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Author Topic: Nik plug-ins for Lightroom.  (Read 6880 times)
Rhossydd
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« on: March 30, 2013, 07:34:27 AM »
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Lots of people seem to like Nik plug-ins, so as the price has just dropped I thought I'd try them out, but I have been totally under whelmed.

I've used Snapseed on Android and like the U point style of applying image corrections, but it seems that's only possible with a rendered image out of LR.
Once I've had to render the image and go into Photoshop the advantage of U points seems less compelling as I've the full range of normal editing options available anyway. So that seems to negate most advantages of Viveza and ColorFlex.

SilverEfex doesn't really seem to have many advantages over the B&W options in LR, but again it needs the image rendering, so there seems no reason to use that. Define and ProSharpener don't seem to offer much more than LR's existing options either.

HDRflex Pro is the only plug-in that works directly in LR and offers anything new.
I'm not interested in the eye searing surreal HDR nonsense, but do use the Enfuse plug-in to blend multiple exposures to increase DR in a natural looking way.
What I've found is that the Nik plug-in seems very variable in the quality of it's output. A few sets have blended beautifully and it's ghost removal options can be a real help. However quite often there are curious artefacts left that spoil the image. Despite a lot of experimentation it also seems to always have a 'crunchy' look to the blends that's impossible to loose. A bit like too much clarity and contrast in LR. The HDR method settings just seem too coarse to get a really smooth look to the output.
A bizarre omission is that the plug-in isn't even capable of generating a true 32bit image you can save.

Overall I can't see any compelling reason to buy the package to use in LR. LR4's existing capabilities seem to cover almost everything and keep it all within a standard convenient workflow.
Have I missed something fundamental here ? or is this just a package that's past it's usefulness now ?
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IWC Doppel
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« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2013, 08:17:40 AM »
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I was thinking of doing the same and only use LR for processing, I thought the plug in would work effectively ?
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2013, 09:26:25 AM »
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... or is this just a package that's past it's usefulness now ?

That would explain the fire sale pricing and giving it away.
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Simon Garrett
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« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2013, 09:30:09 AM »
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Lots of people seem to like Nik plug-ins, so as the price has just dropped I thought I'd try them out, but I have been totally under whelmed.
I wouldn't describe myself as overwhelmed, just slightly whelmed ( Grin Grin ).

At the previous price the Nik stuff was just way, way outside consideration for me, but at $149 it was on the margins, and I've bought it. 

The reason I bought it: I want to experiment more with colour effects of various sorts, and I thought having spent money on Color Efex Pro would motivate me to do it! 

On a quick couple of tests, Dfine is no better than LR's noise reduction, HDR Efex Pro is slightly easier (for me) to get useful results than CS5, Viveza might be useful as I quite like the control points (having used them in Nikon Capture NX2), and find they can sometimes be a quicker alternative to LR's local adjustment brush.  I've not tried Sharpener or Silver Efex. 

Not a must-have for me, marginal at $149, but I think I'll be trying Color Efex on quite a few images where I want a bit of drama and impact. 

If I could rewrite history, I'd have had Adobe buy Nik (rather than Google buying them) and build the Nik plugins into LR, so all the functions could be implemented within LR in the usual non-destructive way. 
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David Hufford
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2013, 09:37:51 AM »
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I pretty much agree. Except for HDR, the rest I can do as well or better and certainly faster in Lightroom. I had thought of buying Silver Efex a year ago or so, but I didn't really see anything I could do with it that can't be done in LR, especially at its previous price. Well, ok, frames. I have DxO film Pack if I need a faux film effect. $150 for something with a very uncertain future and not much benefit to me? I am less than whelmed too, but I'll play with the trial and see if there is something that I am missing.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2013, 09:50:03 AM »
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If I could rewrite history, I'd have had Adobe buy Nik (rather than Google buying them) and build the Nik plugins into LR,
Agreed. I wonder how far reaching Nik/Google's patents are on the U point idea ?
Similar functionality could be achieved in LR by just adding the HSL panel's options to the adjustment brush's options (as has been asked for).

