Category Archives Plug-ins

Hi, everybody. Sorry I missed out blogging on Friday – my wife and daughter flew up to New York City to meet me Friday morning (I was already up in NYC on business), and I got all caught up in that. We had a blast (saw two awesome shows: ‘Wicked’ and ‘School of Rock’ and took a hilarious tour of NYC called ‘The Ride’ – highly recommended).

Anyway, I’m back and of course, on Friday (as luck would have it) all hell broke loose when Google added a disclaimer to their download site for the free Nik Collection of plug-ins, that they would no longer be supporting it moving forward. If a new OS from Apple or Microsoft is released and it breaks the Nik Collection from working, they’re not going to fix it. Or, if a new version of Photoshop or Lightroom stops it from working, they’re not going to fix it. Or if a stiff wind comes along, and it breaks the Nik Collection they ain’t fixin’ it). Tip of the hat to DPReview for uncovering that.

Well, long time Nik Collection users are (me being one of them) are pretty much freaking out, so I thought I’d do a quick Q&A about it here on the blog-a-roonie:

Q. Didn’t Google pretty much say the same thing when they first released the Nik Collection for free? 
A. They did. They said, in kind of a soft-sell way, that they weren’t going to support further development of the collection.

Q. So we kind of already knew this?
A. Yeah, we pretty much did. I wrote about that in my Q&A the day they made the initial “free” announcement, back in March of 2016.

Q. So what exactly did you say in that Q&A about it?
A. Well, I answered a “Q” with an “A” (see below).

Q. Does this mean that future updates for this collection have ceased?
A.
Based on what I’ve read, I absolutely think that is the case, but I haven’t confirmed it with anyone inside Google yet.

Q. So, what if I download it today, and then there’s a major Mac OS or Windows update down the road and then it doesn’t work anymore. Will Google do an update to fix it?
A. Not as best as I can tell, so use it today and enjoy it for as long as it works.

Q. Will Google ever release a Nik Collection Version 5?
A. I would love that, but based on their post about why they are making it free, it seems fairly clear that their desktop plug-in days are over (that was my take on it anyway).

Q. So, how much longer will it still work?
A.
For some folks, it’s already too late. I’ve seen posts and gotten emails from people who have told me straight up that when they updated something and the collection stopped working. They have some sort of configuration (maybe it’s a particular graphics card with a particular OS update, of what-have-you), but it broke their Nik world. I hate to hear that (and I worry about it myself because I’ve been a Nik Collection user for years. In fact, I did an entire KelbyOne online class on how I use the Nik Collection (and released it just a few days after Google made their “Free” announcement).

Q. So, if they already alluded to the “we’re not updating this stuff anymore” situation when they released the free version, how come everybody is freaked out now?
A. Because Google added the “we’re not updating this stuff anymore” text right to the downloads page itself, so it’s more official and scary looking. Plus, I think we all hoped that Google wouldn’t really just leave us hanging like that and that they actually would, in fact, update the software when push came to shove.

Q. Yeah, but you’re saying people are already having issues with the Nik Collection working?
A. Right. So, push has already come to shove – and apparently enough people with problems contacted Google for help that they felt they needed to put a disclaimer on their downloads Website.

Q. Maybe Google is understaffed and doesn’t have someone available that could patch the software?
A. That’s entirely possible, but at last count, Goggle had around 62,000 employees (but that’s from last year. It’s probably more by now).

Q. So they have 62,000+ employees, but they can’t spare one to simply fix this plug-in that is beloved by so many people?
A. Apparently not. If Google wanted to assign one, or even one thousand, Google certainly could and probably not even notice they were missing — but apparently, they don’t want to devote even one single engineer to fix it, or they would, right? This is a business decision for Google (no longer supporting the Nik Collection), and I get it — it doesn’t fit into their plans/strategy moving forward. I’m not happy about it, but I do understand it.

Q. But isn’t there a petition on change.org asking Google to at least to a maintenance update?
A. There sure is. Here’s where you can sign it.

Q. Did you sign it, Scott?
A. Absolutely!

Q. So, do you think if enough people sign this petition, it will convince Google to change their mind?
A. No. Not a chance. I believe that Google has no interest in the Nik Collection whatsoever. I believe the most work that has been put into the existing Nik Collection since 2012 was them putting up the notice that they’re not going to support it any longer.

