31 March, 2016

Silver Efex Pro — Goodbye and thanks for all the control points

Zeiss Batis 85mm - Emma Nixon of Cloudstreet [Click image to enlarge]

Whom the Gods would destroy, they first set free.*

You have probably read that Google has decided to offer the Nik Suite of programs free of charge. As Mike Johnson (The Online Photographer) has already speculated, this appears to ring the death knell for the suite. If Google was committing to improving the suite, or even maintaining it into the future, I think Google would have told us by now.

Yes, free software is an easy investment. But with new software the real investment isn't in dollars, it's in the time necessary to master the tools. Under the circumstances I doubt the move will expand the user base in a substantial way.

In my opinion, Silver Efex is the standout program in the Suite. So, this will be a particularly heavy blow for me and the rest of Silver Efex Pro's fans.

I'm probably not as affected as some. I don't use the presets, borders, film emulations or tones, and I think Lightroom's conversion to B&W, colour channels, and split-toning are as good or better. But, I am a serious user of the control points and the structure tools.

Silver Efex's fate will probably take a while to be sealed, however. But when the end comes it will come quickly — when Silver Efex is broken by new or upgraded operating systems.

Is there a chance of a miracle cure? Google might yet take pity on us and maintain the suite. Or there might be buyer. Maybe...
*In your face, Publilius Syrus, et al.

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