Color Efex Pro 4 Review

I’ve been using Nik Software’s plugins for quite sometime, and I’m in love with them all! Today, they released Color Efex Pro 4, which packs some amazing new features. Check out my video review!

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Check out Nik Software’s amazing plugins HERE!

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Nik Software’s plugins for Photoshop and Aperture. Today, they released Color Efex Pro 4 with some huge updates that I’m going to review in this article.

One of the biggest few features, is the ability to add multiple Filters at once. This is a feature I’ve been dying for, and now it’s available. They’ve also added 8 new filters and improved 10 of the current filters, to bring their Filter count to a whopping 55! Let’s dive in.

This image that you’re looking at is straight from my camera, and clearly it’s nothing special. It WAS one of 3 images that I look to be used in an HDR composition, but let’s see what Color Efex Pro 4 can do with it.

I’m going to start off with one of Color Efex’s new Filters, the Detail Extractor. An image that contains water, plants, and rocks should contain a lot of detail. Let’s try and bring some of it back. Once the filter is added, I cranked the Extractor up to 70%, increased the Contrast to 40%, then cranked the Saturation to 70% as well. There are a lot of blues and greens in this image which I would love to pop! You can also change the Effect Radius. Because the details of this image are very small, I  used the “Fine” preset.

Here’s where one filter has taken us:

Now in earlier versions, I would have had to accept the changes, and repeat the process in order to add a new Filter, but in Color Efex Pro 4, I can simply press the Add Filter Button to continue my edit. This is fantastic.

Now I added a Foliage Filter to bring the greens of my image to life. I chose the 3rd method, then increased the Enhancement to 60%.

Now looking at the image, it still seems too dark.

There are a few Filters which can help brighten this image up, but because this photo was taken outside, I then added the improved Sunlight Filter. Make sure to press the Add Filter button before you add a new filter. When the new Filter was added, I increased the strength to 30%, kept the temperature the same, and increased the brightness to 60%.

We’re starting to get somewhere!

And of course, typical to Nik Software’s plugins, we have our Control Points. I went ahead and added one more Filter to my list, Brilliance/Warmth to warm up the overall image a touch. Increasing the Saturation and the Warmth a bit, I wasn’t too fond of the result that it did with the clouds, so what I did, was add a 0% Opacity Control Point () to the area I didn’t want effected, and increased the size to cover the sky. Holding down Alt or Option, I can duplicate it to the other side of the image as well.

I’m quite happy with the result, but what if I wanted to apply these same filters to another image? Well another new feature in Color Efex Pro 4, is the ability to create Recipes. Clicking on the Save Recipe button gives me the ability to name my recipe!

And you’ll notice that it saved my exact Filter combination under the Recipes section on the left. I can even export them to send to my friends if I wanted to! Pretty cool!

Before I wrap this up, let’s take a quick look at the difference these few filters have made to the image.

I’m impressed. But don’t take it from me. Nik Software has a 15 day trial on their website so you can try it out yourself before you commit to purchasing. Check it out at NikSoftware.com. Take care!