Q. This reminds of when you said on “The Grid” right after Google bought Nik Software — you didn’t think Google bought Nik because they wanted to get in the business of selling plug-ins for Photoshop. I remember you saying that.
A. Yup, I did. I said I felt they bought Nik pretty much just for their Snapseed mobile app (which is awesome), and that I didn’t see them continuing to develop the Nik Collection as desktop plug-ins.

Q. And at the time, how did the Google/Nik folks react to you saying that?
A. I believe it was the catalyst for them installing a dartboard set with my photo on it.

Q. Yeah, I heard about that. Didn’t they even send two Google/Nik employees to be guests on The Grid to refute what you were saying?
A. They did, and they were masters at not answering my direct questions about will there be a Nik Collection 5. I made the joke on air that they were so skilled at not answering the question, that they should consider becoming politicians.

Q. So did they ever release that Nik Collection version 5?
A. Senator, I plead the 5th on the grounds that I don’t want to yell “I told you so!” so loudly that it knocks their dartboard set off the wall.

Q. Maybe, since Google doesn’t want it, they’ll give it to Adobe, and they could add it to Lightroom or Photoshop?
A. Ahhhhh, if only the software industry worked like that on any level. What a wonderful world it would be. It’s more likely that Google would assign 200+ engineers to update it than it would that they give it to Adobe or anyone. That’s not how multi-billion dollar software companies roll. I don’t want to whine too much – they did give us for free what was once a $499 collection of plug-ins (and they added another plug-in to it; the Analog Efex plug-in that everybody was hoping for. Stop snickering). ;-)

Q. So, all that aside, where does that leave us now?
A. We’re pretty much hosed. It is over. If your Nik Collection hasn’t stopped working yet, it’s like I said, “Enjoy it while you can” because it’s death is a-comin’.

Q. So, what’s your plan?
A. You might have already noticed that I’ve been transitioning over to using MacPhun’s Luminar plug-in. It has a lot of the same type of effects as Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 (which was their plug-in many pros I know relied upon — that and SilverEfex Pro for black and white conversions). It’s only been out since late last year, but it’s already had over 4-million downloads on the Mac alone, so it’s pretty much just taken off.

Q. Yeah and that’s why I didn’t switch to them earlier — they don’t have a Windows version.
A. Well, now they do (MacPhun announced it a week or so ago, and it’ll be shipping very soon).

Q. So, it’ll be on both Macs and PCs now?
A. Yup!

Q. Well, are you going to do a class on these as you did on the Nik Collection?
A. I’m on it. In fact, I’m in the studio taping it this week.

Q. How does it compare to the Nik Collection?
A. I think it compares closest to the Nik ColorEfex Pro 4 plug-in (well, it should be – some of the guys from MacPhun used to be “the guys from Nik Software”).  It has many of the same types of effects I went to Color Efex Pro 4 for, like: glows, detail enhancement, bi-color gradients, high-key effects, black and white conversions (not quite as good as Silver Efex Pro, but still good), Advanced Contrast, Structure, Polarizer, all that stuff (though it doesn’t have a straight-up Bleach Bypass effect, I think there’s a preset that gets close, but I will miss that effect from ColorEfex Pro 4. It doesn’t have “Tonal Contrast” by name, but it has the look (they call theirs “Structure”).

Q. Anything it does better?
A. It has lots and lots of presets (a lot that comes with it, and others that are downloadable), and the user interface is better (except for the pictures they use for the presets icons – they look very “consumerish” to me). It has a good Layers feature, so that’s pretty huge for Lightroom only users and their masking tools are really good. It’s got a spot healing tool that’s not bad (again, if you’re Lightroom only), and you can use it as a stand-alone app if you like (it doesn’t have to plug-in to Lightroom or Photoshop, but that’s how I use it exclusively).

Q. Anything worse?
A. It loads a lot slower when you first launch it. I’ve whined about it to them like a thing that whines a lot. I imagine it will get faster soon due to a bunch of whining [not just mine alone, but I can whine with the best of ’em when it comes to software], and if not, the whining will continue, (but much louder).

Q. So, if you’re telling us about which plug-in you’re switching to, I’m picking up a vibe that you feel like the Nik Collection might be ‘going away.” Am I right?
A. No. that’s not the ‘vibe’ I’m putting down. The vibe I’m putting down is the ‘death vibe.” Google said it — they are not supporting the Nik Collection any longer. It’s over.

