In the mid-90s, Nik began making image editing software applications that operate as a plug-in for all the major image editing software applications (Photoshop, Lightroom etc.). The price for the software collection was around $500 (can’t remember what it was in £).
The collection includes the following software (descriptions taken from Wikipedia)
- Analog Efex Pro – Applies film-era camera, lens and film simulation to digital images
- Color Efex Pro – Package of filters that comes with many effects e.g. HDR effect
- Dfine – Noise Reduction
- HDR Efex Pro – Specialised program for processing HDR pictures
- Sharpener Pro – Image sharpening
- Silver Efex Pro – Black & White conversion
- Viveza – Colour control with advanced functions to change contrast and saturation
Even thought they are designed as a plug-in, they can be used as a standalone application, but can be a bit quirky. A Google search shows up many guides to using them as a standalone application.
A few years ago, Google bought Nik Software, they dropped the price down to just $150.
However, Google have recently announced that the entire software collection is now free!
This was Google’s announcement;
- Today we’re making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free.
Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.
The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.
Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.
We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.
By acquiring Nik Software, Google also acquired Snapseed which is a image editor for Android or iOS. This was probably the intention for the original purchase of Nik Software and some people believe that this is the end of Nik Software development.
Apart from using a trail copy of HDR Efex Pro many years ago, I have never used the software, or even could afford it! Now it’s free, I will be trying them all out soon.
For more information and to get your own free copy, visit the Google Nik Collection Website