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Assuming one has LR, Photoshop and Nik Plugins for Photoshop, is it possible to edit a RAW in Photoshop (from LR), apply Nik presets, and move back to LR, all in RAW format?

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No, you cannot.

The Nik Lightroom plugins will require you export your files to TIFF. Really anything you leave Lightroom to do in Photoshop will require moving out of RAW and into a TIFF.

You will then end up with two files: a raw file with all the non-destructive edits done before you used the Nik plugin, and a TIFF containing the the cumulative edits done in raw, and then by the plugin. But you can't go back into LR and see any of the plugin alterations in the raw file, you'd have to work with the TIFF from then on.

The Nikon Capture NX2 software (also written by Nik) had better integration with Nik plugins - I remember certain things could be done with raw, but even there I think most filters required generating a TIFF file.

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Surely you can use PSD as well so you don't have to rasterise everything? According to the 1:1 demo I got from Nik Software at the SWPP show it will save edits non-destructively. –  James Snell Mar 5 '13 at 13:37
    
I am not sure about the Nik plugins but when moving between LR4 and PS6 I use PSD exclusively. But with a little bit of searching it dos sound like the Nik plugins require the use of TIFF. –  Dave Nelson Mar 5 '13 at 15:23
    
A PSD is going to start out as a single layer of some source, which is I think going to be a TIFF. At the point you start out in Photoshop, that single layer will be the same if it was imported as a TIFF, or somehow a native PSD. It will be a conversion of your final raw file. From then on, you can use layers, smart objects etc, and be as non-destructive as possible, but you can't save any edits back to raw, which was the main question. –  MikeW Mar 5 '13 at 17:39

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