Watching some of the tutorials I get the impression that the U point idea is fine until you need to get really refined edits, then it becomes so complicated with multiple points you might as well have just used the existing tools in PS anyway.
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Glenn NK
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« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2013, 11:12:43 AM »
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I pretty much agree. Except for HDR, the rest I can do as well or better and certainly faster in Lightroom. I had thought of buying Silver Efex a year ago or so, but I didn't really see anything I could do with it that can't be done in LR, especially at its previous price. Well, ok, frames. I have DxO film Pack if I need a faux film effect. $150 for something with a very uncertain future and not much benefit to me? I am less than whelmed too, but I'll play with the trial and see if there is something that I am missing.

Oh boy, this is starting to sound familiar.

I too jumped in and bought the package (albeit with the discount), and was keenly anxious to create wonders on my images (perhaps they're no D good in the first place).

So far (admittedly I'm much more familiar with LR), I'm struggling with NIK, and hopefully there will be some breakthroughs.

What I'm really puzzled by is why Google purchased NIK in the first place.  Was it a misguided blunder by Google?   Is Google actually going to be able to use NIK?  Will they be interested/able to take NIK to the next step?

Surely the purchase of NIK by Google was not a philanthropic move.  Does anyone have some better insights into the whole affair?

Glenn
« Last Edit: March 31, 2013, 12:02:59 PM by Glenn NK » Logged

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John Cothron
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« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 11:34:55 AM »
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I jumped on the deal as well.  The only thing I was really interested in was Silver Efex however.  I played with Viveza a little bit and it's okay, but I do like Silver Efex better minus the need to render the image beforehand.  I open it as a smart object to preserve some ability for future changes.  I think basically the same effect could be achieved in Lr, but I do think the Upoint selection process is a little faster.
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 12:37:29 PM »
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The news about this included a note that if you had bought NIK software products within the last 5 years then one would be eligible to get a new license. I can't find anywhere how to get such a license. I bought the NIK bundle for Lightroom about 2 years ago.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2013, 01:37:03 PM »
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... I can't find anywhere how to get such a license...

I got an email from them.
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David Eckels
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« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2013, 02:49:30 PM »
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The news about this included a note that if you had bought NIK software products within the last 5 years then one would be eligible to get a new license. I can't find anywhere how to get such a license. I bought the NIK bundle for Lightroom about 2 years ago.
Send an email to customer service. They'll reply within a day. You'll need some of your version and key numbers, but you should be "recognizable" through your email.
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2013, 03:03:40 AM »
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This was the first I did via the customer contact form but have received no reply.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2013, 04:21:21 AM »
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In your spam folder? That's where mine was on my Mac.
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Hans Kruse
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« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2013, 04:41:10 AM »
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No, I always check my spam folder. One thing I dislike about gmail is that I cannot turn the spam filter off. I sent a new e-mail via their contact form as I don't have a direct e-mail address for their customer service.
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stamper
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« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2013, 04:42:23 AM »
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I had Viveza before I bought LR and very much prefer it to using the Adjustment brush in LR. The point is you can use it on a layer and it is more flexible than LR. I suspect Adobe tried to copy some of Viveza's functionality but weren't too successful. It is imo the one that worth buying.  Smiley
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2013, 04:57:13 AM »
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The point is you can use it on a layer
Which means you have to come out of LR
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it is more flexible than LR
It's different certainly, but I don't think it offers anything more in flexibility.
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stamper
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« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2013, 05:20:46 AM »
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For years everyone was happily using PS and editing Tiffs to their heart's content and then came along ACR/ LR which is a good thing. They brought many benefits which I use and understand. Now it seems to some that they cannot bear to leave ACR/LR and do some work in PS anymore. There are many things that PS can do that ACR/LR can't do and layers is one that is still useful. The usual retort is you are working on a rendered version of the raw in PS. Some don't understand you are doing that in ACR/LR. Again the retort is it is non destructive in ACR/LR. If you use smart objects in PS it is non destructive. To sum up there seems to be an elitist attitude attached to ACR/LR with regards to them and PS and before anyone states it I reiterate that I know the benefits of ACR/LR. Rant over. I am now going to enjoy the rest of Easter Sunday, despite being an atheist. Smiley
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donbga
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« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2013, 10:24:24 AM »
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For years everyone was happily using PS and editing Tiffs to their heart's content and then came along ACR/ LR which is a good thing. They brought many benefits which I use and understand. Now it seems to some that they cannot bear to leave ACR/LR and do some work in PS anymore. There are many things that PS can do that ACR/LR can't do and layers is one that is still useful. The usual retort is you are working on a rendered version of the raw in PS. Some don't understand you are doing that in ACR/LR. Again the retort is it is non destructive in ACR/LR. If you use smart objects in PS it is non destructive. To sum up there seems to be an elitist attitude attached to ACR/LR with regards to them and PS and before anyone states it I reiterate that I know the benefits of ACR/LR. Rant over. I am now going to enjoy the rest of Easter Sunday, despite being an atheist. Smiley

