The Google Nik collection of photographic filters is now free! Yes, that’s right, free. The suite of seven plug-ins for both Photoshop and Lightroom was previously priced at $149 but on 24 March 2016, Google took the decision to offer the entire suite free of charge.
The suite of plug-ins was originally developed by Nik Software, a German company, and was bought by Google several years ago. Since its launch, the Google Nik collection has been a mainstay in the photography world. Many photographers, of all levels, own and regularly use the plug-ins as part of their regular workflow. All of my black and white images are created using Silver Efex Pro and I regularly use some of the filters included with Color Efex Pro. The full list of plug-ins is:
- Analog Efex Pro;
- Color Efex Pro;
- Silver Efex Pro;
- HDR Efex Pro;
- Sharpener Pro;
For many years, I have considered these plug-ins to be the best available, even when they were originally priced at $495 for the complete collection. Now, I know there are many of other plug-ins available, including:
You can see that some of these plug-ins are still very expensive, although they do seem to be dropping their prices, maybe in reaction to this announcement by Google.
This move to make the Google Nik collection free to all can only mean two things, in my opinion; Google are either going to drop the plug-ins completely or they are going to launch a completely new version. Either way, I am certain that Google will no longer be supporting the Google Nik collection and we will have to wait and see what happens to the price of the other plug-ins.
The Google Nik collection has been my go-to set of plug-ins for many years and I am saddened to see that Google may well be ditching support for them. There are other alternatives available which I, and many other photographers, will have to switch over to. All this means more expense and another learning curve to tackle.
What do you think? Do you use the Google Nik collection? Now that they are free, will you be downloading them? Please let us know.