin wheel

Next – open the filter and use a +(plus) control point on the object

This tells CEP to apply the filter full strength at this location (and not at all elsewhere)

Depending on the image there may be some “spill-over” of the effect

– (minus) CP’s will help clean up the spill

Note the opacity slider on the + CP (I’ve marked it with a green check).

It’s extended to its full length (100%)

Three other CP’s are circled in red

They are (-) CP’s used to control spill

Opacity slider is at 0%, i.e., turn the filter off here

Once a + CP is used this (in theory) shouldn’t be necessary – but stuff happens

The opacity sliders can be adjusted as desired between o-100.


When in the image editing process is Viveza used?

Either before or after CEP. There’s no “always right” answer.

It depends on your personal workflow and the image involved.


Personal usage & preferences

CEP is used on almost every image

Tonal & color contrast plus detail enhancement

Viveza is used on less than 5% of my images

Only those with local problems

Since I strive for 100% perfect in camera, Viveza’s usually not needed

If I use Viveza it’s most often (not always) used before CEP

If there’s a local color or tonal problem I want to fix it BEFORE

Using CEP to do global tonal & color contrast adjustments


Wrapup –

CEP = Preset

Viveza = You-set


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