Taking NIK Software Plugins For A Test Drive

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A friend convinced me I should download the trial version of NIK Software’s six plugins.  I had read many positive reviews of some of the plug-ins including Silver EFEX Pro 2 for black and white conversion but I just never got farther than their NIK’s Snapseed android application. Now is the time.  In the last week I have spent time working predominantly with Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4, and Silver Efex Pro 2.

Snapseed on Android to NIK on the Desktop

After using Snapseed on a tablet I had some familiarity the NIK concept of control points.  What I discovered after a week playing with the tools and watching some online videos was that the control point concept was saving me a heck of a lot of post processing time. The control point system is analogous to using Adjustments layers and masks in Adobe Photoshop CS6, but it is less cumbersome and produces amazing results in seconds.

As a avid Adobe Lightroom user I found the control point sliders intuitive and it didn’t take too long to figure out the basic principles.  The most useful realization is that NIK’s  structure slider seems to be analogous to the clarity slider in Adobe Lightroom.  Since clarity is one of my favorite adjustments in Lightroom, I was quickly cranking out images in my own style with speed.

NIK Online Videos

I also really appreciated all the great NIK instructional videos and master classes that the team has posted both on their website and on the NIK Photography Youtube Channel.  The recorded webinars were all done by real photographers.  The collection of videos is great to get you up to speed and creating some great images fast.

I reprocessed one of my photos of the Taj Mahal with Silver Efex and I love the results.  I can’t wait to spend some more time with the tools to see what I can do with them.


Since this article was originally published in 2013 there have been a lot of updates in the NIK World. The biggest update is of course the fact that Google has now made the NIK software suite free. During the last several years I’ve gained a lont more experience with all of the NIK software packages and have since published an newer NIK Software Collection Review here.

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