DxO has announced updates to both PhotoLab and its recently-acquired Nik Collection software. These products are likely to prove key to the company’s future as it restructures its financial activities around its software portfolio.
Nik Collection 2018
DxO acquired the Nik Collection from Google late last year and its software engineers have spent the last seven months analysing and optimising the code to be compatible with the latest 64-bit Mac and PC operating systems, and the latest versions of Adobe applications Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC 2018 and Photoshop Elements 2017/2018.
The Nik Collection has had a pretty torrid history. Originally developed by Nik Software, it was bought by Google in 2012 and initially sold as a commercial product for $150. Apart from the addition of the Analog Efex Pro plug-in, Google left the suite largely unaltered and undeveloped and eventually made it a free download before announcing it had ceased development.
The Nik Collection consists of seven different plugins:
- Analog Efex Pro is an analog film simulation tool that mimics old film types, photo borders, dust and scratches, double exposure, lens and motion blur and much more.
- Color Efex Pro is a large collection of photo filters which can be used individually or collectively in ‘Recipes’ that can be saved and re-used as single-click presets.
- Dfine is a noise reduction tool designed not for creative image effects but simply to fix the technical problem of image noise.
- HDR Efex Pro is an HDR tool that can merge bracketed exposures or tone map single images, then apply a range of different HDR effects.
- Sharpener Pro is a sharpening tool designed both for ‘creative sharpening’ to overcome image softness and ‘output sharpening’ to optimise images for specific output devices.
- Silver Efex Pro is a black and white tool that simulates the look of old films and darkroom processes, and perhaps the best tool of its kind.
- Viveza is a plug-in designed solely for local adjustments using Nik Software’s U Point selection and adjustment technology – though this is also present in other plug-ins.
It was a relief to many that DxO announced late in 2017 that it had acquired the Nik Collection, which remains and extremely powerful and valued plug-in suite despite its age. Having updated the suite to work with modern systems and software, DxO has now made it a paid-for, commercial product again, though at pretty low price, given its scope and power.
The Google Nik Collection is available at a reduced price of $49.99/£39.99/€49.99 until July 1st 2018, when it will go to its regular price of $69/£59/€69 until July 1st, 2018.
This update is comparatively minor and adds in a number of local adjustment features DxO was unable to get ready in time for the original PhotoLab release.
These include new Hue (HSL) and Selective Tone settings, and redesigned ‘equaliser’ sliders alongside each local adjustment. These are now split into Light, Colour and Detail tabs. DxO has also added the ability to display a greyscale mask for U point adjustments using a simple keyboard shortcut.
Seven new cameras will be supported by this new release too:
- Sony A7 III
- Panasonic Lumix G9
- Panasonic Lumix TZ90
- Panasonic Lumix G9
- Canon EOS 2000D
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Apple iPhone X
DxO PhotoLab is available in both Essential and Elite editions costing $129/£99/€129 and $199/£159/€199 respectively. It’s a free update for existing PhotoLab owners, and new users can download a 30-day trial version. PhotoLab 1.2 also integrates with DxO’s ViewPoint perspective control software and FilmPack analog film simulation tools, sold separately.