Last updated on June 15, 2022
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Use the Analog Efex Pro 3 module and enjoy a nostalgic trip back in time by simulating a host of vintage cameras or shooting techniques, and by combining a plethora of well-designed and realistic camera and lens effects, film types and paper prints – including their intrinsic flaws.

Image: Kah-Wai Lin

Preferences and help

The various settings in Analog Efex Pro let you choose your preferences for the interface, GPU acceleration, image output and language. Help gives you access to the user guide and a range of online services.

Preferences

To access Preferences:

The Preferences window comprises a single tab named General. It offers the following options (from top to bottom):

* By default, if you do not change this option, it is the setting previously used that will be applied.
**Changes are applied the next time you launch the plug-in.
Shared options and settings selected in one of the modules will apply to all Nik Collection plug-ins.

To save your Preferences:

Help

Analog Efex Pro, Help menu (Mac/PC).

To access the online help links, go the the Help menu (Internet connection required):

*Requires an internet connection

Interface

Analog Efex Pro 3 comprises the following elements:

  1. The menu bar
  2. The upper toolbar
  3. The image display area
  4. The left panel (Filters and Presets).
  5. The right panel (tools).
  6. The lower toolbar
The six elements of the Analog Efex Pro 3 interface.

The menu bar

Mac:

The menu bar at the top of the Analog Efex Pro 3 window includes the following menus:

PC:

The menu bar at the top of the Analog Efex Pro 3 window includes the following menus:

The upper toolbar

The upper toolbar includes the display, comparison, and zoom tools.

The upper toolbar.

The Compare buttons let you compare your image before and after processing:

Zoom +/Zoom -: use to change the scale of the image displayed:

You can also press the spacebar to zoom in; release the spacebar to zoom back out. In this case, the image will be zoomed to 1:1 (100%).

Alternate display mode.
Vertical or horizontal split display mode.
Side-by-side or one above the other display mode.

Whenever you zoom in on an image (including in Fill mode), a floating window is displayed to the top right of the image display zone. You can move around the image by clicking and dragging the tile or by clicking in the floating navigation window.

The floating browser window (Zoom+/Zoom- mode).

The image display area

This is where the image is displayed, on a medium grey background, which you can change in the Settings.

Below the image you will find the following information:

  1. If you have opened several images, a small horizontal scrollbar lets you switch from one to the next.
  2. File name and extension If the image has EXIF metadata, the shooting and material settings will also be displayed.
  3. You will also see the box to be checked to select non-destructive work mode.

To gain space to display your image, you can use the Tab key on your keyboard to hide/unhide the two side panels at the same time.

The left panel

Camera kit and Cameras

Left panel (camera kit on the left, cameras on the right).

The left panel comprises a Kit section, which you can use to create your own camera presets based on the 14 effects available, as well as a Camera section offering 96 presets split into 13 categories.

When you select an effect from the Kit section, a yellow bar is displayed on the left of the selected effect and the associated tools are displayed int he right panel. This lets you choose your own settings and save them as custom presets. Of course, you can select and combine several effects. To do so, hover your mouse over an effect to display the “+” button, then click on this to display the tools in the right panel. To remove an effect, hover over it with the mouse and click on the “-” button. Please note that the Basic adjustments tools are always displayed, regardless of the selected effect or camera.

To select a category, in the Cameras section, click on one of the tiles: the frame will turn yellow and the left panel will display the associated thumbnails. These thumbnails use the image open in the plug-in. If the image is framed horizontally, the thumbnails are arranged in a single column, and if the image is framed verticallly, the thumbnails are grouped in pairs.

You can mark a Camera as a favourite; your favourites are marked with a gold star. To find your favourite or recently used filters, click on the Filter by buttons.

To hide or unhide the content of a section, click on the chevron on the right. The figure indicates the number of presets in each section and, depending on the section, you can use the double arrow to save, import or export a preset.

The Custom section is used to create and manage your own presets. In the Import section, you can upload presets shared by other users. Finally, the History section lists all the corrections and settings applied to the selected image.

In each section, you can filter the presets to show your favourites or recently used presets. You can also hide or unhide the left panel, either by clicking on its right-hand edge or pressing the L key.

