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Thursday, 31 March 2016

Free - Nik Collection

It was once a $500 package of pro photo editing software but is now completely free. The Nik Collection of photo editing tools, which was recently priced at $150 following Google’s acquisition in 2012, is now available free for everyone.

“As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free,” Google announced this month. Those who have already paid for the software in 2016 will get their money back automatically.

UPDATE - 2018

The product has now been acquired from Google by DxO labs. They plan to update the Collection and enhance the U Point technology. At present the Collection can still be downloaded freely by emailing DxO for a download link.

Installing Nik Collection - Mac

The Nik Collection can be downloaded free at:

These instructions relate to Photoshop Elements but are also relevant to other compatible Editors. Quit Photoshop Elements before starting.

The download will start automatically and will be saved into your downloads folder.

When the download completes go to your downloads folder and look for the Nik file.

Double-click (control-click) on the Nik icon to start the setup and authorize the installation with your usual Apple password.

After language choice click OK and the installation dialog will appear. Click Next.

Click I agree to accept Google terms.

Click Next to install in your Applications – the default location.

A list of host applications will appear and the Nik plug-ins will be installed in each one. If any of these applications are running e.g. Photoshop Elements, Photoshop, Lightroom, Bridge, Aperture must quit. Then click the Install button. A progress bar will indicate that setup and installation has started. When complete click Finish.

Launch Photoshop Elements or your chosen application. 

Open a photo for Editing. You can drag the Nik Selective Tool to the side.

Click on one of the Nik Plug-ins e.g. Color Efex Pro 4 and the plug-in will launch together with your open image.

Click the Add Filter button and choose from the templates on the left.

Click OK when finished and save as usual or click brush if you want to add a mask to make the Nik filter only apply to selected parts of your image. Set color chip to white and use the brush to reveal the parts you wish to apply the adjustments to. Then click apply and save as usual.

If you wish to hide the Nik Selective Tool, click the settings icon (bottom left – Selective Tool) and choose to not automatically show it, then click OK. 

The Nik filter effects can then be accessed from the Editor Filter menu.

You can choose to show the Nik selective Tool at any time by going to:

File >> Automate Tools >> Nik Collection Selective Tool

Please note, HDR Efex Pro 2 is not compatible with Photoshop Elements. Photoshop Elements cannot support 32-bit images, which is a requirement for HDR imaging. All other Nik Plug-ins should work.