Are Nik Tools too Photoshop Oriented to be useful?

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by GBarrington, Apr 6, 2016.

  1. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    To non Photoshop users?

    They are, what they are, of course. That's the nature of abandonware. But I was surprised to discover that Viveza 2 simply won't work with either Paint Shop Pro X8 or with ACDSee Ultimate 9. And while I can get Viveza to launch as a standalone app, I have not been able to get it to open an image as a standalone.

    Several of the other tools DO work with ACDSee and PSP as plugins, but in my mind, Viveza was the crown jewel of the suite, the other tools have high quality and relatively inexpensive competitors, so their addition to my tool box is marginal at best.

    I have three questions:
    1. Have you been able to get Viveza to work with other non Adobe tools? (and I mean launch it, edit a photo, and return a useful image.)
    2. If so, what software did you use to host the Nik tools? (also, are you on a Mac or a PC?)
    3. Have you been able to launch Viveza as a stand alone app, and again I mean launch it, edit a photo, and return a useful image?
  2. HabsFan

    HabsFan New to Mu-43

    Apr 6, 2016
    I've been able to get them to work with capture one. The Nik tools usually create a TIF file, they can't use your RAW image. If your RAW converter has an edit with function, you should be able to get round-trip functionality to work.

    Otherwise, make your edits in your RAW converter, then export to TIF. Then in windows, right click on your image and select open with ---> choose default program. You may have to go to the install directory to find the .exe file with the browse button or it might be in the 'other programs' section. I uncheck the 'Always use the selected program to open this kind of file' because you probably don't want a nik plugin to open your jpeg/tif files by default.

    You will have to do this for all the plugins you want to use and also for tif and jpeg files so it's a bit tedious the first time around but once you do it, the selected plugins will show up in the 'open with' menu.

    I've been able to do this with Vivenza and I find Vivenza is the most useful plugin of the bunch.
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  3. theoldsmithy

    theoldsmithy Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 19, 2013
    Hereford, UK
    Real Name:
    Martin Connolly
    I have been using a Mac for the last 8 months or so, but prior to that (and prior to taking out an Adobe subscription) I'm sure I managed to use both the Nik and Topaz tools as a plugin to IrfanView in Windows.
    Currently I use them as plugins with Lightroom.
  4. kreegah bundolo

    kreegah bundolo Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 25, 2013
    Sweden, north of the dalälv
    Real Name:
    I just tried and i works stand alone as the others in the collection. Just right-click on image and 'open with' and choose the viveza 2 application. I edited and saved, works fine.

    I'm on PC. Have just GIMP and Oly Viewer as editing software.
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  5. Moula

    Moula Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 9, 2016
    They are also reported to work smoothly as plugins in Zoner Photo Studio.
  6. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    1. Have you been able to get Viveza to work with other non Adobe tools? (and I mean launch it, edit a photo, and return a useful image.)
    For years used LR as DAM. Photos could go to a Nik app for editing and returned to LR. Then I would sometimes take the image to Topaz. The same was possible with Aperture as DAM. What is the problem?
    1. If so, what software did you use to host the Nik tools? (also, are you on a Mac or a PC?)
    Before I retired always a PC. As soon as I retired I dumped PC/Win and went to Mac.

    1. Have you been able to launch Viveza as a stand alone app, and again I mean launch it, edit a photo, and return a useful image?
    Not in a couple of years as I have no need for any Nik apps since the Google takeover. I use the Macphun apps and OnOne Photo 10. Those give me far more image control.
  7. yendikeno

    yendikeno Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 5, 2015
    Something to be aware about the Nik software. When using as a plug-in, Nik creates a TIFF copy of the original that you can work with. Once saved, you still have the untouched original and a copy.

    But if you use the stand alone versions of Nik, then no copy is created, and all edits are done directly to your original file. So if using stand alone, you should make a copy of the original to work with.
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  8. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:
    drag and drop works

    also Irfanview allows you to import them and use them on an image using the Adobe 8BF plugins
  9. OldRadioGuy

    OldRadioGuy Enthusiast Amateur

    Nov 11, 2012
    Austin, Texas USA
    Real Name:
    Windows 10 --

    With these caveats, the Google Nik Collection works well in both PhotoLine 19 and Zoner Photo Studio 18:
    1. The x64 versions of all except Viveza and Dfine run correctly as filters in PhotoLine. Because PhotoLine will also recognize external standalones, Viveza and Dfine can be run as standalones, returning their results to a designated layer in PhotoLine.
    2. Zoner Photo Studio runs only the x32 versions as filters. Because the x64 versions are in subfolders, Zoner adds those to the plugin menu with "X", adding difficulty to scrolling to the correct filter.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  10. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    A report back on Nik tools.

