After a very quick 2 weeks time is almost up for the Nik Collection plugin trial (15 Days – though I do have a plan to extend this by using my Macbook and possibly a VMware Mac!). So what have I done, well dabbled a little bit – sadly unless you have a bit of spare time 15 days probably translates to maybe 3-4 hours per week (hence my plan to extend time a bit). I’ve really not had a chance to dive into the individual settings on any of the plugins – just mostly using the custom presets.
So below is a small selection of what I’ve looked at (Click on the links for the larger flickr hosted images – 3000x1000px). Oh and apologies for the mainly aircraft pictures 😉
First up is Viveza (Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections. – text taken from the Nik Collecion site as it’s probably the best description of the plugin).
Quite a nice effect can be created to enhance a relatively dull image – here I’ve only adjusted the Structure slider to 75% (I’ve found Structure to be quite a handy tool on a number of plugins).
This time using it for a black and white conversion (without wanting the effects of Silver Efex) – whilst this looks nice, this is probably achievable in CS6 or LR4
Next up is Colour Efex Pro 4
The number of filter effects are too numerous to list, but a quick Polarisation (to bring up the detail in the field) and fog effect look quite good. The Polarisation most likely could be achieved in CS6/LR4 and fog possibly in CS6 using a white graduated layer faded in. Still this plugin saves you the time in doing this (though I an relatively inexperienced in CS6 – so it might be an easy action to create).
Next the dreaded HDR Efex Pro 2 (24 – Outdoor 2 filter applied).
Why dreaded, well cos mostly HDR looks awful – so does this image to be honest – but if I want the really horrible HDR effect I know where to go. In fairness, it does it simply and you can customise each filter so it doesn’t look like HDR (probably the best HDR method!).
Now it’s time to get serious – Silver Efex Pro 2 (005 High Structure – Harsh filter)
When you mention Nik plugins, Silver Efex seems to get talked about – and after a brief play I can understand. The standard filters have enough to keep most happy (especially certain northern based photo societies).
Colour Efex Pro 4 again (Various filters added)
Possibly a little overdone this one, but it’s a combination of stacked filter effects. Whilst this image isn’t great – it the process is one to get excited about.
So I’ve missed out, Dfine 2 (Noise Reduction) and Sharpener Pro 3 (errrrr, it sharpens!) – these two I’ve not used yet. I’m sure they’ll be a good as the rest if you need them.
As for the collection, well I’ve seen what they can do and for $150 for the whole set they are a bargain (there are some money off codes – if you search) You can find the plugins available on the www.niksoftware.com website. All available in one package to try for 15 days (for use in Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Apple Aperture – possibly others as well, but I’ve not fully checked)