It was back in early 2005 that I first encountered Nik software. I’d bought some monitor calibration hardware and Nik’s Color Efex Pro came bundled with it. If I remember correctly it was version 2, and it immediately found a home in my workflow. Over the years since I’ve come to own more of Nik software’s plug-ins and they are an essential part of my digital darkroom. When I was taking my first steps with them, I had to learn everything the hard way, with plenty of luck and mistakes. I’d have loved to have access to a comprehensive guide to the Nik collection during that process. Photographers today are fortunate that they do have such a resource, and it’s the just released Plug In with Nik: A Photographer’s Guide to Creating Dynamic Images with Nik Software by John Batdorff.
The seven chapters take you through the various plug-ins, with one chapter being devoted to each and the final chapter looking at some advanced techniques with Nik when run from within Photoshop. Starting off with Dfine 2.0 and continuing through Viveza 2, Color Efex Pro 4, Silver Efex Pro 2, HDR Efex Pro 2 and Sharpener Pro 3, the book will appeal to both beginners and users with a bit of knowledge of the plug ins. It’s written in an easy to understand format with plenty of screenshots and highlighted areas, as well as a selection of hot tips. Chapters begin by describing what the plugin does and then takes you through sections on workflow and different ways to use each plugin.
One of the easiest ways to begin using Nik plugins is with recipes or presets. John Batdorff provides some presets that he’s created for you to download and use. Details about how to go about downloading them are given in the book and you’ll certainly want to do this. Using a preset can often give you a great starting point for your editing. Below you can see a recent photo of mine that was edited in Color Efex Pro 4 using one of John’s presets.
All in all, Plug in with Nik is great value for the photographer eager to incorporate any or all of these plugins into her workflow. Pick up a copy at your favorite bookstore today.