Upgrade Your Editing Suite

Smart Photography|July 2020

Upgrade Your Editing Suite
The Nik Collection by DxO is not a single plugin or suite, but a collection of eight plugins for Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Elements, DxO PhotoLab and Serif Affinity. The collection offers a vast library of exclusive presets along with a host of retouching tools. This collection of plugins allow you to edit your images easily without much technical expertise. Being a pack of plugins, it is not feasible to illustrate the capabilities of each of these in a few pages. While this review might not bring out all the capabilities in detail, we would try to evaluate the Nik Collection as a whole and attempt to look at each of these in details in our subsequent issues. For this review, I am using the Nik Collection from Photoshop.
Sujith Gopinath

Key Features

The Nik Collection 3 includes eight plugins—Analog Efex Pro 2, Color Efex Pro 4, Dfine 2, HDR Efex Pro 2, Perspective Efex, Sharpener Pro 3 (for Raw and Output), Silver Efex Pro 2, and Viveza 2. These allow you to perform complex retouching without using complicated techniques. Most of these plugins except Perspective Efex use U Point technology, a proprietary technique originally developed by Nik Software founder Nils Kokemohr.

U Point enables you to click on an area of an image to set up a control point that can be adjusted in size so that changes can be made to pixels within that area that are similar to the pixels beneath the original control point. A circle of any size can be created around the control point to show the area where changes will be applied. You can control attributes such as Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, and Structure. Pixels inside the circle will only be altered if they closely match the colour channels, hue, saturation and brightness levels of the pixels under the control point. You can create as many control points as required for localised adjustments. The control points can be duplicated and moved around to precisely apply the same adjustments to similar areas in the image.

The package includes a new Selective Tool that lets you use the plugins without going through the filters menu in Photoshop. This allows you to apply some selective adjustments straight from the tool rather than opening the image in the plugin interface. It also includes settings to re-apply your last edits to an image with the click of a button. If you are working on Lightroom Classic, you can choose the TIFF Multipage format to combine the edits made using Lightroom and Nik Collection plugins. This also gives the option to edit multiple times without losing any original adjustment.

Evaluation

Some strong love affairs start with a fight or an extreme dislike, and nothing could describe my week-long relationship with the Nik Collection 3 better. Being someone who likes to have fine control over every element and every inch of an image, this package tortured and tested my patience like a spurned lover. But towards the end of our honeymoon period, it started behaving like an expert seductress, making me want to spend my every editing moment with it.

For this review, the Nik Collection was installed on Photoshop CC and Lightroom Classic. The system specifications are: Intel Core i5 2.9 GHz processor, 16 GB DDR3 RAM, 512MB Nvidia Geforce 210 GPU, and running the latest update of Windows 10. This conforms to the recommended requirement for Nik Collection, except for the graphic card (which is not stated as a requirement).

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July 2020