It’s interesting to speculate why, but yesterday Google announced “Today we’re making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free“:

Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.

Google may not have made significant improvements to the Nik desktop apps since they acquired them, but I don’t see any downside here. I’ve always been a fan of Silver Efex Pro, and only really questioned its price. Then Silver Efex 2 came out and Nik halved the price, so that was when I bought, and Google followed up their acquisition by giving existing users the entire suite. Now they are giving it away.

The are two aspects of Silver Efex that I particularly appreciate:

  • Its B&W output is great
    • I don’t think SFX produces better image quality than Lr, but….
    • A different tool makes you make different creative decisions and sometimes you’ll prefer the result from SFX over Lr, and vice versa.
  • It’s a really well-designed application
    • One thing it does get wrong is that setting the Color Filter isn’t obviously the first thing you do. I’d recommend you always visit this panel first.
    • Learn how to use control points both to adjust specific areas and to place extra control points to protect nearby areas.
    • If you also have Photoshop, the best workflow is Lr > PS as a Smart Object -> SFX. This “smart filter” method allows you to revisit and fine tune your SFX work afterwards by double clicking the smart filter – all its adjustments remain editable.

Now it’s free, I can’t see any good reasons why you wouldn’t get it. Can you?


My other posts on Silver Efex Pro


What story are you telling? The Color Filter is like using lens filters with black and white film and makes a massive impact on the picture’s appearance and your greyscale composition.