Help please

Really trying to get to grips with PL after having been years with LR. Below is an image I have been playing with for self help purposes. Not a great image I know but it was a very dull day on the side of a mountain and therefore challenging, especially so far as post processing goes. I have got it this far but still cannot make the image “pop” maybe it is me for it was a very grey day. Any tips will be appreciated.

Thanks Colin

control points can com at use: left lowersection, make the stone and stonewall darker and more detailed.
then brighten up the sky left upper section and take a small tip of the mountainhill with it to simulate sunlight… gradient filter? edit, forgot to add after this global exposure correction for mid section.
last, yellow leaves and treeleaves make them more vibrant front right and just above stone wall.

That would be my attempt.:slightly_smiling_face:

The following image adjustment is intended to show some setting suggestions that can be used to “pop” an image. Please note: This is a demo, not an attempt to show all possibilities nor to create the best possible image. Please see Fig.1 below for the adjustments I used.

There are some unavailable settings due to the fact I am using a JPEG instead of Raw. The one I miss the most in term of color~tonal rendering (as opposed to lens sharpness, etc.) is the “Color Rendering” (magenta ellipse in Fig.1 below) which is the 2nd setting I normally adjust after establishing the proper “White Balance”. This “Color Rendering” setting can have a large impact on the base (global) image for all other corrections. The best way to learn about “Color Rendering” is to experiment with the various options on a variety of images.

And as @OXiDant points out local adjustments can be used as well.

Fig.1 Click image to view all the settings.

Fig.2 Before~After: intended to show settings used in Fig.1 > not a finished image.


side path, every time i see this reminds me te learn more about tonecurve controle. it looks like a 5 minute change. and this is what i had in mind, more detailed rocks, vibrant leaves surrounding the trac. brighter sky.

Thanks guys appreciated. I think this does illustrate that the granular control of edits is far, far better in LR and indeed ON1. Being able to select specific colours, use colour range masking or luminosity really does give a great deal of flexibility. Looking at the two jpegs above I can see exactly what you are aiming for and I agree with it 100% but trying to get the oranges and yellows in the tree on the right to pop without washing out the greens in the trees is very difficult. Like the curves approach though.

Anyway second attempt is attached. I think it is better and I used the masking brush on that tree on the right.

Hi Colin,

In that case, you might like to experiment with the HSL (Hue, Saturation, Lightness) tool - which allows you to “manipulate” individual colour channels;


Regards, John M

Thanks John. I do use that tool but is does not give the same level of control or of it can do so it is not as easy to use. Having some sort of colour picker would be so useful.

Having some sort of colour picker would be so useful

Yes, indeed. That is something that is missing in PhotoLab and would be a big help.

I guess at the moment PL is really just a raw developer rather than a full blown editor like LR, ON1, Affinity etc. Must admit I am finding the alternatives give me far greater flexibility so I am not really sure how much longer I will use PL. I use it less and less as the competition seems to have the edge nowadays. Maybe a decent update will come along soon.


Yes PL has a ways to go from an editor stand point. Photoshop is still in my workflow - big time - no different than when I was using Optics Pro.

The main reason I upgraded from Optics Pro to PhotoLab was to support DxO efforts at re-establishing their core business. The company appears to making a serious commitment to advancing PL’s capabilities. I think the world will be a better place with an evolving PhotoLab than without it.

I will be buying the next upgrade also - even if it still doesn’t have the full set of what I consider to be essential editing tools.

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This is discussed earlier i think :slight_smile: and yes PL is on the road to get closer to a fullblown editor.
(for me i don’t think i need a “photoshop” toolbox , to remember al its tools in how to use and such would be hard for me, so a "travelkit " with al the handy tools would be enough.) But i think DxO’s strength would be always to be focussing on image refinement of a rawfile rather then “Photoshopping wrongs right until you satisfied” So clipping correction, global color correction (WB), sharpening, tone curve, perspective correction, and such are core tools. rest is a extra (local stuff such as gradient filters , controlpoints, brushes things like that) to avoid as much as possible to need to export to a pixel editor.
But to go back to your image:
did you see This Color efex Pro tutorial?
I can’t repeat him but geesh i think he can cook a turd into a cake! (image wise)
So maybe mount NIK on to PL will help you to get what you want. :slightly_smiling_face:

That would probably work but given the progress LR and ON1 have made it seems overkill. Think I shall sit back and see how DxO develops - it certainly has a way to go in my books. In the meantime I guess for me Adobe rules.

