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DxO Nik Assortment 4 assessment: Viveza and Silver Efex rebooted: Digital Pictures Evaluate

Yearly across the begin of June, French software program firm DxO releases a brand new model of Nik Assortment, a set of eight picture processing instruments that can be utilized both as standalone apps or plug-ins for third-party software program like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Basic. And 2021 is not any totally different, with Nik Assortment 4 now making its debut.

The Nik Assortment first appeared over a decade in the past, and a few of its part plug-ins will be traced again so far as late 1999, when the primary model of Nik Colour Efex was launched.

Initially developed by Nik Software program and later bought by Google, the Nik Assortment was acquired by DxO in late 2017. Since then, the French software program firm has been steadily including new options and a few its personal algorithms to the Nik Assortment toolbox.

Accessible instantly, Nik Assortment 4 is priced at $149 for brand new prospects, with upgrades out there to present prospects for $79. It can save you some cash if you happen to order quickly, although – by way of June 30, 2021, DxO is providing discounted pricing of $99.99 for brand new prospects, and $59.99 for upgrades.

Correcting the colour of an overexposed reflector lens utilizing grouped management factors in Viveza 3. The picture is cut up vertically for comparability in opposition to the unique, unedited picture.

What’s new and included in Nik Assortment 4?

With the introduction of Perspective Efex within the earlier launch, the Nik Assortment has a complete of eight plug-ins. Silver Efex Professional 3 and Viveza 3 are each up to date with modernized UI’s and a few new instruments; suite-wide, ‘U-Level’ controls are extra versatile (extra on this later) and ‘Meta presets’ within the selective instrument permit for a number of plug-ins to run sequentially with one click on.

In full, the listing of plug-ins is as follows:

  • Analog Efex Professional 2 – replicates the look of photographs shot utilizing analog movie cameras
  • Colour Efex Professional 4 – a variety of colour picture presets in structure, movie, nature, portrait, journey and marriage ceremony classes
  • Dfine 2 – reduces noise ranges in high-sensitivity and/or small-sensor photographs
  • HDR Efex Professional 2 – combines a number of identically-framed photographs for increased dynamic vary, or simulates an HDR look from a single picture
  • Sharpener Professional 3 – pre-sharpens uncooked knowledge and applies secondary sharpening instantly previous to output
  • Silver Efex Professional 3 (up to date) – converts photographs to black and white, with a wholesome number of presets, haze discount, colour filtering, movie simulation and extra
  • Viveza 3 (up to date) – instruments for adjusting colour, gentle and tonality, together with a small variety of presets
  • Perspective Efex – corrects for lens and perspective-based distortions, and permits for a tilt/shift-like miniature impact plus cropping

Final yr’s iteration of the suite, Nik Assortment 3, debuted a brand new Perspective Efex instrument, improved the Selective Device menu from which plug-ins will be launched, and added help for non-destructive multipage TIFF enhancing in Lightroom Basic. This yr, it is Silver Efex Professional and Viveza which have acquired many of the love, with main model increments and a brand-new consumer interface for each.

DxO has additionally made it potential for Lightroom Basic customers to repeat and paste Nik processing settings between photographs with out reopening a plug-in, or to rapidly recall the last-used settings if you happen to forgot to avoid wasting them as a preset and wish to tweak them additional. And a brand new Meta Presets operate has been added to the Selective Device which might mix the actions of a number of plug-ins in a single click on.

The Nik Assortment by DxO Selective Device serves as a launcher for all the particular person plug-ins within the suite. The Meta-presets part is a brand new addition which permits a number of plug-ins to run sequentially with a single click on.

A contemporary UI for some instruments, however others nonetheless really feel dated

The obvious change from Nik Assortment 3 is within the Silver Efex Professional 3 and Viveza 3 plug-ins, each of which sport an up to date UI. The change is critical for each apps, as neither had been visually tweaked in additional than a decade, however it’s most noticeable for Viveza, which till now could not even be resized to suit your display.

The Viveza and Silver Efex Professional plug-ins each sport shiny new, modernized consumer interfaces. The brand new Silver Efex Professional 3 and the prior model 2 can in contrast above.

Sadly, whereas these two plug-ins now look significantly better, some others nonetheless really feel very dated, and there are inconsistencies even among the many extra recently-updated plug-ins. Dfine 2 and Sharpener Professional 3 nonetheless have a geriatric, non-resizable UI like that simply changed in Viveza 3, whereas Perspective Efex’s numerous sliders, buttons and controls appear to have been lifted straight from DxO ViewPoint 3, and do not visually match any of the opposite plug-ins within the suite.

The Nik Assortment’s instruments are available a number of vintages with radically differing interfaces. The Dfine 2 (proven above) and Sharpener Professional 3 plug-ins have the oldest UI, and may’t even be resized to suit your display.

