Non destructive workflow in NIK3

I just did a brief experiment and that appears to be the case.


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Thanks Mark for verifying. In fact when you read the manual,, at least for me, its not really clear, how it is described there. Under “Modifying the processing”, point 5.

I could be missing something but it appears the main value of this new feature is if you return to the same Nik plug-in multiple times in succession. If you go from plugin to plugin with the same file I’m not certain the new version works differently than before. An end to end workflow description using PhotoLab and multiple Nik plug-ins for the same image would be useful.


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Those plugins are not plugins: they’re standalone programs called from another program with a file parameter pointing to a disk file. They work on that file with their own tools. When they’re saved in a certain parametric way, those parameters refer only to their tools so they can only be used within that certain program.
In this case every program creates a file existing out of 2 images, the starting file and the result file, and a parameter list. The undo/redo is only possible within that block. I’m not sure if I can see an usability for that.
See the Viewpoint tool. Within PL it acts like any function in PL. When used as a Nik tool it creates an own block. What is the use of that? Except for the sale to non PL owners.


Thanks, I’m well aware of that. I only called them that because @KameraD use the word plug in hie first post so I was trying to be consistent. in my response to him.


Not my idea to call them plugins. Look here and do a search for the word “plugin”. :wink:
And agree, also know they are none.

I guess that settles that. :slight_smile: DXO calls them plug-ins even though they are obviously separate standalone programs to which files are passed.


The parametric savings are only usable within the program it’s coming from. The transfer to another program is done via a tif file, that is a RGB raster file or bitmap. A next program doesn’t know what the former program did and will build its own parametric world :grinning:
A few thoughts.
Parametric savings are program related.
If you create a chain of program1,program2,program3 and you want to change the editing in program2 you will lose the logical connection with program3. Just like in a history list.
Every step will start with a new tif file, being the output of the former.


Non destructive workflow in Lightroom is one thing. But in Photoshop, the NIK filters could be applied to a “Smart Object” since quite a long time ago. That is the perfect solution in Photoshop, and totally non-destructive. I repeat, in Lightroom it is another thing, but I always apply NIK filters from Photoshop, even if I am starting from Lightroom.

I’ve gotten further along in processing and concluded that, for example, Viveza control points aren’t work as I wanted/expected. At that point, after using, for example, Dfine, I want to go back to Viveza… the control points are gone. Hardly what I’d non-destructive work flow.

But, wait! It gets better. The only way to change the export option, once it’s set to “no processing” is to enter Nik (makes sense), change the export option to 'export as TIFF" and pick OK (still making sense), then enter, as an example, Dfine and save the result. Use cancel, not save, and the export setting is not changed. Makes no sense to me. I just want to change the export.

In all of these cases, use a program, save the work, and decide to use the program again? I see next to no value in claiming “non-destructive workflow”. For that matter, Opting for “no processing” locks out reverting to a RAW file. Forget to clear the “no processing” option.and see above. Excuse me if I sound whiny, but why bother? IMNSHO, the only value is for the indecisive using any one processing choice.

Hi, Richard. It would help to understand your workflow more clearly. What OS are you using? Are you starting in Viveza, saving your edits in the TIFF, then passing that TIFF through Dfine, saving edits, and going back to Viveza, and not finding your control points from the first use of Viveza?

My own reasoning about why selecting cancel doesn’t allow your export setting change to take effect is that the Nik Collection tools were designed to be called as plugins. Cancel is a discard operation, save is an apply operation. It’s overly simplistic for some of us, but so far, rather than redesign these apps from the ground up DxO has been tweaking them with enhancements, a few new functions, and bug fixes. Some newer apps that I use accept and store settings changes instantaneously: they don’t require a separate settings dialog in which changes need to be selected and then applied/saved - and they can be dismissed without losing the settings changes. Perhaps one day DxO software will work more like this - but that require more work than can be done right now.

I can’t answer more completely, as I don’t understand what you are saying in your third paragraph. The Nik Collection doesn’t directly work with RAW - or are you talking about using DNG files? What is your workflow and how do you envision using Nik within that workflow? Perhaps there is another way to do what you want.

