Yesterday Nik Software announced a brand new HDR plug-in for Photoshop and Lightroom (and compatible software) for creating HDR images called “HDR Efex Pro” (that’s it shown above).

It’s slated for release sometime in October, but I’ve been playing around with a pre-release version, and I have to say—-it’s pretty cool. True to Nik form, it’s got a great interface. I particularly like the previews of the built-in presets along the left side, and the fact that Vignetting, Levels, and Curves adjustments are build right in, so after you’re done with the Tonemapping, you don’t have to head back to Camera Raw for final tweaking—you can do it all right in the plug-in.

Plus, it has “Viveza-like” control points which let you adjust individual areas in the image. The noise seems very low too, which is big.

Anyway, head over to http://www.niksoftware.com and check out their great video on HDR Efex Pro (click on the video on the lower left side).

About The Author

Scott is the President of KelbyOne, an online educational community for Photographers, Photoshop and Lightroom users. He's editor and publisher of Photoshop User Magazine, Conference Technical Chair for the Photoshop World Conference & Expo, and the author of a string of bestselling Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography books.


  1. I don’t shoot a lot of HDR. I can only think of two images of mine that I like as HDR shots and I think part of that is that I have never felt really comfortable in the HDR software environments. It’s not like I am lost or don’t understand the sliders, it’s just that it always seemed too much like work and I want it to be fun.

    I haven’t used this new offering from NIK yet but I will cause it looks like fun and because Silver Efex and Viveza are both great.

    Im looking forward to the release.

  2. I have all of the Nik products, can’t wait for this one! The daily webinars are good to!

  3. It will be also available for Aperture too!

  4. Hi Scott
    That link should read:
    (www.niksofTware.com software with a ‘T’

  5. Thank for this info, I’m looking at HDR software and I’d prefer a Lightroom plugin.

    One quick note, the URL listed below is missing the ‘t’ in software; it should be:

  6. I joined in one of the webcasts that Nik had for it a couple of weeks ago. It looks really good. I love the ability to do local adjustments within the toning software itself. That itself will be a huge step for HDR software.

  7. I did watch the NIK Webinar yesterday at Noon Centeral time. This looks extremely cool like all the other NIK stuff.
    Hmmm, I see some HDR in Fire Valley in my futre. Fire Valley and Fremont Street from PhotoshopWorld will be some of my favorite shots of the seminar.
    Shots from the Keynote Speech and After Hours Party among favorites too.
    See ya in 5 days

  8. Nik’s control point technology is the answer to my HDR problems. About two years ago I dabbled with Photomatix, and more recently Photoshop, processing. The main problem with both is that the treatment is always global. This new Nik package, with it’s local control, moves HDR forward by a giant step.

  9. I’m hoping that you guys do a full review of it on DTown TV or Photoshop User TV Scott! I’m absolutely dying for this software to be released! The only issue I really have with my HDR post processing is the haloing effect…more specifically getting rid of it when I don’t need it!!!

    Reference the following photo as an example:


    See how the top of the tree still has that halo? I want to be able to get rid of that!!!!

    Thanks Scott!

  10. might give it a shot. wish they make nic tools that are 64 bit compatible. they would be more useful

  11. HDR Efex Pro is both 32 and 64 bit according to it’s website.

  12. Looks great! This will probably push me into buying the Nik Suite of software. The Complete Collection purchase will give you the HDR software “free”: $300 for Lightroom/Aperture, $600 for Lightroom/Aperture/Photoshop. Could you and/or readers comment on need for the Photoshop-enabled version rather than just Lightroom?Aperture? Thanks.

    • Hi paul, I use the full aperture and photoshop set. I use aperture and the nik plug=ins for about 90% of my editing. But with ps, you get layers, masking and the real power – smart objects! yes, nik supports smart objects so you can go back and change a setting. Would recommend the full set if you’re workflow is like mine.

  13. The Webinars look fantastic. I have only used their ColorEfffex Pro complete package as a plugin for Lightroom and it is great. If you are thinking about buying it and don’t use the full photoshop program (just Lightroom or Aperture) I would strongly recommend buying the Complete Collection at $299 which will give you the $150 HDR free with it. I bought ColorEffexPro back in Jan for $299 and now it is included in that Complete package (ColorEffex pro was also $299 by itself back then) which includes all their products… (bummer for buying early I guess) But the rub is there is no upgrade path. So buy the package if you think you will ever want any of the other products down the road, otherwise there is no benefit to being a previous customer. Their products I have used and tried are great… (but for me to get the HDR is $150 and with the $299 I spent back in Jan… that’s $450 over 8 months for what a new customer can get even more of for $299 now) So just a heads up, try the other Demo’s before you buy in case you may want another of their products… The $299 for the complete Aperture/Lightroom collection is a great deal!

  14. Thanks, Steve.
    I do use Photoshop, but far,far less than I did previously. Usually just Lightroom. The biggest benefit I can think of is to have the Nik filter on a layer in Photoshop, so I can reduce the opacity. Perhaps having it as a smart filter so I can re-edit it later, but that would be very rare, I think. Otherwise, I could start the image in Lightroom (as I now do), do any major retouching, cloning, panorama-making in Photoshop, return the image to Lightroom, and then use the Nik filters there. Am I missing something?
    What is the experience of those blog-readers (or Scott) in this regard?

  15. Looks promising but I hate the fact that my Mac Pro stopped auto-sleeping after installing one of the latest Nik plugins because of the crappy Nalpeiron license manager that got installed with it.

    • Hmmm,
      All the NIK plugins work fine on my PC

      • Hmmmm… It probably works fine until you install another product that uses the crappy Nalpeiron licensing system, such as OnOne. If you install both Nik and OnOne on the same Windows x64 system, only the last one installed will work. There is a work around, but it sucks! You have to stop the Nalpeiron service and start the one that works with the plugin you want to use. If you want to switch, you have to quit Photoshop, stop the running service, start the other service, and restart Photoshop.

        Something here is a suck.


  16. The Complete software collection for Aperture and Lightroom is at B&H for $219…! They are an authorized dealer so you get all the upgrades and the HDR software when it becomes available in October…

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