Switching from Photoshop to Affinity Photo can be a little daunting experience when you first think of it. However, the transition is easier than you think and well worth it.
If you are using Nik Collection Plugins, you might wonder whether you can get them to work in Affinity Photo, or you also need to find alternatives to them too. However, there is no need to worry.
The Nik Collection plugins were mainly developed to use with applications like Photoshop and Lightroom, and other photo editing software. But Affinity Photo wasn’t around when Nik Collections was actively developed and updated, so it doesn’t recognize Affinity straight away in the installation process.
However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot get Nik Collections to work with Affinity Photo with a little workaround.
Note after DxO launched their version of Nik Collection: DxO says that they don’t officially support integrating with Affinity Photo. If you cannot get it to work, by following the below guide, and you still have the old free version from Google, try to re-install that once you have cleaned your Mac from the DxO version.
Reinstalling Nik Collection, So It Works With Affinity Photo
To get Affinity Photo to work with Nik Collection, you need to install it a second time, but in another folder.
Now, open up a finder window and go to the Applications folder. Create a new folder and call it something like “Affinity Photoshop Plugins.” In this folder, you can install all your Photoshop plugins. After going through this tutorial, all your plugins installed in this folder should automatically be detected by Affinity Photo.
Next, you need to reinstall the Nik Collection. Double-click on the .dmg-file you downloaded from the Nik Collection website, following the link above.
During the installation process, on the Compatible Host screen, you need to choose which compatible applications you want Nik Collection to work with. However, as you can see Affinity Photo is not listed here.
Click on the plus sign and navigate to Applications and choose the “Affinity Photoshop Plugins” folder that you created just a few minutes ago and click Open.
Next, click continue and finish the installation process.
After the installation has finished, switch to Affinity Photo.
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Setting up the Plugins in Affinity Photo
In Affinity Photo go to Preferences and select the Photoshop Plugins button.
Under “Plugin search folders” select “Add” (#1 on the screenshot below). Next, navigate to the Affinity Photoshop Plugins folder that you created under Applications. Highlight the folder and click OK.
Under “Plugin Support Folders” select “Add” (#2 on the screenshot above). In the popup finder window that appears, press SHIFT + CMD + G. This will bring up the Go to the folder dialogue, as you can see below. Just enter a slash sign “/” and press the Go button. Press OK, to close the finder window too.
Finally, press “Close” to confirm the Photoshop plugins changes you have made. Affinity Photo needs to restart to load the new plugins.
After restarting you can go to Preferences > Photoshop plugins, and you should see that Affinity Photo now recognize the Nik Collection under Detected Plugins.
If you open an image, you should also be able to activate the Nik collection plugins like Viveza or Color Efex by going to Filters -> Plugins -> Nik and then selecting the plugin that you wish to use.
Now you use and enjoy the Nik Collection just as you would if you were using Photoshop.
A note on using Nik Collection Plugins in Affinity Photo is that it applies the plugin filter effects to the active layer and not a new layer as you are used in Photoshop. This means, that before using one of the Nik Collection Plugins you just need to duplicate the layer by pressing CMD + J in Affinity Photo and make it active before running the Nik plugin, so your workflow remains non-destructive.
Combining Affinity Photo with the free Nik Collection plugins is a powerful combination, at a fraction of the cost compared to Photoshop. As a photographer, I doubt that you will feel that anything is lacking in Affinity Photo, as it is a real competitor to Photoshop. You just need to get used to doing things a little differently, but with a little patience and your Nik Collection plugins working, you will be up to speed in no time.
If you use Affinity Photo, I suggest that you take a look at the Affinity Photo Macro pack for Photographers, which will speed up your post-processing workflow and help you get the look you love in no time.