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DxO Announces Nik 6 Collection Update Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

30 August 2023

If you've been waiting for DxO to complete its rewrite of the venerable Nik Collection it acquired from Google six years ago, you can stop waiting. The job has been done, standardizing the interface for the nine modules* and streamlining the user experience.

Version 6.3 of the Nik Collection updates the code for the final three modules: HDR Efex, Presharpener and Output Sharpener. And, yes, the suite is compiled for either Intel or ARM.

We even noticed the module names have been standardized with a Nik 6 precede (eg. Nik 6 Color Efex, Nik 6 Dfine, etc.). And you can finally have more than one installation of the suite, so you can try Nik 6 without losing access to the previous version.

"We are hugely proud of this achievement. With this work complete, we can now focus solely on adding exciting new features and technology. Our talented engineers are committed to making Nik Collection the indispensable creative companion to every passionate photographer's workflow," said Jérôme Méniére, CEO of DxO Labs.

DxO product evangelist Nicola Beaumont went through the new release in a briefing that was enhanced by a demo of the new features by product manager Boris Oliviero.

In addition, we've been kicking the tires on a beta release of the suite. Here's our report:


Highlights of the suite include:

  • New version of HDR Efex
  • New version of Presharpener
  • New version of Output Sharpener

Those modules inherit the U Point improvement introduced in earlier modules, including Control Lines and Control Point enhancements.

In addition, the new suite introduces several workflow improvements:

  • Convert your edits into a Smart Object at any stage from within the plug-in for fully non-destructive editing in the host application
  • Recall any of your last 15 Nik Collection edits to apply them with a single click
  • Searched presets by name
  • Hi DPI & Multiscreen support
  • Affinity Photo is now automatically detected as part of installation


We encountered the first enhancement of the new version on installation when the Welcome window let us know our older versions of the suite will not be removed on installation:

The suite was installed in its own folder in our Applications directory and Photoshop found it right away. No issues.

HDR Efex

The recoded version of HDR Efex offers:

  • Merge multiple images to combine bracketed images with auto alignment and automatic exposure calculations.
  • Produce anything from natural results to extreme shifts.
  • Make local adjustments with U Point technology to fine-tune exposure, contrast and more.
  • Choose from a wide range of presets to start your editing session, then fine-tune the results.
  • Single image mode uses an advanced tone-mapping algorithm to expand the dynamic range of a single image.

We used it on a single image which we opened in Adobe Camera Raw to apply our usual camera preset before passing it along to HDR Efex.

What we appreciated about the HDR Efex version were two things:

  1. How it handled the highlights on the branch in sunlight and
  2. How it handled the oversaturated poppy.

Here's the comparison with our usual Camera Raw treatment:

We didn't address the background in HDR Efex, which we rendered darker in the Camera Raw version.

Output Sharpening

Of all the edits a photographer has to make to an image, sharpening for output has to be the most obscure. And hence the most difficult.

In fact, we suspect it's rarely attempted.

For one thing, it various according to the device. Is the image intended for screen display? For an inkjet? For a dye sub printer?

And what exactly the optimum specs for that device?

And, by the way, what's the typical viewing distance?

All those factors affect output sharpening. But they're tough questions to answer. Or remember.

The first section of the Output Sharpener settings asks you what device you're targeting. Display, Inkjet, Continuous Tone, Halfton or Hybrid Device are the options.

We selected Inkjet and were presented with options for Viewing Distance, Paper Type and Printer Resolution. Put that way, the questions are easy enough to answer.

But in addition to the basic output sharpening, the module provides for Creative Sharpening as well, refining what the device requires to match what the image demands.

And if that isn't enough, you can mask the image for sharpening specific areas.

Beaumont suggested that once you see how powerful the module is, you'll want to use it on every image.

It isn't practical to demonstrate the effect of output sharpener for print on the Web, but we thought we'd try to show what the display option does for an image:

The Photoshop version uses our standard resize and Smart Sharpen settings. The Nik 6 version uses the default setting for Display of 50 percent Adaptive Sharpening.

So if you find the Nik 6 version too sharp, rest assured it could be moderated. But the lesson here is that what ordinarily passes for sharp around here on the screen looks decidedly blurry in comparison.

But wait, there's another lesson.

Note that the image has both a sharp foreground and a quite unfocused background some distance away. Photoshop's Smart Sharpening handles that correctly but happily so does Nik 6. Even with an oversharpened foreground image, Nik 6 protects the blurred background.

