Editing linear DNGs created by PureRaw in PL5 (or 6)

I’m starting to get a better understanding of the difference in editing RAW and linear DNGs in PL though I’d appreciate some advice from one of you technical experts :grinning:

PL does not have the facility to view the results of DeepPrime processing or DxO lens module sharpening until:

  1. You zoom the image in further than 75% to view sharpening, or use the small window to see the results of DeepPrime processing.

  2. You export the image to linear DNG, TIFF or JPEG.


If I use PureRaw standalone to process RAW files, applying DeepPrime and (supported lens) global sharpening and creating a linear DNG output, I can open the resulting file in PL with DeepPrime and sharpening applied at any zoom level and without further export.

But (and this is where I need the help),

Is the DNG created by PureRaw as “plastic” as an original RAW SOOC when it comes to further editing in PL? By that I mean, is the file in a format that allows the full functionality of a non-destructive RAW editor?

I may not be explaining it very well. Ideally, you would want to edit RAW in PL to make full use of the tools, I understand that linear DNGs generated by PureRaw cannot be passed through DeepPrime or sharpening as they are already demosaiced, but have they lost all the plasticity of a SOOC RAW and effectively been turned into a de-noised, sharp, big fat 100GB JPEG equivalent?

Using PureRaw is unnecessary if you are a PhotoLab Elite user. DxO recommends that you apply DeepPRIME (or DeepPRIME XD, introduced in PL 6), lens sharpening, chromatic aberration, vignetting, and distortion corrections to your raw images from within PhotoLab Elite and export them using the Export as DNG(Denoise and optical corrections only) option.

Once exported you will be able to see the results of sharpening and noise reduction and the other optical corrections in the DNG file.at all zoom levels. You can make additional modifications to that DNG file and when finished editing you export the DNG file to its final form as a JPEG file. There is absolutely no need to bring PureRaw into the mix. PureRaw is intended for use with other editors. It is not needed if you are a PhotoLab Elite user.


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In addition to what @mwsilvers wrote. Yes, I’ve been doing this since it was first introduced in PL4. Even the WB is unset and still in the camera’s sensor color space, which is completely covered by the new WGWCS.

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Hmmmm. This is an interesting idea, though at the expense of a little time and disk space. Well, a lot of disk space!

I think I will give this a try on some of my better shots. Probably not worth it to me for the run-of-the-mill stuff.

You can always delete the DNG after you finish editing and have exported your TIFF or JPEG. Just keep the DOP file so you can reproduce the DNG if the need arises.

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OK, I just gave this a go and hit a few snags. Not all may be related to using the Linear DNG.

I created the file in a subfolder. After editing, I moved it to the parent folder, at which time PL threw away all of my edits.

I deleted and recreated directly in the original folder. The image appeared but clearly did not have the default preset applied, even though the history panel says it was. I applied the default preset manually and saw the obvious change in the image.

I (currently) cannot use the wide gamut WCS.

But… what a gloriously smooth and crisp image to work with!

I can’t speak to retention of edits or application of presets, unfortunately - my “trial” workflow is:

  1. Ingest RAW to SSD
  2. Process all RAW to different folder, same SSD, using PureRaw
  3. Offload RAW straight to NAS/ Cloud untouched
  4. Work with processed DNGs in PL as if they were new RAW.

As has been mentioned, I don’t need to do any of this as a PL Elite user because PL Elite contains all the DeepPrime tools. So with existing files with edits, presets etc. etc. I don’t think I’d want to risk washing them through PureRaw as an intermediary step. However, for brand new images, why not? I’ve configured steps 1) to 3) to happen almost automatically and, as you say, when I get to step 4) they’re already DeepPrimed and optically corrected - and I can see it :smiley:

Rather than start a new thread, I am replying to this “old conversation” as the DxO Forum “Revive this topic?” popup terms it.

Is Linear DNG still “raw” or is it demosaiced? If the image data is demosaiced, and one wants to do further post on the image at a later time in PL6 Elite complete (film pack plus perspective control both activated within PL6), does one use the DNG or original raw file? If one uses the DNG, which (if any) capabilities of PL6 Elite complete are limited or not available? If this question has been answered in another “conversation”, the link will suffice.

Maybe this can help:

Linear DNG files explained

What are Linear DNG files and how should you use them in your photo-editing workflow?

