An Easy Fix for Nik Collection’s Recent Crash Issues

An Easy Fix for Nik Collection’s Recent Crash Issues

If you are a user of one of the popular Nik Collection photo editing plugins, you have probably experienced errors in using the software recently. After Photoshop’s latest update, several users have reported that using the plugins will now force Photoshop to close when the plugin attempts to save its changes. This not only limits your use of Nik’s software, but it also will also cause you to lose all unsaved changes to your image prior to using the plugin. Luckily, there is a very simple workaround.

It has been an up and down year for Nik Collection. After Google announced that they had no further plans for the software, they were later acquired by DxO. This was a relief for several photographers who have integrated Nik’s plugins, such as Color Efex Pro, into their post-processing workflow. However, DxO has no known plans to make any changes to the current version of the software until their release of the newest edition sometime next year. This leaves users with the problem of the plugins not being compatible with the updated version of Photoshop, with no hope for a fix to resolve the issue. A simple setting adjustment though will allow you to work around the problem.

The Fix

First, you will want to open a photo in Photoshop, and from there open the photo using your Nik software of choice. When the photo opens in Nik, you will see a settings box in the bottom left corner of the screen. Open the settings option and navigate to the tab labeled “After Clicking OK.” In this tab, you will want to change the setting from “Apply the filtered effect to a separate layer” to “Apply the filtered effect to the current layer.” Save the changes and it should apply to all further uses of the Nik software.

This setting is the root of the error. Photoshop will often crash when Nik Collection tries to create a new layer in the software. This workaround allows you to save the changes to the layer you were currently working on, rather than create a new layer. The only addition I will add is that you should create a copy of the layer in Photoshop before you open in Nik, in case any further adjustments such as masking are required after the effects are applied. 

Nik Collection is an excellent software despite its recent issues. Hopefully, with DxO’s recent acquisition, further versions of the software will be developed that allow its users to continue to use their plugins without needing to find workarounds such as this.

Levi Keplar's picture

Levi Keplar is a wedding and portrait photographer and educator. He currently owns and operates his studio, Katie & Levi Photography, with his wife and is based in the Wichita, Kansas area. He has a passion for both the technical and the business sides of photography and helping others to grow in those areas as well.

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this also works if you just updated to high sierra on a mac and it was crashing in photoshop. or at least it fixed it on mine. oh and nik also works in affinity photo if you add it as a plug in.

Nice! Thanks for the help!

Thanks again for help with this! For real I thought it was game over with Nik until you showed me this trick.

Many thanks for the help; but in my version of Nik, in setting I have not this option. I only see TIFF compression and the class of saved TIFF files ( stripes or mosaic). Is a mistake in the spanish version?

Ricardo, that's odd. The only thing I can think of is to first, make sure you are opening the photo in photoshop first, and then open the photo in Nik from Photoshop. If that doesn't allow the setting to show up, perhaps try updating the Nik software first to the current version. Hope that helps!

Ok. That is right with your instructions. Many thanks. It's a relief to be able to continue using Nik until its new version. Good weekend

You're a legend! This issue had been frustrating me to no end over the last month or so. Thank you!

I have High Sierra and even switching to “Apply the filtered effect to the current layer.” I am still having crashing issues. Can't wait for DXO to provide some sort of fix for this issue. I tried to get my computer back to Sierra 4 times already..... NIK doesnt crash every time I use it thank God.... but it is sporadic.. if I click through the filters too fast it will crash on me every time, and sometimes it crashes as it feels like it. My workaround is saving whatever I have done before I use NIK in case it crashes I can just try to use it again with my saved file. Thank you for the article. though it was great... Can't wait to get a legit fix.

I found a workaround for High Sierra and Nik. Don't access Nik from the Photoshop Filters menu. Instead, access Nik from the Nik Selective Tool box that opens with Photoshop.

HI Donna,
That is how I access NIK. So does your NIK never crash on you with High Sierra? I did go back to PS 2017 and it seems like it crashes less. Which PS are you using?

Ah that may be the difference. I am using PS CS6

Oh ok... Yes, that very well may be. The last PS works better than the newest one for me so maybe the older PS you use with High Sierra the less likely NIK will crash? Thank you for the info.

Can you successfully go back in and update the settings for a Nik smart filter? For me the crash happens when I try to update the existing filters, not add new ones.

Try to turn of the GPU in NIK, there might be problem with never openGL versions...

You my hero, thanks a lot!!

Life saver! Thank you so much!!

This works! Over the years I bought the Nik Collection twice (before and after Google gobbled it). I was disappointed when Google made it a free, not because I had paid for it (twice), but because I knew it meant the end of support and future development. I thought Nik was toast. Thank you Mr. Keplar.