Q. Scott, now you are starting to freak me out because maybe I’m reading between the lines here, but it sounds to me like you’re hinting that the Nik Collection may not have a very bright future.
A. That’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m saying “it has no future, and is dead now.”

Q. Maybe I’m jumping the shark here, but it kinda of sounds like you’re intimating that the Nik Collection may stop working for some people some day soon.
A. It has already stopped working for some folks now, and the reason is — it’s dead.

Q. But it sounds like you do think that Google will step in and save the day by assigning some engineers to do a maintenance update so we can keep using the Nik Collection, right?
A. No. I do not think that on any level, nor have I ever thought that, not even for a minute. I hoped it. I wished it, but that train has left the station.

Q. So, if I’m reading you right here, you just said Google is ‘training’ someone to update the Nik Collection? Is that what I’m getting from this?
A. You need to talk to someone.

Q. Are they at Google in the Nik Collection update department?
A. Sigh.

Well, folks, I don’t know what else to say. The train has left the station. The horse has left the barn. That dog don’t hunt. Fill in your own folksy phrase for “it ain’t gonna happen” here: ______________________. Hey, we still made images before the Nik Collection was even around, and we’ll be making ’em after they’re gone — we’ll just use a different set of plug-ins. Life goes on.

I hope you found this Q&A somewhat:

a) Helpful
b) Cathartic
c) Karmasutric
d) All of the above

Here’s wishing you a day where all your plug-ins work in perfect peace and harmony [insert gong sound here].

Best,

-Scott
Seat 11C, 33,000 feet
Feel free to move about the cabin, inc.

 

Trinity 5sm

1. An Early Morning Shoot for my Book “The Great Indoors”
It’s hard to believe this amazing church is right here in the US — it’s the gorgeous Trinity Church in Boston. I found out about it just two days before I arrived in Boston (many thanks to my assistant Lynn), and we were able to get access to shoot it.

The only chance I could get to shoot it, was early in the morning right before my seminar in Boston (which for someone who likes to get to his seminar very early, was a bit worrisome to me, but it was walking distance from the convention center, so I went for it). The folks at Trinity Church were amazing (thank you Donna!) and I had such a great time shooting, and learning about the history of the church, which was built in the 1800s.

I took a bunch of shots (including the one you see above, taken with a Canon 5D Mark III with an 11-24mm super wide-angle lens. Shot down low on a 3-legged-thing travel tripod, with a Really Right Stuff Ballhead.

I’ll share more shots from the Trinity Church as soon as I get done editing them (the one you see above was only edited in Lightroom – no plug-ins or anything fancy — just my “Seven Point System.” 

guru2

2. Call for Entries: The Photoshop World Guru Awards
If you’re going to the Photoshop World Conference 2016 in July this summer (July 19-21st), you’re invited to enter your images and designs into the prestigious Guru Awards competition. You can submit images for judging for free (this contest is only open to registered Photoshop World attendees, which is actually a good thing, because your chances of winning in a category are amazingly good!). There are a number of categories, from retouching to photography; compositing to illustration among others, and you can enter up to three images total. You can get all the details right here. Good luck, everybody!

3. You’ll Laugh. You’ll Cry. You’ll Kiss 56-seconds Goodbye!
Check out the trailer (above) from just-released class on the now totally free Google Nik Collection of plug-ins for Lightroom and/or Photoshop. I’m getting such great feedback on the class, and I hope you’ll give it a look (if you’re not a KelbyOne member already, sign up for the 10-day free trial and you can watch it right now). Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/234VYGd

Secret title on old paper

4. The hidden advantage of Lightroom’s built-in HDR
I shared a short clip from that Nik Collection class about Lightroom and a hidden advantage you get when you combine your bracketed images in Lightroom (and it’s not what you think). If you’ve got a sec to check out the video (it’s short), jump over to LightroomKillerTips and check it out.

That’s it for today, folks. Hope you have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week!

