Luminar vs Nik Collection

By Eva Williams 10 days ago, Software Reviews

Who is the victor in the Luminar vs Nik Collection battle? Both software come with standard editing features like cropping, color grading, straightening, and an effects gallery. When making a Luminar vs Nik Collection comparison, you’ll also quickly notice a large number of similar filters in both programs even if they come under different names.

Luminar is marketed as a full-fledged editing utility for professionals, with its most notable features being a stylish UI, auto-correction functionality, and stunning effects. This software is ideal for anyone who wants to edit individual photos creatively. You can get Luminar on Windows or MacOS and it can also be installed as a plugin for Adobe and Apple software.

Nik Collection represents a collection of artistic plugins for photographers with its most popular offer being a B&W conversion application. This utility has a fan-favorite feature called “control points” that allow you to perform local adjustments. You can open it from a “parent” program like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom Classic or download Nik Collection as standalone software for both Windows and MacOS devices.

What is Luminar?

luminar logo

Luminar is a non-destructive photo editing program and photo management software for Mac and Windows that allows producing high-quality results with a smaller time investment than required by any other image editor. This software relies on Artificial Intelligence-based features to simplify advanced editing tasks. Luminar gives you the freedom to choose between letting the AI take care of everything and performing all actions manually.

The latest version of the software comes with several functional upgrades, which you can take advantage of by either installing the standalone app or downloading it as a plugin for Photoshop, Lightroom, Photoshop Elements and Apple Photos.

Filters in Luminar 4 are referred to as “tools” and are divided into six tabs that you can find on the right side of the workspace. These tabs are titled: Canvas, Portrait, Layers, Pro, Essentials, and Creative. Each panel is expanded when pressed on and hidden when you press a different panel, allowing you to always maintain a tidy workspace.

  • luminar interface
  • luminar interface

    Luminar: Pros and Cons

    Library Module. Luminar includes two main viewing modes: “Library” for checking out and managing your images and Edit for improving them. You can find both on the right side of the workspace and navigating between them is easy and smooth. The Library module will be particularly useful for photographers who need a robust photo management system.

    AI Sky Replacement. AI Sky Replacement is among the most innovative tools this software has to offer, as it manages to replace bland-looking skies with more beautiful scenery in a single click. You can either apply one of the skies included in Luminar or upload your own photo and the software will take care of everything else in a matter of moments. The result will look as natural as possible, which is incredible given that previously achieving such an effect took hours of manual masking work.

    AI Skin Enhancer. As a blemish remover app Luminar comes with an AI-powered skin-enhancing feature that finds all blemishes and gets rid of them in a single mouse click, while also letting you smoothen the rest of the skin with the help of a slider.

    Golden Hour. This feature was developed to add golden hour-like lighting to your image. Akin to Split Toning, this tool alters the highlights and shadows of the photo, introducing a pleasant orange tone. The latest version of Luminar employs content-aware functionality to detect people in the photo and deliver perfect golden hour photography results. The models will have a warmer look than the backdrop and their hair will be accentuated with “golden” highlights.

    Luminar Looks. Luminar includes multiple “Looks” (i.e. presets) that can be used for single-click enhancements. Moreover, you can download additional Luminar presets, share them, and even design them yourself like you would in Lightroom.

    Batch Processing. This function helps minimize the time you spend editing by applying identical editing settings to as many images as you want. This is particularly useful for photographers who constantly work with event, wedding, and sports photoshoots that tend to have hundreds of photos taken in similar conditions.

    Software is still a bit slow. The one downside that deserves mentioning is Luminar’s poor performance when it comes to real-time previews, as it can get quite annoying to wait until each adjustment you make gets displayed in the preview window.

    What is Nik Collection?

    nik collection logo

    Nik Collection consists of 8 plugin packages that can be used in Photoshop, Lightroom, and DxO PhotoLab. The plugins are divided into collections titled Silver Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Dfine, HDR Efex Pro, Sharpener Pro, Viveza, and Perspective Efex, all of which can be used to create specific effects with speed and ease.

    Analog Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, HDR Efex Pro, and Silver Efex Pro are the go-to packages for creative image editing, as they provide film and darkroom filters, HDR effects, and tone mapping.

    Nik Collection is a fantastic tool for black and white photography thanks to the expansive selection of darkroom-themed tools designed for producing monochrome photos.

    You can add these plugins to your image editing toolset in several ways. Lightroom and Photoshop users can download all packages as plugins. Meanwhile, DxO adds a separate Nik Collection toolbar to the software, giving you even more convenient controls and the ability to start each plugin directly as well as pick a processing preset.

    • nik collection interface
    • nik collection interface

      Nik Collection: Pros and Cons

      Amazing local adjustment functionality. The Control Points feature lets you introduce high-precision adjustments to the color tones, lighting, and sharpness of specific image parts. You don’t even need to mess around with masks or perform complex calculations since the selections provided by this AI-powered technology offer unparalleled accuracy.

      Edit your photos step by step. Thanks to the U-Point and Control Points technologies that can be applied straight to a photo, Nik Collection allows you to pick the area you want to enhance, isolate it with a click and fine-tune the colors using precision controls.

      Restore proportions. The software allows automatically fixing all distortions that appear in wide-angle images to deliver a photo that offers a realistic depiction of the subject.

      Create an authentic analog photography look. Make a vintage photo look like collodion processes, create double exposure images, and add color cast effects. Replicate the look of classic vintage camera films or produce amazing bokeh photography.

      Produce stunning HDR photos. With the help of state-of-the-art algorithms, Nik Collection can apply a fantastic HDR overlay to your photo that looks both natural and visually impactful.

      Lens distortion. Thanks to DxO’s one-of-a-kind optical module database, you can fix keystoning, get rid of barrel distortions, and deal with pincushion distortion.

      Multipage TIFF files are large.

      Luminar vs Nik Collection: Price

      luminar vs nik collection price

      Luminar invites you to pick between 3 lifetime licenses: Master, Expert, and Guru. You can also make use of the 30-day free trial version offered on the website to see if this software can satisfy your needs. Lastly, you can choose between a single-computer and a two-computer license.

      Luminar Master - $79 (1-Сomputer license) – Make use of AI-powered image editing features and 24/7 tech support.

      Luminar Expert - $148 (1-Сomputer license) – Grants you the power to control all image aspects by providing an endless list of editing features as well as Aurora HDR.

      Luminar Guru - $207 (1-Сomputer license) – Elevate the quality of your photos to new heights with the help of LuminarAI, Aurora HDR, and unique creative assets.

      Nik Collection 4 currently costs $149, but you can also get it at a discounted price of $99.99. The bundle comes with 8 plugin packages, 250 presets, and integrated U Point technology, allowing you to fully explore the world of creative image editing.

      Luminar vs Nik Collection: Who Wins?

      Who’s the winner in the Luminar vs Nik Collection battle? The answer depends on your skillset and goals. If you’re looking for a powerhouse editing suite, pick Luminar. You’ll receive convenient photo management, robust editing features, smart AI Portrait enhancement, Sky Replacement, and Augmented Sky features. Moreover, this software is ideal for color grading and layer editing.

      On the other hand, if you’d like to adopt a more creative image editing style, then Nik Collection should probably be your pick. Their plugins offer terrific color, B&W, HDR, and sharpening effects that will help breathe new life into your photos.

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