Nik Color Efex Pro 3 Review

March 9, 2011 | Matt Grayson | Software Reviews | |

For users of Photoshop, as well as the U Point selective tool, you can also take advantage of the Selective tool. It employs the Brush tool allowings you to apply localised adjustments to the picture in Photoshop. Color Efex Pro will create layers and any masks so you don't have to worry about them. Clicking on the Brush button will apply the selected filter to the Brush tool and then you simply adjust the size of the brush and start painting.

Nik Color Efex Pro 3

Figure 12 - Selective Tool

For all you lucky users of Adobe Photoshop CS3, Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 has smart filter compatibility. It's not an easy process, beginning with selecting the layer you want to apply the filter to, select Convert for Smart Filter in the Filters tab then choose Color Efex Pro 3.0 from the Nik Software sub-menu after going back into the Filter tab again.

Those of you who dare to use any other editing suite, Lightroom and Aperture users can benefit from Multi-Image support. All you have to do is select the images you want to edit and open up Color Efex Pro 3.0. Pictures have to be edited one at a time but it means not having to go in and out of the program which is pretty useful.


There's no denying that the program is certainly extensive. It allows a lot of freedom for editing and while some of the filters appear at first to be old fashioned (glamour glow, vignette and fog for example), they're actually quite nicely made. Because they're so easily adjustable if you do find any of the preset colours overwhelming, they can be easily toned down and vice versa if you  think they're too flat. I like the little touches such as the cross processing mode applying the changes simply by hovering the mouse over the different options on the right.

There are other filter programs around such as optikVerve's virtualPhotographer program which is free to download. It's free to use but doesn't have anywhere near the control that Color Efex Pro offers. To get all the features covered in this review, you have to pay around £300 which is expensive for what it essentially is, but what you get is an extremely comprehensive filter application program and excellent back up from Nik Software. If you use filters a lot in photography, I think this is the closest you'll get to adding them without actually using them in front of your lens. That will cut down on your kit bag weight because all you'll need is the Polariser (it's the only filter that can't be emulated in a program because you can't polarise light after it's captured).

4 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Features 4
Ease-of-use 4.5
Value for money 3

Entry Tags

review, software, photoshop, lightroom, aperture, filters, filter, nik software, colour, nik, color, color efxr pro, Nik Color Efex Pro Review

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12 Comments | Newest Oldest First | Post a Comment

#1 Steven House

Quite nice review. Quite. Quite how many times can one say quite?

Surprised to this this review here. It’s not exactly new is it?

7:06 am - Thursday, March 10, 2011

#2 canvas art

I am also surprised to this this on the front page - i’ve been using it to edit my images for ages.. it is good though!

3:02 pm - Thursday, March 10, 2011

#3 Matt Grayson

twiceaccording to my search. Unless you saw something I missed..?

12:49 pm - Saturday, March 12, 2011

#4 Steven House

Quite enough though eh?

Color Efex Pro 3 has been around for at least 4 years.

Can we look forward to a review of Silver Efex Pro 2 in say about 2015? I look forward to it.

Only kidding of course.

12:54 pm - Saturday, March 12, 2011

#5 Matt Grayson

Luckily for PBlog, I don’t make the decisions. =;O)
It hasn’t been reviewed before and it’s all content, isn’t it?
No-one batted an eyelid when James May gave his first review on Top Gear of a Bentley T2..?

9:49 am - Sunday, March 13, 2011

#6 Steven House

It’s been reviewed in plenty of places before.

“It’s all content”? That implies that the review is just filler. Which does however coincide with my view of it.

Comparing yourself to Top Gear? A program denigrated for it’s lazy journalism and racial stereotyping.

10:09 am - Sunday, March 13, 2011

#7 Matt Grayson

All equipment is reviewed in many places. The review isn’t just a filler, it’s something that’s not been reviewed before here and someone on here won’t have read it anywhere else. That’s what I mean by saying it’s all content.
I never compared myself to Top Gear at all, I was illustrating that just because something isn’t brand new, doesn’t mean it can’t get reviewed.

12:04 am - Monday, March 14, 2011

#8 Steven House

“Brand new” means “new”. This is what I was originally getting at. Your use of language. The use of “quite” is not really telling us anything. Either a thing is fit for purpose or it isn’t in which case you could explain where it fails. Telling us it’s quite this or quite that is meaningless in a review.

I have no idea what a Bentley T2 is. Neither is it relevant.

11:22 am - Monday, March 14, 2011

#9 Matt Grayson

The context that I used them in were the same as going into a restaurant that’s quite nice. It doesn’t mean it fails anywhere, you may have thought it was going to be rubbish and it actually turned out to be quite nice. It’s a word that, like OK, can mean something good. In the first use of the word, I can see what you mean but I’m sorry, I think you’re looking too far into it.

12:10 am - Thursday, March 17, 2011

#10 Steven House

OK fair enough and seriously look forward to a review of Silver Efex Pro 2.

7:59 pm - Thursday, March 17, 2011

#11 Lloyd Barnes

I tried the 2 week demo and liked the dynamic skin softening filter and the U Point feature, which gave great control. However, I use Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5 and didn’t find anything in Nik Efex that I couldn’t do already with Lightroom + Photoshop. I found Nik Efex was quicker to use for skin softening, which might justify the price. Unfortunately, that filter is only available in the complete addition for $299.

11:46 pm - Thursday, March 24, 2011

#12 deepakv

looks good , but can we have more examples with other filters also. as the price seems to be too much for this one. Anyways nice review PB. :)

10:41 am - Friday, August 5, 2011