Our expert industry analysis and practical solutions help you make better buying decisions and get more from technology. Sign up for What's New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning. Color Efex offers some film looks that you won't find in RNI, though.
New to this version is Perspective Efex, an app with two big functions.
DxO added En Vogue presets and new film looks in the previous version, but it's DxO Nik Collection 3 that has had the biggest update, with a whole new plug-in to take the number up to eight. For most images, I'm typically happy with Lightroom's ability to eke the right amount of dynamic range from a photo. There is a downside – these TIFFs are double the size of the regular sort, so this will work better with desktop storage than cloud-based storage. Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, • The best photo-editing software you can buy today PCMag, PCMag.com and PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. You get Analog Efex for unique toy camera, motion, and other filters; Color Efex has a number of filter looks, both color and black-and-white; Silver Efex is able to mimic the look and feel of many classic emulsions, including Kodak Tri-X and Ilford Delta; and Perspective Efex is a new addition that can make technical adjustments to correct geometry, and also provide an artistic miniature effect. Adobe only includes a basic grain adjustment slider, which doesn't come close to what Silver Efex does. As well as a non-destructive workflow and a new plug-in, DxO Nik Collection 3 brings a new Selective Tool panel for Photoshop, with fast access to both the Nik plug-ins and your favorite tools and presets. Connect with PhotoJoseph Website YouTube Facebook. DxO has revived the software, updating it for 64-bit operating systems, and offering other improvements. Lightroom and Capture One both offer all of these functions, without the need to render out a TIF to edit in Nik. Perspective Efex makes it a simple matter to add this effect to any shot. It offers up a laundry list of options, ranging from emulation of some color film types (similar to what Silver Efex does for black-and-white stocks) and processes—think cross-processing and bleach bypass—to the more extreme filters that blur the lines between photography and fine art, like the solarization effect shown below. HDR images can look unnatural if processed too aggressively, and while HDR Efex Pro certainly gives you the tools to craft photos with very high sharpening and localized contrast, the built-in presets trend toward more realistic looks. DxO has updated Nik's marquee product and has continued to update it—the current edition is the Nik Collection 3 by DxO ($149). You can opt to keep the original aspect ratio, or set a corp manually—for this one, I went with a 5:4 ratio instead of the original 3:2. On the technical side, it offers single-click correction for lens and perspective distortion. There are lots of programs on the market that replicate analog film looks, but every time you come back to Analog Efex Pro you’re reminded of its scope, power and sheer invention compared to the rest. Capture One's black-and-white toolset is a little bit stronger than Adobe's, with a number of different styles for its grain. During all that time, most of the plug-ins have hardly changed at all. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time. • The best free photo-editing software for cost-conscious photographers
DxO outlines the full system requirements here. Perspective Efex is the all-new plug-in for the Nik Collection 3, though DxO fans may notice some elements carried over from DxO ViewPoint, the standalone companion to DxO PhotoLab, and the short-lived DxO Perspective app for Mac. It asks to see the original image, then says it cannot work with that image. It's not an everyday tool—for me, at least—but it is a beneficial one. It allows you to go back and make changes to an image, even after you saved it, but you'll still need to process Raw images first in Lightroom or another editor. There may be people out there who are upset by the fact that you now have to pay for the DxO Nik Collection, when previously (for a time) the Google version was free. If you want to take advantage of the nondestructive features offered by Nik, the TIFF includes two versions of the image—the original and the edited version. Our understanding is that the host software treats the multipage TIFF like any other. Lomo Redscale is new to this version, for one, simulating the look of color film loaded in reverse. From here on out, I'll talk about using the software with Adobe, but mechanics aside, the experience is similar with Photo Lab or Capture One as your launcher. I sent the 16-bit TIFF, created by Lightroom from Raw, into HDR Efex Pro and was able to cycle through many different starter looks for the finished shot. I'm happy to see that DxO has kept the Nik Collection alive.
I think I'd rather add texture with a Photo Plate, a digital tool that mimics the look of 19th century wet plate photography. It's very quick, simple and powerful to use. You get Dfine for noise reduction, Sharpener Pro to enhance detail, and Viveza for color manipulation. New York, But you may find the Recipes you can create to be worth it. As an example, I applied a Vintage Camera look to the photo above in Analog Efex. Analog Efex Pro is a virtual Swiss Army knife of film and motion effects, which can be used to build presets, called Cameras in the app. For most photographers, that's Lightroom or Capture One, for which the Nik Collection works fine as an external editor. Your subscription has been confirmed. This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links.