Best,

-Scott

nikcol3

On the heels of Google last week making the entire Nik Collection of plugs-ins absolutely free, I’m doing a online class that will release this Thursday (March 31st) that not only teaches you how to use the collection, I show:

(1) How I use them in my workflow
(2) Exactly which ones are my favorite filters and presets
(3) Which ones I don’t use at all (and why)
(4) Which one, if I was stranded on a desert island, would be the one I couldn’t live without and why
(5) All sorts of little tips and tricks that will help make your experience faster, better, and more fun.

I’ve been saying for years that for so many pro photographers I know, they will tell you that the Nik Collection is their secret weapon — so if you’re a KelbyOne member, I hope you’ll check out my brand new class coming this Thursday.

Again, a big tip of the hat to Google for making these plug-ins available to us all for free, and here’s hoping upon hope that while it looks unlikely, that if there’s a major update to either the Mac or Windows OS some awesome engineer might update it (perhaps on his own, as some rogue engineering doing good outside the walls). Then he or she could be the new hero of “The Resistance.” [vague Star Wars reference].

Full Details coming Thursday
Don’t forget to come back on Thursday to get the direct link to the class — can’t wait to share this with you!

Best,

-Scott

P.S. Hey, did I mention I’m teaching my full day seminar up in Boston on Wednesday? Hundreds of Boston area photographers are already signed up, but it’s not too late for you to come, too!

nikcol2

OK, not everybody, but I was surprised to see how many people were complaining after Google’s awesome announcement that they were making the entire Nik Collection of plug-ins for Photoshop and Lightroom, available for free download. FREE!

Of course, there are lots of questions after this announcement, so let’s do a quick Q&A on the topic to take us into the weekend.

Q. What is the Google Nik Collection? 
A. Here’s how Google themselves describe it:

The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide 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.

Q. So, you use these plug-ins?
A. Absolutely. Daily. I’ve been telling people for years that the Nik Collection is the pro photographer’s secret weapon.

Q. So let me get this straight — Google takes this amazing plug-in collection, which they were selling for $149, and they announce it’s now free, and some people are already hatin’ on them?
A. Oh, Absolutely. Welcome to the Internet, where lots of people are literally just waiting to be outraged about something. I’ve always said if you stood on a street corner and passed out free $100 bills, you could literally count the seconds before someone came up and said, “Are you kidding me? Where am I going to break a $100 bill? Can’t you give me five $20s instead?” 

Q. Like, what kind of stuff are they saying?
A. Stuff like: “So if I bought it in 2015, I’m f#@$d right?” or “…bit pissed as i paid full wack just over a year ago and not even partial refund. Will be the last google product i buy if they just keep giving things away”  or “Very disappointed, I bought it in 2015. Nice you make it free but you should refund your previous licenses.”

Q. Haven’t they had the use of this software all this time, before it was free?
A. Yes.

Q. So why are they so mad?
A. Apparently Google didn’t have five $20s. (see my answer to the 3rd question above).

Q. Isn’t this awesome that they’re giving this incredible plug-in package away for free?
A. I think it is. A lot of folks who could never afford it will now have access to it. I think that’s awesome!

Q. Does this mean that future updates for this collection have ceased?
A. Based on what I’ve read, I absolutely think that is the case, but I haven’t confirmed it with anyone inside Google yet.

Q. So, what if I download it today, and then there’s a major Mac OS or Windows update down the road and then it doesn’t work anymore. Will Google do an update to fix it?
A. Not as best as I can tell, so use it today and enjoy it for as long as it works.

Q. But that’s not fair!
A. You’re right. You should ask Google for your money back from that free download. Oh…wait…

Q. What if I bought it back in February? 
A. Google said they are automatically giving full refunds to anyone who bought the collection in 2016.

Q. Are you certain about that?
A. The older I get, the more I realize I’m not certain about anything, but that’s what they said in their post.

Q. What if I bought it back in December and I missed the cutoff?
A. Then you only had to pay $37.50 a month to use it until now, which for this suite is totally worth it, but that is still kind of a bummer. I’ve bought stuff the very week before it goes on sale. It happens, but you’ll get past it.

Q. Can’t I write angry comments about how unfair that is?
A. Absolutely, and you should use a lot of cuss words!

Q. Will that help?
A. Not one bit.

Q. Will Google ever release a Nik Collection Version 5?
A. I would love that, but based on their post about why they are making it free, it seems fairly clear that their desktop plug-in days are over (that was my take on it anyway). However, if they do one day come out with a new version, I imagine they would charge for it; I would definitely buy it, but I imagine it would be worth it.

