Since DxO acquired the Nik Collection from Google it has updated the software to work better with current operating systems, added new presets and film simulations and now – in by far the biggest update yet – added a new plug-in, a new non-destructive workflow and a new way of working with the Nik Collection within Photoshop.
The new plug-in is Perspective Efex, and it has a lot in common with the DxO ViewPoint add-on for DxO PhotoLab. It is designed to correct perspective issues such as converging verticals, using either automatic adjustments or manual controls. It can also create ‘miniature’ effects using controllable blurring to simulate the look of tilt shift lenses. Other programs have similar tools, but Perspective Efex leverages DxO’s optical know-how to add a correction you won’t see elsewhere – volumetric, or ‘shape’ distortion correction. This is where objects near the edge of pictures taken with wideangle lenses take on an unnaturally stretched shape.
DxO’s new non-destructive workflow is a very clever solution to a perennial plug-in problem – how to make your adjustments ‘non-destructive’ so that you can go back later and change your mind about the settings.
Previously, this was possible only in Photoshop, by converting images into Smart Objects first. But now it’s possible to send an image to a Nik Collection plug-in from Lightroom and create an image you can re-edit later in the same plug-in. In fact, this is now possible with any program that can use the Nik Collection as either plug-ins or external editors.
It’s been achieved using the ‘multipage’ TIFF format. Essentially, this file format keeps an unedited version of the picture, an edited version, and the processing instructions used to create it. These multipage TIFFs are going too be pretty big, but they open up new workflow possibilities that weren’t there before – and you can also use regular JPEGs or TIFFs if the old ‘destructive’ workflow was working fine for you.
The third change is to the Nik Selective Tool panel in Photoshop. You may have decided to hide this in the past since the Nik filters can also be accessed from the Filters menu in the usual way. However, the panel has some new tricks that might change your mind. We’re told it’s now possible to display your favorite presets directly in the panel, and to apply ‘last edits’ without leaving the Photoshop window – the effects are applied without launching the Nik plug-in windows.
DxO Nik Collection 3 pricing and availability
The DxO Nik Collection 3 is available for download right now. It’s on offer until June 30 at a special launch price of special launch price of £86.99 instead of £125 (US prices TBC), and £49.99 instead of £69 for the upgrade, until June 30, 2020.
Interestingly, it is no longer being sold with DxO PhotoLab Essentials included. That’s probably a smart move because this was a confusing upgrade/sidegrade route for existing DxO customers. DxO is releasing a DxO PhotoLab 3.3 version , however, to accommodate the new Nik Collection 3 tools and options.
While there are still close ties between DxO PhotoLab and the DxO Nik Collection, it’s clear that DxO sees the Nik Collection audience as much broader, including Photoshop users Lightroom users and also those with any software that can access external applications.