Nik Collection, originally launched by Nik Software, is a group of plug-in software packages for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. These packages allow a range of effects to be applied quickly and easily to images. As a result, the software became very popular with photographers and designers. Silver Efex Pro was especially popular thanks to its ability to replicate black and white darkroom effects.
In September 2012, Google acquired Nik Software. At the time this was largely thought to be to enable Google to get hold of Snapseed, an excellent (and popular) mobile image editing app.
Nik Collection continued to be popular, possibly helped by the fact that in early 2016, Google made it free to download. However, in Spring 2017 when Google confirmed that it wouldn’t develop the software any further, the nails were made ready for the Nik Collection coffin.
Then in October 2017, there was a ray of sunlight. DxO, the developer of the widely respected optical correction software now called PhotoLab, announced that it had bought Nik Collection from Google. Hurrah! This seemed like a really positive move.
However, since then DxO has gone into receivership, which has cast a shadow on proceedings. But now, DxO has ditched the DxO One, its quirky smartphone-connected camera, and is concentrating on its software development. The team is also focused on navigating a route out of receivership and is planning a way back to profitability.
Over the last 6 months, DxO’s developers have been working on Nik Collection, ironing out all the bugs that had plagued the software since its period of neglect.
Nik Collection Plugins
The Nik Collection comprises the following Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom plug-ins:
Silver Efex Pro: for converting images to black and white, this is inspired by traditional darkroom techniques.
Analog Efex Pro: simulates the look of traditional film, cameras and lenses.
Color Efex Pro: a collection of colour correction and creative effect filters, plus retouching controls.
Dfine: noise reduction software.
HDR Efex Pro: High Dynamic Range (HDR) software.
Sharpener Pro: image sharpening with the ability to apply localised or global sharpening.
Viveza: local adjustment of colour and tone.
Nik Collection Review
I’ve been a fan of the Nik Collection for a long time. I especially like Silver Efex Pro 2 for making black and white conversions, but HDR Efex Pro, Dfine and Sharpener Pro have all proved very useful over the years.
Like many photographers, however, I stopped using Nik Collection a couple of years ago because of compatibility issues. Now, that’s all been sorted.
According to DxO, Nik Collection 2018 has all its most recent functionality and it’s compatible with all 64-bit Windows and Mac platforms, as well as with Adobe Lightroom Classic CC, Photoshop CC 2018, and Photoshop Elements 2017/2018.
Testing seven plug-in software packages properly takes quite a bit of time, so I’ll be updating this review over the coming weeks. However, after using the various software packages, I can confirm that they work as they should. The installation of Nik Collection is straightforward and I’ve not had any crashes.
How to use Nik Collection
Once you’ve installed Nik Collection, a box is visible when you open an image in Adobe Photoshop. All you need to do is click on the plug-in you want to use. If you’ve closed the box, you can access the plug-ins via Filter > Nik Collection. In Lightroom, access the Nik Collection packages via Photo > Edit in.
The basic editing options are arranged on the left of the screen. Just select the one you want to see its impact.
There may also be sub-options to chose between – also on the left of the screen. The refinement and local adjustment controls are located on the right of the screen with the preview in the middle.
One of the great things about Nik Collection is that the effects can be applied globally, or you can select the Brush option to paint the effect on to your images. If you make a mistake as you paint in the effect, you can click on the Erase option to brush it out and start again.
The effect is also applied as a layer so you can reduce the opacity if you wish.
I need to get back in the groove a bit more with Nik Collection, but it seems like normal service has been resumed. Thank you DxO!