DXO Photolab 2 Tips

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
IanYorke Veteran Member • Posts: 3,199
DXO Photolab 2 Tips
19

Unlike LR other applications like DXO-PL2 do not have the vast training resources available.  So I thought that it might be helpful if users could share any tips with Forum members to help those starting out with DXO-PL2.

I use C1Pro as my primary editor so not the best person for expertise on DXO-PL2 but I am hoping others with more experience will chime in.

I will start the thread off with a couple of more obvious tips.

One of the most often seen complaints about DXO-PL2 is the default cluttered UI with duplicated tools.  The UI is customisable!  Just select what tools you want on what palettes and save the workspace.  Often this is overlooked because people are coming from software where UI customisation is not an option.  Here is an example of the Tools Menu:

The file browser can be undocked and resized.  As vertical monitor space is at a premium I like the files shown vertically.

Hope this thread will help users or people evaluating DXO-PL2.

Ian

OP IanYorke Veteran Member • Posts: 3,199
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
11

U-Point local adjustments are at the hearty of the difference between Optics Pro and Photolab.  A little tip is that the tools handle which normally shows 3 tabs for adjustments

Can be changed to show all tools by shift clicking on the non selected tab.

Oh and if you want to restrict the effect of a control point on an adjacent area you Alt click a control point.

Also notice that "Blur" is available in local adjustments which is not available in global adjustments.

You can also make Global adjustments whilst in the Local adjustment tab if required without exiting Local Adjustments first.

Ian

sobrien
sobrien Contributing Member • Posts: 917
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips

Great tips, thanks!

Will keep an eye on this thread and, who knows, maybe someday in the future contribute to it myself.

Shane

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ormdig
ormdig Senior Member • Posts: 2,374
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
2

Hi Ian, good idea. If you use dual monitors all of the tools and the file browser can be put on the second monitor leaving the primary for the image.

I have "Vignette" in the lighting tool on as a default. Turning it on or off and playing with the slider can be a quick way of adjusting exposure in images to help isolate the subject,

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Pete

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Chaplain Mark
Chaplain Mark Senior Member • Posts: 4,873
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips

IanYorke wrote:

U-Point local adjustments are at the hearty of the difference between Optics Pro and Photolab. A little tip is that the tools handle which normally shows 3 tabs for adjustments

Can be changed to show all tools by shift clicking on the non selected tab.

Oh and if you want to restrict the effect of a control point on an adjacent area you Alt click a control point.

Also notice that "Blur" is available in local adjustments which is not available in global adjustments.

You can also make Global adjustments whilst in the Local adjustment tab if required without exiting Local Adjustments first.

Ian

Wow....!!

Thank you for that, Ian....!!

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Thank You,
Chaplain Mark
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sankos Senior Member • Posts: 2,098
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
9

Good thread. Incidentally, there are a couple of sessions of their webinars scheduled for the next couple of days/weeks. Hopefully they'll upload them to their YT channel as well.

My tips:

