Google makes its $149 Nik Collection photo editing software free to download

By midian182 ยท 18 replies
Mar 25, 2016
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  1. Back in 2012, Google purchased German company Nik Software, the firm behind a series of photo editing plug-ins designed for amateur and professional photographers. The acquisition was primarily so Google could get its hands on popular photo app Snapseed, but the company also reduced the cost of Nik's collection of seven plug-ins from $499 to $149. Now, the price has dropped even more, right down to zero.

    The collection includes Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. It's free to download for Windows and Mac, and provides “a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images,” according to a statement from Google.

    Anyone who purchased the Nik Collection in 2016 will automatically receive a full refund in the coming days, presumably via the same method used to buy it. Sadly, anyone who bought the suite in 2015 or earlier won’t be getting their money back, which is pretty upsetting for those who paid $149 just four months ago.

    “We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now,” said Google.

    The company does say in its Google+ post that it is continuing to focus on building photo editing tools like Snapseed and Google Photos for mobile, so there’s a chance that the Nik Collection may stop receiving support and updates now it’s free.

    Permalink to story.

    captaincranky likes this.
  2. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Thanks for the heads up on this! (y)
    It's also a big "tough s***" for today's entitlement babies.

    I'm going to take this news here: and see how much trouble I can start with it. After all, I didn't have to disable my script blocking completely to get the software suite for free. Nor did Google ask for a "donation"...:oops:
  3. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Awesome suite of products. Good job Google.
  4. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,343   +1,987

    Question: If I am reading this correctly, it "attaches" these features to any other photo editor? Or is it supposed to be a stand alone program? Article wasn't all that clear on that point ..... If an add on - anyone have suggestions to the best program to use them with?

  5. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    @Uncle Al AFAIK, these are ".8bf" files, ("8 bit filters"), would would appear the the "filter" drop down menu of your favorite editing application after installation. Obviously, these have been primarily targeted at Adobe's "Photoshop", and now Adobe "Lightroom". (With Apple's "Aperture" thrown in to avoid possibly offending anyone) An .exe installer is included with the filter set to guide it to the proper location in either editor's folder tree. I have a sneaking suspicion these could also be used in later editions of the "Photoshop Elements" editor. Their older filter packages would absolutely work in that app. (My favorite editor). IIRC, you could also copy and paste the filter file into the ".8bf" folder, without bothering to run the installer. (The version I have is 3.0, and obviously a great many things could have changed since then). could probably install them in any editor which uses .8bf as an extension for its filters. The installer though, likely wouldn't work. At that point you would need to resort to copy and paste once you've located the app's .8bf folder.

    I would strongly caution you to set a restore point first though. A word to the wise, as they say.

    I will likely try to dump these into my Photoshop Elements 13 installation first, and I'll let you know how that turns out. (13 is the 1st incarnation of Elements which is 64 bit).

    I would strongly caution you to set a restore point first though. A word to the wise, as they say.

    Here's a support page from Google on the filter set, it should answer a lot of questions as they arise:

    OK, thus far I've learned the installer will blindly put the application int C:/ Program Files/ Google/ Nik Collection. With no editing app installed on this machine, the files exists, with no launcher in "All Programs". Thus, it needs an editor to run. However, once installed it is broken into it's individual filters, from which it, or its individual components could , (ostensibly), be manually installed to the app of your choice. These files are indeed .8bf, along with a companion folder. I'm going to assume the .8bf file addresses its companion folder, thus running the app. (At this point, "assume" is the best I've got. Sorry. I don't have any other editors to test out this theory with. All my photo apps are Adobe.

    As you may or may not know, Photoshop CS is now subscription only, which limits you to "Lightroom", as a certified for use with these, in a user owned free standing app. Obviously, there may be others.

    Update: Google / Nik page indicates thqat this filter set IS compatible with PSE versions 9 through 13, save for one filter, "HDR Effects Pro". That being the case, I have often seen this program sold for as little as 50 dollars, which makes it a super duper bargain. Damned near a giveaway. See: (Hardware & software requirements are at bottom of page).

    The format for these filters is ".8bf", which is a file extension widely used for filters practically for eons. It's unlikely these would need "support" per se, but rather replacement, if and when something "better" came along. (read, somebody adds a niggling little feature here or there). I would conjecture that Google will most likely use ".8bf" for filters when it finishes building an imaging editor, and these would likely continue to be the plug-ins for it.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2016
  6. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,343   +1,987

    Thank you very much for the reply and advice .... my editing skills have largely been confined to the actual darkroom and negative retouching so it's still a bit new to me. Best Regards .... Uncle Al
  7. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    I haven't played with it a lot yet, but some of the plug-ins work in Irfanview, too.

  8. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Did it install directly, or did you have to unpack it and install the filters on at a time?

    The only editor I could say with any certainty they likely won't work with, might be "GIMP".. As I can't imagine the ".8bf" filter file extension would remain so named in Linux. But hey, who knows?:confused:
  9. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    I downloaded & extracted the .exe w/7-zip, copied the 8bf's into the plug-ins directory, then imported them into Irfanview using the "image" tab...something like that. That was with Win 7 in a VM-- I haven't tried it yet in Mint w/Irfanview.

