What is the best way to go back and forth, in and out of Silver Efex Pro with the same image, because I guarantee I will not decide to change the image until I have thought it complete and saved it back to Lightroom?
Not quite clear what mean by “go back and forth”. Can you be more specific?
Other than that, I’d try virtual copies if what you want are variants of an image.
Once I save the image back to hosting application (Lightroom), unless I created a “recipe” there is no way to recall the steps I took to edit the image in Silver Efex. Therefore, if I want the image to veer off in another direction, there is no way to recall those steps.
…lots of recipes after a while, I see.
Actually, yes there is …
You can save all correction/settings to a Custom preset - then save that preset as (effectively) a Nik Silver Efex Pro sidecar (.np) file. Then, you can later re-apply the saved correction/settings by importing the saved “sidecar” file … as a starting point for further refinements.
Note: When saving correction/settings to a Custom preset, if you hold down the Shift-key at the same time as you “Click to update this preset with the current settings” then your Control Point data will also be saved.
More info on this process here.
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Regards, John M