In the past few weeks I have updated some of my editing software. After resisting the change to cloud-based, subscription software via Adobe, I finally succumbed to the "Photographer's Package"... $10/mo for Photoshop CC and Lightroom. Works for me!
One of the programs I started working with five years ago is Nik Software. NIK was sold to Google a few years back. I was worried that the sale of the incredibly innovative program would result in software stagnation and the eventual conversion to simply an online app. While there haven't been any major new releases since the acquisition by Google, it is still getting minor updates. What is fascinating though is that the minor updates are really quite interesting and useful. Not often one can say that about software.
One of the newest features is Analog Efex Pro. From the copy on the Nik site:In short, you get groovy effects that are way more cool than stuff you find with Instagram, etc. Very fun.Get the photo you’re looking for, even if you don’t own the equipment. Effects inspired by traditional cameras bring you back to a specific era. Choose from Classic Camera, Vintage, Wet Plate and Toy Camera. Go beyond filtersUse vintage effects designed for the serious photographer. Create professionally stylized images by picking a preset, then diving in to fine-tune your approach. Adjust bokeh, textures, frames and other elements, then pinpoint the location of your effects with precise on-image controls.
So why am I mentioning this? Because for me, exploring new software is play. It is almost as much fun as opening a box with a new camera in it, or starting a new book or finding a new place to go hiking.
Where I became evangelical about Nik software was when I emailed them for customer support. My problem was that the new Creative Cloud versions of Photoshop and Lightroom don't recognize the authorization numbers that came with my boxed software 2 yrs ago. My fear was that, like most big software companies, once you reach a year or two after purchase, you are shit out of luck. No support, no help... just buy the stuff again and take your licks. Nik wasn't cheap. At the time it retailed for $300 and when I tried to purchase it, it was on sale for $150. Now, the normal street price is just shy of $150 and there are sales for folks who own other software like OnOne.
I emailed Nik and asked what could be done so I could use their software with my newly installed Adobe Creative Cloud software. I expected to get an automated response in a few days. Instead the following morning, I had a very kindly written email, explaining that all I had to do was run the installed that they had attached to the email and everything would install, no codes necessary. In short, since I was already a registered, licensed customer, they wanted me to keep using their software. Holy shit! No one does that. I was mega-impressed. I wrote the tech support person back and thanked him. I let him know that his speedy reply, succinct instructions and awesome attitude made my whole week better. Not an hour later he replied again, letting me know that if I ran into any problems with the Nik software integrating after any CC upgrades, I should email and they would take care of it.
Wow! That's how customer service is SUPPOSED to be.
Now, as I look back at the days where I used to buy the educational version of Adobe Creative Suite, Lightroom, etc... and hope that I could squeeze 2-4 yrs out of the application before needing to upgrade, now I am trying out the Creative Cloud. So far, I am actually impressed. I have a feeling that in the long run, there will be more competitors for Adobe. Not sure when that will happen, but if companies like Nik keep on their game, there is so much promise!