We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Graphic design & publishing software Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 review

£139 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Nik Software

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

Some special effects and filters are fun or useful; only a few become absolute necessities. Nik Software Color Efex Pro is in that latter category because it is not only one of the finest collections of Photoshop-compatible plug-in filters available, its quality and versatility make it almost indispensable.

Some special effects and filters are fun or useful; only a few become absolute necessities. Nik Software Color Efex Pro is in that latter category because it is not only one of the finest collections of Photoshop-compatible plug-in filters available, its quality and versatility make it almost indispensable.

Unlike ordinary filters that simply mask the original photograph with new color or heightened contrast, Nik Color Efex Pro understands the underlying concepts behind photography, so that its effects manipulate the light, colour, contrast and saturation with sophisticated style and technological excellence. With 3.0, the new interface is zoomable and more flexible.

Similar in some respects to Nik's Silver Efex Pro, Nik Color Efex Pro effects may be applied globally to a picture. Or, they can be applied selectively using Control Points or a Brush.

You can place the resizable Control Points anywhere within the preview to set the effect's opacity on specific areas. In other words, in our screen capture, we could have set the Sunshine effect to be applied at 100 percent on the crane's head, 82 percent on its body, and 50 percent on the water.

If we used a Brush, we could have carefully and precisely painted the effect onto our photograph, varying the brush size and opacity as we worked.

Given the number of easy-to-use options with each filter, the effects are nicely customisable and creative, rather than boilerplate. For instance, with the Sunshine filter, we had control over saturation, colour cast, light style, light intensity and radius, prefilter style, prefilter intensity, shadows and highlights. (Each filter's options are different, to fit their individuality.)

The Standard Edition, which includes a sample of 15 filters, is available only as a download. The Select Edition has 35 filters, while the Complete Edition has 52 filters. While all the versions are compatible with Photoshop plug-in capable programs and Apple Aperture, only the Complete Edition is compatible, also, with Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 and Nikon Capture NX2. Color Efex Pro is a professional photographer's tool that novices will quickly learn to love.

Nik Color Efex Pro 3 Expert Verdict »

Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP, Windows Vista
Pentium III 1GHz or better
512MB RAM
Capture NX 2 from Nikon Corporation
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

If you require special effects and filters, you could do a lot worse than Nik Color Efex Pro.

  • Perfect Photo Suite 7 review

    Perfect Photo Suite 7

    Perfect Photo Suite 7 is an all-encompassing package, that offers pretty much everything you might want, in a very clean and usable interface. Read our Perfect Photo Suite 7 review to find out more.

  • HDR Efex Pro 2 review

    HDR Efex Pro 2

    Used sensibly, Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro 2 allows you to reveal detail and deliver punchy results from your photographs. Read our review to find out more.

  • Corel Paint It review

    Corel Paint It

    Painting program Corel Paint It offers automated tools and simplified, limited brushes for converting photos into art.

  • BenVista PhotoArtist 2 review

    BenVista PhotoArtist 2

    BenVista PhotoArtist 2 includes dozens of tools that let you turn any photo into a work of art.

  • Adobe Photoshop CS5 review

    Adobe Photoshop CS5

    Adobe Photoshop CS5 adds enhancements to the image-editing software that enable smoother workflow and boost creativity.


IDG UK Sites

Best Christmas 2014 UK tech deals, Boxing Day 2014 UK tech deals & January sales 2015 UK tech...

IDG UK Sites

LED vs Halogen: Why now could be the right time to invest in LED bulbs

IDG UK Sites

Christmas' best ads: See great festive spots studios have created to promote themselves and clients

IDG UK Sites

Why Apple shouldn't be blamed for exploitation in China and Indonesia