Finally, the Instant Help section displays information about the various tools when you hover over them with the mouse. Enable or disable this in the Help menu > Open/Close Instant Help.

For more information on how the Custom and Import sections work

The History section

The History section shows all the processing and correction steps of your image – effects of the camera kit, application of a camera, corrections, and associated effects – from the top (oldest) to the bottom (most recent).

To view the image at a particular stage, click on that stage in the list. The selected step is displayed in yellow, all previous steps (above) are white, and all subsequent steps (below) are greyed out: if you correct the image at this point, the greyed out steps will not be applied to the image.

In split view or side-by-side display mode, you can move the history selector (the yellow arrow on the left edge of the section) to apply a step from the processing history to the left view.

The right panel

The right panel (displayed to the left by default, with Camera tools added to the right).

The right panel shows the following sections, based on the filters selected in the left panel, along with the permanent sections and tools:

The Loupe and Histogram section

When you scroll the contents of the right panel upwards, the Loupe and Histogram disappear from view. Click on the pin on the right in the section header to lock the section in place (scroll down for the other tools).

The Loupe section is always available, regardless of the tools used:

The Histogram section is always available too, regardless of the tools used:

The histogram shows the distribution of the brightness levels of the pixels in the selected image, with shadows on the left, midtones in the centre, and highlights on the right, with the peaks corresponding to the number of pixels per brightness range.

Click on the buttons to view the histogram in different ways:

Because you can display the brightness values per channel, you can adjust your tonality (exposure, contrast) and color settings more accurately.

The histogram can also be used to display the clipped values in the image, shown as masks whose color corresponds to the RGB channel and/or the complementary colour affected. This is especially important as Analog Efex Pro provides tools that can significantly impact brightness and contrast.

Enable clipping indicators (dark tones to the left, light tones to the right).
Colored masks showing clipped tones.

To show the clipping masks, click in the histogram or on the button(s) in the top corners: left for clipped shadows and blacks, and left for clipped highlights and whites.

Basic adjustments and Camera kit effects

The Basic Adjustments section is displayed when you open an image in Analog Efex Pro and is shown regardless of the Camera Kit effect or the Camera applied to the image. It is used to make basic corrections to tonality (brightness and contrast), color saturation and detail extraction. These corrections may be applied across the whole image or selectively, using the control points.

Every time you add a Camera Kit effect or a Camera, the associated tools are displayed below the Basic Adjustments section.

You will find more information on the Basic Adjustment and Camera Kit tools in the section describing the Camera Kit effects.

Although the tools and sliders available depend on the filter(s) and preset selected, the sections share some common features:

  1. Box to check to disable/enable all the tools in the filter (for a quick comparison with and without the corrections and effects applied).
  2. Double arrow to reset the filter (keeping the local adjustments or not) and copy/paste the control points.
  3. An “X” button to close the section (which also disables the effects and corrections applied).
  4. A chevron to collapse or expand the section’s content.

Vary button

When you apply a Camera Kit effect or a Camera preset, an array of tools are displayed in the right panel. The Vary button is a simple way of changing or adjusting the settings proposed by the effect applied, in small increments and with no effort on your part. Every time you click on this button, it will make slight adjustments to the various cursors, but without altering the effects applied, for example a type of scratch or type of film (which you can always change yourself in the sections displayed).

When using the Vary button, whenever you find a look and adjustments that suit you, you can create a custom preset.

The lower toolbar

The lower toolbar includes the following information and features:

  1. File source: indicates the name of the host application.
  2. Cancel: cancels the current processing and corrections and closes the plugin. The image in the host application is not modified.
  3. Apply: saves the processing and corrections and closes the plug-in. The image in the host application is modified. If you have more than one image open, the button shows “Apply…” (short for “Apply to all”).

Keyboard shortcuts

ActionWindowsMacintosh
Clipped highlightsShift + HShift + H
Clipped shadowsShift + SShift + S
CancelCtrl + ZCmd + Z
RedoCtrl + YCmd + Y
Full ScreenFF
PreviewPP
Show/Hide Control PalettesTabTab
Apply FilterEnterBackspace
Cancel FilterEscEsc
ZoomSpacebarSpacebar
Zoom InCtrl + “+”Cmd + “+”
Zoom OutCtrl + “-“Cmd + “-“
Zoom to fitCtrl + 0Cmd + 0
Zoom to 100 %Ctrl + Alt + 0Cmd + Alt + 0
Delete a control point or blur pointDeleteDelete

Camera Kit

As its name suggests, the Camera Kit lets you create your own camera in Analog Efex Pro, using and combining the different effects described below.

