So I was browsing around a few of my regular photography haunts on the internet the other day, and I saw something that caught my attention. Nik Software have released a new product to join their existing suite of plugins, Analog Efex Pro.
I had In the past played with Niks Silver Efex Pro and was blown away with how simple it was to create stunning Black and White images. But at the time, the cost for the single plug in was a bit much for me. Then Google took over and a short while later they dropped the price of the whole plugin suite. It was now cheap enough for me, so I stumped up the cash, and got cracking. Some of the plugins are good but didn’t really factor into my general work flow, I was only really interested in Silver Efex Pro. However Google has produced a number of excellent tutorial videos and its shown me how versatile they can be. More and more, the other plugins are beginning to sneak into my workflow.
Post processing is something I always do. The flexibility of digital photography allows me to continue to work and develop images long after I initially took them. I try to get as much right in camera as I can, but quite often revisit images and re process them with different effects. I currently use Lightroom as my main editing programme and for me its enough. I don’t use photoshop and try wherever possible to enhance an image rather than alter it into something completely different. I stick to the photography side of the fence rather then the graphic design side.
Right, back to Analog Efex Pro. I saw a few people chatting about it on line and to be honest it was all negative. Lots of them were moaning about how it had secretly downloaded and screwed a lot of their existing software up. I worried that this could happen to me and having suffered similar issues before, resulting in reinstalling windows all over, it was something I was eager to avoid.
However when I got home I though I better check. I fired up Lightroom, opened a random image and checked the edit image with tab; low and behold it was there and I eagerly jumped straight into it. It’s very similar to the other plugins, so I had no issues with the controls. It works quickly and integrates well. I for one had no downloading issues and it has not affected any of my other programmes.
So what do I think?
Simply put, I think it s fantastic. There are a huge amount of filters and of course you can use any one of the presets as a base and just jump off from there. There is tremendous scope to tweak and adjust and add all sorts of effects, its very simple to use and in reality you are only limited by your imagination. Granted, not every image requires an old school film border, but it does make things fun, and to me, images should be as much fun to produce as they are to look at.
Overall, its like a grown up version of Instagram. I personally don’t use Instagram but I do like some of the effects that it produces, assuming that its an interesting picture in the first place and not someone’s dinner or a bathroom mirror selfie.
The plugin comes with a number of classic and vintage camera settings, wet plate settings, toy camera settings. You can alter the bokeh and vignette, you can select single points to focus on. It doesn’t come with the same U Point option that the other plugins have, but to be honest I don’t really see how that would fit with this sort of set up.
Overall its a big thumbs up. Its great that Google are continuing to support and develop such a product.
Below are a couple of very simple examples. I literally grabbed a random image and tweaked for a couple of minutes as I explored the options.