Nik Collection by Google has announced a new free upgrade to their Nik Collection, Analog Efex Pro , Version 2. This upgrade to Analog Efex Pro is a pretty significant one. Nik has simplified the interface while making it more robust. They have also made the upgrade process for users much easier. In the past, Nik Software made the attempt to upgrade users “automatically”. The idea was that the software would be told of an update at its start up then installs that update automatically. This was a hit or miss procedure at best, with the worst case being the software wouldn't start at all. Many users found the best work around to this situation was to simply download a “trial” version of Nik Collection then the software made the update automatically to current registered users. With this current update, Nik has foregone their past update voodoo and now simply tells users to download and install the trial version. Now, that's progress!
The idea behind the Analog Efex Pro module is to allow the user to emulate the effects of using “analog” photographic tools and processes. You can select the type of camera to use, like a wet plate camera. This will allow the user to emulate all the effects of using the same type of camera used by Mathew Brady or Roger Fenton back in the 19th century. Not only will you get the spectrum wavelength simulation of those black & white images, but you’ll also get the effects of wet plate handling like scratched, cracked plates, or smudged emulsions. Very cool. Now, you don’t have to go that far back in time however. You can select a “Vintage” or "Classic" camera that emulates using a 1960s SLR camera using Kodachrome slide film or Tri-X black & white film. For photographers that have used film cameras or worked in the darkroom, you'll know what to do. For those who have no experience with that, it will give you the opportunity for exploration and discovery. What’s interesting about all of this is? You can mix and match these effects and create “Filter Stacks”allowing you to create a “color wet plate” images or control all of the disasters of using a Holga toy camera creatively. Keep in mind that as a Photoshop plug-in filter, these effects can be place on one or more image layers.
In the interface there's a new feature, the History Stack. Now you can go back through your creative process and make changes. There's also a newly designed Camera Selection Tool that's now more dynamic. It allows you to view previews of camera filters at a glance and allows access to presets without having to go to the Preset Panel. Plus using the Edit Controls with the History controls, you are offered greater creative freedom and flexibility. As with all Nik Collection modules, you can create custom presets for use later, along with using presets when batch processing folders of images.
So, if you already own the Nik Collection go and download the new version. If you don’t own it, check out the trial version for 15 days. The entire Nik Collection is $149.00. Any one of its editing modules is worth that alone, so check it out.