Just initiated the the digital world, loving B/W I am trying to understand which could be the best solution in pprod, but after reading some threads I got a little bit confused.
It seems all Nik softwares, including SEP 2, need other suites to work (lightroom, CS5, etc) make it act like a "specific plug-in". Is it true or does SEP work as a standalone program ? May I use it "as it is" or I have to buy additional programs (NX 2, as an example)?
You can run it with Capture NX2 if you have the Lightroom version of Silver Efex.
To do this you designate Silver Efex as the "Open With Application" in the General Tab of CNX2's Preferences. Once you do this, open an image in CNX2 and then select "Open With" in the file menu, CNX will generate a TIF and open it in Silver Efex.
You can also use EditList as the Open WIth Application in CNX2 to give you a choice on the fly of which program to send the TIF to, such as any of the other Nick Lightroom Plug-ins.
Another option, is to designate the Nik Plugins (or any other program) as launch programs in Photo Mechanic. Then you can launch a compatible file into any of those apps without generating a TIF. I use this to work on JPGs
I'm not sure about the PC, but on my Mac (OS X 10.7 Lion) there is a stand-alone app installed in the Nik Software folder in Applications. You can drop an image on that app and it will open. You have access to all of Silver Efex Pro's functionality; but the edits are destructive in the sense that when you save out of the app, the original file is altered.
This works with TIFFs and JPGs, in my experience, but not with NEFs (or PSDs) directly. That's why you need some other RAW converter like Adobe Camera Raw within Lightroom or Photoshop, Aperture, NX2 or whatever.
This is just to say that you don't have to run it as a plug-in. The interface doesn't show a File menu, with Open, and Save and Save As... functions. This is why you need to use the OS level drag and drop feature to kick start it.
Having said this, it's probably worth it to use this as a smart filter on a layer in Photoshop as this will give you the greatest control over the final result; but it does work.
BTW, the same is true for Viveza, Sharpener, Color Efex, Dfine, and HDR Efex Pro with the note that HDR Efex Pro does have a File menu to allow you to open up a bracketed series from within the standalone app.
Some of the Nik products are not full programs since they are missing the ability to open a file through a menu option. They are more than a plug-in in that the do not rely on the Adobe or Nikon products to provide and services other than passing the image. One can pass an image either through the "Open with..." option in many products, from a menu option to pass an open image to the software or by drag and drop of the image file onto the program Icon or file name.
It might be nice if Nik added an actual full "File" menu option.
HELP! I'm using 'Silver Efex Pro' and I love it. But, and there's always one, can any of you Whiz guys tell me how to retrieve the settings used on a previous processed SEF image. A brilliant programme, but this problem is really frustrating.
If you like the settings you applied to an image, save it as a preset. There is no way to retrieve settings on an image that has been rendered. This is pretty consistent with all plugins. Also, typically the plugins open the next image with the last used settings.