I am and have always been, a big fan of the Nik software. In addition to their products for Aperture, I use Nik Sharpener and Nik Dfine for Photoshop.
As an Aperture user I have been counting the days until they release Color Efex Pro as an Aperture Plug-in. And now I can stop counting. This amazing program lets me do a number of cool things to my images without going to Photoshop.
This collection of filters is heavily customizable and with Nik’s incredible U Point technology, you don’t need layers. Each application of the filter can be controlled in a way that makes it’s impact local to a specific area of the photograph. There are a number of very valuable presets – each of them also customizable.
One of the things I like most about Color Efex Pro is the fact that the filters are realistic and leave your images still looking like photographs. Too many of the plug-in suites like this take the image into the realm of something other than photography.
To see all the filters in Color Efex Pro visit Nik’s web site.
As a plug-in for Aperture, Color Efex Pro’s strength is its ability to give you a finished image without the need for Photoshop.
Depending on how many of the filters you want, the price ranges from $99.95 to $299.95. And yes, that’s expensive, especially when you buy the Pro version with all 52 filters. It’s my guess that most of the photographers willing to drop that kind of cash for the Pro edition are in a position to justify it, because they are probably pros. (The Aperture plug-in is a free upgrade for existing Color Efex users.)
The software is responsive – although the speed of your system can impact performance. Other than the high price, it’s perfect. I use Color Efex Pro every day and can’t imagine being without it. I am so glad I can now use it with Aperture.
This is Nik’s third major plug-in for Aperture, joining Veveza and Silver Efex Pro (Review Coming.) I use all three and rate them very highly.
*Most Nik software also works with Photoshop. Some Nik products also work with Capture NX and Elements.