Nik Software

The best Black & White plug-in for Lightroom and Photoshop just became free!

In this eBook about Dynamic Range, I talk about HDR Efex Pro and I also explain a cool technique on how to use a Black & White plug-in like Silver Efex Pro 2 to enhance the dynamic range of my colour images.

In this eBook about Dynamic Range, I talk about HDR Efex Pro and I also explain a cool technique on how to use a Black & White plug-in like Silver Efex Pro 2 to enhance the dynamic range of my colour images.

If you've followed me online or read some of my eBooks, like Pushing Light, it probably does not come as a surprise that I'm a big fan of the Nik plug-ins. Years ago, you had to pony up some $500 to get the entire suite but after Google purchased Nik about four years ago, they slashed the price down to $149. An absolute bargain. True, apart from Analog Efex Pro, an interesting plug-in that lets you simulate old-school film processes, Google did not really update any of the other plug-ins. There were only compatibility fixes when new OS updates came out. It seemed that Google had mainly purchased Nik for Snapseed, which is a great (and free) iOS and Android mobile editing app. 

The best Nik plug-ins are the creative ones: Viveza, Silver Efex, Color Efex, HDR Efex and Analog Efex.

The best Nik plug-ins are the creative ones: Viveza, Silver Efex, Color Efex, HDR Efex and Analog Efex.

Yesterday, Google announced that the Nik Collection would follow the same pricing path as its mobile sibling. Yes, you've read that right: the once so expensive Nik Collection is now entirely free! You can start downloading it right now through this link.

Obviously, this probably means that we don't have to expect new features any time soon but you know what? The existing features actually work pretty well! In fact, even though it's been over 5 years since Silver Efex Pro 2 came out, I still consider it to be the best Black & White plug-in on the planet. Period.

Silver Efex Pro in action. The unique feature about Nik that you find in all of the plug-ins is the fact that you can quickly and easily make local edits without having to create complex masks: the amazing, patented U-Point Technology does the job for you.

Silver Efex Pro in action. The unique feature about Nik that you find in all of the plug-ins is the fact that you can quickly and easily make local edits without having to create complex masks: the amazing, patented U-Point Technology does the job for you.

If you happen to speak Dutch, you can sign up for a 2 week free trial to Photofacts Academy, my Dutch Photography Training website. I've got a 4 hour course on Nik Software, including some very cool tips and special techniques.

If you don't, the links below will take you to some of my English Nik tutorials.

An advanced Smart Filter workflow with Alien Skin Exposure and Nik Software Viveza

If you follow this blog or if you've read some of my eBooks, you know I love working with plug-ins. For example, for film simulation I really like Alien Skin's Exposure. For local edits like dodging and burning, I like the Control Point technology found in Viveza by Nik Software. In this video, I'll show you a way to combine the best of both worlds, all while keeping your effects completely re-editable.

Now that is one cool workflow, isn't it? I actually forgot to mention yet another advantage of the Smart Filter workflow in the video: if you double-click on the icon in yellow (see screenshot below), you enter the Smart Filter's Blending Options. In that dialog box, you can not only change the Blending Mode for extra effect, but you can also reduce the Opacity to globally scale back the effect of the plug-in without having to dial back all of the individual sliders!

screenshotExposure.png

I hope you learned something from this 12 minute video. If you did, imagine what you could take away from 70+ hours of video tutorials (and over 10 eBooks, and hundreds of Lightroom presets): for only a couple of more days, you can take advantage of the 5 Day Deal, a unique bundle of photography training resources (including some 5 hours of video training by yours truly) that normally retails for over $3.300, but that can now be purchased for only $127! With 39 top-notch instructors like Zack Arias, David duChemin, Lindsay Adler and Joel Grimes and one über-geeky Belgian-with-a-strange-accent (that would be me) you're bound to learn a ton!

You can grab that bundle here and you're not only doing yourself and your photography a favour: 10 percent goes to charity. Last year's 5 Day Deal raised over $200.000 this way!

If you still need some convincing, check out yesterday's announcement post!

Custom Graduated Filters in Color Efex Pro 4

This tutorial is about one of my favorite filters in Color Efex Pro 4: the Graduated Filter (it’s only one of 52 filters, by the way). If you’ve ever used a real graduated filter (or a software-version in a graphics application), you know that you cannot have buildings or trees protruding from the foreground into the background… That is, unless you use Color Efex' Graduated filter. Thanks to the unique Control Point technology, which I explain in the video, you can basically create custom Graduated Filters. I apologise for the rather crude audio quality.

Now you might argue that the new Filter Brush in Lightroom 6 does something similar, but the Control Point feature is still a bit stronger in my opinion, as it works automatically, or should I say: 'automagically'.

Color Efex Pro is part of the Nik Collection by Google, a Lightroom and Photoshop set of plug-ins that contains 6 other plugins as well.