I have been using the Nik Collection, a series of plug-ins for Lightroom and Photoshop, for nearly the past decade. Over that span of time, the software transitioned owners three times, from Nik, where each module would set you back $149, to Google, where the entire set of plug-ins became free, to it’s new home at DXO, where you can buy the collection for the introductory price of $49 until July 1st, after which the price will jump to $69.
If you haven’t been using the Nik Collection, I urge you to try. The product now consists of seven modules that make it easy to do many things from applying antique filters to reducing noise to applying spot adjustments and vignettes and even combining multiple exposures into an HDR image. I use two of the modules, Viveza and Color Efex Pro, on probably 90% or more of my final edits. DXO is offering a 30-day free trial of their improved product, so you can give it a go before making a commitment to purchase the collection.
While those with a free version of Nik might be hesitant to pay for a product they already have, one of the issues with Google giving away the product for free is that they stopped providing upgrades and support for the product, which has become an issue with the cloud based subscriptions for Adobe products. With every Lightroom or Photoshop upgrade, new compatibility issues were introduced, a problem that I think has been more pronounced with Apple and Mac based systems. My current version of Nik Color Efex Pro causes Photoshop to crash completely. Even if you aren’t already having issues with your free Google version of the Nik Collection, chances are you will in the future as Adobe continues to improve and modify its products, which it has to do constantly in order to provide support for new cameras.
The plug-ins are super easy to download and install. If spending $50 on computer software isn’t your cup of tea, download a trial version first and see if you can actually apply it to your work. Once you try Nik’s products, I bet you’ll find it hard not to justify buying the package outright. Just be sure to buy before the July 1st deadline if you want to save $20.
To download or learn more about the Nik Collection, visit DXO’s website.