    I've kept at it, and after great struggle, I've not only gotten comfortable with the NIK tools, I've gotten them to where they are useable with ACDSee Ultimate 9.

    Basically, THAT feat was achieved by methodically using them in a variety of ways so as to know which can be used as true Photoshop plugins and which need to be identified as an 'external editor'. Those that can be used as an external editor will also work with ACDSee 19 an ACDSee Pro 9.

    I can see why Nik tools are so popular. Viveza 2 is probably the best selective editing tool around. However, the lack of ongoing support makes me wonder if our time wouldn't be better spent trying to convince the various software publishers to improve their own selective editing tools. I worry about becoming too dependent on software that I KNOW has an end of life that is coming sooner than my own!

    NIK HDR Efex is now probably the best FREE HDR tool out there right now, but in all truth, I think Photomatix Pro 5 is better. I wrote about it here. It doesn't work all that well with ACDSee anyway. You really need to use it outside the ACDSee environment completely, which make Photomatix a bit easier to use, I think.

    I have mixed feelings about the Color Efex and Silver Efex tools. I think the overall color and B&W control is better in ACDSee. In particular, I think the straight B&W conversion in ACDSee is superior to that of Silver Efex (as is the color control compared to Color Efex, though less so), however that "ONE/TWO" punch of being able to control color and tonality and then combine it with a special effect is awfully nice. And they can be used as true photoshop plugins without being used as external editors.

    I have noticed that NIK, in general, tends to lean towards more contrast than less, and I think I have a harder time getting tone and contrast just the way I want it with NIK. Like I said, mixed feelings.

    The Sharpening and Noise Control, overall, I don't think is as good as skillful use of Topaz Denoise and Detail. I also find the existence of TWO NIK sharpening tools a bit baffling. though all can be used, like the Topaz tools, as true photoshop plugins without having to resort to external editor status or outside the ACDSee environment completely.

    I also think I prefer OnONE's Perfect Effects and DXO's Film Pack free versions to NIKs Analog Efex. Don't get me wrong, Analog Efex is very nice, but I think it has kind of a split personality by trying to cover two somewhat different functions in the same single tool.

    There is a lot to like with the NIK tools, but I hesitate to become too dependent on software that has been abandoned. I'd be more positive if there was an open source project formed to perpetuate the software in the same way one was created when Lightzone went under as a commercial project, but I suspect Google sees the underlying technology as too valuable to let it become open source software.
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
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  11. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:

    yes, I'd like to report the same, they even work in really simple editors like IrfanView (which can run Adobe 8BF filters).

    Given the number of other tools out there emerging I don't mind if this tool slips off my even horizon in a few years (to be replaced by something else). That has been pretty much the story for all my software tools actually. Having said that I think we are reaching a software maturity plateau where there is less development. I've been with Photoshop since like version 4 and once we had layers, colour profiles and ACR added there has not been any really "oh wow" moments for me. So at home I stay with CS even though I use CS4 and CS6 at work. I feel not much is brought to the table in these updates for me in my use.
  12. m4/3boy

    m4/3boy Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 21, 2013
    It's free software; so why are you bitching?
  13. GBarrington

    GBarrington Mu-43 Veteran

    Someone on another forum pointed me to this rather long video which describes how the presenter uses the NIK sharpening tools to great effect. Like I said, the video is long but very useful, even for non Photoshop users.

    I learned quite a bit about sharpening in general, and while I don't think the typical non Photoshop user can use the presenter's workflow exactly as presented, certainly the principles can be adapted for improved sharpness even if the NIK tools aren't used, though the NIK tools might make things easier.

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  14. pellicle

    pellicle Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 10, 2010
    Southport, OzTrailEYa
    Real Name:
    that is a good tutorial and covers multi pass sharpening well.

    I got stuff out of that too ... even though I've been doing an amount of this for nearly 10 years now.
    1. sharpening my neg after scanning or digi cam after ingest
    2. contrast and selective enhancement
    3. output specific sharpening
    nice to see it all in one tute - thanks for posting that
  15. Petrochemist

    Petrochemist Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Mar 21, 2013
    N Essex, UK
    Real Name:
    They work find from FastStone (another free bit of software) so NO.
    I do wish they could call each other, and adding a save as option to the bits without it would also be nice - too late now though :(