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Workflow Problem Using NX2 and iPhoto or Bridge

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by Terry M., Aug 7, 2008.

  1. Hello all,

    I am trying to settle on one workflow and I would like to have an "iPhoto centric" approach as iPhoto is well integrated into the OS and it's just plain simple to work with web galleries, e-mail, web pages, etc.

    When working with JPG's, my workflow is great. Start in iPhoto, round trip to NX2 for edit, and then save (which saves it back in the iPhoto library). No problems.

    Working with NEFs is another story. I can start in iPhoto, and round trip it to NX2, and save, but when I go back to iPhoto, I see the original, unedited file. If I reopen it in NX2, all edits are there, but back in iPhoto they're not. I did a trial with CS3 Bridge and it worked the same as iPhoto.

    So, if I want to see the final product in iPhoto, I would have to save the NEF as a JPG, then go back to iPhoto and import the JPG, then delete the JPG from the Capture folder. But I'll still have a NEF and a JPG in my iPhoto library. Seems tedious and I'll end up with multiple copies of the same photo.

    So, any advice on how to solve this? Remember, I want to keep iPhoto at the center of my workflow. My available tools are: iPhoto, Photoshop Elements 6, Bridge, and Capture NX2.

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2008
  2. I hope you find a less tedious solution, Terry.
  3. I may be wrong, but I think this problem is there for everyone who uses something other than ViewNX for ingesting, sorting, cataloging, and managing their photos.

    I use ACDSee Pro, which I really like, but it has issues displaying the changes in edited NEFs. I have just learned to live with it. One work-around is to have a subfolder in each parent folder, where you put the edited NEFs. You may not be able to view the changes, but at least you will know which you have worked on and which you haven't.

    I end up keeping ADCSee Pro and NX open and sometimes use the browser in NX to check the files, or just open the file in NX directly from ACDSee pro. I can also click on a TIFF file in ACDSee Pro and send it to Photoshop CS2 for cloning

    I would be curious if anyone using another cataloging program such as photomechanic, etc. have their NEF edits displayed correctly, and if it matters to them.
  4. I use IDimager, which is a cataloging program, and it displays an edited NEF properly. I was using a trial version of Digital Pro, another cataloging program, and it also displays an edited NEF properly.

    PhotoMechanic is not a cataloging program per se; it has no built-in database as do cataloging programs. However, Jason Odell, who is a proponent of Photo Mechanic in his eBooks about Capture NX, writes that "Once you've edited your NEFs in Capture NX2,...Photo Mechanic will display them in the browser using the embedded JPEG preview. Because Capture NX2 updates the preview JPEG inside your NEF, the image preview shows all the NX2 edits. Other browser programs will reprocess the NEF file and ignore the NX2 edits."
  5. Thanks Mike,

    I'll have to try them.
  6. Keith, I forgot to answer the part of your question as to whether it matters to me that a cataloger or browser displays the edited version of a NEF. It definitely matters to me that it does. Jason Odell's suggested workaround to place a JPEG of the same name in the same folder as the NEF purely for the purpose of displaying the edited version would not be a satisfactory solution for me.

    ViewNX, which is a very powerful browser from Nikon that is also free, also displays the edited NEF properly.
  7. Terry, I've got an off-the-wall question only because I know IDimager occasionally requires that I "update" the thumbnail in order to view the edited NEF properly. Does iPhoto have an update feature? If so, does it display the NEF properly after you have updated the thumbnail?
  8. Mike - Good question. There is no such feature. Coming back into iPhoto hours, days, or months later and it's the same. Now, when I edit a JPG and save and close NX2, I am taken back to iPhoto and in about 5 seconds, the thumbnail updates with to reflect the new changes.

    I have a theory as to what is happening, but understanding it won't solve the workflow problem. Here's the theory: In NX2, nothing changes the original NEF, so my edits don't change the original file but rather are additional instructions - Nikon proprietary at that - that NX2 (and View) understand how to read, but others (like Bridge and iPhoto) do not know how to read, so they just show the original file. My theory is consistent with how I understand NEFs - that it's a digital negative, therefor nothing can really change the negative.
  9. jgatscher


    Jul 29, 2008
    Yes working with RAW complicates things....I use Expression Media (formerly iView media pro) for my catalog and it does show any capture changes that I make....EM is a true catalog and not a browser...so my workflow goes like this:

    dump all NEF's into a new EM catalog (which I label as shoot_name_temp)
    cull photos and add metadata (keywords, locations, etc.)
    batch process NEF's based on several capture formulas (landscape vs. portrait vs. outdoor with people etc)
    select the best photos from shoot and inividually process in capture
    finish temp catalog and add temp catalog to my master catalog
    delete temp catalog

    all NEFs displayed in EM catalog will display the current version whether it's been batch processed, individually processed, or not processed. I do most of my work in the catalog. I can select several photos in EM and click a button which will send NEFs to NX so I can work on the photos in capture NX...once I save them in NX, I have to push a button in the catalog to rebuild the NEF display image and the new changes are now visable....EM uses the embedded JPG that NX generates which does reflect the latest saved version of the NEF...

    I try not to ever dump out a tif and stay entirely within NX and EM...sometimes I have to go into CS2 to do major pixel mods...but with the addition of the new spot removal in NX2 I use CS2 less and less...

    EM is a good catalog tool....not the best out there....but it works for me...I don't have any experience with iPhoto or any other catalog....but I agree that whatever catalog you choose....being able to see the latest version of NEF's is paramount....otherwise there is no point in using the catalog....

