I’ll be blunt: Google is far from the first name I think of when I think about Photoshop plugins. Consequently it was quite the surprise to learn that Google had made a series of plugins from their Nik brand available for free, having previously fetched $149 (even $499 prior to Nik’s acquisition by the Mountain View company).
In case you haven’t heard of Nik, they’re the developers of popular Android-based photo editor Snapseed. In fact, the reason given for making the Nik desktop plugins free is that they’re shifting their focus to mobile development efforts including Google Photos and the aforementioned Snapseed. The full quote from the announcement on Google+ follows:
Today we’re making the Nik Collection available to everyone, for free.
Photo enthusiasts all over the world use the Nik Collection to get the best out of their images every day. 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, so that now anyone can use it.
The Nik Collection is comprised of seven desktop plug-ins that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities — from filter applications that improve color correction, to retouching and creative effects, to image sharpening that brings out all the hidden details, to the ability to make adjustments to the color and tonality of images.
Starting March 24, 2016, the latest Nik Collection will be freely available to download: Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro, Viveza, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro and Dfine. If you purchased the Nik Collection in 2016, you will receive a full refund, which we’ll automatically issue back to you in the coming days.
We’re excited to bring the powerful photo editing tools once only used by professionals to even more people now.
The shift in focus likely means that the Nik plugins have reached the end of active development, save for the possible future security patch or bugfix here or there. Nevertheless, they’re current as of 2016 and they should continue to prove useful for years to come. You can download them here, though you’ll need Photoshop, Lightroom or Photoshop Elements to make use of them. You can see a description of each plugin in the Nik collection below.