Analog Efex Professional 2, Colour Efex Professional 4 and HDR Efex Professional 2, in the meantime, sit someplace between the remainder, with a resizable UI however a noticeably totally different aesthetic to Silver Efex Professional, Viveza and particularly Perspective Efex. In consequence the general suite feels much less coherent than it must be, and is one thing we would prefer to see DxO tackle.

U-Level provides extra management with much less litter

DxO has additionally up to date the favored U-Level know-how underlying each Silver Efex Professional and Viveza, concurrently making it extra highly effective and easily-targeted, and but additionally much less visually cluttered.

Beforehand, U-Level’s array of management sliders appeared adjoining to the management level over your picture when it was chosen. Now, virtually all of them are as a substitute situated within the right-hand adjustment panel, and solely the management level space is adjusted instantly on the picture itself. (You’ll be able to both drag a slider or the outer periphery of the choice circle.)

Deciding on the sky with three U-Level management factors. Word that the management factors have been grouped collectively, the group renamed, and that each one however one of many management level’s sliders now sit within the right-hand management panel moderately than atop the picture as in older Nik Assortment variations.

Now you can additionally tune the luminance and chrominance values for every management level, making it simpler to regulate its protection space appropriately, and sure decreasing the variety of management factors you will want to make use of within the first place. Alternatively, you possibly can zero out each of those new sliders, and get a graduated radial filter round a given management level, as a substitute.

If you end up needing to make use of a big variety of management factors, now you can individually rename them in order that they’re simpler to maintain tabs on. You may as well nonetheless group them, simply as up to now. And helpfully, the management factors and their areas can now be saved in your presets.

Much more new options for Silver Efex and Viveza

In addition to their overhauled UI and U-Level tech, Silver Efex and Viveza have each acquired another new options. For Viveza, there are ten new preset appears to be like to select from, and you may as well save and share your personal presets. And Silver Efex now boasts each the haze-busting ClearView slider from DxO PhotoLab, in addition to the power so as to add one in every of 39 B&W movie grain varieties from DxO FilmPack.

Higher integration with Lightroom Basic

DxO has additionally improved Nik Assortment 4’s integration with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Basic. Now you can entry a brand new Copy and Apply Parameters dialog as an export preset, and from there you possibly can copy and paste settings for every plug-in between photographs while not having to reopen the plug-in itself.

And for the Dfine, Viveza, Silver Efex and Sharpener plug-ins, you may as well recall the final edits made after reopening the plug-in, making it easy to get better your settings if you wish to additional modify them or save them as a preset.

Nik Assortment now higher integrates with Lightroom Basic, permitting you to repeat settings between photographs and rapidly restore your last-used settings.

Meta-Presets mix plug-ins, however with limitations

Talking of presets, there’s yet one more change of observe on this regard, and it may be discovered within the floating Selective Device panel from which the person plug-ins will be launched. In addition to the eight present plug-ins, it now consists of an extra possibility: Meta-presets.

Because the title would counsel, these are presets which mix the outcomes from a number of plug-ins in a single click on, making them extraordinarily fast and simple to use. The draw back is that apart from a quick textual content description which comes up if you happen to click on the query mark icon subsequent to the Meta-preset title, you don’t have any method to preview outcomes of the preset. Nor are you able to alter it, or make your personal presets to match your workflow.

Preview efficiency stays a weak spot

In most different respects, Nik Assortment 4 is much like the earlier model. The Analog Efex, Colour Efex, HDR Efex and Perspective Efex plug-ins are all functionally similar to their predecessors.

A handful of Nik Assortment 4’s Meta-presets, clockwise from prime left: Adoxical, Dry Plate, False-color Infrared and Expired Movie.

And that is true of efficiency, too. Like its predecessor, Nik Assortment 4’s previews are likely to lag behind your changes by an excellent second or so. We might prefer to see DxO work on that in a future launch, as not solely does better efficiency imply much less time spent enhancing, it additionally helps to make it simpler and extra intuitive to fine-tune the changes you are making.

Closing ideas

What we like What we do not
  • Up to date UI in Silver Efex and Viveza convey them to a contemporary normal
  • Extremely big selection of potential changes and tons of presets
  • Improved Lightroom integration is at all times good to see
  • Inconsistent consumer interface among the many separate plug-ins
  • Not essentially the most responsive expertise
  • No choice to buy particular person plug-ins

The Nik Assortment has lengthy been a fan favourite that may ship spectacular outcomes, and never simply within the arms of skilled photographers, however due to a wide array of presets, much less skilled ones as properly. It nonetheless suffers from a reasonably inconsistent UI that varies broadly from app to app, however the person apps themselves are moderately intuitive to make use of, if maybe not fairly as quick as we would like.

That stated, it is encouraging to be getting common yearly updates from DxO, and we’re hopeful that additional UI and efficiency enhancements are on the best way.

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