Last updated on August 28, 2023
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With the Nik Analog Efex plugin you can recreate the look of bygone days by emulating a host of vintage cameras, shooting techniques, film types, and printing papers that combine realistic camera and lens effects, along with their intrinsic flaws.

Image: Kah-Wai Lin

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Standard settings and pallets

When you open an image in Nik Analog Efex, it appears as it is in the host-app or as it is on the hard disk, if you are using standalone mode. No corrections, no camera kit effects are applied at this stage.

The Standard Settings section is always shown when you open an image in Nik Analog Efex, and is displayed regardless of the effect of the Camera Kit 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.

Each time you add a Camera Kit or Camera effect, the associated tools will be displayed in the form of palettes, after the Standard Settings palette.

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

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 you like, you can save a custom preset.

Camera Kit

As its name indicates, the Camera Kit located in the left panel lets you design your own camera in Nik Analog Efex, using or combining the different effects described below.

Basic Adjustments

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Use this filter to adjust the basic image characteristics: detail, brightness, contrast, and saturation, either globally or locally, with a control point and/or line.

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.
LightnessControls the overall brightness of the image.
ContrastControls the overall contrast of the image.
SaturationControls the overall saturation of colors in a photo.
Control points and linesSelectively applies corrections to the various sliders in the panel and adjusts their opacity.

Lens distortion

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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.


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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.
Boost 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

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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 CenterAdjusts the size of the targeted centre area.
Zoom StrengthControls the amount of blur applied to the image for zoom movement.
Rotate StrengthControls the amount of blur applied to the image for rotational movement.

Motion Blur

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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

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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.
Rotate StrengthAdjusts the rotation of the double image.

Light leaks

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Adds light to the image. Add light to the image, and 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 general opacity of the light, or a control point and/or line to adjust the effect in a selective manner.

IntensityAdjusts 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 points and linesApplies the selected effect locally and adjusts its opacity.

Dirt & Scratches

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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 a 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 opacity and global tone of the texture, or a control point and/or line to adjust or remove the effect selectively.

IntensityAdjusts 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 points and linesApplies the selected effect locally and adjusts its opacity.

Photo Plate

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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 opacity and global tone of the texture, or a control point and/or line to adjust or remove the effect selectively.

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

Lens Vignette

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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.

AmountControls the intensity of the vignetting. Move the slider to the left to add vignetting darkening to the image edges. Conversely, move the slider to the right to add lightening 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

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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.
IntensityControls 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. Moving the slider to the left reduces 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 will appear more detailed and sharp. When the grain is finer, the image feels more natural.


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

Scale to fitChoose 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.


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

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ChannelSelects the channel for which the tone is to be set. In addition to the RGB (Red, Green, Blue) channels usually located in the Curve dialog boxes, the Levels & Curves filter also provides a brightness channel that lets you adjust the brightness and contrast of your photo without changing the colors. You can also 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 on 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 Camera and component in the Camera Kit comes with a number of sliders and special tools. There are many different effects, but there are some common features:

Levels & Curves tool

Nik Analog Efex’s Levels and Curves tool can be selected 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 settings:

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

Embedded tools

Some Camera kit effects use embedded tools, that let you reposition and change the look of the effect:

Bokeh (circular and linear).
Zoom & Rotate Blur.
Motion Blur.
Double Exposure.
Light leaks.
Dirt and scratches

Although these embedded tools can vary in form, functional, and style, their basic operation remains more or less the same:

Local Adjustments

In this paragraph, only the tools specific to Nik Analog Efex are discussed. The basic operation of control points and control lines is discussed in the Common Interface and Tools chapter > Control Points and Control Lines.

The control points and control lines are available with the following camera kit tools and effects:

This way, you can apply different effects on different parts of the image, adjust their intensity, or even combine them. The associated sliders and settings are available next to each control point or control line, and in the palettes in the right panel. If you move a slider for a control point or line, the slider in the right panel will also move and vice versa.

In addition to common black-handled settings for size, Lm (Luminance), Chr (Chrominance) and Df (Diffusion), white-handled settings for the control points and control lines are also available, as follows:

You will find a detailed description of how each effect and tool works in the Camera Kit section.

  1. Basic Adjustments :
    • Ex Dts (Extract Details): sets detail sharpening.
    • Lm (Luminosity): brightens or darkens.
    • Ct (Contrast): Increases or decreases contrast.
    • St (Saturation): increases or decreases the vivacity of the colors.
  2. Light Leaks, Dust & Scratches, and Photo Plate:
    • Texture Strength*: Adjusts the effect selected.

*The strength slider for the texture applies to the active control point or control line, while the strength slider in the palette, applies the effect to the whole image.

Reducing the effect on the sky by using a control line.

Creating a custom camera

This paragraph discusses settings specific to Nik Analog Efex. For a description of the basic features, see Common Interface and Tools > Custom settings.

You can create your own Cameras:

Creating a camera in Nik Analog Efex simply consists of creating a preset:

  1. In the Camera Kit section of the left panel, click on the effects you want to add. You can also use an existing effect in one of the Cameras, Custom, Imported, or Last Edits sections.
  2. Proceed to the desired settings in the palettes in the right panel.
  3. Click Save Preset then name and click save in the dialog box that appears (you can also save your control points and/or control lines using the checkbox in the dialog).
  4. Your new camera will be available in the Custom section.

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