I have a line on the purchase of an unopened in the box Color Efex Pro 3.0 Complete Edition. I use Capture NX2 as my primary raw converter and editor, but I also have Photoshop CS6 and Lightroom 4 installed. I've never used CEP, but I know a lot of Nikonians swear by it and appreciate the integration with CNX2. Given the static nature of CNX2 (will we ever see a CNX3?)and the dropping of support for CNX2 by CEP 4.0, I have a couple of questions for current CEP users.
1. If you were in my situation, would you recommend taking advantage of this opportunity, speaking from the perspective of the added flexibility and creative control that CEP brings to the table, and assuming that all is legit with the product and registration keys are intact, etc.?
2. Does CEP allow 2 installs (desktop/laptop)?
3. Will CEP 3.0 Complete Edition recognize CNX2, LR4 and PS CS6 as compatible host programs and offer to install itself into all three?
4. The only thing I know about the package is that it is Complete Edition of version 3.xx. It's reasonable to assume that it is not going to be the most current version out of the box. Is Nik still supporting downloadable updates to the 3.0 product (not to version 4.x, but to the latest revision to 3.x)?
5. Any other issues good or bad or other general wisdom you'd care to impart? I'm less concerned about the loss of the purchase price should things not go well than I am messing up a perfectly stable nicely performing installation of CNX2, LR4 and PS CS6 in a Win 7 64 bit environment. I don't feel the absolute need to do this, but I am intrigued by the possibilities, and the opportunity to purchase this software may not cross my path again.
#1. "RE: Color Efex Pro 3.0 Question" In response to Reply # 0
I a happy CEP 3.0 complete edition user - what a great set of filters!
1 & 2. Yes, you can have multiple installs and use it in both CNX2 and Photoshop/Lightroom environments - there are 2 separate license keys for the different environments. You can even run on a PC and MAC if desired/need be. Also, once you are a registered user of CEP 3.0 you should be able to get the complete collection of NIK software as a free upgrade - you might have to check w/NIK on that as they sent out emails to current users . That would give you CEP 4.0 for Photoshop and Lightroom (unfortunately, not compatible w/CNX2) and Silver EFEX 2, HDX 2, etc. which can be also be used with CNX2's 'open with' file command.
3. I'm currently running the upgraded Complete Collection for Photoshop and CEP 3.004 for CNX2 with no conflicts or problems. The other apps run just fine from the 'open with' option as well as from within Photoshop.
4. Once you've registered your license w/NIK, you should be able to get the latest 32 or 64 bit versions of CEP 3 (3.003 and 3.004 respectively) to match up to your 32 or 64 bit version of CNX2.
#2. "RE: Color Efex Pro 3.0 Question" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for the reply, Ralph. After posting my questions here, I spoke to a very helpful person at Nik, and you have confirmed everything he said. He even emailed me a link to download the installer for version 3.004, because we both agreed that the version on the install CD that I would be acquiring would likely not be the most current version. I could install from his link, and use the keys included in the box to validate the installation. Once that was done, I could email him my product key, and that would entitle me to obtain the new collection for free. What a deal.
Unfortunately, I was away from my computer and at the last minute, I was outbid for the CEP3 package. Grrrr. So, I now have downloaded the installer for 3.004, but without a license key, that leaves me, um, let's see, exactly nowhere. I did not actually install CEP3, which is probably a good thing. I have no idea how to go about obtaining a license key for CEP3.
Maybe you could elaborate on your comment regarding the "open with" command in CNX2. Assuming that I purchase the current Nik Collection, how does that interface with CNX2 using the "open with" command. Do the applications within the collection open as stand alones, opening with a tiff file exported from the nef file via CNX2? Or do the applications open as plugins hosted by the Adobe software? I'd appreciate it if you could walk me through how I would use CDP4, HDR Efex Pro and the other applications in the suite if I still wanted to use CNX2 as my primary raw converter and editor. Both going from CNX2, into the Nik application, and back into CNX2, if that's even possible. It would appear that using the current collection is my only strategy at this point, unless you have some other idea as to how to activate a CEP3 installation.
#4. "RE: Color Efex Pro 3.0 Question" In response to Reply # 2
In 'Preferences' CNX2 has an 'Open With' preference where you can set an application to Open the file you're currently working on as a TIFF file (CNX2 will save a TIFF to the same directory).
While there is only 1 'Open With' option, a very clever and generous Nikonian created a little program called 'EditList2'which lets you put up to 12 programs in it so that you can choose which to use. Currently I have Photoshop CS6 and SilverEfex 2 available in EditList2.
You can find the link to the zip file download in this Forum thread
The zip file contains the program and instructions for setting it up. It has both 32 and 64 bit instructions. The thread has great examples of how it all works.
#5. "RE: Color Efex Pro 3.0 Question" In response to Reply # 4
I'm familiar with the "Open With" command in CNX2. I currently have mine set to PS CS6. My question is what happens after you invoke the "Open With" command, using one of the Nik applications. Let's use CEP4 as an example. If I have the executable for CEP4 as the program listed in the "Open With" command, and I have a nef file opened in CNX2, what happens when I execute the "Open With" command? Does a tiff file open up in CEP4 as a standalone application, or does it open as a tiff file in CEP4 as a plugin hosted by Photoshop or Lightroom? After editing in CEP4, is there a way to get that edited file back into CNX2, short of closing it in CEP4 and opening from scratch in CNX2?
What I'm trying to understand is how a CNX2 user interfaces back and forth between CNX2 and CEP4. I presume that once I have a handle on that, the same story would apply to the other apps in the Nik Collection, such as HDR Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro. Would that be correct?
Thanks for the heads up on the EditList2 program. I will check it out.
If that doesn't work, you'll have to search for editlist.
In answer to your question re: the way the plug-ins open, they open as stand-alone applications using the TIFF that's created by the 'Open With' command. That TIFF is then saved and any changes you've made are baked in. You could open the TIFF in PS and use the filters within PS (or just start with the NEF in PS, I guess). Depends on how far you want to go in CNX2 before using the filters. I'm much more familiar with CNX2 and use the NIK filters as the end-point, possibly touching up the TIFF in CNX2 if need be.