Nik Software Announces Color Efex Pro 4.0

Multnomah Falls, enhanced in Color Efex Pro 4.0 with Detail Extractor and Skylight Filters

Nik Software has just announced a major upgrade to their Color Efex Pro software filter package, version 4.0. I’ve had a chance to experiment with a beta version of this software, and I like it a lot. The filters are quite good, but the new workflow is tremendous, especially for Aperture and Lightroom users.

The Color Efex Pro 4.0 interface
With Color Efex Pro 4.0, you can add multiple filters in the same window, each with its own set of Control Points.

What’s new:

  • Updated and new filters, including improvements to my favorite filter, Tonal Contrast. One new filter, Detail Extractor, lets you create local contrast effects similar to the “Orton Effect.” Wedding photographers will no doubt love the creative effects you can apply to images with CEP4.
  • Border Effects: CEP4 adds Image Borders, similar to what’s found in Silver Efex Pro 2.0
  • History Browser (lets you go back and “undo” steps and compare different looks). This can be a great workflow tool when you’re trying to get settings just right.
  • Multiple Filters at once: This is, in my opinion, the biggest reason to upgrade to CEP4, especially if you’re a Lightroom or Aperture user. With CEP3, the only way to add multiple filter effects was to iteratively apply each filter (in a layer in Photoshop, or on additional files). With CEP4, you can add multiple filters within the plug-in interface, and each filter can be applied locally with its own unique set of Control Points. Moreover, you can save the entire set of applied filters as a preset “Recipe,” so that you can quickly apply similar effects without having to build up multiple filters each time.
  • Color Efex Pro is available for preorder from Nik Software. The select version offers 26 filters for $99.95, while the complete edition has all 55 filters (including Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor) for $199.95. Save an additional 15% when you shop from this link.
  • Users of Color Efex Pro 3.0 can upgrade with a valid serial # for a discounted price. Moreover, anyone who purchased CEP3 as of August 7, 2011, will get an upgrade to version 4.0 for free!

Friends of Luminescence of Nature Photography automatically get a 15% discount from the Nik Software USA shop when you use this link to order! (offer valid only on Nik products to USA/Canada residents)

17 thoughts on “Nik Software Announces Color Efex Pro 4.0”

  1. Hi Jason
    Do you know if CEP4 will work with NX2 as a standalone application in a similar way as HDR Efex Pro ?

    Brian Davis

  2. I heard from Nik Software that Nikon did not work with Nik to allow CEP4 to be used as a plug in for NX2. It sure seems like Nikon has dropped the ball on NX2. They have not updated the product in years while their software competitors are regularly adding new features and products.
    I guess I can round trip my photos but that not only involves added complication, but defeats the NX2 non-distructive workflow.
    I have avoided using Aperture or Lightroom because I didn’t want to deal with a new learning curve. Unfortunately Nikon is giving me fewer reasons to stay with NX2 as time goes by.
    Thank you Jason for your website, your books and for your terrific pod cast. Nikon should take some lessons in customer service from you.
    All the best,

  3. Unless the rumoured NX3 has all the nik plug ins included in the software already as some have suggested and is going to be released soon. you never know what Nikon are going to bring out next, they don’t give much away. A faster NX2 with a better user interface and all the nik plugins would be amazing! I’ve got NX2 but I’m waiting to see what happens before I buy any Nik plug ins.

  4. I called Nik’s customer service and spoke with a very nice young lady. She said no one has said a word to the customer service people about Nikon upgrading to NX3 and including Nik filters. She said only the development people would know and they are not talking.

    She also said CEP4 will not work with NX2 but if you have the bundled CEP3 and NX2 you can still get the upgrade price. But, you MUST call Nik customer service to do it. You cannot get the discount over the Internet. One last point she made; CEP4 will not interfere with CEP3 bundled to NX2. You can have both on your computer and they both will work, just in different applications.

