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Google Software

Google's $149 Nik Photo Editing Suite Goes Free 52

Google has announced that it is making its $149 Nik Collection photo editing suite available for free of charge. The move, which should make plenty of amateur and professional photographers happy, comes roughly three and a half years after Google acquired Nik Software. The suite includes seven desktop plugins and allows you to add effects and apply filters to your photos. Those of you who had purchased Nik Software, the company assures that it will issue a full refund. In a blog post, the company writes: 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.
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Google's $149 Nik Photo Editing Suite Goes Free

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  • Motive (Score:4, Insightful)

    by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @12:04PM (#51776407) Journal

    In other words, they dont want to support or develop it any more and now they can point to the Free price tag for justification.

    • Opportunity (Score:5, Interesting)

      by fyngyrz ( 762201 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @12:17PM (#51776517) Homepage Journal

      Likely. However, as a photographer and image processing professional, I can vouch for both Viveza and DFine. Both are worthy of use in many situations. The rest aren't much, IMHO, but those two are exceptionally useful as often as not.

      Viveza is a somewhat-automatic region selecting modifier of basic image characteristics such as contrast, saturation and so on.

      Dfine is a reasonably effective noise reduction tool.

      Perfect, no, and I rather see them further developed as opposed to abandoned, as is quite possible due to Google's well known habit, but as they stand now, better to have them in the imaging toolbox than not.

      • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

        "I rather" s/b "I would rather"

        Sigh. No post-posting editing. Is it 1990 yet? Oh. Right. Slashdot. Sorry.

        • This is slashdot. There are too many trolls for post editing to be easy. ;)

          My proposal is allowing postscripts to be added in an "edit" box below the post, but only for a few minutes. Then when you need a correction you can put s/foo/bar/ in the box, or whatever.

          It would take a couple hours to write the code, so I assume it would take slashdot a couple years to get it done. They wouldn't dare risk using volunteer labor. Too much opportunity for trolling.

          I'd also add a moderation: -1 Flipflop for people who

      • I disagree; having them in a form that is almost certain to be abandoned soon is just practicing and developing short-term tool using skills instead of long-term ones. I'd rather be selecting regions by hand, because over time I get better at it.

        • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

          Neither one precludes or reduces the quality of the other. And I assure you -- you can't do by hand what Viveza does by algorithm in any reasonably comparable length of time. I'm talking many, many hours to seconds. It's not just region selection. It's region selection with smart integration with other region selection, all of it cued to the varying characteristics of the region. It's like using a continuously variable region-to-region feather, along with a control-point-sensitive color key that does color

          • You can't do it by hand "at all" because you define "it" as being automated.

            I don't doubt that the tool is indispensable for you in your work flow. I've been doing photography since I was old enough to heft the camera. I started writing image processing tools in the 90s. It isn't my main work, but I do understand the tools.

            And I already understood the tools and types of algorithm when I said I'd rather do it by hand; I get good results. I don't finish and say, gosh, I just wasn't able to get that select the

            • by fyngyrz ( 762201 )

              And that includes when it is complex; there are other ways to do it.

              No. You can't do this by hand at all because in the work flow you are suggesting, you are either required to do as a correct operation the first time for each of the successive regional selections, or build them into distinct layers or scripted actions, and you can't conveniently, in fact trivially, modify anything/everything about those selections intuitively and interactively once they begin to interact with one another in any significant

    • In other words, they dont want to support or develop it any more and now they can point to the Free price tag for justification.

      And what is the problem with this? You would prefer they keep it closed source even as their own interest in it ramps down?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's still closed-source. It's now free-to-use though.

      • He didn't express a "problem" with it, he offered an analysis of the meaning that uses clearer words instead of PR-speak.

        Understanding should be among the first steps, and well before the formation of opinion.

    • In other words, they dont want to support or develop it any more and now they can point to the Free price tag for justification.

      Which is awesome of them? I mean, companies are under no obligation to give you their software for free just because they're going to stop development on it. Most don't. They can just stop selling, stop supporting, and move on.

      I mean, talk about entitlement mentality. They give you software and you respond by saying, "but you're going to stop investing your resources on it!" They don't owe you anything, thank them for what they chose to give you anyway.

    • In other words, they dont want to support or develop it any more and now they can point to the Free price tag for justification.

      Since when does Google need to have a justification to drop a product? They do that sort of thing all the time.

      Also, look at how many products and services that they have that are free. If making a product free was just an excuse to kill something then they must have it in for a substantial number of their products.

  • by spyfrog ( 552673 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @12:08PM (#51776455) Homepage

    So, the obvious question now is "when is it discontinued"?
    Because that seam to be the ultimate end for most of Googles projects. Especially these who isn't cloud related, like this. I would be surprised if this isn't killed of within 5 years.

    For instance, they have only recently killed of the desktop Picasa application - a really good and free solution to organize your pictures. And now they want us to use other software that probably will be discontinued in the future whey you rely on it?

    • Just like MyTracks. A basic but very useful activity tracker. Will be discontinued end of April.
      • Not surprising. I switched to an open source tracker from F-Droid a couple years ago, after they started messing with the map apps and removing features and shutting down other unrelated services. This is exactly why I switched all the google tools I was using, other than gmail. If I can't trust it to be there in a few years, I don't want to invest my time using it. Data conversion takes time, and things don't always really import perfectly.

