DxO acquires Nik Collection assets from Google, what does this mean for the future of Nik?
posted Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 9:00 AM EDT
Alongside announcing DxO PhotoLab, the company has also announced the acquisition of Nik Collection assets from Google. For longtime users of Nik software, this is great news following Google killing the software earlier this year. This article will cover the news and then wrap up with my personal take on the acquisition.
The acquisition will not lead to immediate improvements to the Nik software, which Google had let languish for years before killing it, but the current version of the Nik Collection is available now for free through DxO. DxO expects that in mid-2018, a new version will be ready.
Of the Nik Collection being sold, Google Engineering Director Aravind Krishnaswamy says, "The Nik Collection gives photographers tools to create photos they absolutely love. We're thrilled to have DxO, a company dedicated to high-quality photography solutions, acquire and continue to develop it." Jérôme Ménière, DxO's CEO and founder, adds, "We are very excited to welcome the Nik Collection to the DxO family. DxO revolutionized the image processing market many times over the years with its innovative solutions, and we will continue to do so with Nik's tools, which offer new creative opportunities to millions of photographers. The new version of our flagship software DxO OpticsPro, which is available as of now under its new name DxO PhotoLab, is the first embodiment of this thrilling acquisition with built-in U Point technology."
The Nik Collection includes a wide range of photo editing solutions, both as desktop apps and as plugins for Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom Classic. The seven applications are Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Dfine, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, Silver Efex Pro and Viveza, which cover common editing tasks like noise reduction, HDR, sharpening, black and white conversion and much more.
I have heavily utilized the Nik Collection for nearly a decade as the primary part of my editing workflow within Adobe Photoshop. There are very few images I have created over the last eight years which have not undergone some sort of editing using Nik software. When Google acquired Nik and made it free, I was at first excited by the prospect that more users would be able to take advantage of the software. The more the merrier, right? However, what I didn't initially realize was that the software becoming free really meant that Google was going to stop supporting the software.
The software went without updates for years and then, as mentioned, Google officially took the software off life support earlier this year. With each new update to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom, I became increasingly worried that my Nik software would stop working. That is no longer a concern with DxO's acquisition.
It is not immediately known what exactly DxO will do with the Nik Collection in the long term, but the company wasted no time incorporating Nik's U Point technology inside of their own RAW processing software, now known as PhotoLab. I have yet to find a black and white converter as proficient and easy to use as Nik's Silver Efex Pro, so if DxO can incorporate some of what makes Silver Efex Pro so great into PhotoLab, that would be very nice. The same goes for HDR Efex Pro, which is a solid HDR creation tool and Sharpener Pro, my go-to solution for preparing images for print across a wide range of media.
While image editing workflows such as luminosity masking is excellent for selectively adjusting parts of images with highly-precise masks, when I need to quickly make local adjustments, Nik's Viveza has always been my favorite method thanks to its U Point technology and wide range of sliders. To see this easy point and click image editing method revived and introduced to a full-fledged RAW processor is very exciting.
It was enough for me that DxO has brought Nik back from the dead, but for them to also be working on a new version of the collection is just the icing on the cake and the best photography software news I've heard in a long time. Perhaps I'm making too big of a deal of this, but as I said, Nik software has been a critical part of my workflow for a long time and now I know that it should stay that way for a long time to come.