Basic Adjustments

Image: Jad Limcaco on Unsplash

Use these tools to adjust the basic characteristics of the image — detail, brightness, contrast, and saturation.

Detail ExtractionLets you control how much detail is accentuated. Increasing the value of this slider amplifies details while lightening shadows and tamping down highlights. As a result, the tone is distributed more evenly throughout the photo.
BrightnessControls the overall brightness of the image.
ContrastControls the overall contrast of the image.
SaturationControls the overall saturation of colors in a photo.
Control PointsUsed to selectively apply corrections to the various sliders in the panel and adjust their opacity.

Lens Distortion

Image: Alexander Shustov on Unsplash

Try out the optical distortion properties typical of lenses with extreme focal lengths. Apply concave or convex distortion, or the color fringes of chromatic aberrations.

Type of DistortionDrag the slider to the left to apply pincushion (concave) distortion or to the right for barrel (convex) distortion.
Chromatic ShiftControls the extent to which a chromatic change appears.
Chromatic AberrationSelect the color combination for the fringes caused by chromatic aberration.
DefocusGradually introduces blur throughout the entire image.

Bokeh

Image: JoshuaK .Jackson on Unsplash

Apply the Bokeh filter to creatively control image sharpness. Use the Insert to Image control to adjust the size and shape of the blurred area or to move the focus away from the center, if desired.

Bokeh StyleChoose between elliptical or tilt/shift blur.
Blur StrengthLets you determine the amount of blur applied to the photo.
Optimize HighlightsLets you increase the intensity of the highlights in the blurred area.
Aperture ShapeClick the arrows to choose from several shapes to apply to blurred highlights.
Aperture RotationAdjusts the angle at which the aperture shape is set.
Aperture VariationDrag the slider to the left for a concave aperture shape or to the right for a convex aperture shape.

Zoom & Rotate Blur

Image: William Hook on Unsplash

Apply a creative blur effect around the centre of the image as if zooming and rotating to draw the eye into the image. Use the Insert command on the image to move the focus away from the centre, if desired.

Protect CentreAdjusts the size of the targeted centre area.
Zoom StrengthControls the amount of blur applied to the image for zoom movement.
Rotation StrengthControls the amount of blur applied to the image for rotational movement.

Motion Blur

Image: Piotr Chrobot on Unsplash

Create motion, distortion, or texture in the image to make it appear as if the camera or subject is moving. Use multiple vector points to customize the appearance of the desired movement.

Blur StrengthControls the amount of blur applied to the image during directional movement.
Add Blur PointTo add vector points, click Add a blur point, and then click in the image to insert the point. Click and drag the point at the end of the vector to change the direction or the extent of the vector. Use the Delete key on your keyboard to quickly delete the last inserted point.

Double Exposure

Image: Kyle Brumm on Unsplash

Apply this filter to recreate the silver emulsion, analog, effect of two images being captured on a single frame. Choose to overlay a second image on top of the first, or use the frame inlay to overlay, shift and enlarge the same image twice.

Second ExposureBy default, the original image is duplicated and appears as a second exposure. Click the “+” button to replace it with another .tif or .jpg image instead.
ExposureProtects the overall brightness and contrast of the single image generated by the double exposure.
Exposure BalanceControls the opacity of the second exposure.
Zoom StrengthAdjusts the zoom effect of the double image.
Rotation StrengthAdjusts the rotation of the double image.

Light Leaks

Image: Modern Afflatus on Unsplash

Adds light to the image. Use the Insert control on the image to customize the location of the light to vary the effect and make sure the light is placed where you want it. To vary the effect, choose between soft, sharp and precise or dynamic shapes. Use the intensity slider to adjust the overall opacity of the light, or a control point to selectively adjust the effect.

