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

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