I agree. I use LR extensively but don't hesitate to edit in PS. In fact I almost always go to PS for images that call for the LR adjustment brush since it isn't a great tool, IMO.

But this thread is about Nik plugins. I downloaded the suite and I'm very happy with them. Once you understand their strengths and weaknesses and learn how to use them they can work well. But they aren't necessarily a replacement for standard LR features, particularly for B&W conversions. Also ones personal style of photography will probably dictate what plugin (if any) you may use.

I purchased Enfuse for LR and wasn't over whelmed with the capability for blending images, I've found Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 and Photomatix 4 to be more effective in my hands. Most of the time I really don't want to keep the 32 bit HDR image file since it's easy to recreate and not often reused later.

Don Bryant
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Garnick
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« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2013, 11:14:10 AM »
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I originally posted this in the "Digital Image Processing" section, but thought I'd drop it here as well, so please forgive me if you've already read this elsewhere.  If any or all of you kind folks think I am indeed being paranoid, please don't be shy, I can take it.  I'm simply looking for opinions and perhaps some good reasons not to be concerned about what may be lurking in the dark.  

"This may sound like a bit of paranoia on my part, but I am somewhat skeptical of the intent and/or possible ramifications of this offer from Google.  I usually read all of the terms of use etc included with the installation of any software package.  I have indeed downloaded the "free" NIK/Google collection, having been a registered user for many years.  However, after reading the "Terms of Service" I have some minor reservations about the install.  Google refers to this software as a "Service" and there are several items in the "Terms" that I find questionable and perhaps troublesome.  Therefore, I'm going to refrain from installing until I've had more time to completely digest the information in the "Terms of Service".  One of the sentences related to downloadable software is as follows - "You may not copy, modify, distribute, sell, or lease any part of our Services or included software, nor may you reverse engineer or attempt to extract the source code of that software, unless laws prohibit those restrictions or you have our written permission".  I have no issue with most of that statement, except for the reference to "copying".  Generally the first thing I do after downloading any software is to make several backups of the installation package.  In this case, three backups on three separate drives, plus a DVD.  I take NO chances on losing downloaded software.  My concern is how Google would know if I have copied the install package of the NIK/Google Collection.  In my opinion that information can only be made available to Google through a thorough scan of my computer, and that is a very disturbing possibility to consider.  And of course there's also the fact that at any time Google can make the "Service"(software) unusable on any computer, according to the "Terms".  I may be way out in left field on this, but I'll exercise caution at this point and keep an eye on this thread until I'm satisfied that no one else harbors such concerns.

Gary

P.S. One of my favourite quips - "Just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean someone isn't out to get me"
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donbga
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« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2013, 12:21:04 PM »
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I may be way out in left field on this,

IMO, you are.

Don Bryant
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