Apr 14, 2016

Intro to Nik Filters in Photoshop (Free Download)

Download Nik Collection for Free

Click Here to Download the Nik Filter Collection from Google. Recently Google bought Nik software and decided to release all of their filters for free! In today’s episode, we go through each of the filters and discuss what we like and point out key features of the collection.

Analog Efex Pro
Explore the look and feel of classic cameras, films, and lenses.

Silver Efex Pro
Master the art of black-and-white photography with darkroom-inspired controls.

HDR Efex Pro
From natural to artistic, explore the full potential of HDR photography.

Improve your images with noise reduction tailored to your camera.

Color Efex Pro
A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects.

Selectively adjust the color and tonality of your images without complicated masks or selections.

Sharpener Pro
Bring out hidden details consistently with the professional’s choice for image sharpening.


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  • user image

    Awesome tool! Thank you so much for sharing. You really do have the best tutorials on the web, you get to the point and the quality is great! Maybe an idea for a future episode would be taking some of the cool film filters on NIK and showing us how to create somethng similar for real in photoshop or lightroom. It kind of goes back to the give a man a fish/teach a man to fish saying.

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    SoBe Carlos

    I love these filters enough to have paid for them back when they were not free. I use Hasselblad and Leaf medium format backs and still find Dfine a very useful plug in; it is not just for cheap cameras. The flexibility allowed by these filters is the best part. I do find that the default menu is more useful, if not only because for best effect and for less artefact, they should be applied in the order listed. The HDR effect had always been better than Photoshop’s HDR; however, I have not used Lightroom’s HDR yet.

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    SoBe Carlos

    PS., the original Nik developers were intimately involved in developing Nikon’s raw editor. So, if you are familiar with Nikon’s raw editing software (the paid version), the Nik filters will be hauntingly familiar.

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      SoBe Carlos – many years ago I enjoyed using Nik’s Nikon software because of the control-points, but after the release of Viveza I abandoned Capture NX and used the plug-in in Photoshop. However, Lightroom has improved, but I still enjoy Viveza (as well as DFine and Silver Efex).

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    Paula S.

    Thanks for this review. I downloaded these a couple of weeks back but hadn’t taken any time to install or explore them. I would classify myself as a slightly above beginner level PS user and can see where some of these could be helpful to those of us who are not versed enough to easily create similar effects in PS.

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    Robert J. Undi

    I’ve had the filters for years and even though I can achieve similar results in Photoshop I find Viveza produces better results quicker with much less tweeking… It’s true you can’t go back and readjust like I can in Photoshop… But Viveza seems to get it spot on right off the bat… I even created a folder stack of curves, hue and saturation, color balance, contrast etc and tried to achieve the same results… And it was close but Viveza won out… I am splitting hairs here because on my laptop you couldn’t see any differance… (My main system is a calabrated 16bit monitor looking at Hasselblad true 16 bit images and yes 35mm images are 3 billion colors short.. But I always say you can’t fix what you can’t see)

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    I´ve being a Niksoftware user for many years now. I´ve tried all the ‘Nik’ filters. They are great, especially Color Efex, DFine and Silver Efex. I use them always, more or less depending on the image. Super collection. A must to have.

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    Love you and the Phlearn site. I learn so much, get to try new things and you explain things so I get it. Thank You

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    Alejo Planchart

    I just started using it a while back and only the Silver effex, which I find very useful. I agree that you have some of the best tutorial on the web. I have one question about NIK:
    I first use Lr on my photos and only go to Ps in special ocassions. What should be the moment to include NIK, from Lr and then go to Ps if needed or go to Ps directly and work there?

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    francis gram

    open file as a smart object and the nik adjustments are kept as non destructive adjustment files that can be edited further. Yes photoshop/lightroom/bridge can do much of the nik offerings but nik is much faster as it uses previews

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    Chris Bausch

    I love the silver efx pro. I used to work in a darkroom printing for art photographers and this is a great software for black and white shooters. Click on the red filter great clouds dark sky, just like shooting film with a red filter. The sharpener pro is great too. All the filters are great, why it’s free, I don’t know. Vivesa is a beautiful tool. click on a point in the photo and you can adjust all of the similar colors, it blends beautifully with the outside handles.