Unfortunately this doesn't resolve my issues when working with Nik Color Efex Pro on a Smart Object. I do this in order to apply the effect in a non destructive way, and to allow masking the effect only into specific areas of the image. If I turn the effect off with the eye icon (at the left of the item nested beneath the Smart Object layer) then turn it back on it crashes Photoshop every time also discarding all other changes since I last saved. Hopefully some resolution comes when DXO puts out the new release this year although that doesn't help right now.

Omigawwwd! Can I say I love you!! Thank you so much! I stopped using Nik because of the problems I really missed using efex Pro and Nik Silver!! Thanks again!!

I have been using the original NIK plugins for several years, and haven't had a single issue with PS6 5 and 6, and PS Elements running under Mac OSX 10.13. Then I decided to buy the DXO update version of NIK, and now I can only use PhotoEfex because everything else crashes PSE 2018, and also CS6 (please notice that I don't use the online CC Adobe software, just a standalone version of CS6 and PSE in two different Macs).

Anyway, the reason why the "Easy Fix" talked above cannot work for me is because the soonest I do one of the following, CS6 and PSE crash:

a. If I "click" the mouse's pointer on NIK's Settings

b. If I choose any of the NIK plugins shown in CS6's Filters folder

So now I may not have any options but to remove the DXO NIK plugins and replace them with the older NIK Software.
Edited Sept. 18, 2018

I finally got the DXO Nik Software package to work along CS6 on one of my Macs. Please notice that I don't use the Adobe CC software online, but a standalone CS6 application on an iMac. However, I do use the 2018 CC Bridge and Photo Downloader.

a. What I did to solve the problem was to search for and delete all the Nik folders, files, etc., (every one of them until nothing relating to the Nik software was left in the computer). But I didn't delete any of the photos that had been edited with the Nik software.

b. I ran the Nik deinstaller app to remove anything else that was left behind, but this app set a flag indicating that the Nik software had been completely removed. Then I reinstalled the Nik software with the Nik installer.

c. Launched CS6 and bridge (CC ), and opened a photo. At this point the Nik Tool Selector appeared on the screen. I accessed the settings at the bottom of the Nik selector (?) and changed the settings so that the plugins don't use the GPU, and that the new layer is applied to the current photo. I did the same with every one of the plugins shown on the Nik selector. I also check-marked not to have this selector launching every time that I use CS6, but only because I prefer to access the Nik plugins on the Filters folder.

d. Now I launched everyone of the Nik plugins shown in the CS6 Filters folder, and made sure that the settings were the same (not use of the GPU, and applying the layer to the current photo)

But I could not solve the crashing problem with PSE 2018 my 2011 13" MacBook Pro. Maybe some Nik setting or file is left behind somewhere, or maybe the following?

...The Nik plugins aren't automatically installed in the PSE Filters folder. Maybe they are placed in a the Plugins folder, but not made active during the installation process. In this case one has to "Choose" the Nik plugins in the PSE Plugins screen using the Preferences. Once that is done, PSE will launch the plugins and the Nik selector. However, PSE crashes immediately after I "click" on the Settings option at the bottom of the Nik selector. The same happens when I try to use any of the plugins in the Plugins folder. It is very possible that having PSE launch the plugins to make them active conflicts with the installation process, but I don't really know.

Upon DXO request, I emailed the diagnostics file to their technicians about a month or more ago, but I haven't received an answer. The diagnostics file contains the details of what causes PSE to crash.

Re-edited again on 05/4/2019

1. The DXO Nick Software Package crashing CS6 continues. The fix I mentioned above was temporary. Another temporary fix that works well is as follows:

a. I launch both the standalone CS6 application, and CC Bridge 2018
b. In both apps' Preferences I purge the cache blocks (look for and purge all the cache), then quit both applications
d. I launch both apps again, and use the Nik plugins until they crash CS6 again. This happens when the CS6 cache is full.

2. Now, the same problem exists on my wife's MacBook air where I installed PS Elements 2018, plus the DXO Nick Software bundle.

3. Please be aware that the problem with the CSC and PS Elements did not happen with older versions of the Nik Software, including the Google-owned one.

4. I just migrated all my apps from the older Mac I had been using for photo-editing to a new one, and the CS6 crashes continue. But since I like the Nik plugins so much, I just solve the cash issues temporarily as explained above. I emailed another DXO diagnostics file for them to look at.

I am having an issue, have tried the workarounds. Since upgrading to high sierra, thinks went awry. My typical workflow is to go Photoshop to nik Silver Efex, add structure, then do a luminosity blend. Can't do that anymore. Is there a solution?

I don't know what the solution is, but I suspect that somewhere along the line there is a conflict between the Nik plugins and PhotoShop (even Elements) in the way the Nik plugins use the PS cache files, at least on the two Macs I use for photo editing.

But then I have plenty of RAM on the new Mac, and even after allocating as much memory as possible for Photoshop, once the caches are full it crashes again.

Try purging all the memory caches you can find in Photoshop's preferences and see what happens. This is not a permanent solution, however.