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VSCO vs NIK

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by Steven, Jul 11, 2014.

  1. Steven

    Steven Mu-43 All-Pro

    May 25, 2012
    USA
    I want to get an add on to Lightroom that will help me quickly get to a more interesting image point . I can go further from there, but I feel like I need help and can save a lot of time by getting some presets or something of that nature. I like what I see from VSCO. I understand NIK also has some presets . I know it also has a lot of other powerful features. I played with a standalone version briefly a few years ago. However, I understand that VSCO adjustments are all in Lightroom, where NIK takes you out of Lightroom loop and adjustments are not recorded in Lightroom. Is that correct?
    I feel like VSCO may be better for my purposes right now, but NIK seems like a better deal. Can anyone add some thoughts on this dilemma of mine? :smile: Thank you.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  2. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    NIK works best in photoshop, where the adjustments go to layers. LR just exports it to NIK and gets the file back. I don't have any experience with VSCO, but I'm not interested enough in film emulations to spend that kind of money on VSCO. NIK suite is much better value for the really broad range of excellent tools you get.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. mcasan

    mcasan Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 26, 2014
    Atlanta
    Use Perfect Photo Suite which does things on layers and masks. When you finalize the image in the Suite it can send it as a PSD with layers back to LR.
     
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I've got the full Nik Collection, got it for free actually, as I bought Nik Silver Effects Pro years ago and then Google bought out Nik and offered the lot for free, but that's another story. I've also got Perfect Effects 8 (free again) and to be honest, Nik is a lot better. Nik works in both LR and PS, and stays resident in each program, so you don't have to jump from one to the other. I use the Nik software a fair bit, but not Perfect Effects.
     
  5. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I will say perfect effects does a fine job as a standalone app. Haven't tried Nik at all though.
    GX1•17/2.8•30/2.8
     
  6. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    Wendy
    You can try Nik for free for 15 days, so why not give it a try. I did and after a few days I bought it. So many great things in that package.
     
  7. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Mainly because I don't want to be tempted to spend more money ;) Maybe I'll give in and at least give it a spin though!
     
  8. emorgan451

    emorgan451 Mu-43 Veteran

    I was about to start a new thread asking about Perfect Effects 8 vs Nik plugins, but I figured it would fit in with this thread. I've tried the Perfect Effects 8, but I find it pretty cumbersome (my machine is kinda old so that may have a big effect) and also the files are huge afterwards. I really like the effects that people get from using Nik in their workflow and thought about downloading the trial when I do a shoot (trying to time the trial period right) but I don't have any clue how cumbersome it would be. How do you think they compare? Is Nik's input back to LR a tif that's huge as well?

    I'm trying to strike the right balance between how much time I spend processing each photo and achieving the result I want. I also wonder if something like Trey Ratcliff's lightroom presets would serve me better. Has anyone had any experience with those?

    If this is too off topic I can start a new thread.

    Thanks,
    Eli
     
  9. zlatko-photo

    zlatko-photo Mu-43 Veteran

    228
    Jan 8, 2014
    I highly recommend Totally Rad Replichrome I and Replichrome II. They work within Lightroom like VSCO, but I prefer the look.
     
  10. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Perfect Effects has been good to me, but you really do need a fast machine with a lot of RAM to have any sort of good experience with it.

    As for the filesize, it will be huge if you import the file as a TIFF or PhotoShop file. Which if you do, you'll still need a program to convert the file to jpeg, if I understand the program correctly. I usually import jpegs, so the output is easy to use without further ado.
     
  11. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I don't save the files I work on as PSD, just JPG, so the files aren't large. I've tried to use Perfect Effects 8 many times and I just can't warm to it; it just doesn't seem as flexible and 'nice' as Nik. It's a bit difficult to describe, but I much prefer the Nik plugins.
     
  12. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 Top Veteran

    805
    Jan 3, 2014
    Northern Virgnia
    • Like Like x 1
  13. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    My best recommendation for Perfect Effects is to watch the tutorials on the site - once I grasped the idea of stacking filters, and how you can adjust individual filters, paint in and out areas of the photo on individual filters, and adjust filter opacity, a lot clicked into place. Now I just wish it was a more full-featured editor, with things like crop, export options and the like, but I get that that's not the purpose of the program.

    Does Nik offer export tools and things like horizon/crop?
     
  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I use Nik in the most simplistic fashion, but since it produces PSD files and works within PS, I assume that it can do whatever.
     
  15. wanderenvy

    wanderenvy Mu-43 Regular

    153
    May 11, 2012
    I got Ratcliffe's plugins in a moment of weakness. They have their pluses and minuses, depending on how much you like to cook your image.

    And it goes without seeing that Ratcliffe likes to cook.

    The presets seem better suited for landscapes, not surprising since that's what he does. There are a few that I will like to try out on environmental portraits to see how the resulting color toned image shows up. The results are pretty attractive sometimes. But again, if you are looking to keep it 'natural', these are not for you.

    The biggest plus with the presets is that they show you what is possible with the image file. Many of the changes are fairly aggressive, and leverage Lightroom controls in non intuitive ways. This changes the image much more than what I would do starting from the default raw.

    So these days, when I have a shot that falls short of being good naturally, say good composition and expressions but messed up exposure, I will try one of my favorite presets. (I ignore about 90% of them)

    If I get something interesting, the next step is to start UNDOING whatever the preset did step by step, until I get a compromise that looks less cooked to my eyes but still retains some of the changes that made it interesting.

    ~W
     
  16. ptan55

    ptan55 Mu-43 Regular

    45
    Dec 18, 2011
    Amherst, NY
    The nice thing about Nik is that you can set a control.point and adjust.just the area under the control point instead of the whole picture.
     
  17. cueball

    cueball Mu-43 Regular

    56
    Aug 5, 2013
    Oklahoma
    This... I also have the Nik suite but can't speak to VSCO. These days it's few and far between that I don't start my edits with one of the Replichrome presets.
     
  18. OldRadioGuy

    OldRadioGuy Enthusiast Amateur

    56
    Nov 11, 2012
    Austin, Texas USA
    Bob
    You can do the same thing with onOne Perfect Photo Suite 8, but with masking. (Control points are really overlays for masks, and at least some of the standalone versions of the Nik products allow the user to look at the masks.) I now use Perfect Photo Suite 8 a lot after reviewing their YouTube videos. The suite includes a browser and batch processing.

    The Google Nik plugins appear to be aimed at Photoshop and Photoshop Elements users, although they include standalone versions that are a little bit quirky. In the Windows version, HDR Efex Pro, for example, puts its output files in the Windows Documents folder. No way to change that.

    Bob
     
  19. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I'll take back some of what I said about Perfect Effect 8. I've been playing around with it a little more and there are some features that are handy. It seems that there is not one ideal product and each one has strengths and weaknesses. It's a bit like having to have a set of metric and AF spanners and sockets, as there isn't any worldwide standardisation on nuts and bolts.
     
  20. dav1dz

    dav1dz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    926
    Nov 6, 2012
    Canada
    Replichrome: 2 preset packs that covers most of the professional print and colour reversal films.

    VSCO: 5 preset packs now (potentially more) that also covers consumer and instant films.

    My decision was swayed by the fact that VSCO gave instant savings to returning customers. The looks are all the same for the films they have in common.

    Trey's presets are all looks that he likes. They're not the same as film emulation presets. These are probably the easiest to create on your own.

    Nik and all the other stuff mentioned are all plugins. They will likely require an export-import for edits and are often done with a convert to TIF or PSD first.