Today’s Question: When I go from Lightroom into one of the Nik filters, and I want to jump over to another Nik Filter before saving the image back into Lightroom, is that possible? I do not see any options within each filter.
Tim’s Quick Answer: It is not possible to send a photo directly from one plug-in (such as those in the Nik Collection) to another. However, if you send the photo from Lightroom to Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) you can then apply multiple plug-in effects to the image, producing a new layer for each plug-in you use to apply an effect in the image.
More Detail: When you send a photo from Lightroom to a plug-in, a derivative image is created and in most cases you are only able to apply adjustments from that single plug-in to the current image. If you want to use a second plug-in to achieve an effect in a photo, you would generally need to select the derivative image you created for the first plug-in and send that image to the second plug-in. However, at that point a second derivative copy of the image will be created. This can obviously complicate your workflow.
Instead, I recommend using Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) when you want to apply the effect of more than one plug-in to a photo. You can send the photo to Photoshop (or Photoshop Elements) by using the options found on the Photo > Edit In menu in Lightroom, which provide access to the External Editing features.
Once the photo has been opened in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (creating a derivative image in the process), you can apply as many adjustments and effects as you’d like, including the use of plug-ins.
In the case of the plug-ins in the Nik Collection, each time you apply an effect with one of the plug-ins a new image layer will be created. In other words, you will have a layer-based non-destructive workflow that enables you to apply as many plug-in effects as you’d like, all within a single derivative image.