  1. People coming from Lightroom might have a preference for the Adobe-Standard-like, neutral colours to start from. Users of PL2 can utilize those DCP profiles if they have them on their system (this should work in both essential and elite versions of the program). Alternatively try the Generic Renderings / Neutral Color, neutral tonality v2 profile.
  2. Don't use the Lightness slider of the HSL module -- it works like an old version of H/S adjustment layer in PS. It's better to use a giant Local Adjustments point, select a specific hue and change its tonality value.
  3. CA removal -- don't use auto size for this correction because it desaturates small, colourful details too much (e.g. eyes, lips if they are quite small in the frame). Use small values (2-4). Incidentally, CA removal is better for moire removal than the moire tool -- don't use that one if you have small, colourful detail because it also desaturates/muddles colours significantly. I'd suggest also to stay away from the Purple Fringing control if you absolutely don't have to. It's better to correct those lens issues with the local adjustments (desaturate) rather than hit the whole image with the small radius desaturation/blur that these tools operate on.
  4. For problems with moire, use a small amount of Chroma NR even at base ISO. Also, CA removal seems to help with moire as well (see point 3).
  5. If you haven't blown out your highlights in the raw file but you find that some of the highlights are hot, I'd suggest starting from the Neutral tonality profiles, and then using the curve tool to add contrast to appropriate areas. It looks like DxO doesn't use edge-awareness in its highlight/shadow recovery (unlike Lr or C1), so you could use local adjustments structure slider to enhance important detail in those areas.
  6. Watch out for the demosaicing artefacts like mazing / cross hatching / watercolour effect for some sensors. If they occur, don't use global sharpening (Lens sharpness module, especially the deconvolution-based Detail slider) and apply sharpening with local adjustments only. The mazing slider in the NR tool doesn't seem effective enough for some of the mazing patterns (too small radius of the blur). Using PRIME (even at base ISO) can help with some of the artefacts.
  7. If you use the lens Distortion correction, try unchecking the Keep aspect ratio option and disable the crop tool to get a wider view than the built-in jpeg (this is applicable to some wide angle lenses, esp. in compact cameras like RX100, etc.).
  8. When exporting, using colour profiles wider than Adobe RGB doesn't make sense because DxO apparently uses Adobe RGB as its internal working space. If it bothers you, you can export a linear/demosaiced DNG to something like Lr (with its large-colourspace internal processing) and convert to ProPhoto RGB from there.
  9. I don't resize my raw files when exporting from DxO. There's no (post-resize) output sharpening and the choice of the interpolating algorithms is pretty small. If you have to downsize a file (allow image resampling), don't use any other option than the simple Bicubic, and then sharpen the file in a separate program.
plain text Senior Member • Posts: 1,764
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
2
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Lan Senior Member • Posts: 1,033
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
3

Good idea!

One the best features of DxO PhotoLab is the PRIME noise reduction in DxO, unfortunately PRIME is disabled by default...

To enable it click on the "Detail" pane, expand the "Noise reduction - RAW" section, and click the PRIME button in the Detail section:

My other tip for PRIME NR is that the default settings are often far too strong. Start with all the sliders at "0" and work your way up.

Note: Having the sliders set to "0" doesn't disable NR.

If you can't enable it, remember that PRIME isn't available for JPEG/TIFF images, only supported RAW files.

Lan Senior Member • Posts: 1,033
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
2

One of the other best features of DxO PhotoLab are the automatic lens corrections which are available. Again, these aren't downloaded by default... You can download them if you see the little green camera/download icon in the top right hand side of a thumbnail, like so:

Clicking on the little green camera/download icon prompts you to download the camera/lens profile:

Tick the checkbox if the information looks correct, and then click "Next" to download the corrections.

Don't forget that if you don't like the corrections, you can adjust the strength of them, or disable them entirely. You can also uninstall profiles too.

Box Brownie Veteran Member • Posts: 3,098
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
1

I have nothing to contribute (yet ?)

But subscribing to keep up to date with any tips that folk are able to share

PS Thanks for starting what I hope will become an ongoing thread

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NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,053
Make presets to fix the defaults.
2

[I]t might be helpful if users could share any tips with Forum members to help those starting out with DXO-PL2.

There are several of the DxO PhotoLab default settings that I don't like, so I pull up one image from each of my cameras, change the settings to what I want, then save them as a preset (Image -> Create preset from current settings) for that camera. Examples of what I change / think you might want to change:

(1) change Noise reduction (a) from HQ to Prime, (b) with the Prime settings reduced from their default levels e.g. Luminance 40 and Chrominance 100 to more sensible settings depending on the camera and how you typically use it (maybe 15 and 30 or something);

(2) change Color rendering - Rendering from Camera default rendering to Neutral color, neutral tonality;

(3) (a) turn on Chromatic aberration correction and check the boxes for (b) Lateral chromatic aberration and (c) Purple fringing;

(4) turn on Unsharp masking, and choose some modest settings like Intensity 75, radius 0.3, and Threshold 5 (or you make want to start stronger, like Intensity 100, radius 0.6, and Threshold 3); and

(5) under Geometry, turn on Distortion and set Correction to Auto with DxO Optics Module.

This saves me considerable time on every image I process, and significantly reduces the chance that I forget to apply some correction or processing that I would want to apply.

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Seadog Publications Regular Member • Posts: 207
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.
3

Thanks to OP for starting this post

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OP IanYorke Veteran Member • Posts: 3,199
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.
3

NAwlins Contrarian wrote:

[I]t might be helpful if users could share any tips with Forum members to help those starting out with DXO-PL2.

