"Nik" is dead!


You've probably heard of it. From the Nik plugins for Lightroom or Photoshop.

Out of every 10 photographers I know, about 8 work with 1 or more plugins from Nik collection.  Of the photographers who often work in black and white, this is almost 100%.
But now, and we can mourn it or  Keeping hope, it was recently announced that Google, the owner of the Nik collection since 2012, has finally pulled the plug.

Contrary to popular belief, the small company " Nik Software " founded in Hamburg in 1995 by Nils Kokemohr is  never been part of Nikon.
Kokemohr and his people developed the Nik collection to perform beautiful image corrections with relatively little effort. The heart of the software was the revolutionary new technology that worked with control points. Its official name is  the much acclaimed and patented  U-Point Technology".

...read more here....

Nikon's first proprietary (raw) editing program  capture  was developed  in close collaboration with Nik Software . The choice for the collaboration was of course because  Capture could then automatically make use of the, also in Nikon's eyes, beautiful U-point technology. In later versions of Capture, this was released again.

In 2012, Nik Software was sold to Google . Initially a somewhat strange takeover by the internet giant, but slowly the real reason became clear.  Rumors  did the rounds that Google might be primarily interested in Snapseed. A popular editing program for mobile platforms also developed by Nik Software . They 'got' the Nik collection 'for free', as it were.
The good thing for us as photographers  was, at least for the short term, that the Nik Collection suddenly became a lot more affordable. The price suddenly dropped  from approx. 500 euros to 149  euros.
That was good news!
However, when some time later the package suddenly became available for free download, many people smelled danger. Further developments could be stopped altogether and that was not what we wanted.

Ironic  enough, that wasn't originally the idea that the folks at Nik Software themselves had seen the press release from that time:

 

Nik Software public statement:

 

We are pleased to announce that Google has acquired Nik Software. For nearly 17 years, we've been guided by our motto, “photography first”, as we worked to build world class digital image editing tools. We've always aspired to share our passion for photography with everyone, and with Google's support we hope to be able to help many millions more people create awesome pictures.

We're incredibly grateful for all of your support and hope you'll join us on the next phase of our journey as part of Google.

 

All our best!

The Nik Software Team

As it often goes in life, not everything goes as you hope, last March Google indeed indicated that the plug is being pulled completely from Nik! "It is as it is and nothing will happen to it anymore"

A pity, a pity because, although the Nik set was certainly not the best, it is and still remains a beautiful piece of software.
At the moment it is still available for download for both Mac and Windows. I would advise if you don't already have it, get it and use it while it works.
However, do not expect further development or support. So at some point it will all be over. Think  for example, to updates of Lightroom, Photoshop or of the operating system you use. There are already known cases where the Nik Collection can no longer be used.

What now

A question I've been asking myself regularly over the past few months. I also frequently use the plug-ins Color Efex Pro, Viveza and especially the Silver Efex Pro for black/white conversions.

After a lot of reading  about some of the packages that are out there today,  I arrived at a small collection of possible alternatives. Those were Macphun's On1, Topaz and Luminar. There are of course many others but these three offer what I think I need in my  workflow.

That I finally have  chosen for  luminar  is based on the Mi very user-friendly and clear interface, the versatility and flexibility and the price. It seems that they have worked very hard at Macphun and are still working hard to fill the gap that  "Nik" leaves to fill. "One is dead, etc etc..."
The fact that a veteran, Kevin La Rue , of Nik software is now Macphun's executive, hopefully revives the old "photography first" notion. 


Anyway, everyone should of course see for themselves whether he/she already wants to switch to an alternative and which package suits you best. Whatever you choose, I would definitely recommend checking out Luminar as well .
You can take a trial license for 14 days and see if you like it that way. For a quick introduction to all the ins and outs, watch one of the many videos that can be found on youtube. 

I am currently using Luminar as a plug-in within Photoshop and Lightroom. People who want a powerful package and don't want PS or LR:  Luminar is also very nice to use stand-alone as a Raw converter/editor.
Finally, two things that are not unimportant. Firstly, Luminar is unfortunately not yet fully available for Windows computers. A properly working test version is already available and the plan is that a full Windows version will be available at the end of the year. 
Secondly, a very Dutch tip:  Luminar is currently offered for 69 euros  and after creating an account for 59 euros. If you after the  If you want a trial period of 14 days, do not buy it immediately. After a few days you will receive an email in which they offer it to you for, in my case, 49 euros.

Good luck!