NIK Software Plug-ins

If you work in Aperture, Lightroom or Photoshop, you owe it to yourself to check out the excellent plug-ins from NiK Software. They will simplify your workflow and amaze you with the results for black & white and color processing, pre and post -production sharpening, etc. - by David R. Beebe
Right before our Yosemite trip, Outdoor Photographer magazine ran an all black and white issue. This was fantastic timing as I started with black and white photography 40 years ago and read everything I could find on Ansel Adams and his Zone V System. I was inspired to try black and white photography again at this iconic destination. The plug-in for Aperture/Lightroom/Photoshop, Silver Efex Pro 2, was featured in the article and I downloaded the 15 day, fully functional free trial upon our return. I started within Aperture and converted a Canon Raw landscape from Yosemite Valley into the best black and white image I could. I then started with the same master image and used the niksoftware plug-in. Wow! Now the difference was subtle in many cases but as I worked with more and more photos, it was obvious that I could consistently obtain better results with the plug-in and in less time. Check out the Silver folder of photos in our Yosemite 2011 set.

I figured that if that plug-in was so fantastic, the other plug-ins in their workflow would be as good. I was not disappointed. Their u-point technology is an extremely easy way to create a mask layer and apply specific modifications to a selected control point. I went back to earlier Canon Raw master images that I had already tweaked within Aperture to my complete satisfaction and easily improved upon them. Using the plug-ins within Aperture is easy enough however, you need to edit with each plug-in separately and remember the recommended workflow sequence. If you order the version that works for Photoshop, each plug-in is presented in a menu and you can switch between them before returning control to Photoshop. The big advantage for the Photoshop set is that the changes are done as layers. For Aperture, the changes are not modifiable but you can always return to the master and start over if need be.

There are lots of high quality training videos posted at the website so check them out and take advantage of the 15 day free trial. The good news is that while an individual plug-in can be pricey, the entire collection is available for the price of 2-3 plug-ins. I am licensing my demo versions and think you will want to as well. Just so you know, I am in no way associated with NIK Software and I am not compensated for this review.