Q. So, do you know something secret here?
A. I do, but it’s not about version 5. The secret stuff I know is about the supposed 1969 Apollo moon landing, and the plane that never crashed into the Pentagon, and the JFK assassination, but I’m not at liberty to say, because they’re watching me. They’re always watching.

Q. Were there any nice comments on Google’s announcement post?
A. Thankfully, there were many tucked in and around the whining. Some very grateful folks, and I was happy to see that.

Q. What was your favorite?
A. This one from Ray Akey:

“Funny to see all the reactions on this one. Free software is good for everyone, no matter what, especially when it comes from a company known for their excellent plugins because a lot of shareware and freeware is crap! Personally, I have only used SilverFX and it is a pretty nice piece of software. I’ll glady download and check this out. Thanks Nik and Google! Whiners: Poo!”

Q. That guy rocks, right?
A. Right! I love his attitude.

Q. So, where can I download the free Nik Collection?
A. Here’s the link.

Q. Should I write a mean comment here on your blog for taking the side of the non-complainers?
A. Believe it or not, there are bigger fish to fry in the world today than you complaining that somebody is getting something for free that you had to pay for a year or two ago. Instead, you should be happy that a good thing happened to a lot of photographers all over the world through this gift from Google. If you bought it beforehand, you should be thankful for the time you got to use it and how awesome it made your images look; you should not expect that Google will ever provide a free update to this free software, but know that you’ll still be able to somehow carry on.

Be thankful that there are brilliant geniuses that created this software in the first place, and that Google is so successful they can give it away to us for free, and instead of focusing on the negative side of things, why not take a deep breath, be glad you’re alive; enjoy your weekend, and we’ll see you back here on Monday. :)

Best,

-Scott

 

OK gang, two quick things:

(1) You know my new strict rule; if a company offers us (you, me, my readers, etc.) a “This Weekend Only” deal, it has to be a real killer deal, and it has to be exclusive to the readers of this blog (not just another regular discount they offer just anybody).

(2) I’m only letting companies offer these deal if I know them, and think their products rock (even though I know that his somewhat limits how many companies I’ll be able to get to do deal for you like this).

This week’s deal has both: an exclusive deal, never offered before, on a kick-butt product. The deal is on a group of six Photoshop plug-ins called the Topaz Photoshop Bundle.” The star product in this bundle (in my mind anyway) is Topaz Adjust—which I featured in my Gonzo Gift Guide this year—and it, by itself, it worth the price alone, but you get five other plug-ins as well.

Here’s the deal:
They are offering you guys, “This weekend only” the bundle of all six plug-ins at $119.95, which is $60.00 off their regular price of $179.99. They swear this is the biggest discount they’ve ever offered, and that’s exactly what I was looking for—their biggest discount ever.

To get this special deal, you’ll need to enter the coupon code SCOTTKELBY at checkout

To learn more, watch the video above (I snagged it from their site), which talks about the plug-ins, and I can’t speak for them all, but I use Topaz Adjust all the time, and it so rocks!!!! (I learned about it in the first place from other readers of this blog).

Disclaimers
This deals ends at 12:00 Midnight EST this Sunday. Also, this deal cannot be retrofitted on previous purchases or extended past the firm weekend deadline, so in short; no whining.

Thanks much to the Eric and the gang at Topaz for offering such a cool deal.

suite5-awards-boxes

Hey gang—the huge success of last week’s MPIX.com deal really paid off, and we’ve been in contact with a number of companies who are willing to give you guys a “This Weekend Only” special discount.

This week, the fine folks over at OnOne Software are offering readers of my blog $200 off their new “Plug-In Suite 5” which includes the most recent versions of their award-winning Photoshop Plug-ins:

  1. Genuine Fractals for resizing
  2. Mask Pro for removing unwanted backgrounds
  3. PhotoTune for color correction
  4. FocalPoint for selective focus
  5. PhotoTools and PhotoFrame for amazing photographic effects

The suite is regularly $599.95, but until this Sunday (Nov. 22nd) at midnight EST you can take $200.00 off using the following Coupon Code:

PSINSIDER

Thanks to Mike Wong and everybody at OnOne for making this smoking “This Weekend Only” Deal available to my readers!

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