Tuesday, November 12, 2013

REVIEW: Analog Efex Pro (Nik Collection by Google)

A familiar Nik interface will please current collection owners
A familiar Nik interface will please current collection owners

Like many people, I had pretty much written off the Nik Collection by Google as being dead and gone. I didn’t expect any updates, innovation or really anything moving forward and I was very sad.

Just when all hope was lost, the unthinkable happened – an all new product, Analog Efex Pro, gets released much to the surprise of the entire community (and even former Nik employees)!!! Not only that, it’s a pretty darn cool product to boot! What’s even more insane, is that it is FREE for anyone who already owns the Nik Collection by Google, so if you don’t have it then go get it now!

User Interface Thoughts

image
The on-image placement control replaces the beloved U-Point for selected filters only

If you ask anyone why the love the Nik collection, the first word that comes out of their mouth is U-Point controls. These brilliantly designed controls (which are basically intelligent masks) changed the lives of photographers and the world of photo editing. As a result, when I use any Nik product the first thing I do is see what I can do with the U-Point controls. Shockingly in this product, there are NO U-Point controls!!!!

While I can think of great things that could be done with the missing U-Point controls, I am happy to say that the Bokeh and Zoom filters both feature a really cool control which seems to be called the “on-image placement control” which is much like the onOne Software spider found in FocalPoint, except it doesn’t suck. This control is typical Nik in that it is both revolutionary and easy to use, so for the filters where it is offered – I love it! In fact, I really wish they had it in Color Efex and others where vignettes and blurs can be added.

This control is tough to describe, so you’ll just need to try it out for yourself in the free demo (if you are the last person left on Earth who doesn’t already own the Nik Collection).

The absence of the U-Point controls and very slow performance (takes about a minute to load the UI) are about my only gripes about this product. Beyond that it’s pretty much everything you love about Nik and comes with a bunch of great presets. The UI is a joy to use and performance well once it loads.

Sample Before & After Images

This product is pretty fun for taking completely unedited images (such as these in-camera JPEG’s taken Canon 1D X using a 24-70mm f/2.8L II lens) and making them look cool with literally no work. Except for the first shot below where I did experiment with custom settings, the others are simply unedited preset versions which were one click edits.


Custom Camera Kit Edit


Classic Camera 2 Preset


Wet Plate 9 Preset


Toy Camera 7 Preset

Conclusion

This is a cool product and certainly worth the free upgrade for existing owners. If you don’t have the collection and have other plug-ins then you can create many of the effects with other software, but like nearly all plug-ins this one will sure make life a lot easier getting the looks featured in this product.

Despite the slow loading performance and the sacrilegious loss of U-Point controls, this is still an awesome product that I both love and HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Where to order

Sadly Google got rid of its affiliate program, so your ordering this product literally hurts this blog. However, I’ve put my business model aside for the sake of maintaining the integrity of this blog to bring you this article. You can order Analog Efex at http://www.google.com/nikcollection/products/analog-efex-pro/, and I will get ZERO commission. I would urge you to consider a donation if you thought this article was useful and as a gesture to show your support for my reviewing this product despite not having any financial incentive to do so.

Existing Nik Collection owners simply need to download the latest version (download the trial if you are already licensed) and you’ll get this new product for free.

Join me in Asia

If you would enjoy going with me to amazing places like this in Asia, then contact me to get added to the list of interested parties for my next Asia Photography workshop. 

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If you make a purchase using the camera gear links found in this article, I may make a commission. It doesn’t cost you a penny more, but it does help to support future articles like this. I do NOT make a commission if you purchase this software, so please consider a donation if you you enjoyed this article.

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This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"support for my reviewing this product despite not having any financial incentive to do so"

Cool. Good to know you are a man of SUCH high morals.