  5. That’s consistent with what I’ve heard. CEP4 is a separate application from CEP3, and you can run both simultaneously. You can use the CNX2 “Open With” function to send a TIFF to the LR version of CEP4 as a stand-alone program.

  6. “You can use the CNX2 “Open With” function to send a TIFF to the LR version of CEP4 as a stand-alone program.”
    If I understand it correctly, this is the way it also works with LR. Nik is clear on their Web site that all but one of the Nik programs are called from LR by the ‘Edit With’ option.

  7. Jason,
    I’m sure you’ve seen the widely posted comment from Nik to the effect that they aren’t privy to Nikon’s future plans for NX. Also, I rec’d an e-mail from Nik in response to a question that said that Nikon had shown “no interest” in making CEP 4 accessible within NX.
    It seems to me that the reasonable conclusion to be drawn from these comments is that Nikon is in the process of shedding NX.
    Do you have any thoughts on the future – if any – of NX that you can share?

  8. I have a hunch that Nikon will not be “shedding” CNX2. I just don’t see an NX3 on the horizon. The Nikon/Nik relationship is murky at best… I think that Nikon’s Japanese culture may have something to do with it. I expect a major update to CNX2 soon.

  9. Well Jason, in the beginning of this year you wrote the same on this blog – I expect a major update to CNX2 soon… – Now at the end of this year still no update. I guess most people writing about an update CNX2 is all about wishfull thinking. Capture NX is on a dead end, despite your Workshops NX2/PM. The Adobe workflow, LR3/PS/Nik, is the one to have! Great combo.
    And for all those RAW nitpickers: a blindtest with different raw converters will show you if you really need NX2….. 🙂

  10. Tim, I’m glad you’re happy with your workflow, and I’m happy with mine.

    I never said “expect a major update to CNX2 soon.” In fact, in this post, I spelled out the deficiencies of the software. I said that Capture NX2 is way overdue for an upgrade (and that is still true).

    I also pointed out the tools that I liked to use in CNX2 over other software tools. For example, Lightroom has no healing brush, just a rudimentary (but effective) spot fix tool. That needs to change for anyone remotely interested in retouching must go to Photoshop otherwise.

    The Adobe workflow is perfectly fine…but it is different. I choose to embed my metadata into my NEFs, not into a catalog. Is my approach wrong? No, just different reasons.

    I disagree with the CNX2 “nitpickers” as well. It’s not about conversion quality. Again, if you read my other posts, you’ll see that Aperture, LR, and CNX2 all deliver excellent conversion results. The difference comes down to workflow and tools.

    Here’s the bottom line for me. Which tool lets me avoid Photoshop the most? I have numerous images where I was able to edit them from start to finish within CNX2 where had I been using LR, I’d have had to go to Photoshop.

    As much as I like LR/PS/Nik workflow, I also like having Control Points built into my RAW editor. I like being able to do multi-stage sharpening and NR without these “workarounds” like “just use negative clarity.” The Lightroom brushes are a convoluted exercise in frustration, and why didn’t Adobe conserve their keyboard shortcuts across the applications? If I do (ctrl +) in every other editor, I zoom in. But not in LR… it’s a different set of shortcuts. Weird. And yet, I’m sure if I put my mind to it, I could switch to LR tomorrow and be perfectly satisfied with the results.

    But I don’t have to. It’s called choice.

  11. Well Jason let me point out, my post was not meant as a personal attack! Reading the web: a lot of people think CNX2 is the best rawconverter on this planet for Nefs, I don’t agree. Second a lot of wise guys seem to be able to look in the future about updates, new software, rumors etc. and spread their ‘news’ around the world. Bad thing! We have seen no (major) CNX2 updates for years, still waiting for Lion support…. So I think Nikon has dropped the ball. Hopefuly I’m wrong. I agree with your post above, that’s exactly what it is, each workflow has its pros and cons. And sure it is all about personal choices 🙂 – Tim

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