DxO has just released a new version of the Nik Collection, one of the longest running and best known photo editing plug-in suites on the market. Nik Collection 4 brings major updates to two of its eight plug-ins: Silver Efex Pro and Viveza.
Silver Efex Pro is the Nik Collection’s dedicated black and white plug-in and replicates the look of classic black and white films and darkroom processing techniques, combining them with state of the art digital processing tools and DxO’s own control-point local adjustments.
Viveza is a plug-in which offers global and color adjustments, and is probably the closest thing to dodging and burning, but for color images not black and white.
Beyond this, DxO Nik Collection 4 brings better integration with Lightroom and Photoshop and a new Meta Presets feature in the Photoshop Nik palette which combines adjustments from different plug-ins – at this stage the ten new Meta Presets are supplied as-is and are not yet user-editable.
Silver Efex Pro 4 update
Silver Efex Pro is one of Nik Collection’s best-known plug-ins but has seen relatively few updates to its core tools or, indeed its interface. Its tools are as effective as ever, but its appearance has dated somewhat – but in the Nik Collection 4 it has a new, much more modern look.
It also incorporates DxO’s ClearView technology from its PhotoLab software. This doesn’t just cut through haze in outdoor shots, it boost local contrast generally to produce much more ‘punchy’ images, which suits black and white images particularly well.
Silver Efex Pro also gets the benefit of DxO’s enhanced U-point local adjustments – now it’s possible to adjust the Color Tolerance settings to make the local masking effect more precise.
Finally, it’s now possible to include U-point adjustments in saved presets, so that even if the framing of shots is different, it’s simply a matter of moving the control point rather than having to create a new local adjustment from scratch.
Viveza 3 update
Viveza traditionally been a stripped back local adjustment tool rather than a creative plug-in, but this changes with Viveza 3, which now comes with ten creative presets and the ability to create your own. This elevates Viveza from a simple dodging and burning tool to something rather more powerful – and it too offers more selective Color Tolerance settings.
The remaining plug-ins stay pretty much as they are, though they all benefit from new Adobe workflow options and Meta Presets in Photoshop.
Nik Collection 4 Meta Presets and Adobe workflow
The Nik Collection 4 Meta Presets are a little like Photoshop actions, carrying out a pre-defined sequence of filter effects. For the first time, its possible to combine Nik Collection 4 plug-in effects from within Photoshop with a single preset. 10 Meta Presets are supplied with Nik Collection 4, and it will be interesting to see where DxO takes this in the future.
Nik Collection 4 also brings a new workflow for Lightroom users. The Last Edit function, previously available only in Photoshop, has now been extended to Lightroom Classic to make it easier to apply the last preset used to new images, and a new Smart Copy and Past feature lets you selectively re-apply the effect of a plug-in to several images at once without having to launch the plug-in interface.
DxO Nik Collection 4 availability and pricing
The DxO Nik Collection 4 is available now from the DxO website, and if you buy before June 30, the price for new users will be $99.99/£88.99 instead of $149/£133. If you’re upgrading from a previous version, the price will be $59.99/£54.99 before June 30, reverting to the regular price of $79/£69 afterwards.