The Nik Collection 25th Anniversary Update Has Some Solid Improvements

The Nik Collection 25th Anniversary Update Has Some Solid Improvements

Has it been 25 years? Amazing. I remember when Nils Kokemohr founded Nik Multimedia in 1995, which later became Nik Software in 2006. The package included plugins for color management and editing, another for enhancing or creating black and white images, sharpening tools, and later HDR software to help photographers increase the dynamic range of their images. 

The company was sold to Google in 2012, and as Google often does, the acquisition languished. In 2017, DxO bought the software, and three years later, brought out a brilliant update that not only enhanced the existing tools, but added some new ones, like a powerful perspective tool that architectural photographers are really liking. DxO also added a non-destructive workflow for Adobe Lightroom users.

Now, we've got a nice update to the package, the Nik Collection 3.3. This version includes a pack of 25 brand-new presets for Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro. These 25 exclusive presets are divided into five series, each with five presets: “Classic Portrait Color,” “Classic Portrait Black & White,” “Light & Bright,” “Wildlife,” and “Street.” This update is also compatible with MacOS Big Sur and the 2021 versions of Adobe’s host applications.

As a landscape photographer, I'm most interested in what it offers for my style of photography, and I was pleased at what I found. As a result, I spend a lot of time in Color Efex Pro 4. The Nik presets can be pretty bold, but happily, you can adjust them to taste. As each preset, or recipe, as DxO calls them, consists of multiple adjustments, they are all available to you, and you can save your own take on the adjustments, creating your own recipe. I also like that when you are finished, you have the changes as a separate layer, and I find myself sometimes adjusting the opacity of the Nik layer and letting the base layer show through. 

I gave the updated software a try, running it on PS 2021 and with my Mac on Big Sur. Everything worked smoothly with no surprises. DxO works on PCs as well.

I had a nice sunrise image at Bryce Canyon taken a couple of years ago, and using the presets, I got it to a nice place to my eye. As usual, I adjusted the recipe to my own taste and I liked the look.

It was a whole new take on the image, and Color Efex 4 encouraged me to see the image in a new way.

I tried some of the new recipes included in the 3.3 update, and also found some interesting things I could try with the image, again making my own adjustments to the preset.

The Nik Collection has been an able assistant for thousands of photographers all over the world. This latest update makes sure it will run on this latest Mac OS, and the entire suite of tools will benefit portrait photographers as well, as this latest collection has many tools to enhance that form of photography. Plus there are some great tools for black and whte photography.

Nik Collection 3.3 by DxO (Windows and MacOS) is now available for download on the DxO website for $149 for the full version and $79 for the upgrade. 

Users who purchased Nik Collection 3 by DxO after June 2020 may upgrade their software for free. Photographers who already own Nik Collection 2 By DxO or a previous version can upgrade their software by signing into their customer accounts. A fully functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 3.3 by DxO is available on the DxO website, and I recommend that, because when you can actually see how it works, I think you will want the Nik Collection in your editing software toolbag. 

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I haven’t upgraded yet. But I will say the upgrade from 2 to 3 was very deceptive. All the change was the addition of a perspective control plugin. Everything else was identical except for a few more presets. It was a lazy update. I’m not sure I’d ever update again with them.

What are the solid improvements?

I don't get the planned obsolescence for this software. I have paid for 2 versions so far. With the latest Photoshop update, my Collection 2 is no longer compatible and DXO does not support it any longer. They want another $79 to make it right. Seems like a rip off that every several months users have to pay more to continue using the plug-in.

I only update when there's a black friday 50% off deal. I don't feel too ripped off then!