Six were originally developed by Nik Software and sold individually, then bought by Google and sold as a single suite, then discontinued and given away free, and finally rescued by DxO and relaunched as a commercial package. It looks like bundling DxO PhotoLab with Nik Collection 2 was a short-lived experiment that added value to the software but led to complicated upgrade routes and frustration for existing DxO PhotoLab users who weren't offered any price reduction despite having a key part of the software already. The best camera for beginners in 2020: start your photographic journey here! If that's you, a round trip to HDR Efex Pro may be in order. You can also control the intensity of the blur effect and reposition it, or simulate the blur effects of various aperture shapes. There may be shots where you're not happy with simple Raw processing to expand dynamic range. HDR Efex Pro is effective both at merging bracketed exposures or applying tonemapping and HDR effects to single images, so it works equally well as a plug-in and as a standalone HDR program.. Viveza's appeal is more limited in that it's designed solely to leverage the Nik Collections control point adjustment technology, but it can still be really effective. The Nik Collection just keeps on getting better! DxO offers a 30-day trial as well, so you can give the software a try before you spend your money. https://www.pcmag.com/reviews/nik-collection-by-dxo, Includes color, black-and-white, HDR, and sharpening tools, Perspective Efex includes miniature effect filter, Integrates with Adobe and Capture One workflow, Supports latest operating systems and displays, Underwhelming nondestructive workflow support, Film looks are available in competing software, Jim Fisher is our lead analyst for cameras, drones, and digital imaging. A camera and lens are the very basic necessities. There's a trial download available too, in case you're concerned your system isn't powerful enough, or you just want to give the software a test drive. The structure slider adjusts the intensity—increasing it emulates the grain you'll get when push processing, and you can control contrast as well. • The best laptops for photo-editing right now. Color Efex Pro is equally powerful, but perhaps comes across as a bit of a jack of all trades that’s overshadowed by the other plug-ins. If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. It omits some of the more advanced features found in the Elite edition the company sells at retail, but is a serviceable workflow application for customers who don't currently use one.
Skylum’s Aurora HDR is better still, but costs almost as much as the entire Nik Collection, so for occasional HDR experimenters, HDR Efex Pro is more than adequate. PCMag.com is a leading authority on technology, delivering Labs-based, independent reviews of the latest products and services. You can see the end results above.
Localized adjustments, using Nik's U-Point system, are also available. Log in. But it's not as simple as just making adjustments within the nondestructive confines of your workflow application. Including Photo Lab allows DxO to advertise the Nik Collection as having Raw support, but the really compelling applications don't work with Raw. You're much more likely to use Lightroom, Capture One, or recent upstart Skylum Luminar, and all of the Nik apps work fine with these. Photographers use a multitude of tools to make images.
The off-kilter perspective creates a keystone distortion effect. Have you ever felt jaded and bored by the effects in your current photo editing software? It's the ability to stack the filters together that gives some appeal to Color Efex Pro. Of course, the software can't load a Raw format image, so your original files remain untouched. It can merge a series of bracketed exposures or create a tone mapped HDR image from a single photo, and it has a wide selection of preset HDR effects to choose from. Color Efex Pro’s potential is not as immediately obvious as that of the other key plug-ins, but actually runs just as deep, or deeper. Other updates are modest—there are new presets available for some apps, new film stock emulations for Silver Efex and Color Efex, and other minor changes throughout. Applying the look to wide, high shots of cityscapes make them look a lot like a diorama shot with a traditional macro lens. It's easy to toggle the effects of any with a simple checkbox, so you can play with combinations and save your own presets, called Recipes. When you're happy with your image, it's a matter of hitting Save to commit the changes to the hard drive. The price hasn't changed, but there is a new plug-in to make up for that and the purchase options are now a lot simpler than they were before. He studied at RPI and worked on the retail side of the industry at B&H before landing at PCMag. To give you an idea on the storage requirements, a 60MP Raw image from the Sony a7R IV is about 60MB in size; the same file as a TIFF is about 360MB, a figure that doubles to 720MB when nondestructive edits are enabled. I'm more excited to see a level of nondestructive editing and new film simulations added to Color and Silver Efex. The new Nik Collection 3 is a long awaited upgrade to the creative plugin suite for Photoshop and Lightroom. If you're a fan of filters, Color Efex Pro will make you happy. There's a limitation, though. The Nik Collection plug-ins may have been around for a long time, but their preset effects, their tools and controls, and the sense of excitement and discovery they create, are as fresh as ever. It's been around a long time—I've personally been using it for a decade—and has changed ownership (and pricing) a few times over the years. The fact is, the Nik Collection is such an important, powerful, wide-ranging and inspiring suite of creative tools that we can recommend it unreservedly. All of the applications have been updated for compatibility with 64-bit operating systems.
HDR Efex Pro is good too. When you save an image, you're saving a processed version with your changes applied permanently and with no going back. They make the strongest entries in the suite better. I’ve been a fan of the Nik Collection for a long time. So how has DxO made non-destructive editing possible? The rest, however, look very much as they always did. When he’s not out with his camera, Jim enjoys watching bad and good television, playing video games (poorly), and reading.
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