Analog Efex Pro
Enhancing your photographs in post-production does not require a complicated software package such as Photoshop. The small software company NIK has been known to produce one of the finest toolsets for getting the absolut best out of your photos. It’s a collection of different plug-ins that work with either Adobe Lightroom or Apple Aperture. What makes NIK so powerful is that it is extremely easy to use while employing the probably best algorithms for enhancing your images. You can easily learn how to improve your photos in just a few minutes. Contrast that to learning Photoshop.
In a somewhat stunning move, Google acquired NIK in early 2013. Some people thought that this would be the end of NIK. On the contrary, Google keeps enhancing the package and they just released a completely new plug-in. Also, they drastically lowered the price for the entire collection. It is now priced at USD 149 for all seven plug-ins. Even better – Google just released a new tool and it’s called Analog Efex Pro and it aims to give your photographs the look and feel of traditional film cameras and dark room techniques. Here is a quick look at this tool.
Easy to use
Just like the other NIK Collection plug-ins, you can easily launch Analog Efex Pro from Lightroom. The interface is nicely structured with presets on the left and a panel for detailed adjustments on the right.
You can use Analog Efex Pro in three different ways: The easiest and fastest option is to apply one of the many pre-configured presets. If you are more experienced you use the library of impressive tools such as lens distortion, bokeh, lens scratches, wet plate effects and film frames. I would anticipate most people using a mixture of both approaches (that’s what I do). Once you start digging in, you will be amazed about the powerful options Analog Efex Pro provides. Best of all – it does not take very long to learn. Here are some examples of the included tools:
The screenshot above shows the motion & zoom blur feature. It is quite easy to use yet it is extremely powerful. Compare that to applying Gaussian Blur in Photoshop. You can pretty tweak each everything very quickly.
It would be easy to dismiss Analog Efex Pro to be just another photographic filter software. It’s not just that. This plug-in allows you to fine-tune every little pixel to develop professional-grade images.
A few samples
I spent a few minutes this weekend playing with Analog Efex Pro. While I do have to admit that I am not a big fan of too much post-processing, I really enjoyed working with the software. The samples below took me just a few minutes each. It could be a very powerful tool for enhancing your portraits and street photographs.
Analog Efex Pro – Summary
Analog Efex Pro is a great tool to give your photos an aged looked. The software goes way beyond the typical set of filters some apps provide. It’s much more than just Instagram on Steroids. This is a professional software tool that allows you to refine your RAW or jpeg images. I will most definitely spend more time with it. However, I am not a big fan of too much processing.
If you already own the NIK Collection, Analog Efex Pro is actually free of charge. You can’t argue with that!