Google Nik’s Collection Went Free: Reviewing Silver Efex Pro 2

If you are doing photography for life or are at least interested in the world of photography, then you probably heard about the collection of customizable filters and adjustable presets by Google called Nik’s collection. It features seven sets of filters that are meant to be used for varied purposes, but the most popular one is Silver Efex Pro, which is used for converting photos into B/W and editing them.

Earlier the Nik’s Collection pack used to cost gob-smacking $499. Later on the price dropped down to $149, which is still expensive but much more affordable. However, last week Google announced that the software pack is now free for everyone. What does it mean? It means that it’s high time to try it out.

Keep reading to learn more information about Google Nik’s and check out our review on Silver Efex Pro 2 with awesome sample pics.

You can download Google Nik’s collection for free here. It features Analog Efex Pro used for giving your photos that unmistakable film camera look, Color Efex Pro for color correction, Silver Efex Pro for B/W conversion and editing, Viveza that is used for selective color and tonality adjustments, HDR Efex Pro that is used to edit HDR photos, Sharpener Pro used for advanced sharpening adjustments, and Dfine for noise reduction.

As you can see, it’s a universal filter set that can be used for editing any kind of photo. Most of these filters are simple preset sets that feature a couple of adjustment when it comes to color or tones. But with Google Nik’s collection that’s all you need, especially if you’re a beginner.

And now let’s pass on to reviewing the most well-known filter from this collection, Silver Efex Pro.

As soon as you have downloaded the filter pack and installed it, you will need to enter Lightroom or Photoshop (you will be asked to select the program where you will use the filters upon their installation), import some photos you’d like to edit, choose the photo by going to Develop section, and enter Silver Efex Pro.

Today we are going to edit this photo of tango dancers, which should look much better in B/W than in color.

Click on Photo tab in Lightroom upper menu, then choose Edit in…, and select Silver Efex Pro. Mind though that you should back up the original file of the photo somewhere because the changes made in any of Nik’s collection filters are irreversible.

In a couple of seconds you will see a separate screen, which is the interface of Silver Efex Pro, and the photo will automatically go black and white. To the left of the photo you will find a lot of presets grouped into sections. These are really helpful, but are not perfect. This is why it would be necessary to fine-tune some settings in order to make the photo look just like you wanted.

To the right of the photo you will see a couple of sections in which you will find sliders for fine-tuning. The first and most important tab is Global Adjustments with Brightness, Contrast, and Structure sliders. You can edit these as they are or expand them to do advanced editing.

Selective Adjustment and Color Filter sections are used to do selective fine-tuning and adjust tones.

Film Types is a really interesting feature that lets you choose an effect that mimics one of the most famous film types and applies it to your photo. Apart from it, you can adjust the amount of grain in order to make it more true-to-life.

The last but not the least section is Finishing Adjustment. It lets you set toning, vignetting, burn edges as well as apply borders to your photos. All of this customizable!

Simply by choosing a preset and tweaking a couple of sliders, you come up with a breathtaking black and white photo. And if that’s not enough, simply save it and fine-tune it using Lightroom. That’s about it!

We hope that this article was of help to you and we’ll be glad to answer your questions in comments. Feel free to shoot us a message!

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