Editing without saving

Coming from CaptureNx I’ve to change my workflow completely.
I always did shoot raw and that are the files I keep. In CaptureNx a high quality jpg was added to the raw file, including its editlist. And the ability to use keywords in the raw file. Compared to the situation now 1 file in stead of 3 files.
Many time I go through the pictures and restart the editing or just try out something. When finished in CaptureNx I was asked to save the edits. And that’s what I’missing.
In PL I can reset the image. No problem when I edit it the first time. But when I reset an already edited and newly opened image, all the edits are gone. So I can’t play with already edited images.
Am I missing something?


You can create a virtual copy for playing around (right click on the picture in the film-strip). But there is no edit history like other tools have unfortunately.

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So that’s the way it’s done.


When you get more used to using PL you’ll find that’s not necessary;

  • You can easily review the corrections applied to any image just by observing the state of each tool in the Palette - and you can evaluate the affect of each tool by switching it ON/OFF.
  • And, furthermore, there’s no concept in PL of one specific correction being applied before or after another - they are applied in a predefined order, no matter which order you actually worked on them.

John M


What is that predefined order?


Answer is here: New Dxo user quick question, order of adjustments

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The pre-defined (optimum) order is applied on export when the image is rendered. The order in which you apply the adjustments does not matter. This is the same for all parametric (adjustments are just a text list that is run when the image is exported) raw converters.

This is also why the virtual copies occupy virtually no disk space as all they are is a text list that will be applied to the original raw.

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I still am not convinced of what is mentioned here with that ‘pre-defined order’. But that is another question.
OK, I can play with a virtual image. But when I’m working on an older edit, start editing further, and think I don’t get the results I was looking for, what then. A reset clears everything. Not saving isn’t possible. So what is left is going backwards with Ctrl-Z and hoping you remember the position in the list. But that will always 1 step backwards to much.
So I would like a possibility to leave that image without saving, or at least that a reset will distinguish between an older and the new edit.


You can make multiple virtual copies of your original edits, as well as multiple virtual copies of virtual copies and so on. And, of course, you can delete virtual copies. Resetting a virtual copy only affects the specific virtual copy you are editing. Managing a lot of them at different points in the editing process, or for different editing scenarios, is difficult. Two requests have been made and I believe both are in the backlog. One is a visible edit history list and the ability to restore an image directly to a specific point in the edit process. The other request was for the ability to uniquely name virtual copies. It’s unclear when we might see either of these features added to PL.


I do understand the use of virtual copies. But the impossibility of editing without saving forces me to think on the forehand what I want to do. It forces me to deal with the raw’s as with the jpg’s: work on a copy. When I restart an edit only.
It can’t be that difficult adding a dialog box asking what to do with the new edits. If so then I can use the virtual copies for what they where meant for, I think: comparing/creating different edits.
I’m coming from good old CaptureNx :wink:. Also the possibility of more edit lists/virtual copies. But on leaving the image with a dialog box. Easy to play with and less risc on faults.


Hi George
I think I understand your confusion with what’s being said, or at least I hope I do :slight_smile:

You are probably used to pixel editors like Photoshop where order of adjustments is critical. With parametric editors this is simply not the case. You edit the photo to achieve the look you want and that’s it. When you export you get what you saw on the screen. It simply doesn’t matter how you got there, increased brightness, decreased brightness etc.

This is also why an edit history is not really useful, again critical in a pixel editor. The problem with using an edit history is that you lose all of the adjustments after the point you return to.
So, for global edits, lets say you have adjusted exposure and then carried out other adjustments like contrast, curves etc. Now you say Oh that exposure adjustment I did was too high, I will go back in history and reduce exposure. Fine but you now have lost all of your other adjustments. With DXO you just reduce the exposure slider and keep all of the other adjustments.

With Local adjustments you are editing a selected portion of the image. In DXO these local adjustments are contained in layers. So, for example you are editing the sky. You have selected it with the gradient tool and then adjusted exposure, contrast, saturation etc.

Then you want to adjust the foreground so you use another Gradient layer this time from the bottom of the image to select the foreground. Now you adjust exposure etc.

If you now look and decide that the sky’s a little too dark then you just select the Sky layer and adjust to taste, without loosing anything. You can turn on/off the layer to see what effect it is having and also adjust its opacity to fine tune the effect.

Working in Layers lets you organise your edit into logical groups. Once you get the idea I think you will appreciate the power of layer based editing.

You also have the option of creating virtual copies at any stage to create a snapshot of where you are.

LightRoom is a parametric editor with a history function. Is this really useful?

Hope this helps.


Having read your latest post I have to admit I’m a bit confused about exactly what you want to accomplish. If you want to make additional changes to an image but aren’t sure you may want to save those additional edits then first make a virtual copy, and if you’re dissatisfied with the additional edits, delete the virtual copy That’s what virtual copies are intended for. It seems like you want to edit an image temporarily and then decide later whether or not to permanently keep the edits to it and then save them.That is not how most non destructive raw editing programs like Lightroom, PhotoLab and ON1 work. There is no save feature. Edits are automatically written to the data base and/or side car files as they are added.


I’ll have an attempt at interpreting your aim too, George.

Are you saying that you may decide to do some more work on an image you’d previously worked on - - but, you end up preferring to go back to the how it was (before you started the 2nd editing session) …??