There are several of the DxO PhotoLab default settings that I don't like, so I pull up one image from each of my cameras, change the settings to what I want, then save them as a preset (Image -> Create preset from current settings) for that camera. Examples of what I change / think you might want to change:

(1) change Noise reduction (a) from HQ to Prime, (b) with the Prime settings reduced from their default levels e.g. Luminance 40 and Chrominance 100 to more sensible settings depending on the camera and how you typically use it (maybe 15 and 30 or something);

(2) change Color rendering - Rendering from Camera default rendering to Neutral color, neutral tonality;

(3) (a) turn on Chromatic aberration correction and check the boxes for (b) Lateral chromatic aberration and (c) Purple fringing;

(4) turn on Unsharp masking, and choose some modest settings like Intensity 75, radius 0.3, and Threshold 5 (or you make want to start stronger, like Intensity 100, radius 0.6, and Threshold 3); and

(5) under Geometry, turn on Distortion and set Correction to Auto with DxO Optics Module.

This saves me considerable time on every image I process, and significantly reduces the chance that I forget to apply some correction or processing that I would want to apply.

Very useful post.

When you use new software you need to understand the philosophy of the software designers in order to fully utilise and not fight the software by trying to use the approach from your normal raw processing software.

DXO-Pl2's approach is one of user simplicity, make it easy.  Your comments on presets is important because it fits in with DXO because preparing the basic image to your taste enhances the software's ability to produce excellent default results.  All new users should take note of your suggestion to fine tune their results.

However I think you should rethink your use of Unsharp mask on raw images.  With raw images and a lens module DXO-PL is designed to use the lens sharpness settings to control sharpness, the USM settings are really for RGB images or where no lens module is available:

The default settings are those determined by DXO from their optical lab measurements of the lens and attempt to take into account the variation in sharpness across the frame, generally more sharpness applied at the image borders.

Ian

Digital Nigel Veteran Member • Posts: 8,346
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips
1

Here's some that may or may not be obvious:

  • You can include Viewpoint and FilmPack features in both your own palette and preset(s). Here's my palette:

  • You can make PRIME your default NR by selecting it in your preset(s). I have it with my own NR settings (eg, Luminance 30%, etc). My machine is fast enough that I don't care that it takes a bit longer.
  • Don't be afraid to design and store your own workspace(s). This is one of mine, using two monitors): 

    My Windows desktop, with PhotoLab on top

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mli20 Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.
1

IanYorke wrote:

.... With raw images and a lens module DXO-PL is designed to use the lens sharpness settings to control sharpness, the USM settings are really for RGB images or where no lens module is available:...

Ian

The DxO-PL help file does not agree with you here:

"DxO Lens Sharpness and Unsharp Mask

We recommend that you perform as much of your sharpening as possible using the DxO Lens Sharpness correction tool before using the Unsharp Mask."

Thus, in general it's OK to use both on the same image.

MLI

ATP62 Regular Member • Posts: 337
Re: DXO Photolab 2 Tips

Dock/Undock Image browser : Ctrl + U (Cmd + U on Mac)

Red arrow > use the slider to adjust the size of the thumbnails

OP IanYorke Veteran Member • Posts: 3,199
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.
5

mli20 wrote:

IanYorke wrote:

.... With raw images and a lens module DXO-PL is designed to use the lens sharpness settings to control sharpness, the USM settings are really for RGB images or where no lens module is available:...

Ian

The DxO-PL help file does not agree with you here:

"DxO Lens Sharpness and Unsharp Mask

We recommend that you perform as much of your sharpening as possible using the DxO Lens Sharpness correction tool before using the Unsharp Mask."

Thus, in general it's OK to use both on the same image.

MLI

From the DXO-PL2 User guide:

Using the Unsharp Mask

The Unsharp Mask correction is disabled by default. It is unnecessary for JPEG files, as in-camera processing has already sharpened them, and it is usually unnecessary for RAW images for which a DxO Module is available. This means its use is really confined to unsharpened JPEG files and RAW files without a DxO Optics Module. In the latter instance, we advise fine-tuning the Unsharp Mask settings, and then creating a preset.

