The recent big news in the photo world is that google just updated their analog efex plugin. I must admit that I was a little surprised as the first version came out not too long ago. If you are unfamiliar with what I am talking about then check out google’s NIK Software package or the post that I wrote about it before reading on. If you don’t know already, I am a huge fan of the NIK Collection and HDR Efex Pro 2 and Color Efex. When they updated the collection adding the analog plugin I was skeptical. I thought that it was the NIK version of instagram or hipstamatic. However, after playing around with the plugin after my trip to Gayaland, I sort of changed my mind. It had a purpose, at least for me. Rather than going for realistic shots or at least slightly “over saturated” realistic shots, you get a chance to create a new style of camera from the ground up and create a unique image.
Now, are you still putting dust and crap over your shots? Well yes, but you get the ability to control the amount and the tonality of the crap they you put on your shot. Some will say that the light-leaky blown out shots are crap and for the most part, I do too. However, the real advantage here is that you can create some pretty cool “efex” without having to get too heavy into photoshop.
With the new version, they have made a lot of changes. They have added in motion blur that really can make some interesting shots. They have added also a lot more styles of cameras or effect styles beyond the wet plate, classic, toy and vintage camera settings that they offered before. There are now cameras to highlight the different features like motion, black and white, as well as subtle bokeh and a lomo “supersampler” style multilens effect.
Another cool feature is that you can choose a “I’m feeling lucky” feature that will give a you some random and interesting results with just a click of the button. You can still vary the style within the layers. Which is something that I liked when using the older version. A lot of the cool efex can be made simply by experiments with the different effects and this really helps you explore things that you might not have chosen before.
The updated version has a ton of options to play around with and that makes creating an image really fun. However, they didn’t change a little annoyance that I had with the workflow that sort of threw me for a loop. Normally, when you are working with an image in color efex and you are stacking the effects, you can with turn off or delete the effect on the right-side panel. In analog efex you have to go into the “camera kit” and choose to turn it on or off. In the new version you can click a “+” or “-” to delete the effect. What has replaced the “x” button is a revert button that sets the effect back to default but does not actually get rid of it. I would much rather they kept the workflow consistent between plugins.
At any rate, I am starting to really like using this and for a free update it is a pretty good one. Now, for most it should update automatically. However, for some reason I had to download mine again. If you have already purchased the collection it should recognize your code and work fine. If you are not sure about buying the collection, there is a 15 day trial. For me, $149 is not bad for so many powerful plugins and updates like this really make me happy. I can’t wait to see if they will update HDR efex pro 2! [button link=”https://www.google.com/nikcollection/” color=”teal” newwindow=”yes”] The NIK collection can be found here. [/button]