Evolution of Tool Panels of PhotoLab, FilmPack and ViewPoint

I’ve been checking DPL and consorts over time and decided to post this little info that shows how tool panels have evolved from DPL version 1 to 6. It’s about the panels (or sub-palettes) and not what they can do and how that changed in particular. Listing that history goes beyond what I’d enjoy doing.

PhotoLab Changes

  • PhotoLab 1 and 2 provide the same tool panels.
  • PhotoLab 3 introduces an editor for Keywords
  • PhotoLab 4 introduces Advanced History, Instant Watermarking and Local Adjustment tool panels as well as the dimmed header text for inactive tools and slightly tighter vertical packing of the panels, which have also lost the expand/collapse “>” switches.
  • PhotoLab 5 introduces an editor for IPTC metadata (18 tags) and the Keywords List
  • PhotoLab 6 introduces IPTC editing for 30 tags, adds Working Color Space, Soft proofing and Perspective tool panels, the last being moved from ViewPoint to PhotoLab

FilmPack Changes

  • FilmPack 5 can currently be used in all versions of PhotoLab
  • FilmPack 6 can be used from at least PhotoLab 4

ViewPoint Changes

  • ViewPoint 3 can currently be used in all versions of PhotoLab
  • ViewPoint 4 VP4 can be used from at least PhotoLab 6.
    VP4 looses the Perspective tool to PL6 but adds the ReShape distortion tool.

Note that the FP and VP tool headers appear dimmed because I wanted to concentrate on PhotoLab.
Dimming in FP and VP currently means that “there is something, but you need a license”.
Dimming in PhotoLab means “the tool is inactive” - and that GUI design has slipped sub-par imo.


Brilliant work, Platypus. This a valuable permanent reference. Thank you.


That is only in the Mac version. They call it advanced history in the Windows version, but it is not a history. It is only a listing of what has been done and only kept for that session. When you restart photolab the listing is gone. Why they cannot save the history in the Dop file. I do not know. That is where it should be saved along with the image edits and nothing else in their. The meta data should only be saved in the XMP file. The database should only update itself from those two files.

Sorry for the rant.

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For those who want to explore the respective palettes:
Archive.zip (11.0 KB)

Unzip the archive and move the workspace settings files to their intended locations. If licenses for FP and VP are present, the tools in the FP and VP palettes will be usable (under changed names).
Note: I did this on a Mac, maybe the files work on Win cans too?

As I understand it, it’s something to do with the way Windows works. This seemingly simple task just can’t be done. Affinity Photo for Windows similarly doesn’t carry history from one session to the next.

Hi @stuck,

I know windows can be a pain in the butt from my own experience. I suspect it’s the way they have programmed the history for the Windows version and may need a complete rewrite for that section of code.

I don’t think so. It is my understanding there is something about Windows that prevents this task being coded. As I said, Affinity Photo for Windows similarly doesn’t carry history from one session to the next.

I’m happy to be shown otherwise though.

Someone once told me that if I were not to do it (code wise), I’d be either lazy or incompetent.

Lightroom certainly carries over the history. So if one can do it!

What are you talking about ?
It’s just about storing and writting datas on disc.

I use windows softwares which have very complex tools with several (context sensitive) histories which are stored inside projects on disc. Which are able to be applied completly or partially to create a new “elements” without loosing the old one nor history, and so on.

Which even can take a part or complete history to apply it on an other “elements”.

Which even allow to “isolate” history or part of it (not in one step because of the complexity of those tools) and save it on disc to load it in an other project to apply (connect) it on other “elements” !

Why writting and storing datas would be difficult ? This is what is done for about everything on computers.

Unless maybe the architecture of the software is too old and outdated ???

This is simply not true. I have architected major applications in both C# for Windows and both Objective-C and Swift for Mac. There is absolutely no inherent reason in Windows why this should not be possible for PhotoLab.


Does this have anything to do with programming libraries that do not offer the same functionality ?

The .NET frameworks are the foundation, not only of Microsoft’s libraries, but of the majority of third party libraries.

A number of years ago, I wrote a persistable undo/redo stack in C#. There really are no limitations except, possibly, the skill base of developers.

If I had to start from scratch, I reckon it would be doable in less than a month.

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I’m happy to have been shown to have been talking nonsense. Thanks.

That’s really cool. Thanks!

I, for one, would certainly not wish to have my sidecar/.dop files cluttered with “1000s” of minute history settings.


Image browser takes forever to refresh when opening (why, why, why …).
Maybe we should need to connect to an online network computer to open it if in sidecar :upside_down_face:

If you really want some advice on this one, I propose you open a new thread :wink:

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Why do you need to keep all those thousands of adjustments.

All you need is the last adjustment. You start off with applied default preset and for arguments sake your first adjustment is exposure. You may end up with as much as 100 or so adjustments. What I tend to do is take a note of the number in the box to the right hand side of the adjustment come back and click on the applied default preset then go back to the box to the right of the exposure adjuster, and type that number in. then in the history all there is, is one adjustment not the original 100.

To me your argument doesn’t hold water.

Wow! What a great job!
Very useful, many thanks