Hi Colin & Jim,

May I ask you to elaborate a little; What can you do in Photoshop that you cannot achieve in PhotoLab ?

Note: I’m not trying to set you up so that I can come back and counter argue with every point you make … but I am NOT an Adobe-tools user, so I am genuinely curious.

John M

Do not compare PhotoLab with Photoshop, they are two different kinds of tools. It does make more sense to compare Lightroom+Photoshop with PhotoLab+Affinity Photo.

PhotoLab alone has by far not the functionality that is covered by the CC package. It is currently only a good replacement for Lightroom’s Develop module. Currently it does not cover LR’s Library module (DAM), and also nothing from the Photoshop domain for tasks like Focus Stacking, HDR, Panorama, Layered Editing, Retouching with Frequency Separation and so on.

Because the later is covered nicely by AF Photo for 50$, there is nothing to do. Remains the DAM part and the improvement of the RAW develop module with NIK integration. We will see, what the future brings.

Hi Asser - - Sorry, but I don’t understand this part …

What is “AF Photo” ?

What is it “covering nicely” ?

There’s “nothing to do” by what/by whom ?


Hi John!

“Deep in the weeds” right now on a project… I will respond more fully by this weekend.

In addition to what @Asser mentioned I will be adding selection tools & masking (which means of course some sort of channel feature) to the fray.

In the interim here is a full-frame fisheye image I created of a very small (seats a cozy 12 guests) private dining room inside a restaurant in Napa Valley, CA that shows the synergy between a program like Photoshop & Optics Pro 7 (at the time) ~ PhotoLab. There is far more contrast of lighting (deep shadows all over) when seen in person, but that did not lend itself to showing prospective guests (on-line) what it looked like in an image.

Three bracketed shot - opened up to a 5-bracket equivalent by Optics Pro, with excellent lens sharpening. 3 images (processed by Optics Pro) brought into Photoshop layers and selectively (often intricately) masked for an incredible dynamic range (no HDR thank you!).

I envision PhotoLab being able to do this kind of work (no Photoshop) - which is what I will be discussing in my next post in this thread.

LoRes full-frame fisheye image. Best viewed at larger size. Please click to view.

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Hi John,

AF Photo is Affinity Photo. The best alternative to Photoshop (not Lightroom) out there.

By covered nicely I mean, that all the pixel editor features like focus stacking are offered by Affinity at a price point of 50$ and below.

By nothing to do, I mean for PhotoLab developers. It does not make sense to invest the next 3-5 years to be able to do the same in the pixel editing area, which is already possible in Affinity.

Ah, OK - Thank you … I now better understand your comments (above).

So, you’re saying that PhotoLab**+**Affinity Photo is a comprehensive combination (for all but DAM) - Correct?

At what point do you hand over to Affinity from PL ?

How does the Nik Collection fit into your photography tool kit ?
… does it overlap with Affinity ?

If one were to, say, use Affinity to handle panorama stitching - then at what stage in the process would one hand-over images to Affinity to be stitched? - Can it receive RAW files for this purpose ?


Yup the comparison should be DxO to LR but with the main photography offering from Adobe being the subscription model which includes LR and PS it is sometimes hard to ignore PS which is so well integrated into the suite. LR has some significant additional features for instance its masking capabilities are far in advance of DxO and include luminosity and colour range, then we have selective colour editing. Add to that the significant DAM module and it becomes clear that DxO have a ways to go to yet.

Yes, exactly.

Whenever I want to do something, which is not possible in PhotoLab, that is when I need better inpainting, masking, retouching. I stay as long as possible in PL, and when it is not enough, I hand over to Affinity, leaving the RAW world behind.

It does not overlap. It extends the capability of Affinity Photo by a nice set of filters.

It can receive RAWs, but I would not do it. Its RAW engine is really not comparable to PhotoLab’s. The point to hand-over is, when you are ready to work with rendered TIFFs for the remaining part.

Here are my workflows:

This is, why I don’t really need NIK integration in the current state in PL. Only when NIK starts to work directly on RAWs extending the Filmpacks functionality, the whole thing becomes interesting for me.

On the other side, it would be cool, if I would not need Acdsee any longer for DAM. But this would only work, if PhotoLab would offer hierarchical keywording and extended searching functionality, which I heavily use. Otherwise I would continue to use Acdsee.