Google has just given a nice gift to the photographic community. The NIK Collection, a $150 bundle of processing tools and filters is now a freebie.
Google made the announcement in a blog post yesterday.
“Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.
We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.”
The tools are designed as plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom. I use them almost every day in my landscape processing. Dfine is one of the truly great noise reduction tools. Silver Efex Pro turns color photos into striking black and white images. I’ve used Color Efex Pro for creating gradients to tame skies, enhance foliage, and improve contrast. NIK also has a good HDR tool that’s included in this free set, but I don’t think it is as good as the venerable Photomatix software.
I think the only question is whether or not Google will continue to update this software and keep it compatible with OS changes. I’ve found all the modules in NIK tools to be very robust, and I’m running them fine on the latest OS X updates.
Google has continued to keep Snapseed for iOS update, so I guess there is some hope for the NIK Collection, but Google hasn’t said they will keep it updated, and in their blog post they mentioned they are concentrating on mobile.
If you do work in Photoshop or Lightroom, I think the NIK Collection is a must-have. It’s free now, so if you have the need, grab it.
Here’s the download page.