    PS: I love my icon/avatar here- it reminds me of the cooling fan in my ITX.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    That's sort of what I figured. With Adobe editors, the executable will install it for you. Allegedly you can't use the "HDR Efex Pro" with Photoshop Elements. Perhaps that's because it lacks GPU hardware acceleration (*), which is found in Photoshop. Although, IIRC, PSE has an HDR multiple exposure integration operation built in anyway. I know this because it always nags me to "update my video drivers for best resullts" I tricked it this time and installed a 750 ti card in the machine. (I was using my i3's IGP). We'll see what happens with that..

    PSE-13 is down to less than 40 bucks at Walmart! Wow! PSE 14 has been released, but no matter. I can give you a slew of reasons to take this much better deal before they run out of it, as much preferable to buying the likely list price PSE-14. Adobe may have modded the program to make it "fully compatible" with Windows 10, but I'd do some research about that in the private sector before I'd take Adobe's word for anything.

    As you are from "down under", (I'm assuming you mean "Australia), this won't help you. But @Uncle Al, you should jump on that deal with Godspeed. PSE 13 is the first 64 bit version of Elements!

    (*) That's a wild guess on my part. Take it FWIW.
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2016
  11. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    PS: I love my icon/avatar here- it reminds me of the cooling fan in my ITX.
    Your link is a book? And yes, I'm in Western Australia-- but I have friends in the US who I can have buy & ship if it works out cheaper. Sometimes, it's cheaper via (who do ship some items here) than it is to buy there + the outrageous shipping costs. amazon, being a big business, gets a hefty cut to their postal fees...
  12. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    I'm reticent to admit this, but I screwed up and linked a book :embarrassed: In my own defense, it was going on 8:00AM in my neck of the woods on a Sunday morning, which as you well know, occurs right after Saturday night...:oops:

    So, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm truly very sorry, to you and Uncle Al as well.

    As far as Amazon's business practices and model goes, I pretty much only buy media from the "Amazon Marketplace", not from Amazon itself. I am quite aware of the high pricing and sometimes low availability of goods in general, in the ANZAC nations.I'm here on the East coast of the US, which is nothing, if not a shopper's/spendthrift's paradise.

    I will still see if can hunt down a copy of PSE for Uncle Al. Although, I doubt I could be much help to you, and I apologize again for that.
  13. GirlDownunder

    GirlDownunder TS Enthusiast Posts: 74   +21

    No worries- I just wanted to let you know. Besides, it's still cheap in the states to buy & I'm sure there will be other offerings...I like Irfanview for most things & GIMP for the rest. Yes, I know it's not PS, but it's fine for me (& open-source). I prefer that, & donating directly to those who produce what I use, vs. filling Adobe's vaults with ever more cash. Cheers!
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Well, I went to college for photography, (on a lark, obviously), and Adobe products were all that were used. I did try GIMP, and at least at that time, it didn't have "adjustment layers". I have to be honest, I found the editor completely useless, as it (seemed?) to lack the ability to make non destructive color, tint, levels, brightness and contrast adjustments without them.

    I don't like to give Adobe piles of money either. OTOH, I don't enjoy listening to some pirates running their mouths about "needing" Photoshop, when they more than likely can't use a tenth of its features. It is possible to brainwash yourself with your own stupidity. But I digress.

    The editor in PSE is extremely powerful. Most of what it really lacks is the ability to run scripts, and a CMYK color space. So, CMYK is only necessary to prepare images for use with a true ink printer. (By that I mean rotogravure).

    Accordingly, if you're using Adobe, "Lightroom", and you'd like to do some serious image manipulation, you actually have to go back the the cheaper PSE, to get a more powerful editing tool. Yes, that is quite ironic.

    Here is the PSE 14 DVD, on sale for $69.00 USD.,92051677682,&A=details&Q= I checked, and the box says it is compatible with Windows 7 SP 1. If it weren't, I would be recommending PSE 13. We're not adopting Win10 anytime soon, if ever.
  15. Mike89

    Mike89 TS Booster Posts: 41   +13

    Anyone know if these work in CS6?
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    I say they will. I came to that conclusion by reading the "system requirements", at the bottom of Google's page about them:

    In any case, this presents a golden opportunity to, "take a walk on the wild side", as the song goes, by setting a restore point and finding out for yourself......:eek::cool:
  17. Mike89

    Mike89 TS Booster Posts: 41   +13

    Just wanted to hear from someone who had actually done it to make sure. What Google says and what really happens could be two different things. Not that I don't' trust Google, heh.
  18. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Google didn't write those specs. That's an educated guess, bordering on a certainty. I say that because it only goes up to "500 series" Nvidia cards. Don't get me wrong, I'm confused about that part too, but the way I see it, we're up to Nvidia "900 series cards", thus, (IMEG), the specs haven't been updated since the takeover . But, I can't picture the program NOT working with those 7xx & 9xx newer cards.

    Besides, I already tested the install without tagging an editing program with the filters. What that does is install the set into a blind folder. Since these are in fact, .8bf files, (ostensibly), they could be installed manually. At least after you track down the .8bf folder in the bowels of Photoshop.

    Since the filter set's compatibility extends past PS CS-6 to CC, I don't see an issue with PS CS-6.

    .8bf has been around for ages, There are tons of free filters on the web, and they all get installed manually. Nik sets are the only ones I run into with an .exe install. (Which I'm aware of), I believe that was put there to make them "foolproof", along with justifying the price.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2016
  19. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Newegg has Photoshop Elements 14 on sale, (download version), for $43.88 until end of day today! (3-31 Midnight PT)I It works with Win 7 SP-1 on up. You won't get a better deal than that....likely ever!

    The link:

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