Photo editing software such as Lightroom and Capture One might give you creative freedom and flexibility, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting the best possible image quality from your RAW files. Linear DNG files are part of a solution that allows you to combine different software to get ultimate image quality without having to overhaul your entire workflow.

Linear DNG files are RAW files that have been partially developed, having undergone some complex mathematical processing to lock in demosaicing. Depending on its intended purpose, a Linear DNG might also complete other parts of the RAW conversion process such as denoising and lens corrections. You can then take this optimized file into your photo-editing software of choice to complete the creative process — everything from white balance and exposure through to tone curves and color grading — with the knowledge that your final image will be the highest possible quality. As you edit your files, you might even find that you have greater flexibility than with the original RAW file.

By taking a RAW file and converting it to a Linear DNG file with one application and then editing it in another, you get to combine the strengths — one mathematical, one creative — of two different pieces of software.

The above is the point of my question: once demosaicing is “locked-in”, what features/functions/capabilities of PL6 Elite complete are limited or not available compared to using the original raw file, assuming one wants to continue with the DNG file rather than “starting over” each time from the raw (even with the DOP file that contains the changes that resulted in the DNG)?

If you are talking about using the DNG in another application like Lightroom or Capture one, I think it depends on how much corrections you use during export of the DNG from PL. I think there are several options, with optical corrections, with no optical corrections, all corrections etc. Eventually that becomes the starting point on which you can start working in Lr or C1.

If you meant using the DNG to work in PhotoLab itself, I never tried that myself, but I think it would not make much sense, since all of it is done in the PL when you open original RAW file. You really just need RAW file and little .dop file next to RAW. And if you open that RAW in PL you can continue where you left off, so no need to convert the RAW to DNG for anything as long as stay in PhotoLab.

However I did tried to use new Lightroom Noise Reduction AI and it produced DNG, probably similar kind of DNG as DXO does and than I try to work on this DNG from Lightroom with no noise. DXO seems to treat it as regular RAW file with noise still there. I don’t know how it would treat DNG itself created, you can try and see for yourself. I would assume since DNG was written by DXO it would probably be able to read back. But I don’t know, never really tried it myself. Not sure why would you want to do that, though. other then from curiosity, I fail to see the advantage.

Only time you would really make DNG is when you want to continue working in another application as if it was RAW file but you want to take advantage of the demoseicing and denoising and other options of the PL.

I don’t know if you read the DXO articles I linked but everything should be explained there.

EDIT: I just tried to export from PL a RAW file as a Linear DNG and than try to edit it back in PL. As far as I can see the main thing that is lost is noise reduction, leaving only HQ noise reduction mode, similar to TIFF or JPEG, but all the other functions seems to be working. The file was exported with all the corrections and everything.

I have read the items you mentioned (some of which I previously had read). You summarised the basic issue:

Only time you would really make DNG is when you want to continue working in another application as if it was RAW file but you want to take advantage of the demoseicing and denoising and other options of the PL.

Thus, the only reason to use linear de-mosaiced DNG is for other than DxO PL6 Elite and the applications therein (film pack and perspective that are integrated internal functions of PL6 albeit licensed as stand alone applications). As the DxO NIK suite iNOT integrated but require export, will the NIK suite work with a linear DNG as well as with a TIFF during the export to NIK? Note that unlike the Adobe suite, DxO does not expose the internal PL “pipeline” to the DxO NIK suite (that does appear as a “real” plugin to the Adobe suite).

Did you try this? Nik only works with TIFF and JPEG files.

PureRaw features a limited subset of PhotoLab functionalities. Therefore, using PureRaw as a preprocessor to PhotoLab does not make sense in most cases.

  1. If the original raw files are still around…
    1.1. it is best to work them in DPL without prior treatment by DPR,
    1.2. but you have thousands of DNGs done by DPR and bought DPL later, you could work the DNGs. (Except that adding optical corrections and demonising in DPL is not much of an effort anyway and you could therefore work the RAWs instead of the DNGs…)
  2. If the original raw files are gone, use what you have (…)

PhotoLab can do everything that PureRaw can do and then some. DPL also lets us tune e.g. sharpening and denoising with finer granularity, while DPR’s tuning possibilities are very limited and rough in comparison.

