Since DxO released the new version of Nik on the 6th June 2018 I have received a lot of email asking how to use the new Nik Collection with Affinity Photo. A lot of people are now saying you could use the old free version of the Nik Collection by Google but that DxO has removed this capability. This is incorrect and I’m going to show you in this tutorial just how you can use the Nik Collection with Affinity Photo.

Although there are a few bugs you might encounter when running the Nik Collection from Affinity Photo, I don’t believe these appear to be down to the Affinity colour handling. The Nik Collection appears much more stable compared to the previous versions which would frequently crash when I tried to use them. This though is not everyone’s experience so if you have the old version of the Nik Collection installed you might like to try them.

Step 1 – Install the Nik Collection 2018 by DxO

If you already have the Nik Collection installed to your computer, you can skip this step. You will though need to locate the Plugin files and make a note of their location. For example, “C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Plug-Ins\CC”. You will need this in step 2.

If you haven’t already installed the Nik Collection Plugins, you should do that now. The implementation of the new DxO version of Nik is largely automated and easy. It will though remove any previous versions of the Nik Collection without warning. If you still want to keep the old version, be sure you have a copy of the original installation files before progressing. You will need reinstall the old version if you decide to switch back.

During the installation you will be prompted to confirm where to install the software.

Selecting where to install the Nik Collection

You can change (if necessary) the default location and click the next button.

This is the important screen as it controls where the Plugin files will be installed. It lists the compatible Host applications the installer recognises on your computer. Despite Affinity Photo not being recognised by the installer, you can select to install the Plugin files to the default Affinity Plugin folder.

Selecting where to install the plugin files

In the installer dialog, you will see a small + icon at the bottom left of the list. You can use this to add other locations to install the Nik Collection plugins to. If you’re not sure what your default Affinity Photo plugin folder is, you can find it using the Affinity Preferences described in Step 2 below.

Once the installation is complete you will find a “DxO” folder has been created. Inside this you will find a separate folder for each of the Nik Collection applications and inside these are the plug-in files.

Step 2 – Load the Plug-In files to Affinity Photo

Start by opening Affinity Photo and selecting “Edit | Preferences” from the menu. This will display the Affinity Photo Preferences dialog shown below.

Select the Photoshop Plugins from the lower row of the icons to display the Plugin preferences dialog shown below.

Opening the Affinity Photo Preferences folder

As we mentioned earlier, if you want to know the default location of the Affinity Plugin folder, you can use this dialog to find it. At the top left you will find a button marked “Open Default Folder in Explorer”. Click this and it opens Windows Explorer (or Finder on a Mac). This is the best location to install the plugins to as Affinity will find and list them in the “Detected Plugins” list.

Affinity Photo Plugin Preferences showing the Nik Collection

If your plugins are installed somewhere other than the default folder, you will need to a link to them. You do this by clicking the “Add” button marked 1 in the illustration. This opens a file explorer window which you can use to select the plugins location. Once you have done this you can click the Close button and Affinity Photo will prompt you that it needs to restart before your changes can take effect.

Once Affinity Photo has restarted you will be able to see the “Nik Collection” at the bottom of the “Filters” menu.

Affinity Photo Filters menu with Nik Collection showing

Here you see the new Nik Collection folder but only two of the plugins are listed. If you look back to the previous screenshot of the Preferences dialog you can see Affinity Photo only recognises two of the Nik Collection plugins.

Look further down the Preferences dialog and you can see there’s an option numbered 2, to “Allow Unknown plugins to be used”. When you check this, Affinity Photo will display all the plugins in the Filters menu, even if it doesn’t recognise them.

You can now launch and use the new Nik Collection 2018 by DxO from Affinity Photo.

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