The Nik Collection was a well-respected set of effects, filters, and image-enhancement tools for professional photo editors. Then Google bought Nik to incorporate into its consumer products, leaving the original desktop versions to wither on the vine for five years.
Last fall, DxO Software acquired the assets of the Nik Collection, and today the company is releasing the updated set, along with a new version of its own PhotoLab program (formerly Optics Pro).
DxO is well known among photo enthusiasts as the company that tests new camera equipment and publishes a score for all the latest sensors and optics, DxOmark. It’s also a pioneer in photo editing software, having produced unique, groundbreaking tools like its Prime noise reduction and ViewPoint perspective (or volume anamorphosis) correction. Though the company recently filed for the French equivalent of Chapter 11 protection, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, based on these two significant new launches.
The Nik Collection includes seven modules: Analog Efex Pro (vintage film looks), Silver Efex Pro (excellent B&W tools), Color Efex Pro (color correction, retouching, and creative effects), Viveza (selective adjustments for color and lighting), HDR Efex Pro, Dfine (camera-profiled noise reduction), and Sharpener Pro.
These work as plugins for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Photoshop Elements. DxO fixed several incompatibilities that cropped up due to incompatibilities with newer desktop OS, Lightroom, and Photoshop versions.
“The process was long and complex,” said Bruno Sayakhom, Product Owner at DxO. “It was necessary to recover and recompile source code that had not been maintained for a long time in order to make it compatible with the latest versions of Adobe products and the latest Apple OS updates.”
Yes, Google offered the plugins for free, but at the cost of frequent software incompatibilities that resulted in crashes, and absolutely no support or feedback possibilities. Before the search ad giant bought Nik, each plugin retailed for $149.
DxO is now offering the whole set for $49.99 until July 1, and for $69 thereafter. There’s also a 30-day free trial option. DxO is also listening to customer feedback and a user forum with a section for each plug-in.
Updated DxO PhotoLab
DxO’s own powerful standalone photo-editing program, PhotoLab, benefits from the Nik acquisition, too, with the latest update to version 1.2.
Specifically, the software now includes the powerful U Point local adjustment tool, which lets you select an area in the photo based on its color and lighting characteristics. New for the tool is a mask view that shows exactly what’s been selected, and the ability to apply Hue (HSL) and Selective Tone adjustments, to correct overly dark areas or recover overexposed ones.
Even before the new additions, PhotoLab was a remarkable piece of photo software that could automatically improve a photo with no user input by applying lens-profile-based corrections for things like chromatic aberration and geometric distortion. The software’s Prime noise reduction is nothing short of amazing, thanks to its designers’ decision to let it take a long time to process the image.