by Dr. Robert Berdan
March 28, 2016
Above are the 7 plug-ins that come free with Googles Nik Editing software
This month Google announced its Nik Photo Editing software is now available for free. The software did cost $149.00 for both Windows and Mac. The software can work as stand alone program but works better when integrated as a plugin into Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture. The software is reported to work on Windows 7 and 8, Mac OSX, but I was able to successfully install and found it worked on Windows Vista with Photoshop CS6.
Today we’re making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free.
Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.
The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.
Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.
We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.
To get the free software go here: https://www.google.com/nikcollection/ - download the program and install.
Above screen shot of Photoshop CC2015 showing the location of the installed Nik software
After installing the program, when you open Photoshop the palette might which might already be open. You need to open and image and select one of the Nik filters and the image will open in a new window. If the palette is not open you will find the filters by selecting Filter > Nik collection - then select which of the 7 plug-ins you want to try out.
The first filter I tried was the Analog Effect Pro 2 which is supposed to add classic film effects and the open panel is shown below. You can select various presets on the left side and preview them in the central window.
Analogy Efex Pro 2 window
Analog Efex Pro 2 window with Coyote showing different presets on the left side of the window
Color Efex Pro 2 Filter
Above is the Color Efex Pro 2 window. I selected Polarization filter. I have never seen software simulate the true effects of a polarizer and I am not convinced this digital filter does anything more than increase colour saturation. But you can try the various filters on the left.
I pulled out several of my photos and began to play with the different filters. Below I have a photograph taken with a 4 x 5 camera of Lake O'hara and processed with Color Effect Pro - using a "Monday morning filter".
Original photo taken with 4 x 5 inch camera on Velvia film
Lake O'hara after applying the "Monday Morning filter"
The Viveza plugin applies colour and tonality adjustments.
Above you can split the preview screen so it shows before and after applying a specific filter.
Silver Efex Pro 2 Filter
Silver Efex Pro 2 using a brown tone with a painterly edge effect
This filter applies a number of effects that convert the image to black and white, sepia and various other brown tones. It also adds a few edge effects and of all the filters I like this one the best.
When I tried the HDR filter, it offers some presets but I didn't really like the effects it produced, I prefer to work with Photomatrix Pro when playing with HDR images or combine them using Photoshop's filters. Photomatrix Pro is $99 and come with a free trial version.
The good news is that NIk software is free and there are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to use it. I found the software intuitive and you can preview the results. For some this sofware will create some nice effects using the built in presets. All the Nik effects can be simulated in Photoshop by an experienced user, but perhaps not as quickly and easily. If you are looking to have some fun with your images you may want to download this free program and try it on some of your images. RB
Robert Berdan is a professional nature photographer living in Calgary, AB specializing in nature, wildlife and science photography. Robert offers photo guiding and private instruction in all aspects of nature photography and Adobe Photoshop training.
Email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web site: www.canadiannaturephotographer.com
Phone: MST 9am -7 pm (403) 247-257.
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