Michael Strickland

0Writers are often looking for cheap, yet effective ways to add high quality images to their work. That is why I was happy when I red today that a few years ago, the high-end Nik Collection of photo editing tools would have cost you $500. Now, Google’s giving it all away.

The Nik Collection is a set of seven plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Apple Aperture, PC World reports. The toolbag includes vintage camera filters, black-and-white controls, HDR effects, noise reduction, color correction, color enhancement, and sharpening. The entire suite is now available as a free download from Google on either Mac or Windows.

Of course, there’s a catch. But I don’t think it mtters much for those of us who focus on the written word and are simply looking to avoid having to cough up an extra $500 for a graphic designer to complete a reasonably small content project.

In explaining the giveaway, Google says it is continuing to “focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile,” including Google Photos and Nik’s own Snapseed app for iOS and Android, PC World says. Although Google doesn’t say this outright, it sounds like the desktop Nik Collection is no longer in development.

A statement by Google on its Google+ page explains the decision: “As we continue to focus our long-term investments in building incredible photo editing tools for mobile, including Google Photos and Snapseed, we’ve decided to make the Nik Collection desktop suite available for free, so that now anyone can use it.”

The Google Nik Collection consists of seven plug-ins which are installed as a package but can be used individually. The newest, developed by Google and not Nik Software, is Analog Efex Pro, a powerful and effective retro effects generator.