Saturday, May 28, 2016

Run Free Google Nik Photoshop filter collection in Paint.NET

I have an older build of Adoble Photoshop that I rarely use for photo editing work. I prefer the freeware application Paint.NET.

So when I heard that the Google Nik Collection became a free download back in March I got really excited because at least I would have some new filters for Photoshop.

If you aren’t familiar with the Nik Collection and just hit that page, you might think that it offers seven or so very high-quailty photo retouching/editing filter profiles for use in Photoshop.

What it really contains is an amazing number of high-end photo retouching/editing filters that fall under seven primary filter categories.

But maybe you don’t have Adobe Photoshop so you have the sads as you couldn’t take advantage of these filters.

Fear not!  You can easily run the Google Nik Photoshop filters in the free Paint.NET photo-editing software application to your heart’s content and not need Adobe Photoshop at all.


sample photo by Mayur Gala via Unsplash with CC0 license

  1. Download/install Paint.NET (if you don’t have it already).
  2. Download and manually install the Paint.NET 8bf filter plugins.
    1. Once downloaded, unzip the file package.
    2. Close out Paint.NET if running. 
    3. From the unzipped location, copy the “PSFilterPdn.dll” and “PSFilterShim.exe” into the Paint.NET “Effects” folder (usually C:\Program Files\Paint.NET\Effects) (see here if needed) Download/install the Google Nik Collection. Tip: make a note of what the default install directory path is.
  3. Run Paint.NET
  4. Go to “Effects” on the Menu bar,
  5. Select the 8bf Filter near the bottom.
  6. In the window, click on “Search Directories” tab,
  7. Make sure the “Search Subdirectories” tick box is checked.
  8. Click on the “Add” button.
  9. Browse to the top-level folder location where the Google Nik Collection was installed (from step 3 tip) and select that folder.  (On my system it was “C:\Program Files\Google\Nik Collection”
  10. Click “OK” and the path will be added to the seach directory. (more details on installing Photoshop-compatible filteres wth 8bf Filter here.)
  11. Done!

To access the Google Nik Collection fiters in Paint.NET do this.

  1. Run Paint.NET if not already running.
  2. Load up an image file in Paint.NET to get started with.
  3. Go to “Effects” on the Menu bar,
  4. Select the “8bf Filter” near the bottom of the Effects dropdown listing.
  5. Select the “Filters” tab in the window.
  6. Expand the “Nik Collection”
  7. Pick a filter category
  8. Click the “Run Filter” button
  9. It will load up the image you have selected and then present you with the filter control window.
  10. On the top left side you will see the different sub-categories for the loaded filter.
  11. Select the filter subcategory and then try the different filters. You will see them previewed on your image.
  12. If you want, you can fine-tune the selected filter effect on the right hand side.

Amazing! All this in Paint.NET.

Mind blown.


Claus Valca

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks a bunch!