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Nik Color Efex Review

color efex review

The Nik Collection’s Color Efex is a vast collection of effects filters that can be applied to your photo, individually tweaked, and combined with other filters to create compound effects beyond the reach of many photo editing applications.

Besides being highly capable, Color Efex is straightforward to use, fun, and exceptionally well priced when considered as one-eighth of the US$149 Nik Collection. For these reasons, Color Efex deserves your attention. Jump to Conclusion

REVIEW CONTINUES BELOW


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Table of Contents

What is Color Efex

Color Effex is one part of the eight-app Nik Collection and enables you to enhance your photo using color and tone filters such as Bleech Bypass, Vignetting, Black and White Conversion, and more.

Color Efex
Color Efex in one part of the seven-app Nik Collection

Moreover, each filter has its own adjustments, allowing you to tune your chosen filter to match your creative vision. Yet, Color Efex is at its best when you add and combine multiple filters to create truly unique compound effects. Whether you can play it subtly or dial it up to 11, Color Efex is always fun and never demanding.

To help you get started, Color Efex includes 39 presets, each preloaded with a carefully curated set of filters designed to produce a specific result. As before, you can adjust each of the Preset’s individual filters and additional filters if desired. Afterwhich, you can save your unique edit as a Preset for use another day.

See Nik Color Efex in action

ColorEfex and the Nik Collection is marketed as a plugin for Lightroom and Photoshop. However, you can also use Color Efex standalone, independent of any photo editing application.

How much does ColorEfex cost?

US$149.99 for Color Efex and the whole Nik Collection. Check Today’s Prices

Download ColorEfex Free Trial

Try Color Efex free for 30 days. Try now.

Color Efex System Requirements

Recommended system specifications for Color Efex and the Nik Collection 6

WindowsMac OS
CPUIntel 6-core or AMD RyzenIntel 6-core or Apply M1 or higher
Memory16GB16GB
Storage6GB6GB
GPUNvidia RTX2060 or AMD RX660AMD Radeon Pro580x or better for Intel
OSWindows 11macOS 12
Source: DxO.

How to use Color Efex

#1 Applying a Preset

Begin by opening your photo file. Note, Color Efex is JPEG and TIFF only and will not open Raw files. Once opened, the best place to begin is Presets. Click on the Preset list and browse each until you find one you like.

How to use Nik Collection Color Efex
You can view the effect of a preset before applying it.

#2 Adjusting a Preset

By applying a preset, you’re actually using multiple filters – each of which can be adjusted independently. You will find the adjustments to each filter on the right-hand side of the screen.

How to use Nik Collection Color Efex
Each Preset is a ready-made collection of independently adjustable filters.

#3 Add another Filter

Alternatively, you can ignore Presets altogether and choose your own filters. However, you might prefer to begin with a Preset and add additional filters manually. In this case, I will add a Vignette by clicking on the Filter List and browsing to the aptly named Vignette Filter.

How to use Nik Collection Color Efex
You can skip Presets altogether and assemble your own collection of Filters. Or, you can begin with a Preset and add additional filters. You can save the sum of your edit as a new Preset.

#4 Adjusting your manually added filter

You can adjust your chosen Filter’s effect using the settings on the right-hand side of the screen.

How to use Nik Collection Color Efex
You can adjust the properties and aesthetics of each filter.

#5 Finishing your image

You can continue adding additional filters or finish and save your image as a JPEG or TIFF. You can turn off any filter by unticking the box next to the title of each filter or roll back to an earlier version of your image using the History window. Finally, you can compare your image, before and after, using the icons at the top of the screen.

How to use Nik Collection Color Efex
Comparing before and after images.

Color Efex Samples

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Color Efex Compared

Color Efex vs DxO FilmPack 7

Color Efex and DxO FilmPack 7 are very similar in that both allow you to stack multiple effects filters upon an existing image.

However, DxO FilmPack 7 is very much a premium alternative. First, it offers more in the way of traditional photo editing tools, such as exposure and cropping. Plus, unlike Color Efex, FilmPack also processes Raw files.

But the main selling point of DxO FilmPack 7 is its lust for film and its ability to faithfully convert your digital images to match the characteristics of classic film stock from Kodak, FujiFilm, Poloriod, and more.

Yet, the DxO FilmPack 7 costs almost as much as Color Efex and the whole Nik Collection combined, making Color Efex a bit of a bargain in comparison. But if you want to blend the convenience of digital with the gloriously imperfect aesthetic of the film, DxO FilmPack is special indeed. Read DxO FilmPack 7 Review

Color Efex vs ON1 Effects

Like Color Efex, ON1 Effects allows you to bury your image under a stack of effects filters. However, ON1 Effect’s layers are more diverse, including effects such as Bokeh, Light leaks, and Textures.

You can also leverage Super Select AI – an object recognition-powered tool that automatically detects and masks photographic elements for hugely convenient selective adjustments.

But, like DxO Filmpack, ON1 Effect is a premium offering that costs half as much as the entire Nik Collection, let alone Color Efex. Read ON1 Effects Review

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Conclusion

Color Efex is a fun, effective, and straightforward Effects tool. Judged in isolation, Color Efex is a great product that could easily stand alone. But, measured as one part of the 8-App US$149 Nik Collection, Color Efex is a stone-cold bargain.

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NIK 6 COLLECTION

BUY NIK 6 COLLECTION TODAY

LIFETIME LICENSE

$149

30-DAY MONEY-BACK GUARANTEE

TRY NIK COLLECTION FOR FREE

FREE FOR 30 DAYS

FREE

NO CREDIT CARD REQUIRED


Richard Adams

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