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    I’m having trouble installing these filters! The download was successful but the installation just hangs and won’t progress even after waiting for over half an hour! Vista is my operating system and I’m using Photoshop CS6. If anyone can offer assistance as to how to get these filters to install, I would be very grateful.

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    Christopher Moriarty

    I love the news about Nik, and I appreciate the tutorial, but rewatch your episode from the perspective of someone who doesn’t own/use lightroom things are just sort of brushed off because you do use it.

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    Kevin Wulff

    I use Vivesa on everything I shoot with the exception of portraits. I always add structure (20 to 30%) to the entire photo. Structure adds alot of detail to the image that I can’t seem to get in photoshop. Dfine is what I finish my photos with to remove any grain and it works without dulling the sharpness. I shoot with a Nikon D7100 and anything more than an ISO of 300 has grain, though Nikon will tell you different.

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    Patrick Waugh

    Thanks Aaron. Always nice to have more power at your finger tips. Love the bloopers at the end. LOL

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    I don’t have Lightroom, only PS CS6. Nik has some fun features and they seem much easier than PS. Thanks Aaron for the overview. I find your tutorials very helpful.

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    Bill Cole

    I’ve been using Nik (most commonly Silver Efex) for a while. Love the ease of use.

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    I have downloaded the Nik collection last week and started to learn it. Your short tour helped me shortening my study of it. Thanks!:)

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    I love Silver Efex. Because of this plugin I have as a photographer to fall in love with black and white images that I shoot. As you said, it’s a nice quick way to do a photo. On a side note though. Not digging the recent look Aaron lol. You look like a cartel boss?

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    Adam Butler

    I’ve been using these filters for a while – I particularly love the Colour Efex filters and find myself tweaking almost every image with the Tonal Contrast or Pro Contrast filters which are perhals the most useful. But above all, I adore the Silver Efex filter, it really helps to replicate that fabulously rich tonal range and textured black and white film look. Thanks for your overview Aaron, it’s very informative, but I would suggest everyone also to check out Nik’s Youtube channel for some super tutorials over there if you are at all interested, you will be blown away at just what these filters can do.

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    Ken Stewart

    Thanks as always, for your great tutorials Aaron. Appreciate your insights and expertise.
    Downloaded Nik and using Silver FX Pro for some live music performance shots. Works quite well and improves the look for higher iso frames.
    Suspect I’ll play with Analog Efx Pro next. Looks cool.
    Cheers and thx. from the great white north (Vancouver)

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    Hi! I’ve had the Nik collection since it was just NIK, and started using it with Elements. Now, I mostly use Lightroom, Photoshop, and On 1. The thing I like about this collection is that it gives me some options. If I try something in LR or PS, and I’m thinking “this isn’t quite what I want”, I can go to Nik for some additional ideas. Thanks for the refresher tutorial, Aaron.

    By the way, God bless you! on that sneeze at the end!

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    Harry Van Beek

    Hi Aaron,
    This is my first attemd with a nickel filter. thanks for the tip

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    phlearn tutorials are actually helps me to develop my Photoshop knowledge and Aaron’s teaching is perfect and it’s really interesting

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    Matt H.

    Thanks for posting this video. Honestly though, I think you kind of breezed over some of NIK’s best attributes. To be fair, they’re buried in a lot of extraneous and unnecessary clutter. The detail extractor tool is amazing at pulling out texture and detail where it was literally invisible. And the HDR tool is one of the best out there in terms of it’s robust interface and it’s ease of use. Lightroom’s feature set in terms of tonal compression and blending the different layers just doesn’t compare. I do agree that the Analog tool is pretty awesome. I like the light leaks feature.

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    Tina Steiner

    Great quick tutorial…I love this nik collection and I got it when it became free, so I love it even more. You showed me a few things in the analog that I didn’t realize, so thank you. Would love to see you integrate it more.

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      Tina Steiner

      forgot to add my photo..sorry….one of my first attempts…

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    Robert Nurse

    I love your tutorials, great work Aaron. I have used the Nik silver fox Pro and love the ease of getting a great looking shot quick and painless.