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Using the Nik Collection in Lightroom – The Bitesize Nik Tutorials

August 27, 2019

Hello I’m Robin Whalley. Welcome to Lenscraft. In today’s tutorial we’re going to be looking at how to use the Nik Collection filters from Lightroom. Let’s start by opening a single image for editing using Analog Efex. I find the easiest ways to do this is by selecting your image in Lightroom and then right-clicking with your mouse. This displays a pop-up menu where you can select the “Edit in” option. You can then see all the Nik Collection filters and select the one you want. Next, you’ll see a dialogue that confuses a lot of people. This is a Lightroom dialogue and is not part of the Nik Collection. It’s where you can select the editing options for the image you want to create. In this example you can see only one of the options is enabled and we’re being forced by Lightroom to select this. This is because we’re editing a raw file and Lightroom needs to convert it to an image before we can edit it with the Nik Collection. When you’re using this option, you can also configure the “Copy file options” at the bottom of the dialog. These control the characteristics of the image file that’s going to be created by Lightroom. When you’re using the Nik Collection you need to select either TIFF or JPEG file format. There’s also a PSD format but Nik not compatible with that. You can also select the colour space for the image. If you’re unsure about this, pick the Adobe RGB. This gives you a wide colour space to use for your editing and it will be able to handle most colours. If you selected the TIFF file format, you can also set the bit depth to either 16 or 8 bit. We’re going to be using 16-bits as this helps preserve the image during editing. Further down the dialog you can also set the resolution or number of dots per inch in the image. that We’ll set this to 300 which is generally accepted as a photo quality resolution. When we’ve selected our settings, we can click the “Edit” button. Lightroom’s now converted the RAW file to a TIFF image and open this in Nik for editing. Once you’ve made your adjustments click Save to return to Lightroom. Back in Lightroom you can see the new image has been added to the Lightroom catalogue. Also an image stack has been created to group the new image with the original. Let’s now try to open our new TIFF file in another of the Nik Collection filters. This time you can see the two other options in the Lightroom dialog are available. We can still select to “Edit a copy with Lightroom adjustments”. This will create another copy of the image and apply any subsequent adjustments that you made in Lightroom before passing it to Nik for editing. We can now though select the “Edit a copy” option. This creates a new copy of the image but doesn’t apply any adjustments you may have made in Lightroom. Finally, you can select to edit the “Original image”. This opens the image and allows you to apply further edits to it. This is the only option that doesn’t create a new file, but you need to be sure not to make any mistakes if you’re going to use multiple Nik filters. Notice also that the “Copy file options” is disabled when we select to edit the “Original image” file or “Edit a Copy” of the image. The options are only available when the select this “Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments”. If you find that changing these options gets a bit repetitive you can actually change the defaults. You can do this in the “Lightroom Preferences” using the “External editing” tab. Select the application you want to change the configuration for in the dropdown list. You can now change the default options that will be used each time you edit an image with that filter. Let’s change this one to use the Adobe RGB colour space and a resolution of 300. Once you’ve made changes, you can use the dropdown options to update the preset. Now when we edit an image from Lightroom using this plugin the new defaults appear in the edit dialog. The other useful feature that we’ve seen when editing our photos is that the new images can be grouped with the original, using Lightroom’s Stack feature. This is also controlled from the “Lightroom Preferences” in the “External editing” tab. When you have this “Stack with original” option ticked, each new version of an image is going to be added to the stack with the image it was copied from. This is a really useful feature when using the Nik Collection from Lightroom because it keeps the different versions of the image together. Another Lightroom feature you might not be aware of is that you can select and edit multiple images together in the Nik filters. We can select two images by holding down the Cmd or Ctrl key on the keyboard and then choosing each of the images. And now you can choose to edit them from the popup menu as you did before. Notice this causes new buttons to appear at the bottom of the interface and you can switch between the two versions of the image. You can also apply to adjustments to each of these. Once you’re ready you can save all the images using the “Save all” button. Again, the new images are added to a stack to group them with the originals. All the filters of the Nik Collection can be accessed using this popup menu. The exception is “HDR Efex”. To open an image in the HDR Efex plug-in you need to select the “Export with Preset” option from the “File” menu. This is where you’ll find the “HDR Efex Pro” option. You’ll notice that once the image has been edited, this time it’s not grouped with the original image stack. If we go back to the Lightroom Preferences you also notice the HDR Efex filter isn’t listed as an external editor. We can though add it by creating a new preset. Now we’re able to use HDR Efex from the pop-up menu. The only difference is when you come to save the image. It won’t automatically use the same location as the original file and the file name has got HDR appended to the end of it. You need to manually save it back to the same location as the original image file and this will overwrite the image that was created by Lightroom. If you don’t actually do that, the new image in the Lightroom stack won’t reflect the changes you just made in HDR Efex. If you found this tutorial helpful, please give it a big thumbs up to like it, and share it with others. I’ve got lots of new tutorials coming soon so don’t forget to subscribe or you might miss them. I’m Robin Whalley. You’ve been watching Lenscraft. See you in the next video.


  • Reply ELLIOT STERN July 26, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    Robin I have NIK on my computer for years and recently supported DXO by buying into their investment in the plug ins. Even after having the NIK, Google and now DXO versions thanks now to your video I was able to edit the defaults, add the HDR as well as delete other plugins that still existed in my system that were no longer viable. Thanks so much for your help!

  • Reply Jane Andrew July 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm

    That was a very informative tutorial and well explained. Thanks!

  • Reply Steve O'Nions July 27, 2018 at 1:51 pm

    Useful tips Robin, particularly the defaults for external editors. Liked the into too 🙂

  • Reply Bruce Kraft July 28, 2018 at 3:04 am

    VERY helpful! Thanks!

  • Reply Elaine Feast July 29, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Thanks Robin, some very useful and knew tips (for me at least).

  • Reply Robert Zakrison July 29, 2018 at 9:07 pm

    Robin, thanks very much for this information! It is well presented, concise and complete.

  • Reply R Garlin July 30, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks a lot RW – I'm sure I will return to this video as I keep using Nik in the future!

  • Reply Wei Chong August 1, 2018 at 6:21 am

    Big thumbs up for this Tutorial. Am encouraged by your creating other NIk tutorials for LR. I haven't migrated over to the Dxo Nik version, as I'm awaiting new features for the aging Nik software. But I'm still keeping up with "How to Use Nik," because it still retains some goodness, after all these years–and has the potential to become great, given Dxo's efforts.

  • Reply Marc Labro August 16, 2018 at 4:32 am

    very useful !

  • Reply Roy Pearson October 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    Excellent tutorial, Robin, but please can you help me? Somehow I've managed to lose Viveza! When I try to access Viveza from Lightroom I get Dfine and yet I can get it OK via Photoshop. When I go into Lightroom Preferences > External Editing sure enough I see Preset: Viveza 2 with Application: Dfine2.exe. I trouble is I can't work out how to find Viveza2.exe. Please could you help? Many thanks, Roy

  • Reply be2the4out November 10, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    i have lightroom, do i need to try NIK? is it a step forwards? and how so? anyone?

  • Reply Marce Resendez April 15, 2019 at 1:19 am

    sooo helpful thank you so much Robin!

  • Reply Purple Floyd July 14, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Oh great. This "tutorial" assumes you have the NIK collection installed. NEXT!

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