I just got back from Photoshop World and it’s my first day back in the office. I’m working on a new video today (which should go up tomorrow), but as I was prepping I thought about Photoshop World. Usually, I get bombarded with questions about Lightroom (and I still did). In fact, I was asked so many Lightroom catalog management/organization questions that I’m going to create a Kelby Training class on just that topic. But this time another question was clearly the winner:

“Matt, what do you think about Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro?”

Now, please chime in with a comment if you agree or have seen a demo of HDR Efex Pro, but I swear, I couldn’t walk 50 feet without some one asking that question. Now, maybe this was because I taught 3 HDR classes at Photoshop World so people were coming to me with that specific question. But Nik had some killer demo’s at their booth too, which I’m sure generated a lot of buzz.

Anyway, here’s my thoughts. I predict that HDR Efex Pro will be the best-in-class HDR software on the market. I’ve used it for about 2 weeks now, and I like it a lot.

What I like:
*The Nik interface that I’ve grown accustomed to
*Lots of presets with a decent size preview thumbnail
*Adding Control Points let’s me get much more of my post-HDR work done in one place
*The fact that the word “Gamma” is nowhere to be found
*The “HDR Method” setting rocks! It let’s you get a lot of different HDR styles from one adjustment

What I don’t like:
*Too many presets (you can however switch to Custom view to hide them)
*I wish the HDR method setting showed you a preview before you clicked on it

As I mentioned before, I think this software will end up being one of the favorites out there. When Nik Software creates a product, they make it solid. That said, my advice to people will be similar to my advice to them when it comes to Black and White and Nik’s Silver Efex Pro plug-in. You have to REALLY REALLY like HDR to spend the extra cash on more HDR software. Especially when Photoshop CS5’s HDR is very good and it already comes for free with CS5. If you do the occasional HDR image then you may have a hard time justifying the extra cash. If you’re way into HDR (like I am) then it’ll make a more compelling case. In fact, I’d go ahead and earmark some money now because I’m pretty sure you’ll want to buy it when it comes out. As always, I suggest you download the 30-day trial when it becomes available and give it a try for yourself before you make the decision. See ya!