Only Viveza works as a stand alone

Hello. I’m new to Photolab 2 and this forum but not to Nik, so I hope I’m posting in the right place. I’ve just purchased the intro offer: Photolab 2 Essential and NIk collection. I had previously the Google (paid for!) version of Nik and the entire suite worked well on RAW (NEF) files dragged from Explorer over one of the Nik icons, which then launched. Mildly irritated to find that of the new Nik collection, only Viveza works this way: all the others load a hugely pixelated, 0.0Mb thumbnail. I’m delighted with Photolab 2 and I like that I can launch Nik from within that and then into my preferred editor, Affinity Photo, but I’d like the flexibility of ‘drag and drop’. Thanks


The Nik plugins cannot handle RAW files. They need a raster file (JPEG or TIFF). When you drag and drop a RAW file onto a desktop shortcut to one of the Nik executables, different things can happen depending on the RAW type. Normally, you should get an error message : unsupported file format. In no way the RAW data will be loaded into the plugin. Instead, the JPEG thumbnail embedded into the RAW file might be loaded. Depending on the definition of this thumbnail, the result might be acceptable (but certainly far from perfect) or just awful.

With Viveza, there’s no error message but what you open in the plugin is not the RAW data but the associated JPEG thumbnail.

Anyway, you should not drag and drop a RAW file onto a Nik plugin icon. Only TIFFs and JPEGs can be handled this way. This is not new. This has always worked this way. Just forget this idea.


That was never the proper way of running the Nik Collection. Nik does not, and never did, allow edits to raw files. You should have been using JPEGs, or preferably, 16 bit tiff files. Sounds like all you were actually editing were the low resolution embedded jpeg thumbnails in your raw files. You certainly weren’t editing the raw files themselves. It’s unfortunate that you were not aware of this before now.



Thanks. On reviewing image files I’d edited in my old Nik, I feel a total idiot! Of course I edited tiffs in Nik, when drag and drop does work. So sorry to have bothered you. Put it down to one of my benchmark senior moments. Sorry :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

No reason for apologies. I’m glad you found out something that will improve your workflow.


With NIK V2 DPL Essential becomes the hub of your editing where you can convert the raw file, apply global and local adjustments, the latter with NIK Control Points. You can then edit the raw file in any of the NIK plugins and the file will return to DPL Essential.

If you are using another raw converter then you access the NIK plugins as before.