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Thread: Questions about using Nik with LR and PS

  1. #1
    DanK's Avatar
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    Questions about using Nik with LR and PS

    Having bought the Nik collection when Google made it inexpensive, I finally went through the entire collection of plugins last night. There are many tutorials on line, but a nice one that walks through the entire set from the beginning is this one.

    I'm puzzled about the best way to use these with Lightroom and Photoshop. Here's what I ended up with. I'd appreciate any corrections from folks who know the plugins better.

    1. Ironically, PS seems to offer a more non-destructive way to use these than LR. When I used a Nik plugin in LR and saved the results, I ended up with a TIF that had the Nik edits baked in. In contrast, if you open the image as a smart object in PS, each Nik plugin shows up as a smart filter in that layer, and you can return to the filter and change it at any time.

    2. PS makes it tidier to use multiple plug-ins. In PS, it seems easy to use different Nik plugins to add additional smart filters to a single smart object layer. I tried this with Viveza and Color Efex, and it seemed to work fine. In contrast, the only way I found to use multiple plugins with LR was to chain them. I would call up one plug-in, save the Nik edits, then call up the resulting TIF file to add edits from a second Nik plug-in, etc.

    Am I missing something?

    On a different topic, there was some discussion a few weeks ago about how useful these are, given the current capabilities of LR and PS. My initial reaction is that I will probably make use of Viveza, Color Efex, and Siver Efex because all three make certain types of edits much easier than LR or PS. I don't foresee finding much use for Define or Nik's sharpener, the latter because I have found LR's output sharpening to be pretty good.

    Dan

  2. #2
    Clactonian's Avatar
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    Mike Bareham

    Re: Questions about using Nik with LR and PS

    Are you missing something?
    No I don't think you are, as your experiences mimic my own. I tend to mostly use the NIK software via PS because of the limitations you have highlighted in LR.

  3. #3

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    Tim

    Re: Questions about using Nik with LR and PS

    Dan

    You are right. No LR plug-in I know about is clever enough to work parametrically on the raw data. They all require rendering to TIFF and then a bog-standard, destructive pixel edit. In that respect being able to use the plug-in on a separate layer in PS gives you more flexibility to back out if you want to alter an adjustment.

    In a LR workflow the only option, if you don't like what you've done in the plug-in is to back up in history to the point before you called up he plug-in and start over.

    I can do almost all the adjustments I want/need in a color workflow, in LR alone. But I do use a plug-in (Photomatix) for exposure fusion (aka 'HDR') and I often use Silver Efex Pro for B&W. The latter is usually no bother since I apply it after all appropriate LR adjustments. Can't do much about the HDR one. There is usually still a lot of work to do after the exposure fusion.

    I think the plug-in manufacturers build their products for PS - they work at pixel level. They build a render engine at the front end and an export function at the back end just so they can be marketed as 'solutions' for for a raw workflow too. But, as you observed, they break it.

    Cheers

    Tim

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