DPRs output DNGs contain demosaiced, optically corrected and de-noised images. Working these DNGs in PhotoLab (as outlined under 1.2. above) limits the use of PhotoLab to the remaining features, which can be okay occasionally.

For future use, I’d recommend to work the RAWs in PhotoLab from start to end (as in 1.1. above) - in one unbroken workflow.

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Yes. That is Correct. I think that DXO PL Elite had built in film pack and view point apps in a way they blend into the user interface and look like they are part of the app. So anything PhotoLab can do with raw files is supported.

If you use film pack and view point as standalone apps than they have different interface but they still support working with RAW files. I am not sure how demoseicing and de-noising is handled at that point, but it should work with RAW files just fine. When you install film pack and view point apps, you also get them as plug ins that can be called up from other apps that support raster based image editing. Such as Affinitiy or Photoshop. In that case both film pack and view point apps can be used as plug ins, but only support TIFF or JPEG workflow.

Same is true for NIK software except no matter how you use NIK it will not support RAW files, only TIFF and JPEG and probably PNG. The reason I think is because originally NIK software was the company that made the products, than they sold it to Google, than Google sold it to DXO. At some point before that DXO bought rights to licence using their U-Point technology that was NIK original big invention. So when NIK went out of business, and Google acquired the company, but didn’t do anything with it, DXO already owned u-point technology I think, so they just bought the whole package, and now the refine it a bit, but ultimately its still a raster based set of plug ins. While some of the effects from NIK could work on RAW files I’m sure, some are really specific and required either complete rewrite of code to support RAW or in some cases it would make little sense because they are so wacky and creative effects more designed to change the appearance of any image for creative effects than to develop a raw file.

I think Nikon CaptureNx was the first to use the u-point technology from Nik, integrated in their RAW converter. As was the whole Nik software.


Could be, yes. I haven’t used that software, but now that you mentioned it, yes I remember them advertising it as well. I guess NIK was licensing their patented U-Point to other companies. Smart. Its a good system, and in many cases I find it to produce more organic results than very precise masking, while if I need more precise masking there are other specialized software for that like Photoshop or using DNG in Adobe Lr. Camera RAW and add masking there. But for many simpler task the organic looking nature of U-Point for me at least gives better results. I wish we had more of that. How about you, do you use it much?

I’m not such a fanatic editor :grin: Mostly global editing is enough for me.


I respectfully disagree about the Nik integration. When used with the Adobe suite as well as Serif Affinity current (as with PL, permanent license, not a rental), Nik integrates as a plugin and uses the internal software application pipeline, not requiring an export to TIFF and then opening the intermediate TIFF (for which I generally have no use but that consumes disk space and disk bandwidth) as with PL. If I regularly were using Affinity current, I probably would invest in Nik 6, but for now, primarily using PL6 Elite complete, there is no reason to do so plus, with PL, the use of Nik is awkward. My understanding from Joanna (EA member) is that PL is not a “layered” workflow application, unlike the Adobe suite or Affinity, and thus using the internal PL pipeline is not possible – despite the fact that the otherwise standalone applications Film Pack and Perspective are integrated and work in PL without any TIFF export. (Given that Nik also is from DxO, it makes no sense to silly me that these could not integrate into PL the same as the otherwise standalone DxO applications.)

Are you asking for the ability to see Nik features from within PhotoLab in the same way you can see FilmPack and Viewpoint features in PhotoLab. If so, you have to understand that the FilmPack and Viewpoint features are not integrated in PhotoLab from the stand alone versions.

All of the FilmPack and VIewpoint features are already built into PhotoLab like any other PhotoLab features. They are in PhotoLab even if you don’t have licenses for those other products. With regard to PhotoLab all that a license for Viewpoint and FilmPack does is unhide those already built in features so you can see and use them.

To accomplish the same thing with the Nik Collection would require every Nik feature and tool to be rewritten for use within PhotoLab. It is not even a question of just copying the features since the original Nik Collection had a different codebase and interface designed by the original owners, Nik software. Not only would the task be monumental for a small company like DxO, it would create intense feature bloat in PhotoLab and almost certainly have a negative impact on performance.

PhotoLab adds less than a dozen new features annually. To accomplish full integration of the Nik Collection would require the addition of a very large number of features and interface changes as well as the resources needed to accomplish it. It is highly unlikely that it will ever happen.