Just locate the .exe file on your drive, and double click on it to run the program. You can then Open a file to work on, and save it when you are finished. They all work the same as HDR Efex as long as you have the Lightroom version.
HDR Efex has a 'File' menu (with Open Series, Save Image, Close Image & Quit options) so image files can be loaded into it without using Photoshop or Lightroom.
None of the other programs have a File menu in their interfaces (e.g. first screenshot here http://www.neutralday.com/nik-softwares-color-efex-pro-30-review-recommended-for-some/) so I can't see how to open an image file without using Photoshop or Lightroom.
Or am I being stupid here
Here you go. From the Flickr group. Scroll down to find step by step instructions.
Do you mean the main post by saronann?
I think that does the same as David's zip file (post 4 above) - i.e. it launches the Nik programs from within CNX2 using 'Open With'.
This short article provides details on how to use the new NIK Software HDR Efex Pro software and other NIK plug-ins with CNX2 on a Windows PC without using Photoshop or Lightroom. (The NIK plug-in window you see is the same as that available when using the plug-in with Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.)
If you don’t already have the Nik Plug-in software, you will need to download the trial or buy the Lightroom version or the complete set (with all plug-ins) and install.
1. Make a shortcut on your desktop for each plug-in.
a. Right-click on the desktop and select New>Shortcut.
b. Browse to the Nik Software folder and select the plug-in executable.
c. Name the shortcut.
2. Open CNX2 and go to Edit>Preferences>General (Crtl-K).
a. In the “Open with Application” field, choose the Nik plug-in executable for the plug-in you want to use with CNX2.
b. Select where the TIFF file will be saved.
c. Set the Default Save as to TIFF.
d. Check the Keep All Steps Active…
e. Click OK.
No it doesn't. Did you read the entire post? It clearly states that using the "open with" method, you will create a new TIFF every time you use it. So instead, use that method once & after that just drag & drop the TIFF onto any of the other shortcuts to a NIK software that you wish to use.
I'm a bit confused. On their website, it says that a system requirement for HDR Efex is Adobe Photoshop CS3-CS5 or Lightroom. Where do you get the standalone app that doesn't require Adobe?