We recommend that you try fine-tuning the three sliders using these starting values: Intensity = 100, Radius = 0.5, and Threshold = 4. For most images, Threshold should stay within a range from 4 to 10. Radius determines how subtle the correction is: excessive values will result in halos. Finally, you can set the Intensity slider up to 200.

You can of course process images how you want to but I find the lens sharpness settings provide a sharp image and further sharpening is best done locally using sharpness and micro-contrast YMMV.  The advantage of posting is to encourage discussion and understanding.

Ian

alan brown Contributing Member • Posts: 698
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.

IanYorke wrote:

NAwlins Contrarian wrote:

[I]t might be helpful if users could share any tips with Forum members to help those starting out with DXO-PL2.

There are several of the DxO PhotoLab default settings that I don't like, so I pull up one image from each of my cameras, change the settings to what I want, then save them as a preset (Image -> Create preset from current settings) for that camera. Examples of what I change / think you might want to change:

(1) change Noise reduction (a) from HQ to Prime, (b) with the Prime settings reduced from their default levels e.g. Luminance 40 and Chrominance 100 to more sensible settings depending on the camera and how you typically use it (maybe 15 and 30 or something);

(2) change Color rendering - Rendering from Camera default rendering to Neutral color, neutral tonality;

(3) (a) turn on Chromatic aberration correction and check the boxes for (b) Lateral chromatic aberration and (c) Purple fringing;

(4) turn on Unsharp masking, and choose some modest settings like Intensity 75, radius 0.3, and Threshold 5 (or you make want to start stronger, like Intensity 100, radius 0.6, and Threshold 3); and

(5) under Geometry, turn on Distortion and set Correction to Auto with DxO Optics Module.

This saves me considerable time on every image I process, and significantly reduces the chance that I forget to apply some correction or processing that I would want to apply.

Very useful post.

When you use new software you need to understand the philosophy of the software designers in order to fully utilise and not fight the software by trying to use the approach from your normal raw processing software.

DXO-Pl2's approach is one of user simplicity, make it easy. Your comments on presets is important because it fits in with DXO because preparing the basic image to your taste enhances the software's ability to produce excellent default results. All new users should take note of your suggestion to fine tune their results.

However I think you should rethink your use of Unsharp mask on raw images. With raw images and a lens module DXO-PL is designed to use the lens sharpness settings to control sharpness, the USM settings are really for RGB images or where no lens module is available:

The default settings are those determined by DXO from their optical lab measurements of the lens and attempt to take into account the variation in sharpness across the frame, generally more sharpness applied at the image borders.

Ian

I find the dxo module sharpening to be somewhat erratic. As an example, my Pen F is over sharpened when using the dxo default, and my a6300 is also over sharpened but not as much as the Pen. I would encourage people to play with those sliders.

For those using Photoshop, judicious use of USM with a highlight mask does a really good job.

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alan brown

NAwlins Contrarian Veteran Member • Posts: 3,053
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.

Very useful post.

Thanks!

I think you should rethink your use of Unsharp mask on raw images. With raw images and a lens module DXO-PL is designed to use the lens sharpness settings to control sharpness, the USM settings are really for RGB images or where no lens module is available:

The default settings are those determined by DXO from their optical lab measurements of the lens and attempt to take into account the variation in sharpness across the frame, generally more sharpness applied at the image borders.

That is a fair point, but I have some lenses for which DxO does not have an optical module. However, my processing photos taken with those lenses is probably uncommon enough that I ought to switch the preset as you recommended, or at least experiment with it.

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mli20 Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Make presets to fix the defaults.

IanYorke wrote:

...

but I find the lens sharpness settings provide a sharp image and further sharpening is best done locally using sharpness and micro-contrast YMMV. The advantage of posting is to encourage discussion and understanding.

Ian

Ian, I agree entirely with you. It's a rare occasion I personally will use USM on top of "Lens sharpness".

My concern is that if a recommendation of ours is in agreement with the official PL documentation there is no need to rephrase it and publish that as a tip, since it might then be a source for confusion, wording being different etc.

In this particular instance the different wording in the PL ducumentation for the same recommendation is the source for my confusion. All clear now, thanks

MLI

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