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How to install Nik Collection Plugins in Affinity Photo

Installing Nik Collection in Affinity PhotoSwitching 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.

Reinstalling Nik Collection, So It Works With Affinity Photo

To get Affinity Photo to work with Nik Collection, you need to install it again. Download the latest version of Nik before you begin.

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.

Nik Collection Installation

Click on the Nik Collection App to begin the installation.

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.

Select the Affinity Photoshop Plugins

Next, click continue and finish the installation process. 

After the installation has finished, switch to Affinity Photo.

Setting up the Plugins in Affinity Photo

In Affinity Photo go to Preferences and select the Photoshop Plugins button.

Affinity Photo - Preferences

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.

Concluding words

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.

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By | 2017-09-13T20:53:24+00:00 March 13th, 2017|Affinity Photo, Nik Collection|11 Comments


  1. Schille Tobias July 23, 2017 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Best tutorial for installing Nik Collections in Affinity Photo. Thank you so much. Before I saw your tutorial I lost many hours.

    • Peter Dam August 7, 2017 at 10:18 am - Reply

      Hi Tobias.
      Thanks for the feedback. Great to hear it helped you with installing Nik Collections in Affinity Photo.

  2. Dave August 2, 2017 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    Very useful tutorial

    • Peter Dam August 7, 2017 at 10:18 am - Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Dave.

  3. Jim August 5, 2017 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Thanks for taking the time to create this tutorial. Your instructions were straightforward, and unambiguous. I was able to install the plugins on the first attempt.

    • Peter Dam August 7, 2017 at 10:16 am - Reply

      Hi Jim,

      You’re welcome. Glad you liked it. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Ulrich Dorn August 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Absolutely top notch, Peter! I am a X-Photographer and next to Affinity Photo I use Photo Mechanics and Aperture (now Fotos). I try Luminar, Tonality and Aurora – but it’s not the same like the good old Nik thing. Thank you so much for this superb tutorial – great!

  5. Ulrich Dorn August 26, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    Absolutely top notch, Peter! I am a X-Photographer and next to Affinity Photo I use Photo Mechanics and Aperture (now Fotos). I try Luminar, Tonality and Aurora – but it’s not the same like the good old Nik thing. Thank you so much for this superb tutorial – great!

  6. norman Shearer November 3, 2017 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    Maybe you should clarify that this guide is for setting up on a Mac only? Tried following it using Windows 10 and failed. :-/

  7. Paul November 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm - Reply

    So how do you do it with Windows?

  8. Arun December 1, 2017 at 5:53 pm - Reply

    You’re A Rockstar

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