Easter Egg #2: Group control points in Nik HDR Efex

Yes, it is a mini-series of undocumented features.
In part 2 we will have a closer look at Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro.

Especially for grungy/artistic styles HDR Efex is fantastic, because of one killer feature: U-Point. It allows you to set control points for targeted adjustments in specific areas. Each point acts as a soft circular selection of similar colors. To see exactly what part of the image is being affected, turn on the mask view in the control point list.



The mask view is a pretty helpful insight into in the way Nik’s U-Point system works, indispensable for double-checking the effectiveness of a control point. We can change the size of the circular area, but unfortunately we can neither change the range of selected colors, nor the shape of the soft selection.


In practice, however, you will often want a larger, non-circular area affected. The trick is to
  • hold the ALT key,
  • click on a control point,
  • and drag to tear off a copy.
  • Clone a control point multiple times and
  • select them all with the SHIFT key held down.
Now they will all be in sync. You can change a slider on either one of the control points, and the setting will apply to the entire group.


But this is all public knowledge.
The easter egg is an undocumented feature, that will permanently link control points together:
After shift-selecting them, press Command + G (or Ctrl + G on PC) to form a group. Now only the first point will have the controller fishbone, the rest of the group is represented by tiny dots. Power users might find this mode helpful to nail down the selection to a complex shape or manage large amounts of control points.


Highslide JS


Personally, I don’t really like it as much as the plain old Shift-selection, because these secondary dots are so easily overlooked. It's also pretty hard to remember the antidote:
To explode the group again, press Command + Shift + G (or Ctrl + Shift + G on PC).

Happy Easter!
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