StrengthAdjusts the presence and impact of the effect applied to the image.
Effects menuOffers a wide selection of light leaks in three categories (Soft, Crisp, Dynamic).
Control PointsApplies the selected effect locally and adjusts its opacity.

Dirt & Scratches

Image: Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Give the impression that your photos have been developed with a negative damaged by dust, scratches, and/or stains. Use the Insert control to adjust the location of marks, to vary the effect, and to make sure the texture appears exactly where you want it. Choose Dust and Lint, Scratches, Organic, or Eroded texture, then apply it in black or white to vary the effect. Use the Intensity slider to adjust the overall opacity and tone of the texture, or a control point to selectively adjust or remove the effect.

StrengthAdjusts the presence and impact of the effect applied to the image.
Effects menuOffers a wide selection of defects in four categories (Dust and Lint, Scratches, Organic, Eroded).
Control PointsApplies the selected effect locally and adjusts its opacity.

Photographic Plate

Image: James Padolsey on Unsplash

Takes a digital image and simulates the natural textures typical of darkroom processing. Choose a Streaked, Corroded, or Concrete< style, then apply the texture in black or white to vary the effect. Use the Intensity slider to adjust the overall opacity and tone of the texture, or a control point to selectively adjust or remove the effect.

StrengthAdjusts the presence and impact of the effect applied to the image.
Effects listOffers a selection of plates in three categories (Streaked, Corroded, Concrete).
Control PointsApplies the selected effect locally and adjusts its opacity.

Lens Vignetting

Image: Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Simulates the vignetting created by different types of lenses. The darkening of the edge of the frame helps to draw the viewer’s eye within the image boundaries and gives the picture more depth. Use the Insert command on the image to move the vignetting away from the center, if desired.

AmountAdjusts the intensity of the vignetting. Move the slider to the left to add dark vignetting to the edges of the image. Conversely, move the slider to the right to add light vignetting to the edges.
Circle/RectangleControls the overall shape of the vignetting: circular or rectangular.
SizeSets the area in the image to which vignetting is to be applied.

Film Type

Image: photo-nic.co.uknic on Unsplash

Simulates different film styles with various colors, tones, contrasts, and grain styles. You can choose between warm, cool or subtle color variations.

Effects listUsed to select film renderings from five categories (Warm, Cool, Subtle, B&W neutral, B&W toned).
Neutral/FadedDrag the slider to the right to give a retro fade effect.
StrengthAdjusts the degree to which the filter is applied to the photo.
Grain per pixelBased on Nik’s unique grain engine, this slider is used to add realistic grain to the photo. Move the slider to the left to reduce the number of grain elements applied per pixel, increasing the size and visibility of the grain throughout the photo. If you don’t want to apply any grain to your photo, move the slider all the way to the right.
SoftAdjusts the appearance of the grain. When the grain is coarse, the image appears more detailed and sharp. When the grain is finer, the image feels more natural.

Multilens

Image: Héctor J.Rivas on Unsplash

Instantly create a dynamic multi-border layout with multiple focal points in a single image.

LayoutChoose a layout from a selection of five layouts and four borders.
Border ColorApply a professional white or black border, or remove the border completely for a smooth outline.
Border WidthAdjusts the width of a white or black border.
VignettingAdds a darkening effect to each border.
Variation StrengthAdjusts the degree of tonal variation between borders.
Variation TypeLets you select one of five different patterns of tonal variation between borders.

Frames

Image: Ivan Bertona on Unsplash

Choose a border type from styles that simulate different types of films, or a more subtle streaked border from the Filmstrip, White, or Lightbox border collections. Use the Scale slider to adjust the width of the selected borders.

ScaleUse to adjust the thickness of the frames.
Effects listOffers a wide choice of frames grouped in three categories (Filmstrip, White, Lightbox).

Levels & Curves

Image: Ivan Jevtic on Unsplash
ChannelSelects the channel for which the tone is to be set. In addition to the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) channels usually located in Curve dialog boxes, the Levels & Curves filter also provides a brightness channel. Use this to adjust the brightness and contrast of your photo without changing the colors.
OpacityAdjusts the degree to which the filter is added to the photo.
Tone curveClick on the curve to add anchor points to it directly. To remove an anchor point, double-click it.
Levels slidersMove the Shadows, Midtones, and/or Highlights sliders to adjust the tone ranges.

