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.

Join the conversation! 22 Comments

  1. If you already have Color Efex Pro 3.0 installed on PS3, you can now install it at no charge on Capture NX2. (Furthermore, Nik is very flexible in allowing you to have one version (Select) on PS3 and a different version on NX2 (Complete). Having paid for the Select version for Photoshop, it cost me just under $80 to install the Complete version on NX2 (for $150, I could have had the Complete version on both Photoshop and NX2). The point is that you can purchase exactly what you want.)

  2. If you already have Color Efex Pro 3.0 installed on PS3, you can now install it at no charge on Capture NX2. (Furthermore, Nik is very flexible in allowing you to have one version (Select) on PS3 and a different version on NX2 (Complete). Having paid for the Select version for Photoshop, it cost me just under $80 to install the Complete version on NX2 (for $150, I could have had the Complete version on both Photoshop and NX2). The point is that you can purchase exactly what you want.)

  3. What I’m waiting for is Aperture plug-ins that allow for non-destructive editing. I’m not sure if the new Color Efex Pro Plug-in allows for this; but I know that the Veveza plug-in, like the built-in Apple Doge & Burn plug-in, converts the raw file to a tiff file that it can subsequently edit. If the Color Efex plug-in converts the raw files to tiffs and then edits them, I don’t see how having this released as an aperture plug-in is any different from using it as a PS3 plug-in.

  4. What I’m waiting for is Aperture plug-ins that allow for non-destructive editing. I’m not sure if the new Color Efex Pro Plug-in allows for this; but I know that the Veveza plug-in, like the built-in Apple Doge & Burn plug-in, converts the raw file to a tiff file that it can subsequently edit. If the Color Efex plug-in converts the raw files to tiffs and then edits them, I don’t see how having this released as an aperture plug-in is any different from using it as a PS3 plug-in.

  5. @Derek if you don’t want to leave Aperture’s workspace it’s significant. Also, not everyone can afford Photoshop. Photoshop costs $649. Aperture costs $199.

    Aperture doesn’t allow for non-destructive plug-in edits regardless of the manufacturer. But with the U Point technology, this is much less an issue since you can make local corrections without layers.

  6. @Derek if you don’t want to leave Aperture’s workspace it’s significant. Also, not everyone can afford Photoshop. Photoshop costs $649. Aperture costs $199.

    Aperture doesn’t allow for non-destructive plug-in edits regardless of the manufacturer. But with the U Point technology, this is much less an issue since you can make local corrections without layers.

  7. Using Color Efex Pro 3.0 on Capture NX2 is non-destructive.

  8. Using Color Efex Pro 3.0 on Capture NX2 is non-destructive.

  9. @Scott – Right, I noticed that in the article soon after I commented. If you don’t want to leave Aperture and do not own photoshop, this would be a great benefit. My mistake, I stand corrected on this point.

    As for Aperture’s plug-in architecture, I had thought that non-destructive plug-in editing was possible but no plug-ins as of yet has implemented this. I remembered reading about this, though cannot find any supporting information right now. Perhaps I had remembered incorrectly.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Aperture – but, looking at the localized non-destructive brush editing features of Lightroom 2.0 Beta has really got me jealous.

  10. @Scott – Right, I noticed that in the article soon after I commented. If you don’t want to leave Aperture and do not own photoshop, this would be a great benefit. My mistake, I stand corrected on this point.

    As for Aperture’s plug-in architecture, I had thought that non-destructive plug-in editing was possible but no plug-ins as of yet has implemented this. I remembered reading about this, though cannot find any supporting information right now. Perhaps I had remembered incorrectly.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Aperture – but, looking at the localized non-destructive brush editing features of Lightroom 2.0 Beta has really got me jealous.

  11. Scott:
    Can you easily apply the filters to multiple images in Aperture? Their site says it is possible but I am wondering if this works well. And how it is done (i.e., can you use Aperture’s stamp tool)? Do you find that it works well?

    Thanks in advance for any help with this!

  12. Scott:
    Can you easily apply the filters to multiple images in Aperture? Their site says it is possible but I am wondering if this works well. And how it is done (i.e., can you use Aperture’s stamp tool)? Do you find that it works well?

    Thanks in advance for any help with this!

  13. @Landya – can’t use the Stamp tool – but you can do it this way and it works fine.

    Color Efex Pro can be applied to multiple images when working in Apple Aperture. To apply Color Efex Pro to multiple images, follow the steps below:
    1. Highlight the images you wish to enhance.
    2. Click on the Images menu.
    3. Roll over the Edit With sub-menu option. A popup will appear.
    4. Select Color Efex Pro… from the popup.
    When using Color Efex Pro with multiple images, three new image controls are available. The new image controls available are Previous, Next, and Save All.

    Previous
    The Previous button will go to the image previously enhanced within the current Color Efex Pro session.

    Next
    The Next button will proceed to the next selected image in the current Color Efex Pro session.

    Save All
    Click Save All to apply Color Efex Pro to the images, close the current Color Efex Pro session, and return to Apple Aperture.

  14. @Landya – can’t use the Stamp tool – but you can do it this way and it works fine.

    Color Efex Pro can be applied to multiple images when working in Apple Aperture. To apply Color Efex Pro to multiple images, follow the steps below:
    1. Highlight the images you wish to enhance.
    2. Click on the Images menu.
    3. Roll over the Edit With sub-menu option. A popup will appear.
    4. Select Color Efex Pro… from the popup.
    When using Color Efex Pro with multiple images, three new image controls are available. The new image controls available are Previous, Next, and Save All.

    Previous
    The Previous button will go to the image previously enhanced within the current Color Efex Pro session.

    Next
    The Next button will proceed to the next selected image in the current Color Efex Pro session.

    Save All
    Click Save All to apply Color Efex Pro to the images, close the current Color Efex Pro session, and return to Apple Aperture.

  15. The only thing I don’t like about the plugins from Color Efex is that you can apply them with a brush like in CS3. Waiting till they add this or sticking with the CS3 method.

  16. The only thing I don’t like about the plugins from Color Efex is that you can apply them with a brush like in CS3. Waiting till they add this or sticking with the CS3 method.

  17. Thanks Scott. I have downloaded the trial version and am giving it a go. It is like having actions within Aperture! Nice.

  18. Thanks Scott. I have downloaded the trial version and am giving it a go. It is like having actions within Aperture! Nice.

  19. @ my pervious post…I meant to say that you can’t apply the effect with a brush as you can using color efex pro like you can in CS3, its an all or nothing approach.

  20. @ my pervious post…I meant to say that you can’t apply the effect with a brush as you can using color efex pro like you can in CS3, its an all or nothing approach.

  21. I am giving Color Efex Pro a try right now. I’m really enjoying it. If I buy it, can I use it both in Photoshop AND Aperture, or do I need to buy two copies of it?

  22. I am giving Color Efex Pro a try right now. I’m really enjoying it. If I buy it, can I use it both in Photoshop AND Aperture, or do I need to buy two copies of it?

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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