If that’s the case, then it’s simply a matter of workflow; before you start on that 2nd session you should create a Virtual Copy, and do your subsequent work on the copy version.

  • If you want to revert to the first set of corrections then you simply delete the virtual copy
  • If you’re happier with the new set of corrections then you can;
    – Use Ctrl+Shift+C to copy all corrections from the virtual copy … and Ctrl+Shift+V to paste these copied corrections back over the "M"aster version … and then you can delete the virtual copy
    – OR … You could retain all versions, if you wish - and you can create as many Virtual Copies as you need - - and you can use any version (not only the "M"aster version) as the base for a new Virtual Copy.

Hope this is helping … John M

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That’s right.
I’m still looking for my own workflow. In CaptureNx I could edit an image, was asked if I would keep the edits and if yes a high quality jpg was added to the raw file. There was no need to save the image separate on disk. I could use any browser to view them. When I was not satisfied about the result in a later time I could try to change it. When I didn’t get the wanted result I just didn’t save it.
That is now impossible with the D750. I’ve to work with sidecar files and exported images to view the result. I’m still looking for a solution for that. Raw conversion is the only thing I need, good enough for me.
That’s also why I add keywords to the rawfile. Was no problem with CaptureNx. I just learned here that ViewNx2 is able to do that with the D750 files. I already was busy to build my own program to do it.
Technical it can’t be a problem adding a dialogbox asking to save or not at the end of editing. I think the editlist is loaded in memory, new edits are added to it. The dop file is written when edit is done.


I have a real difficulty understanding where the problem is.
What you have to understand is that PL never modifies the raw file! Therefore, it writes the settings to the sidecar file (and to its database). And if necessary, he also writes the virtual copy settings there. And it is not when the edition is finished, but continuously!
In addition, the edition is theoretically never finished: I can resume my file in three months with PL and continue to make changes from the point where I left off … or even return completely to the beginning: it just reapply the default preset.
We can make a jpeg at the end of a work session on the raw, but it is absolutely not an obligation: it can also be done later on the reopening of PhotoLab.
And if i obviously have to make a jpeg output to be able to see the result in third-party software (viewer), this is the case for almost all independent software like LR for example.

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I can have a go at restating George’s requirement, and I suspect provide an answer… of sorts…

You have a RAW file, freshly opened in PL. You spend 10 minutes mucking around with the sliders until it seems just about right. You export the result as a JPEG and then have to go away and do something else for a while.

Later you return and look at the exported image and decide, on reflection, that it’s not what you wanted. So you spend another 10 minutes fiddling with sliders but in the end it looks worse! If only you could go back to how you had it when you first exported and try again to tweak it.

There’s no simple way to get back to that point unless you had the forethought to make a virtual copy before doing the second round of tweaking. Even using the undo action, you’d likely be guessing at the point to return to because you’ve just spent 10 minutes fiddling with sliders and some of them more than once.

So what George is asking for, I believe, is an option to revert to that previous point (at which it was first exported). The trouble is how to define that point? It might be “the point at which I selected this photo in the editor” or “the point at which it was last exported.” Anything where the user must take a conscious action can be covered by virtual copies, but this requires forethought that you’re going to muck it up.

The answer, perhaps, is to get into the habit of creating a virtual copy immediately prior to exporting. This would work in the latter case suggested, or in the former, get into the habit of creating a virtual copy of any photo immediately prior to doing any editing. This seems cumbersome either way. What is trying to be achieved here is some kind of “editing session” which can be undone in whole without having to manually define that session.

A new software feature would automatically mark one or both of these actions in the undo buffer and allow you to see them in a history list, allowing you to select the ‘rollback point’ and undo to there in one go. Plus, with a visible edit history and rollback to any arbitrary point within it, there would be less need to use virtual copies as ‘protection,’ leaving them for their (I believe) intended purpose of applying multiple treatments to the same image deliberately.

Yes, I suspect you’ve correctly defined Goerge’s requirement (?)

Your rhetorical question also defines the difficulty in formulating a solution.

Just personally, I’m now quite used to consciously creating a virtual copy before I start fiddling with corrections on images that I’d previously worked on.

A much bigger issue for me is the one where I select all/many images to be exported - - then I spot some deficiency in one of the images, and I do some remedial corrections to it … only to find, avec horreur, that I still have all/many images selected. Now, I’d be keen to see a solution for that !

Regards, John M


Exactly my point. And a dialog box asking me to save the new edits would solve that. I can restart with the old image/edits.
Or a possibility to reload the actual image with the old edits. I think the dop list is updated during editing, you can check that easy on the time stamp in the file browser. If DxO wouldn’t do that or makes a copy of that doplist, it’s just a matter to reload that old dop list.
I think :grinning:


So you felt the same problem. But can you edit on more then 1 image at the same time? Beside copy edits to another image(s).


Absolutely, Yes. Any correction made when multiple images are selected will be applied to ALL of them.

This can be a handy feature, at times - - eg. To apply the same Crop to multiple images, in one step … but it can also be quite “destructive” if you’re not paying attention - such as in my scenario example above.

Mmm - I wouldn’t care to be “bothered” by a dialog box continually interrupting my editing process.

John M