Google Nik Collection makes me salivate

A couple of weeks ago I discovered a set of plug-ins that it seems everyone knew about but me. I was overseeing a photo shoot with Cade Martin for work. He was shooting the cover and feature story for our magazine about the science behind the Paleo diet.

Shots from the shoot with Cade.
Shots from the shoot with Cade.

Working with Cade is great and he’s my all-time fave photographer, but the big treat is sitting over his assistant Kirsten’s shoulder. Every shoot that I’ve been on with Cade and Kirsten, I’ve learned tons of Photoshop tips. She’s really a master.

Perched behind Kirsten and watching the magic unfold.
Perched behind Kirsten and watching the magic unfold.

Nik Collection logoDiscovering the Google Nik Collection

For this Paleo shoot we wanted a bleach bypass look for something more dramatic and graphic. While we were waiting between set-ups, Kirsten took a few of our selects from the previous session and started weaving her photographic magic to see if the what we had will work with the final effects. She opened up Google Nik Collection while in Photoshop and started applying effects. Within a couple of minutes she was able to completely tranform the look and tone of the imagery.

Okay, I know this is wrong. I’ve been working on trying to get myself away from using Adobe products over the past year, and now it looks like I’m being sucked back in over a set of spectacular plug-ins. Trust me. I’m feeling quite conflicted.

Don’t make me use this Photoshop

Here’s a set of professional plug-ins that are actually useful that were acquired by Google a little over a year ago. What I find odd is that Google hasn’t rushed to make the Nik Collection available on Chromebooks. Currently, Nik is only available for Mac and Windows. And their are major limitations for software to use the plug-ins on. You can either use Adobe or Apple’s Aperture. With Apple announcing earlier this summer that they will no longer support Aperture, it looks like Adobe software is the only option.

Example of the power of Google Nik from their site. Click to enlarge.
Example of the power of Google Nik from their site.

I can justify not supporting Adobe’s Creative Cloud by using Nik in an earlier version of the Creative Suite that I own. The only problem is that this defeats the purpose of becoming less dependent on Adobe products.

Who knows what the future development of Nik is and where Google plans to take it. The plug-ins are really quite amazing and robust and the entire collection being only $150 is a steal. I would love to see support for Nik in either Gimp or Krita. I think there are enough people using both programs to warrant development consideration. Maybe people at Gimp and Krita can start the discussion with the people at Nik to help them broaden out to the Linux and open-source community. It would make sense that Google would eventually offer these tools to their Chrome OS community. It’s not that much of a leap from Chrome OS to the entire Linux community.

Hopeful news

My fingers are crossed for these plug-ins in something other than Adobe. John Nack, an Adobe Photoshop bigwig, got stolen away by Google earlier this year so that might mean that things are definitely in the works.


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