We tried a second image but at half the sharpening (25 percent) to mimick what we'd normally do:

We liked that more moderate sharpening, even if it's a little harder to discern the improvement. Beaumont said that sometimes it's hard to tell, calling the difference "really soft," but you know when it has been applied.


The improvement is nice enough that the question of automating this arises. Just how would you go about adding Nik 6 Output Sharpener to a Photoshop Action?

Well, it just so happens that if you record an Action and call any Nik Collection module from the Filter menu in Photoshop, it will be included in your Action.

And if you forget that little trick, don't worry. Nik 6 will remind you with a little dialog box.

It's just another example of the refinements in this now mature product.


Nik 6 [MW] is available now as a free upgrade for existing Nik Collection 6 users. Owners of Nik Collection 4 or 5 can upgrade for $79.

New customers can download the suite from the DxO Web site. A new license is $149 with a 30-day free trial also available.


We've long been impressed with the innovative and unique approach to image editing that DxO takes. And before that, we were smitten with the original Nik Collection written by Nils Kokemohr. It's really a match made in heaven.

And after six years, that match has fired up with new code running the ARM chip and promising a bright (and sharp) future.

We've focused on Output Sharpener in this review because we think it highlights what's special about this suite. It has no fear of taking on the more obscure and difficult tasks of image editing. And it handles them with elegance and grace.

We're happy to award all four corners to Nik 6.

DxO Announces Nik Collection Version 6.3

PARIS, France — DxO Labs has announced Nik Collection version 6.3, bringing greater stability, speed and a refined editing experience. Version 6.3 features significant updates to Nik Sharpener and Nik HDR Efex.

Nik Collection Completely Redesigned by DxO Labs

In October 2017 DxO Labs acquired the Nik Collection from Google. Six years later, the huge task of reauthoring is complete, with every line of code rewritten for the latest technology. The release of Nik Collection 6.3, the suite is fully compatible with Windows, macOS and Apple Silicon, it works harmoniously within Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Lightroom Classic, DxO PhotoLab and Affinity Photo and is faster and more reliable than ever before.

"We are hugely proud of this achievement. With this work complete, we can now focus solely on adding exciting new features and technology. Our talented engineers are committed to making Nik Collection the indispensable creative companion to every passionate photographer's workflow," said Jérôme Méniére, CEO of DxO Labs.

New for 6.3: Improved Sharpener and HDR Efex

The new editions of Nik Sharpener and Nik HDR Efex include a host of updates making them more powerful and easier to use. Both feature a new interface with a clearer, cleaner look that matches the other Nik Collection plug-ins. Also, you can now choose where sliders for local adjustments appear on-screen: controls can be either kept in a sidebar to tidy the image area or overlaid in traditional style.

And as with Nik Collection 6.3's other plug-ins, the U Point technology in Nik HDR Efex and Nik Sharpener now features:

  • Control Lines add flexibility when making broad adjustments, letting you harness the power of Control Points
  • Control Point diffusion lets you regulate the strength and style of adjustments more easily
  • Control Points and Control Lines can now be inverted, giving you huge flexibility
  • Color Selectivity sliders allow Control Point and Control Line editing to be tied to specific colors and tones in an image
  • Re-namable Local Adjustments let you stay on top of complex edits and local adjustments can now be saved as Presets, giving you quick access to frequently used sharpening or HDR recipes.

Several new workflow features make editing even easier:

  • Turn your edits into a Smart Object at any stage from within the plug-in, giving you fully non-destructive editing in Photoshop
  • Call on any of your last 15 Nik Collection edits and apply them with a single click
  • Presets can now be searched for by name, so you can instantly find your favorite edits
  • Hi DPI & Multiscreen support lets you work with all screen configurations
  • Affinity Photo is now automatically detected as part of installation.

Price and Availability

Nik Collection 6.3 is available now as a free upgrade for existing Nik Collection 6 users.

New customers can download Windows and macOS versions exclusively from the DxO Web site at the prices listed below, a 30-day free trial is also available.

  • Nik Collection 6: $149

Owners of Nik Collection 4 or 5 can take advantage of a special upgrade price:

  • Nik Collection 6 upgrade price: $79

To upgrade, customers should log into their customer account at en. Nik Collection 6 does not require a subscription and can be installed on up to three computers.

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