        I want tools I can still be using in 10 years. The vast majority of

    • by EvilSS ( 557649 )

      So, the obvious question now is "when is it discontinued"?

      Pretty sure that would be today. I see this as Google setting it out on the curb with a "free" sign on it. Shame they won't open source it.

    • Just keep in mind that "killed off" doesn't mean "I can't use it any longer" in the case of a desktop tool. I've been using these for years and will continue using them for years without any concern at all about what Google, or Nik before them, might do or not do with future versions, marketing, or availability.

      For web products, certainly. But these aren't that, or at least, the versions I have that I bought from Nik aren't that. I suppose they could have mutated?

      • Normally for mobile apps, which also run locally, google pushes out updates that lock in the eventual shutdown before they announce it.

        If you have an old pre-google desktop version... keep a backup. :)

    • Who cares? This is an image editing software. It's not a cataloguing system, it's not a database, it doesn't store anything. You lose nothing by using it and having them discontinue it at a later date.

  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @12:11PM (#51776479) Journal

    This is cool and all, but for those who don't read TFS (let alone TFA), you may want to look at the requirements (bottom of page []), and you'll discover that you will need either Photoshop of some flavor installed (no effing way I'm coughing up money to Adobe for just a hobby), or Aperture for OSX.

    BTW, no love for GIMP? dafuq?

    • by spyfrog ( 552673 )

      Continue to read and you will realize that there isn't going to be any more releases for desktop versions. So it is a dead end. Like Picasa before it...

    • Yes these are plugins for popular photo editors such as Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. The plugins were originally targeted at the professional photographer market. Pretty much all of us use at least one of those applications.

      Most photo editing these days is done in nondestructive RAW mode in Aperture or Lightroom, and photoshop is now only touched when more precise editing tools are needed to fix a localized problem or paint out a telephone line (for non-editorial images.) So it's nice to have the pl

      • Yes these are plugins for popular photo editors such as Photoshop, Lightroom and Aperture. The plugins were originally targeted at the professional photographer market. Pretty much all of us use at least one of those applications.

        It would be nice if Google, or if they open sourced the NIK tools, someone else could...port this over for Affinity Photo.

        So far, I've found Affinity Photo to be pretty much 99% of what Adobe Photoshop is...but MUCH faster. I think Affinity is well on its way to being a competi

    • by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @12:41PM (#51776701)

      > Photoshop of some flavor installed (no effing way I'm coughing up money to Adobe for just a hobby)

      It's called CS2.

      Create Adobe account
      Lie and say you already bought CS2
      Be brought to the download page
      Download. Input free key supplied from Adobe.


      Slight Profit. It's good enough for hobbyist work - it doesn't have all the latest bells and whistles (no video card acceleration, etc). But hey, it's free-beer free.

      >no love for Gimp

      Install PSPI in Gimp. []

      I love Gimp and am kinda proficient at it, but then also, CS2 runs great in Wine.


      • CS2 won't help here, the earliest release supported by these plugins is CS4.

        Windows Requirements ( mostly the same as Mac except Mac is only supported 10.7.5 - 10.10 ) :
        Windows Vista®, Windows 7, Windows 8
        Adobe Photoshop CS4 through CC 2015
        Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 through 13 (apart from HDR Efex Pro 2, which is not compatible with Photoshop Elements)
        Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 through 6/CC

      • The reason Adobe hasn't closed this loophole is because CS2 is essentially useless to anyone with a modern camera who shoots RAW. Adobe have had a history of not supporting older Photoshop versions with the CameraRAW plugin needed to read files from new cameras. This is the same reason I had to upgrade my perfectly good version of Lightroom ... no more support when I upgraded the camera.

        There are workarounds such as doing a DNG conversion but many people would happily pay not to have that hassle.

    • Gimp has a better programming interface than Photoshop (and already did in the 90s!) and there is a flourishing plugin community.

      There is no reason to try to sell them plugins in the first place to need to make it free later. ;)

    • For those who don't read TFA, it also installs standalone versions of each plugin, so you don't need Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture. It doesn't play nicely with GIMP, but you can still import/export between them. Since most of these are color filters, you'd just do your cropping and retouching in GIMP or whatever, then open it up in Color Efex and add a graduated bleach bypass high contrast sunlight filter. For free!

    • Oh my.
      $LargeCompany has released, for free, a set of tools that work well with some applications that you do not wish to buy.

      Oh woe is you!
  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Friday March 25, 2016 @12:55PM (#51776825) Journal

    Nik isn't a photo editing suite, it is a suite of Photoshop filters (pro quality) that let you add effects to photos.

    Without Photoshop, they're useless.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This isn't true. You can run the majority of the apps standalone from their exe files. I actually set up Picasa back in the day with custom buttons to send images to the Nik Collection for editing. It's a well propagated story that they need another app to run them, but it's not true.

    • by bricko ( 1052210 )
      They work with Photoshop Elements and Lightroom
  • Of course, since we are a larger corporation, we haven't notified everyone internally yet... []
  • Which widely available, free or low-cost photo editors, will support these plug-ins with a minimum of hassle? I am thinking of programs like Paint.NET, Paint Shop Pro.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.