Levels and curves are among the most commonly used tools for adjusting the brightness and tone of an image. This filter lets you fine-tune basic brightness and contrast. Levels and Curves panel

You can find more information about the Levels & Curves tool in the Overall and Selective Correction Tools section.

Overall and Selective Correction Tools

The configuration and number of sliders depends on the different elements in the Camera Kit.

In this chapter, we will look at the following topics:

Correction tools (general information)

Each component in the Camera Kit and each Camera in Analog Efex Pro comes with a number of sliders and special tools. There are many different effects, but there are some common features:

Levels & Curves tool

The Level & Curves tool in Analog Efex Pro is found in the Camera Kit section, in the left panel. It can be used to refine or adjust the contrast of your image, either overall or by RGB channel using the Level sliders:

To reset:

The Opacity slider is set to 100% default and is used to reduce the strength of the Level & Curves adjustments.

Control Points

Control points let you modify selected parts of the image only. In Analog Efex Pro, the control points in the Basic Adjustments section are used to tweak the basic corrections locally (brightness, contrast, saturation, detail), while the control points in certain components of the Camera Kit let you adjust and refine the associated effects and renderings locally.

Control points are available in the following components:

Add a Control Point

To place and use a Control Point:

Managing Control Points

The Selective Adjustments section lets you manage the various Control Points applied to the image, presented here as a numbered list. The active Control Points are indicated in yellow.

  1. Create a Control Point: use this button to create a control point to apply local corrections.
  2. Size: indicates as a % the size of the radius of effectiveness of the Control Point.
  3. Show/Hide selection for all Control Points: this button displays the monochrome masks for all Control Points. In the monochrome mask, white indicates the areas of the file where 100% of the correction is applied, black indicates no correction and various level of grey indicate the areas that are affected by the correction to varying degrees.
  4. Control Point List: Control Points indicated by the yellow icon and white text are selected and active, while greyed-out Control Points are inactive.
  5. Enable/Disable effect for all Control Points: the checkbox disables and re-enables all Control Points applied to the image, as well as the associated corrections and settings.
  6. Enable/Disable effect for a Control Point: the checkbox disables and re-enables the Control Point applied to the image, as well as the associated corrections and settings.
  7. Show/Hide Selection of Control Point: this button lets you display the monochrome mask of the control point concerned (also see point 3).
  8. Duplicate: click on this button to duplicate the currently selected Control Point(s). You can also duplicate a Control Point by clicking on it while pressing the Alt/Option key, then dragging the mouse to reposition the duplicated Control Point.
  9. Group: to group multiple Control Points, first select them in the list, holding down the Ctrl (PC) or Cmd (Mac) key and then click on the Group button. In the list, the Control Points are organized into groups named Group 1, Group 2, etc. In the image, the first Control Point selected to form the group is indicated by the normal dot, and all other Control Points in the group are indicated by a small yellow dot. When you apply a correction to one of the Control Points, the correction will be applied to the other Control Points in the group. However, you can use the size slider to adjust the size of each Control Point in a group independently. To select multiple Control Points, click in the image and then, while holding down the left mouse button, draw a selection rectangle encompassing the desired control points (you can then click the Group button to group them).
  10. Ungroup: to cancel the grouping of Control Points, select the group from the list and press the Ungroup button. All the Control Points will be displayed as ungrouped, allowing you to delete, modify, or create new groups from individual Control Points.
  11. Delete: click the Delete button to delete the currently selected Control Points.
  12. Reset: resets all sliders and settings associated with the active Control Point.

Display of the Control Point selection as a monochrome mask.
Black: No correction.
White: 100% correction.
Various shades of grey: varying degrees of correction (see points 3 and 7 in the list above).

You can group several Control Points together to apply the same correction to all of them. To do this, drag a rectangle with the mouse over all the desired Control Points.

Color selectivity and strength of correction

The Color Selectivity sliders (1) are available in all the Camera Kit components that offer Control Points. Likewise the Correction Strength slider (2), except in the Basic Adjustments section.
  1. The Color Selectivity cursors are used to expand or reduce the range of of the colour tolerance covered by a Control Point. This lets you include variations in hue and its brightness level in your correction (for example, to take into account variations in skin color):
  2. Luminance: determines the range of brightness of the color (default setting 50%).
  3. Chrominance: determines the range of hues for a color (default setting 50%).

