Beloved Photography Plugins Receive Complete Makeover with the Launch of DxO’s Nik Collection 2

(Editor's Note: This post is sponsored by DxO.)

For almost two decades now, some of the world’s most renowned photographers and digital image makers have enthused about a set of Photoshop plugins that help them create a real wow factor. The Nik Collection of plugins, recently re-tooled and re-launched by renowned image processing innovator DxO, makes it easy for almost anyone to add special effects and creative adjustments to images without complicated masks and adjustment layers.

The Nik Collection was originally the brainchild of software developer Nils Kokemohr. Nils developed a suite of digital photo filters that became incredibly popular as pro photographers’ go-to tool for enhancing images with special effects or for reducing artifacts like digital noise or lack of sharpness. Twenty plus years since it was originally conceived, the Nik Collection is still going strong thanks to DxO’s determination and expertise.

The new Nik Collection 2 boasts a host of new features, including 42 exciting creative presets designed by Dan Hughes, a lecturer in the Photographic Sciences program at Rochester Institute of Technology. The software also now supports high-resolution monitors (HiDPI), with larger preview windows and full native resolution. Lastly, the Nik Collection 2 now comes with DxO’s PhotoLab 2.3 ESSENTIAL Edition, the company’s multiple award-winning photo editing software, which is now capable of making selective edits and adjustments directly on RAW files.

Color Efex Pro is perhaps the best-known component of the Nik Collection. This creative plugin mimics special effects similar to traditional photographic filters, such as polarizers, graduated skies, and color corrections. Color Efex also includes a range of artistic effects such as infrared, foliage enhancers and even a dynamic skin softener for flattering portraits.

Nik Color Efex Pro offers loads of traditional filters that mimic the glass filters you can mount on cameras. There are other effects too, such as the dynamic skin softener that creates flattering portraits from all skin shades. Each plug in has loupe and histogram so users can make precise adjustments.

For photographers who love monochrome images in the classic tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson or Ansell Adams, Silver Efex Pro turns color images into stunning pieces of black and white photography. Thanks to film emulsion emulators, custom vignettes and adjustable grain levels, Silver Efex Pro can create images that look like they’ve been shot on black and white film. It’s little wonder that Silver Efex Pro is probably the world’s most popular black and white conversion plugin.

Silver Efex Pro is a versatile plugin that can create authentic black and white images that look as if they were shot on film. There are settings for grain, vignetting, film types, as well as exposure, brightness and contrast.

These days, HDR (High Dynamic Range) photography is massively popular even though it can be a tricky technique to master properly. HDR Efex Pro takes the strain out of producing stunning HDR photos by combining images taken at different exposure settings and producing HDR masterpieces, all without the need to learn about things like tone mapping and adjustment curves.

HDR images may look great, but they can be tricky to create without over-cooking things. Nik Collection 2’s HDR Efex Pro takes the hassle out of producing convincing and exciting HDR images.

One of the charms of older photos is the unique look that classic lenses, cameras and film produce. Recreating that effect with a modern digital camera is no easy task. Thankfully, Analog Efex Pro provides a range of clever effects and tools that can recreate the classic look and feel of vintage cameras, lenses and film types. By adding special features such as scratches, vignetting and toning, it’s possible to create images that look as if they were taken long ago.

Nik Analog Efex Pro can create vintage-looking images from almost any photo. There are tools for applying different camera types, lenses and film stocks. A range of textures and scratches can be applied to images along with toning and vignettes.

Color is a fundamental part of how one interprets the visual world. Wherever you look there are stunning colors all around us. Color is the key to producing eye-catching images and Nik Collection 2’s Viveza plugin has been specifically designed as an intuitive and easy method for boosting, reducing or altering colors using U Point technology. Imagine being able to alter a sky to one with the precise blue you want, without affecting any other colors in the image. Viveza can do that; it adjusts single colors and can alter multiple colors or global colors in an image.

Viveza is an exciting and extremely useful plugin that can be used to alter a single or multiple colors in an image using U Point technology. By placing a control point on the image it’s possible to decide which colors will be affected. The control point has sliders that enable brightness, contrast, saturation and hue, plus other settings, to produce exactly the color required.

Digital noise is a fact of photographic life, especially when shooting at higher ISO settings or with longer exposures times. Dfine is a special plugin that uses data and algorithms to reduce or eliminate digital noise from an image. Dfine is so advanced, it even knows how your camera produces digital noise and in what pattern. It can reduce noise automatically without affecting image quality; and thanks to a brush tool, it’s easy to ‘paint’ away noise in specific areas of an image, even with RAW files.

Dfine is a noise reduction plugin that knows how a digital camera produces noise, and how to tame it. Noise reduction can be applied automatically or adjusted manually. Noise reduction can even be reduced in selective areas by using Dfine’s paintbrush to paint where the noise should be reduced.

A soft photo is never a good look; the best images are crisp and sharpened to just the right level for how they will eventually be viewed. Images destined for print require a different level of sharpening to photos that are, say, going to be viewed on a screen. Sharpener Pro is an intelligent plugin that comes in two parts; the first is for pre-sharpening RAW images straight out of the camera, while the second is for sharpening images ready for their final viewing destination.

Nik Collection 2’s Sharpener Pro can apply precisely the right amount of sharpening to an image, based on how it will be viewed. A photo output on an inkjet printer needs different sharpening to one that will be viewed on a website. Sharpener Pro knows just how to do this but there are also manual settings for those who want to sharpen by eye.

The final piece of software in Nik Collection 2 is DxO PhotoLab 2. This software is ideal for editing digital images and providing photographers with a complete digital workflow from camera to printer. DxO PhotoLab 2 incorporates DxO’s award winning, optical-correction technology, which DxO has spent many years researching. The technology can correct the optical anomalies of more than 45,000 different camera and lens combinations. DxO has created exclusive algorithms that can correct the distortions, aberrations and other optical irregularities in most cameras and lenses on the market.

Conclusion: DxO has made significant upgrades to its ever-popular Nik Collection suite of plugins with the latest version. The ability to apply U Point adjustments directly on RAW images is welcomed technology from photographers, while those using HD displays will enjoy the new and improved window layout with increased real estate and full native resolution previews. DxO enhanced its original Nik Collection 42 new presets, built-in optical-correction technology, and a host of other creative and technical improvements that make Nik Collection 2 a highly regarded enhancement tool on the market today.

For more information about the Nik Collection 2 by DxO:

Stuke's picture

How about Aperture, Luminar 3, Affinty Photo, Phase One Capture One Pro, etc. no thanks until you get out of the Adobe subscription product category! Think customers!