The following is on a customer support page:

If you choose an image and export it to any plugin (except Perspective EFEX), you have to convert it to a TIFF file and check the checkbox next to “Save and allow to resume editing” (located next to the Cancel and Save buttons) to benefit the Non-Destructive Workflow. The newly created TIFF file is going to benefit from unlimited back and forth within the plugin where it was edited and “Save and allow to resume editing” checkbox was checked. The last rendering saved in the TIFF file can then be reworked if necessary in Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom, but it will not be possible from its applications to return to the original image.

As I understand it, Export Settings must be set to “Export selected file(s) without processing”. If I need to go back to a RAW to start all over from the original image, I’ll get “The file blahblah.ARW could not be opened because its file format is not supported”. This means going into the selector panel and making a change instead of just going to the RAW and starting over.

I find all of this very convoluted and, in many ways, more complicated than it appears was intended.

I’m working under Win10.

When I work with a normal flow, using TIFF intermediate files, RAW sharpen, Dfine, Viveza, output sharpen, export to JPEG, everything is fine. No surprises.

Where I though non-destructive workflow would work is get to the stepbefore exporting and decide to return to anything that supports control points. For me, that almost always Viveza.

I found that if I exited Viveza, restarted it, the control points were still there. However, if I sharpened, or used anything but, Viveza, and then returned to Viveza, the points were no longer displayed, if they exist at all. Recently I worked on augmenting an image with storm clouds. If I’d sharpened one of the intermediate Viveza sessions and came back to Viveza - no control points. I expected to go back to a file that carried all the points so I could adjust them and add others. No such luck.

I’ll address the problem with being locked out of RAW (3rd para) separately.

Just for clarification purposes, Richard; I gather you’re not a PhotoLab user … right ? ('Cos if you were then I’d not be expecting you to be needing to use any of the Nik tools you’ve listed above).

I know this is NOT a solution to your specific problem/question, but you might consider evaluating PhotoLab as the replacement for your current workflow, as it enables you to do all of the following within a single comprehensive, non-destructive, photography-specific interface;

  • process your RAW files
  • apply sharpening specific to your exact [body+lens] combination
  • apply “intelligent” noise reduction (via its highly rated PRIME NR algorithm)
  • allow you to apply Local Adjustments using the same U-Point logic as you’re used to with Viveza
  • export to JPG (or TIFF, DNG, etc)

You still might want to benefit from some of Nik’s specialist tools, such as Color Efex Pro (as I do) - but that’s then a simple to/fro export process that doesn’t suffer from any of the complications you mention. Even better, there’s a simple way to retain Control Points between editing sessions when using Color Efex Pro, Silver Efex Pro & Analog Efex Pro - as explained here.

Just something to think about … perhaps (?!)

image eg. Local adjustments, via U-Point.

Regards, John M

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First, regarding " apply sharpening specific to your exact [body+lens] combination". To my way of thinking, that’s “mission critical”. I regret there’s no way to do that with my Fujifilm X-S1 (bridge camera). If there was a way to create a correction for that camera, I’d be on it like white on rice.

[OK - for anyone following the rest, get your milk and cookies ready. This goes on a bit! LOL]

In general, I’ve found using straight PL3 simply doesn’t produce what I want while going directly to Nik Collection does. Call it taste, misunderstanding, or lack of meaningful comprehension on my part. Sobeit.

Revisiting some of my PL3 only images, and taking them through Nik Collection… what?.. for want of a better description “gets the job done to my intent”.

Sometimes I need to back up and adjust what the flow produced. Most often the Viveza step, later, needs to be revisited. What I want is to pick up the Viveza “screen” (i.e., image plus control points) where I left off, adjust to taste/requirement, save and move on. That’s just how the job goes and it’s not a complaint.

At this point, the best I can do as process the parts I want altered, but too often I’ve had to retouch out the earlier control point actions. If that doesn’t work out, I have to go back and start from where I entered Viveza the first time, recreate much of what I did, and then do what sent me back to re-entering Viveza one or more times until I have what I want. IMHO not being to get to the screen with the control points is a significant frustration.

