As many members know Google’s Nik Collection of software editing programs is now a
Free download for both Windows and Mac systems, go to Google Nik Collection, it works as a
plugin add-on to Aperture, Lightroom, Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, the snag is that it
now only works with certain older versions of these programs so read the small print at the
bottom of the page which tells what it actually works with.
This was a very expensive and highly desirable suite of programs when first launched
costing over €300 for the full collection of seven modules, when bought by Google it’s price
dropped to around €120 and its now free, its possible that Google would need to carry out some
software development to allow it to work with the latest Adobe products and they don’t consider
it worth while to do so.
That’s fine but what they don’t tell you is that the collection will also work as a standalone
program, definitely on a Mac and probably also on Windows. The modules were designed as
plug-ins so they relied on the host program to carry out functions like cropping and printing so
you will need to start off in your usual editing software to crop when necessary, edit it in one of the Nik modules and return it to your editing program to print, a bit awkward but usually worth
it. The collections most popular module is Silver Efx Pro, perhaps the best black and white
conversion and editing program yet designed.
Quite often when taking photos the exposure does not turn out the way you expected, parts of the image are too bright or too dark, sometimes you might need to cutout some of the image to make the subject pop out at you. In the days of film these things were taken care of in the enlarging stage, today we use software. There are many commercial software packages available which will allow you to correct the image, each manufacturer claiming that their offering is better than the others, and of course they all cost money. Some clubs have standardised on a particular program and expect their
members to use it, we will not do that, so what to do, well why spend money when you don’t have to. There are a number of FREE Open Source Programs that will allow you to carry out all the basic adjustments you need such as LightZone from the lightzoneproject.org this is a proven programs that will run successfully on computers using the Linux, Windows or Mac OSX operating systems so no matter what computer you have they will work for you. Commencing in September we have decided to provide, for those members who wish to know how to correct images, a series of approximately 30 minute long tutorials using LightZone as it is absolutely FREE, is a very small package which will not take up much space on your hard drive and is straightforward to use. Most Post Processing software is pretty similar so once you have conquered LightZone you will be in a better position tojudge whether or not you need more advanced software. Most Post Processing software is pretty similar so once you have conquered LightZone you will be in a better position to judge whether or not you need more advanced software or software that you feel more comfortable with. LightZone is completely non destructive, the original image remains intact, the editing changes you make are stored in a sidecar file attached to the original, so no worries about loosing your image or going back to the original if you wish. LightZone allows you to crop, adjust the exposure, sharpen, tone, apply a number of filters and convert the image into Black and White and export the final image in a number of formats. What it won’t do is allow you to apply effects, make triptychs or repair an old damaged photo, for those sort of things you need a different type of program such as Gimp, which is also FREE and which we will try and look at later in the year. There are many tutorials on YouTube for both programs.