Let’s take a walk down memory lane.
A long time ago, at least in digital software terms, a company called NIK introduced a revolutionary set of Plug-ins that would work with Adobe products such a Photoshop, Elements, and the like. These plug-ins would open up creative opportunities to the masses allowing for specific adjustment to parts of an image as opposed to a whole image, much like advanced Photoshop users were doing with “brushes.” While you could by individual plug-ins in the Nik group, the overall total package was about $500.00. To own the whole package you had to be a pretty serous image processer. The most popular were Silver Efex for black and white work (exceptional). Color Efex (Outstanding) and Viveza (that any real photographer could not live without). And, some of this capability was built into Nikon Capture Softwae and Nikon called it UPOINT.
But like so many other things in the digital world and the photography world, Google, who desperately wanted another program that Nik had created called Snapseed, decided to buy the NIK company. Once in their hands they lowered the price of NIK plugins to $150.00 but you had to buy the whole suite. Still that price was a far cry from the original NIK price. But before long Google lowered the price to ZERO and you guessed it, it was the end of any future development and would lead to the product being discontinued. Another Google FU.
Then a few months ago it was announced that DXO had bought the rights to the program including the patent to and the code and recently released a new and cleaner 64bit version of the Plug ins for $69.00. There is a trial version which I tried and then bought it.
I have been watching some newly created live webinars and all I can say is that for all the years I used it in my work I never realized that I only partook in about 40 percent of the actual features that are available. It is my understanding that the live webinars will be available as videos in a few weeks. In the meantime you might want to look at some educational material on YouTube.
As many of my readers know I have been messing around (really learning) lots of different softwares over the past couple of years and have written a lot about what I liked and did not like. My current, but not perfect program is Alien Skin X3 because it has so many creative alternatives built in and yes I can control click my way right into the Nik Plugins as well. Other programs like Lightroom, Photoshop, Elements, Capture One, all make complete use of Nik. But the most versatile program because of how it works with smart layers is Photoshop when it comes to using Nik. Nik can also be used as stand alone applications.
Now, it is important to know that Nik does not recognize raw files, at least not yet. When using host software like Adobe, the image will be sent to Nik as a Tiff file and once processed through it will go back to the host as a finished Tiff file. If you use Nik stand alone then you need to open a saved Tiff file to work on.
I can only say that if you want to enhance your images with selective edits this is a great and simplified way to go.