Nik Collection 2.5 Released by DxO
It’s quite possible you’ve already seen the news. DxO has released version 2.5 of the Nik Collection and if you’re a fan of film you’ll be happy. We’ve already seen the Nik Collection 2.3 introduce new film simulations to Silver Efex Pro. Well this time it’s the turn of another of my favourite plug-ins; Nik Color Efex Pro.
If you’re not familiar with Nik Color Efex Pro, it’s a plug-in with a collection of 55 different filters. Some of these are special effects, but others I turn to frequently for improving my landscape photography. A good example is the Pro Contrast filter which includes a slider to correct the colour cast in an image. If you haven’t tried this, you won’t believe how effective and easy it is to use.
Agfa, Fuji, And Lomography
What’s new in the Nik Collection 2.5 is that DxO has added five new film simulations. These are carefully selected from colour films that have left their mark on the history of Analog Photography. They are:
- AGFA PRECISA CT 100
- FUJIFILM FP-100C
- FUJICHROME PROVIA 400X
- LOMOGRAPHY REDSCALE 100
You’ll find the new film simulations in the “Film Efex: Modern (Branded)” filter together with dozens of existing simulations.
In addition to the many film simulations (I counted 38) you have two sliders to control the Contrast and Brightness. These can help you perfect your film look but watch out for clipping in the highlights and shadows. If clipping does become a problem, use the Shadows and Highlights sliders to control it.
Getting Creative with Film Efex
The simplicity of design used by Nik Color Efex often leads people to overlook some of the most powerful features. For example, you can layer up multiple filters to create beautiful effects. In the following example you can see the “Brilliance/Warmth”, “Film Efex: Modern” and “Classic Soft Focus” filters combined. This creates a beautiful glowing light that transforms the scene.
But you don’t need to stop at using just one “Film Efex” filter. You can layer up multiple filters of the same type, each with a different film simulation. This then blends the characteristics of the different films together. You can then control the strength of each filter using the “Opacity” slider found in each filter’s “Control Points” section.
Even More Control Over Film Simulations
Now if you’re a film connoisseur, you might want to skip this section. After all, DxO has gone to a lot of trouble to digitise the characteristics of some of the best films in history. But if you want to alter these you can.
When you’ve added the “Film Efex: Modern” filter and selected your film, you might notice the section “Film Details”. Click to expand this, revealing a set of adjustments which give greater control over the characteristics of the film simulation.
Here you can see and adjust the:
- Sensitivity of the film. This controls how dark or light each colour is.
- Saturation of the film based on how the film responds to different colours.
- Tone curve of the film.
- Characteristics of the film grain.
Here I’ve adjusted how the film responds to Yellow, Red and Violet colours. Using the Sensitivity sliders, I made these colours darker to prevent the highlights blowing out but also increase the depth of colour. I then increased the size of the film grain, which worked well with the “Classic Soft Focus” diffused look.
The Nik Collection 2.5 and Affinity Photo
Now for what I consider to be the best feature of the new Nik Collection 2.5 release. It’s now fully compatible with Affinity Photo 1.8. Frequent in the past I would run into problems like Affinity Photo not displaying some or all the Nik Plug-ins. This would typically happen after an Affinity Photo update. Also, when I tried to edit a 16-bit image in Nik Viveza from Affinity Photo, the image colours would appear very odd, making the image unusable. If you want to see an example of the problem, watch my YouTube video on this.
Now it appears Serif (who publish Affinity Photo) and DxO have collaborated to fix this. I’ve installed the update to the latest Affinity Photo 1.8, and I can see all the Nik plug-ins. Now when I open a 16-bit image in Viveza I see the correct colours.
This is such great fix to see. Viveza is an essential tool to my workflow and being able to use it with Affinity Photo is wonderful.
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And the Cost?
If you’re not already a Nik owner (Nik Collection 2018 or Nik Collection 2), the price of the software is £125. This includes installation links for both the PC and Mac. If you use both platforms as I do, this is vital. You can read more about the latest version of the Nik Collection on the DXO Website.
If you own the Nik Collection 2.5 the cost of the upgrade is £69. Just log into your account on the DxO website and you will see the option to upgrade.
Finally, if you have the Nik Collection 2, the upgrade to version 2.5 is free.
The Nik Collection has long been my plug-in of choice for photo editing. It’s great to see that it’s evolving and that support for it continues to grow.
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