Nik Software Complete Collection - Professional Photographic Tools for Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture
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- Color Efex Pro 4.0
- Dfine 2.0 & Silver Efex Pro 2.0
- Viveza 2 & Sharpener Pro 3.0
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The Complete Collection includes all of Nik Software's award-winning plug-in software titles for Adobe Photoshop and Apple Aperture, delivering solutions for every step of the photographic workflow with powerful, easy-to-use image enhancement tools. Includes:
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While it may seem to be a pain to have to update the software you just bought, you should always look for updates to any software you install.
I am very happy with the software and the great price.
This software was purchased through Amazon and shipped by Adorama. It arrived ahead of schedule and in perfect shapel
I've written separate reviews of Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro - check those to get an idea of what I think of the those programs' features. The good news is that, though very buggy in their early incarnations, are now more robust and stable. They do provide useful and pleasing effects, and unlike many plugins or presets, do a professional job in enhancing your images. I think that's why many people (especially those who don't know PS or LR well) really like the programs. I don't use Viveza or Sharpen at all. Define works well about 50-50 for me and was happy when LR3 came out with top notch noise removal.
And therein lies the problem: this is a program that was created in the era of Photoshop but is now fastly becoming redundant with the advent of Lightroom. Noise and sharpening in LR is not only superior and faster - but it is also non destructive and gives better masking. What takes a good 20 minutes to do a very basic and simple workflow in the Nik suite - only takes 1-2 minutes in Lightroom. Nik software was fine several years ago, in the days when you had to spend a lot of time in Photoshop anyway, so you might as well use a plugin to make your images pretty. But especially in the last two years, workflow time can go from 6-7 hours to under an hour by using Lightroom controls only (even using Nik for LR is time consuming). And so my Nik products, despite my paying a premium for them (ouch), don't get used much except for an occasional 'special treatment' image. Even B&Ws, for me, are coming out looking much better in LR thanks to the ability to manipulate 8 channels in LR (though I love the 'Structure' feature in SilverEfex Pro, it's not worth the extra 10 minutes or more per picture to use it and LR's clarity brush does nearly the same job).
What Nik's programs do are good (with the exception of Define, which is only 50-50 useful for me when I used it before LR 3). But they are also incredibly expensive. When you get a suite of 5 programs, you pay a large upgrade fee for EACH PROGRAM - making the cumulative upgrades cost more than the full price of the suite - which is insane. It's like a Ponzi scheme - you'll end up paying nearly 2-3x the original purchase price of the program in just a couple of years in order to upgrade and stay current. That, more than any other reason, is why you don't want to buy the suite. I've stopped upgrading as a result - I just don't feel Nik respects its customers at all.
Which leads to my final thoughts: over the years I've had to deal with their customer service several times. And they've been very rude or unresponsive each time. An example was a recent request for the 'special' upgrade price on SilverEfex 2 that their website wouldn't give me in the cart (the cart would only give me the full 'non upgrade' version and not the clearly advertised upgrade price). I had to email 3 times (and I was purchasing their products, you'd think they'd want my money), and on the third time they gave me a discount code and a note written very rudely that they were doing me a huge favor with the discount code. The irony? The code still didn't give me the full upgrade price discount and so I would have had to pay full nearly the full new price and not the upgrade special ($40 extra with their 'discount code') for suite owners.
So in all, with Lightroom getting better and better, I've come to realize that for me, it was better to spend my money learning how to use LR wisely ($30 at Lynda.com is a STEAL!) rather than continuing to purchase Nik products. I've shaved hours and hours off my workflow and can actually enjoy time with my family again. Nor have I used Viveza or sharpening - it's far too time consuming to bring up each program and spend an hour on just one image (and if you do spend that much time on an image, it should be from you knowing Photoshop and layers to bring out an image's best points anyway).
The online training that NIK provides it great too. Well worth the time.
I'm giving this purchase 3 stars, not because the software itself wasn't great, it is because the condition the box was in when I recieved it, and the Bull crap that I was told when I questioned the person that I bought it from through Amazon. The discription on Amazon and through the seller was that the software was Brand New. However, when I recieved the Nik software Box it had clearly been openned and used because the sealed tape was un-done and the envelope that the disc was in had been tampered with. When I contacted the seller with my concerns about the condition in which the software come, their response was "We simply opened the box to ensure that the contents were enclosed and in decent shape for resale. Everything is fine to load." What company does that? I feel that it had been used, then was resold as New.
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