  10. I don't think your theory as it pertains to the analogy of software's inability to read the proprietary negative is accurate, Terry. (Possibly because a NEF is a TIFF-based format, but I don't pretend to understand the ramifications of that.) I think your theory as I understand it is disproven by the fact that we know some catalogs and browsers do indeed properly display edited NEFs and that some simply don't. It seems that iPhoto doesn't. It could be that this situaion is no more complex than that this might be one of those rare circumstances in which Apple is uncharacteristically far behind the leading edge.
  11. jgatscher


    Jul 29, 2008
    Mike....the catalog is only reading the embedded JPG and what I don't understand is how any catalog can read only the original JPG and not the new JPG that NX creates upon issuing a save command...and most catalogs need to be told to "rebuild" the image by clicking a button in the catalog....then the catalog can display the new JPG...
  12. Ouch! Don't pick on my favorite computer company :eek: 

    Seriously, I would normally think of Adobe as leading edge in image software, but Bridge seems to be in the same boat. Is it that simple - Apple and Adobe have gone down the wrong path, while others have done it right?
  13. The issue is not with JPGs. Any edited and saved JPG is read correctly by iPhoto and Bridge. It's with the NEFs that these softwares behave differently.
  14. Jeff, thanks for so nicely summing up both the facts and the confusion I share with you. And welcome to the Cafe!
  15. The non-techie in me wonders if there is not a significant difference between reading and displaying a stand-alone JPEG as opposed to an embedded JPEG that reflects the changed instructions to the NEF. Heck if I know, but there's gotta be something that explains why some of the programs only read the embedded JPEG produced in-camera and that some read the changed, embedded JPEG only after "updating" the thumbnail.
  16. Ahem. It seems instead that your favorite computer company is picking on you. :biggrin:

    Given the fact that other developers with far more limited financial resources produce programs that consistently display edited NEFs, what other explanation could there be?
  17. TerryNick


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ohio, USA
    I also use iPhoto but just as a repository and as a last step in my workflow. Here's what Jason O'Dell posted on Nikonians:

    "There are a couple of things to watch out for when you use iPhoto.

    1) If you import your NEFs into iPhoto directly (ie, you use iPhoto to copy photos from the memory card), it will use the built-in Apple RAW converter to display them. Because of this, any modifications to your NEFs you might have made in NX will not be displayed in iPhoto.

    2) If you use iPhoto to edit your NEFs, it will first convert them to JPEG using Apple's converter.

    3) You can designate Capture NX as the "External Editor" in the iPhoto preferences, then if you right-click on an image and choose "Edit in External Editor" the NEF will open in Capture NX without first being converted to JPEG.

    The way that I would implement iPhoto is to store my NEFs separately and work on them in Capture NX. Then I'd do a batch process to convert all the keepers from a shoot to JPEG or TIFF and put them into a separate folder. Then, I'd go into iPhoto and choose "Import to Library" from the File menu."

    Jason P. Odel

    So I took his advice and here's my workflow incorporating iPhoto:

    Use ViewNX to sort, cull, and do simple editing.
    Use CaptureNX to do the more intensive editing.
    Use CaptureNX to batch convert finished files to jpegs saved to a separate folder.
    Drag and drop jpeg folder onto iPhoto and they're imported into iPhoto.
    I then archive all the NEFs and end up with Events in iPhoto (2008-04-19_Spring) and my archived NEFs folder (2008-04-19_Spring) with corresponding names.

    Not as complicated as it seems. I use Apple's Automator do some the the work here. I end up with photos in iPhoto that I can quickly peruse and if I want to find the NEF I just look in the folder with the same name that I've archived.

  18. TerryNick


    Apr 27, 2008
    Ohio, USA
    When you use NX as external editor in iPhoto on a jpeg you see the results in iPhoto because iPhoto stores all your photos in folders called "Original" and "Modified". So the Jpeg edits are in "Modified". (right click on a picture and choose "show file" or "show original")

    Since iPhoto cannot read the edits of a NEF file you need to edit in NX and then use Save As to navigate to the "Original" iPhoto folder. I think iPhoto then converts the original to a jpeg, puts it in "modified" and you see the edits.

    I used to do it this way but when I upgraded to iPhoto 7 I could no longer "see" the original folder from either Elements or NX.

    That's why I now use the workflow which I've posted above.
  19. TerryNick - Great answer and thank you. Sounds like this is the solution I'm looking for. Not as simple as I would like, but a workable solution nonetheless.
  20. Yeah, but those developers charge for their programs don't they? iPhoto is a great "free" tool which comes with the OS (kudos to Apple) but it is truly designed for JPGs. There are a lot of "pay for" programs which have the same problem (of not showing embedded JPGs embedded in NEFs w/changes made by NX/NX2), Adobe Bridge is one of them (as already mentioned). ... so I wouldn't blame Apple here.

    Don't forget, Apple also has a "professional" organizer, Aperture, which is designed for RAW. It includes RAW processoring/editing and the rest; though it has issues as well working with external editors (e.g it converts to TIFF before sending to NX), but that's another thread.

    The workaround TerryNick mentioned is a great one, and inexpensive (ViewNX -> NX2 for edits -> export copies to JPG -> ingest jpgs into iPhoto). You can always go back to the NEF when you need to. The only time workflows like this get a bit troublesome is, months later, when you want to go back and edit an NEF in NX again, then you have to re-save as JPG and then get it back into iPhoto somehow. Not always simple and can be quite time consuming, depending on # of clicks.

    I think this is all caused by the fact that NX is so darn good and we want to use it. But then, NX is not an organizer and we're stuck using it in conjunction with another tool (LR, Aperture, etc) which don't integrate with NX the way we'd like them to. Maybe Nik will come out with a organizer/DAM program at some point which integrates flawlessly with NX2. (I'm allowed to dream :wink:) 
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