Welcome, Nick !
Yes, there are similarities, but differences too. Essentially, they’re both providing film type, and effect, simulations - with differences such as;
- FP can be used in stand-alone mode - - but, significantly, if you also own PhotoLab then FP is fully integrated within the PL workspace, with all the benefits of a non-destructive process.
- AEP requires your RAW file to be first processed & exported as an image file, such as JPG, TIF, etc - There are features within AEP that facilitate ability to revisit your work therein - but it’s a bit “fiddly”.
- On the other hand, AEP includes ability to apply image adjustments and detailed refinements to the film treatments - plus, it includes Control Point technology.
- All the same, if you’re using FP with PhotoLab then the latter includes Control Point technology within its Local Adjustments interface. And, if you use FP & PL together then additional Contrast refinements are added to PL’s tool-set.
Yes, this decision is a “no brainer” - The only valid reason you’d buy the Nik tools explicitly for Perspective Efex is if you were not a PhotoLab owner/user.
- If you own ViewPoint and PhotoLab then VP is fully integrated within the PL workspace … and like with AEP, this then provides all the benefits of a non-destructive process.
- Again as with AEP, PE requires your RAW file to be first processed & exported to it as an image file, such as JPG, TIF, etc.
If you can afford to buy all of PL, VP, FP and the Nik Tools then you’d have a very powerful tool-set that does just about anything & everything - - but, if not then it comes down to how much you value full integration (PL + VP + FP) versus the undeniably excellent extras in Colour Efex Pro & Analog Efex.
HTH - John M