It appears the non-destructive flow, as described by DxO, is only partly effective. If, picking an example, I use Viveza, and then sharpen, I can’t go back to where I left off with Viveza. If that’s correct, then the non-destructive flow is, bluntly, a waste of time and file space. It’s this point that prompted my post. “What am I missing, doing, or not doing to make non-destructive work in the example of Viveza, sharpen, back to Viveza.”

The Local Adjustment points are, compared to Nik Collection control points, “fuzzier” to work with. That is, assume I set a control point’s brightness to -47. I want a new point where I can go to -47 but want everything else at 0. Duplicating a control point and resetting each parameter to 0 can be done. Or I can do the faster, easier new control point, set brightness to 47, and move on. The Local Adjustment controls, unless I’m missing something, make it darn near impossible to duplicate one parameter’s value. Making a new control point and setting brightness to -47 becomes eyeballing the slider and hoping for the best. That’s simply too sloppy for my taste.

Re: PRIME NR v. Dfine’s “Automatic” mode, I find the results to be a tossup. Dfine gives me what I want most of the time. I’ll revisit PRIME to see if the results are closer to my goal for a given image.

Regarding the content of the link attached to “as explained here”, lordy, lordy, lordy, I wish I’d known about that sooner. For all I know (haven’t tried it yet) it may be the answer to my needs.

Ah, OK - - Yes, that’s certainly a show-stopper.

Yes, it’s nifty, isn’t it ?! I publish this link every chance I get - 'cos it’s an excellent feature of (some of) the Nik tools that too few seem to be aware of. Unfortunately, it doesn’t apply to Viveza - 'cos Viveza doesn’t have the concept of saving a “recipe” (that I’m aware of ?)

Regards, John M

I don’t have the X-S1 (painfully to letting dust inside the camera. A few months in the US southwestern deserts killed one. (Tried two more - two hours in Cambridge, Maryland and ffft! Anyway, without the camera there’s, I assume, no hope of conjuring a suitable correction table. So I just process and hope for the best.

If Viveza permits saving anything but a finished (in Viveza) file. Which is why I either go back for added changes. Or start all over. Grrr…

For the record, I tried this image with Local Adjustments and, sorry Local Adjustment fans, it felt like typing while wearing boxing gloves. The far end (from the bug) of the antenna was not hard(well, getting the diameter to treat the antenna without treating the lily was a pain). For me, and I may well be far too uneducated on this, PL3 just flat couldn’t do it. Which is why I prefer heavy use of Nik.

I also tweaked four of the petals, which were on the verge of bleaching. I used PL3 to undo the stops in the original image. NR was done through Dfine2, using manual measuring points to reduce the ISO400 noise.

I’ve posted in JPG. I used that just to keep things simple. The intermediate files were saved as TIFF’s.

Does anyone know whether this a grasshopper or is it something else?

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I believe the insect is a Katydid. Nice closeup.

Thanks! That was taken with a Sony DSC-RX10 IV - which is supported in PL3. I don’t recall if the EXIF followed the upload. The camera was out around 600 mm. It’s an odd way to get macro images but them’s the rules.The problem is shooting many things call for a tripod instead of pointing and shooting.

I stumbled into things getting a bit tense: katydid v. praying mantis.

I suspect the mantis’ eyes are bigger than it’s stomach.

Trying to be on topic, this was process through Nik. In this image, three of the petals were tweaked Shot with ISO 400, Dfine, with some custom points, did a fair job of managing the noise. The mantis was darkened slightly for better contrast from the background. I boosted the mantis’ saturation add a bit of punch. I tried this with PL3 and just couldn’t get the precision I used in Nik.

If you were to take a RAW image from DxO and send it to 1 NIK plugin. Then make some changes and save it. Then, bring that TIFF back into DxO and send it to another NIK plugin, and save it, you’re going to have 2 TIFF files, now. Do it again, you’ll have 3 TIFF files, each with another “_NIK” in the filename. For instance…


Then, you could, in theory, come back to any of those .TIFF files, and pick up where you left off. You would lose whatever happened after that point, but still. It lets you come back to the workflow, and jump in and resume or make changes.