Nik Software has announced the Silver Efex Pro photographic plug-in, which runs under Adobe Photoshop and Apple Aperture. Silver Efex Pro uses a range of advanced imaging algorithms that protect against unwanted artifacts, a comprehensive collection of 18 emulated black-and-white film types, and a state-of-the-art grain engine that Nik says truly mimics the silver halide process and creates the highest quality black-and-white images possible from scanned or digital coloyr photographs.

Nik says that the included U Point technology provides easy-to-use tools for direct on-image control of tonality, contrast, and structure - and that precisely controlling specific areas of a photo can be achieved easily using just a few mouse clicks without the need to create complicated selections and layer masks.

Silver Efex Pro begins by presenting photographers with a basic neutral conversion of their colour image to black-and-white. One-click adjustments can be made from a choice of over 20 preset styles from nostalgic processes like the ambrotype and tin type to classic artistic renderings, high contrast, soft focus or grainy images that emulate the most popular film types and shooting styles.

This initial set of creative options can be used as is or as a starting point for photographers who wish to create and even share their own customized black-and-white styles. In addition, colour filters, variable toning controls (includeing sepia, selenium, split-toning and user-defined colors for maximum flexibility), vignettes, are included.

Additional sliders for global brightness, contrast, and structure, as well as Smart Filter compatibility within Photoshop and multi-image support in Aperture provide the ultimate level of control. With U Point powered Control Points photographers have the flexibility to specifically fine tune tonality, contrast, and structure and create stunning black-and-white images.

Silver Efex Pro costs US$199.95 (£101).