Lightning-fast retouching options, a new non-destructive workflow and Perspective Efex, to automatically correct geometric flaws in your photos are some of the features in Nik Collection 3.
The venerable Nik Collection continues to grow and DxO continues to make the software a key element of many photographers workflow, adding new features and optimizing those already available, to make the series of plugins easier to use and more interesting for those looking for ways to go beyond what is offered by most photo editing tools.
Back in 2019 the company launched Nik Collection 2, made available with a photo editor, the PhotoLab 2.3 ESSENTIAL, an entry level app from DxO in terms of RAW photo editing. Despite missing some features, it is more than enough for many users and represents a viable path for those who decide to acquire the PhotoLab 2.3 ELITE version. The app continues to be part of the Nik Collection 3 now announced, meaning you buy the plugins and get the photo editor for free.
Introduced originally as a series of plugins for Adobe Photoshop, the Nik Collection continues to work well with Adobe’s software and other photo editors that work with Adobe compatible plugins, but as DxO stated when launching the previous version “although Nik Collection 2 plugins play nicely with software like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, DxO’s PhotoLab Essential is the ideal package for launching Nik plugins within its superb and intuitive workflow.”
A new perspective correction tool
While in previous versions DxO worked hard to create film emulations to add to the gallery of filters available, as ProVideo Coalition documented, this new version, Nik Collection 3, is more about redesigning the tool, expanding workflow features and introducing a new tool, Perspective Efex, a new plugin dedicated to geometric corrections. Drawing from DxO’s unique expertise, it combines a number of exclusive tools to remove defects and add effects to photos.
Perspective Efex automatically corrects unsightly leading lines, ”no matter how complex”, claims DxO, which is a very useful feature in urban photography. It is also the only plugin to offer a feature that automatically corrects shape distortion, providing an easy way to reestablish the natural shapes of subjects located on the edges of wide-angle photos. It is the perfect tool for group wedding photos and family photos! Thanks to the use of DxO’s powerful optical modules, Perspective Efex can even automatically correct fish-eye distortion. Lastly, its automatic horizon correction tool instantly levels out skewed horizon lines in architectural and landscape photos.
Nik Collection now has 8 plugins
Perspective Efex can also be used creatively at the end of the editing process to simulate a shallow depth-of-field effect, i.e. miniature effect. Previously, such a result could only be obtained through costly and complex tilt-shift lenses. The plugin offers two blur gradients. Users can adjust placement and intensity and choose whether they would like the effect to be symmetrical or asymmetrical. Users can also change their aperture settings when simulating a bokeh effect.
One note for Affinity Photo users: although Nik Collection is compatible with Serif’s photo editor, the Perspective Efex plugin is not, as Jérôme Abribat, Communication Manager at DxO told me. Since Affinity Photo itself is not compatible with plugins that modify the dimensions of an image, Perspective Efex does not work. Affinity Photo users will probably not need it, anyways, as the perspective correction tools available in Affinity are a complete set offering a variety of options.
Now offering a total of eight plugins instead of seven, the Nik Collection 3 is also designed to, says DxO, “better meet the needs of Adobe Lightroom Classic users”, offering a new workflow that lets photographers freely edit their files within the same plugin. This technology is based on the use of the TIFF MULTIPAGE file format, which combines the input image, the saved Nik Collection 3 By DxO editing parameters, and the output file all in the same file. The Nik Collection 3 By DxO is, says DxO, “the first suite of creative photo plugins to introduce a non-destructive workflow to Adobe Lightroom Classic, resulting in unparalleled versatility.”
“The non-destructive workflow in Nik Collection 3 By DxO adds an incredible amount of flexibility and fluidity to the editing process,” says Jean-Marc Alexia, VP Product Strategy and Marketing at DxO. “It can be used with all host software programs that include a third-party export menu. It’s a huge improvement.”
Editing batches of images
The new version also offers a newly designed Nik Selective Tool, a dedicated palette that gives users direct access to the suite’s various plugins from Adobe Photoshop. This latest version, according to DxO, “revolutionizes how Nik Collection By DxO is used by simplifying the suite and providing faster access to each editing feature. The new version of the Nik Selective Tool features a new design that makes it easier to identify each plugin and clearly display your favourite presets. To optimize the workspace in Adobe Photoshop, the palette can be automatically collapsed with one click. The tool is also fully compatible with HiDPI screens and can be used in dual monitor mode for an even more productive experience.”
At the same time, the Nik Selective Tool has been expanded to include lightning-fast retouching options. Its new “Last Edit” feature recreates the last preset applied in a single click so users can quickly edit their images in the plugins of their choice. This feature is especially useful for editing batches of images or when users want to create a preset after editing a photo. Its brand-new “Quick Edit” option even lets users edit their images by applying the last action used without having to launch the plugin interface—all in a single click. Lastly, Silver Efex Pro and HDR Efex Pro now offer direct access to favourite presets, in addition to Color Efex Pro.
Also new: the Message Centre
“The new Nik Selective Tool is a great way to make my post-processing workflow even more effective,” says Soli Kanani, professional photographer and DxO ambassador. “Just like a real-life assistant, it’s by my side around the clock, which lets me quickly open all the plugins I need at every step in the editing process, all without losing sight of what I’m doing.”
The new version also includes a new marketing and information tool, the Message Centre, which can be accessed through the new Nik Selective Tool. This feature, says DxO, “helps Adobe Photoshop users stay up to date on the latest news about the plugin suite and access a number of online resources, including webinars, tutorials, customer support services, and much more!”
The Nik Collection 3 by DxO (Windows and macOS) is now available for download on the DxO website for a special launch price of $100 instead of $149, and $60 instead of $79 for the upgrade, until June 30, 2020. Photographers who already own Nik Collection 2 By DxO or a previous version can upgrade their software by signing into their customer accounts. A fully-functional, one-month trial version of Nik Collection 3 By DxO is available on the DxO website.