The effect of the Colour Selectivity sliders is subtle, so use the black/white mask display of the Control Point, as shown below.

On the left, the Color Selectivity settings are set to 0, and the correction on the sail extends around the boat.
On the right, the sliders are set so that the correction applies to the sail and not around the boat.

2. The Correction Strength slider is linked to the active effect; if several Control Points have been applied, it will be linked to the active Control Point.

Set to the maximum value of 100 by default, this indicates that the Control Point effect or correction is fully applied. If you reduce to the value to 50, the strength of the effect or correection is halved; at 0, no correction or effect is applied. This means you can adjust the effect or correction with a high degree of precision.

Dirt & Scratches effect with the Correction Strength slider linked to the Control Point set at 100 (left) and 30 (right).

Do not confuse the Correction Strength slider linked to the active Control Point with the Strength slider located at the top of the section, which acts on the effect applied to the entire image (however, the two can be combined).

Rename Control Points

To help you manage your Control Points and/or Control Point groups, the list of which can grow quickly, you can rename them as you wish:

  1. To help you manage and keep track of your control points and/or control point groups, which can grow quickly, you can rename them as you wish. The Control Point or group must be inactive when you want to rename it.
  2. The name is highlighted: enter the new name directly. The old name is deleted as soon as you start typing.
  3. If you just want to change the name, move the flashing input cursor using the left and right arrows on your keyboard.
  4. Click Enter to confirm.

Renaming does not change the order of the Check Points in the list, and there is no automatic alphabetical ordering. Nor can you change the order by drag and drop.

Custom Presets

Presets

You can create your own Cameras:

To create a Custom Preset:

  1. After selecting a Camera and, if you want, adding one or several Camera Kit components, make the desired overall and/or selective (Control Point) adjustments using the tools in the right panel.
  2. At the bottom of the right panel, click the Save Preset* button.
  3. In the Custom Preset dialog box, enter a name to describe your filter clearly (e. g. “Classic Camera 2 + Filmstrip frame”).
  4. If you want to save the Control Points and associated selective corrections, make sure that the Save with Control Points box is checked (it is checked by default).
  5. Click Save to confirm.
  6. The Custom Preset then appears in the Custom section in the left panel.

* You can also save by going to the Custom section, clicking on the double arrow to the right of the number of presets and selecting Save Preset from the pop-up context menu.

Managing custom presets

You can take advantage of your Custom Presets with the following features:

  1. Rename: click on the name of the preset under the thumbnail to activate the input field. After entering the new name, press Enter to confirm.
  2. Mark as favourite: Click on the star to the left of the preset (the star turns gold). Click again to cancel (the star turns black again).
  3. Export: hover over the preset to display the buttons to the right in the thumbnail. Click the top button to export the preset so that you can share it. A system dialog box lets you choose where to save it; then click Open.
  4. Update: After adjusting or adding corrections in a Custom Preset, hover over the thumbnail to display the buttons on the right. Click on the curved arrow to update the preset with the adjusted or added corrections.
  5. Delete: hover over the preset to display the buttons to the right in the thumbnail. Click on the trash can to delete it.

Sharing Custom Presets

You can export and import Custom Presets so you can share them with other users.

Exporting Custom Presets

  1. In the Custom section, click on the double arrow to the right of the number of Custom Presets.
  2. From the pop-up menu, select Export All.
  3. If you want to export a single Preset, hover over the thumbnail and click on the Export icon.
  4. A system dialog box lets you choose the Save location and complete the Export process.

Importing Custom Presets

  1. In the Imported section, click on the double arrow to the right of the number of Presets.
  2. In the pop-up menu, select Import Preset.
  3. A system dialog box will open. Locate the presets you want to import. Select the presets you want to import, then click on Open.
  4. The imported presets are displayed in the Imported section.

Imported presets can be renamed, marked as favourites, exported and deleted, in the same way as your Custom Presets. However, it is not possible to update the settings: if you want to, apply the imported preset, adjust the settings in the right panel then create a Custom Preset.

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