June 2, 2021
Nik Collection 4
DxO launches the Nik Collection 4, giving a make-over as well as introducing new tools to provide a more user-friendly experience
Twenty-five years ago, a small software company, Nik Software, brought out a photography editing suite. By the early 2000s, the black and white editing tool, Silver Efex, had become the go-to tool for photographers. In 2012, Google acquired the company, and for a few years, it was possible to download the suite for free. DxO bought the rights to the software in 2017, and since then, we have seen some impressive developments. I’ve been fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of the latest version, Nik Collection 4. The update gives us some powerful new tools and an even more user-friendly experience.
New user-friendly design
The first noticeable change in Nik Collection 4 is the total revamp of the look and feel of two of the products, Nik Viveza, dedicated to tone and colour local adjustments, and Nik Silver Efex, the solution for black-and-white conversion. Both plugins now feature a modern interface that is more beautiful and functional than ever. They also allow users to directly access all available presets, filter for type and favourites more seamlessly, and identify tools more efficiently through its newly redesigned palettes. That means photographers can concentrate on the essentials—expressing their creativity.
Next-level U Point™ technology
DxO first introduced U Point™ technology into its PhotoLab software. With the launch of Nik Collection 4, this system comes to all the tools in the suite. The Nik Collection has always had Control Points, but now, thanks to U Point™, they can be saved as personalized presets.
In the last version of Nik Collection, adding a control point introduced a menu onto the photograph. As part of the simplification of the interface, the menu has moved to the right-hand panel. Perhaps the most significant change is selecting specific areas of the control point by defining the brightness (luminance) or colour (chrominance) that will be affected by the control point. I have circled the new controls in red. You can see the area impacted by clicking on the mask button (circled in Green). When the mask is active, an area in white is affected by the sliders; black is left alone.
In last weeks blog, I looked at applying masks in Lightroom, this new technology in Nik Collection 4 gives even more power and control to make precise changes. The example below shows how I could make a very selective edit to the ribbon of the new St James Quarter in Edinburgh without changing the rest of the scene.
Combine the settings of several plugins with Meta Presets
The vest development is a new type of filter for Adobe Photoshop users: “Meta Presets.” Directly accessible from the Nik Selective Tool, the Nik Collection software launch tool for Adobe Photoshop, these presets are Adobe Photoshop actions that combine the filters and settings of several Nik Collection plugins into one. They make it possible to edit photos by applying a series of presets from several plugins in just one click. Nik Collection 4 comes with a series of 10 Meta Presets.
Better workflow with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop
In Nik Collection 3, a new feature added meant that the last preset used in one of the Nik plugins while using Adobe Photoshop could be re-applied. Nik Collection 4 has extended the same functionality into Adobe Lightroom. It will be a great boon to wedding photographers who have created a look and feel to be applied to several images but forgot to make a preset after editing the first image.
Another time-saver for portrait and wedding photographers is a new Smart Copy & Paste feature. Users can selectively re-apply the effect of a plugin to one or several images directly in Lightroom without launching the software suite’s interface.
Clearview to give black-and-white photos punch
Also added to Nik Collection 4 is a new slider that uses revolutionary ClearView technology. It works similarly to the Dehaze slider in Adobe Lightroom by removing haze, but it also enhances local contrast. We can eliminate haze with just one click and reveal more natural objects, edges, details, and transitions.
Use straight out of the box
The redesign of the Nik Collection 4 has made the interface even more intuitive for the user. However, if you don’t want to spend the time learning the power of the various sliders, then there are loads of presets as standard. Viveza features ten native presets designed by professional photographers. If you are a fan of ‘old-school’ black and white processing, there are now 39 realistic grains that accurately recreate the look of iconic films.
Price and availability
Nik Collection 4 (Windows and macOS) is now available for download on the DxO website https://shop.dxo.com/photo-software/dxo-nikcollection for a special price of £86.99 instead of £125, and £49.99 instead of £69 for the upgrade until June 30, 2021.
Photographers who already own Nik Collection 3 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 4 is available on the DxO website: https://nikcollection.dxo.com/download/.
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About the author
As well as running Edinburgh Photography Workshop, Rich Dyson is a professional photographer. His photographs are regularly used in newspapers such as The Times, Guardian and Daily Telegraph. He also had two solo exhibitions and featured in a members sponsored exhibition in the Scottish Parliament. You can see and buy his photography at richdysonphotography.com