Plugin system

A documented plugin system as in LR and PS so third parties will be able to extend PL functionalities. A scripting system to automatize some treatment.

Interesting idea. I’m all for DxO improving interoperability. I would particularly love to see integration with the initial crop tool in PhotoMechanic (important for sport and wedding photographers who crop often and crop radically).

The issue with bringing third party plugins into PhotoLab is that turns PhotoLab into a bitmap editor working with TIFF files (which are huge) instead of just .dop. Lightroom does offer this mixed environment, but it’s confusing and often the results are disappointing as they are not on RAW files but on processed TIFFs.

To ensure that the third party plugins work on the image files after they are processed it means that making a small change in the PhotoLab settings to the original image could result in extremely slow processing and previews. Moreover, the character of the third party plugin modifications would change if crop or horizon were changed (pixels would be in a different place).

If you are talking about the ability to automatically create a TIFF and send it to an external plugin/application and receive the TIFF back as an editable PhotoLab file, that would be helpful. DxO has already built this functionality into PhotoLab 5 and 6 as the “Nik Collection” button. DxO would just have to create a new button for third-party plugins (which have to be applications to be honest, not just plugins) who automatically accept TIFFs and send them back with processing. Creating a new protocol would be fruitless (PhotoLab is too niche). PhotoLab should simply add Adobe Photoshop compatible third-party processing.

What kind of third-party support did you have in mind? How do you envision it working?


While I am definitely in favor of a community that can expand on the functionality of the host program and promote its overall usefulness to a larger group of passionate users, and developers, I don’t know if that would limit or expand the core functionality of the program in terms of working with RAW files. The Nik Collection button, for example, works as a plug-in, and that is ok, but to me, it does not really help that much if raw capability is lost, while the plug ins such as DXO Viewpoint and Film Pack integrate natively into the interface and do not lose all the benefits of DXO’s raw processing power. Personally, I would like to see it expand in that direction , rather than working on JPEG or TIFF externally in a plug in with just a link to the host app, like Nik Software does. But as Alec pointed out, having better integration with Photoshop and Affinity Photo would be a very nice feature because of what those apps can do.

Milan, those add-ons are directly under DxO control, including all source-code. It would be a huge challenge to try to integrate some (not all, most just wouldn’t work) third-party plugins as integrated features with RAW processing through the full chain.

The biggest issue (leaving out the changing the crop or horizon manipulations which make would often make previous applications of a plugin work in the wrong places) is speed. First, DxO would have to generate the RAW preview and then it would have to be modified by the third party plugin before a preview could be shown.

What about daisy-chaining? Where in the processing pipeline does the third-party plugin go? Before or after noise reduction for instance?

One quickly understands why DxO chooses not to integrate third-party plugins. To do so basically means restructuring the architecture of PhotoLab to also include a bitmap editor (basically Affinity Photo or Photoshop) within PhotoLab.

Instead we export TIFFs and can use Affinity Photo (+plugins) or Topaz applications standalone to do their magic on RAW files which have already been processed. I do like the idea of allowing auto-TIFF creation with round tripping for plugins which comply with Photoshop plugin spec (which allows something similar).

There must be some PhotoLab users who have delved deeply into these architectural issues. @platypus @mwsilvers @Sigi @Stenis any thoughts on this?

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Fair enough. What about macros? I don’t know if you are familiar with actions in Photoshop, scripting in photoshop or Macros in something like Blackmagic fusion, where one can create customizable and repeatable actions and expand on the core functionality of the app.

Perhaps that could be something DXO could integrate at some point. Maybe it can be used to expand cataloging functionality, integrate ChatGPT or something like that for key words etc.

Any though on that? Just food for thought.

PhotoLab already has a kind of macro functionality, which are presets. I’m not sure if you are aware but each preset can modified to only modify certain palettes. So one could have some presets to start work on an image and one could have other presets to make certain modifications to an image which is already partially processed. I don’t use PhotoLab like that myself but my starting presets can mostly be applied in mid-processing as they don’t touch tone controls or local adjustments for instance (i.e. those modifications would stay in place if I decided to make huge changes to the look).

I suppose that is somewhat true. Presets are a way to prerecord settings, but if I’m not mistaken unlike actions or macros they are all the settings all at once, vs conditional steps in a particular order. For example what if one wanted to have a preset for export of a particular image and than import back into the DXO and continue applying different preset to the imported image. This is a situation where preset would be limited.

Also I think one can set one preset to be applied upon import of images, but not something like having image duplicated as virtual copies and different presets applied to each image. Like color vs black and white etc.

This is where more powerful macro capability would be useful.

DXO FilmPack and Viewpoint are not plugins. The features in both of those pieces of software are already built into PhotoLab like all the other features in that software. All that a license for either one does is unlock and unhide features that are already there.



Well they also exist as separate plug ins that work as stand alone apps or can be opened from other apps, such as Photoshop. So those plug ins and stand alone apps are also integrated into DXO, and that is what I was thinking. If that can be done with those apps, I’m sure there are other things that could work. Can maybe some functionality of Nik Collection be added to work with raw’s , directly into the PhotoLab similar to film pack and view point.

Certainly, anything is possible given the time, the budget and the decision to move forward in that direction if DxO were to see a financial benefit in doing that. But which follower Nik functionality are you talking about? Everyone will have a different idea of what should be integrated. Over the years many people have suggested fully integrating the NiK collection functionality into PhotoLab. Given the scope of the effort involved, abd the extreme software bloat it would add to PhotoLab’s core functionality, It is extraordinarily unlikely it will ever happen and I would not hold my breath waiting for it


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Fair enough. But I think after this threat I would like to see macros added. That would be probably easier to implement and would offer lot more flexibility to the users to customize their workflow to their needs. Would you agree?

I am not sure exactly what you want in terms of macros, or how you are defining them or would like to see DxO implement them. I have not read all your earlier posts. But PhotoLab currently does not have a built-in macro language.


I’ve given one example, I’m sure there are other uses that could be nice.

Here is what I said:

I’m still not sure how a macro would come into play here. Given your scenario why could you not just apply a different partial preset?


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Well, as I’ve explained. Presets are very limited. They apply pre(set) set of settings, all at once. They cannot add more steps or apply more than one preset to, for example, virtual copies for comparison. They also cannot apply local adjustment based on specific conditions, only copy what was set before. Presets are great, very useful. But limited and that is OK. That is what presets are meant for. Quick application of pre(set) set of settings. Nothing more and nothing less. Actions and or micros expand on that functionality and can apply presets as well. In other words they are higher level of automation and customization.

You are apparently looking for a dynamic set of instructions to accommodate if then else processing. That would be a pretty major change in PhotoLab’s design. Could it be done? Certainly. Will it ever be done? Highly unlikely.


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Hi Alec,
PL already applies non destructive editions above RAW images and already includes non destructive plugins as Filmpack. Maybe some complex plugin edition should work like DeepPrime that only shows a small preview of the expected result. Applied plugin and their parameters can fit a Plugin section do the dop file (by the way dont know why dop are not XML structured). This is what Filmpack is doing by adding an “Override” section to the dop sidecar. Eventual conflicts between DxO base edition and plugins could be solve by a prioritizing the last applied for example. I think the issue is more the necessary development and support resources, DxO is a relatively small company, than a technical one.
Preset and the copy/past of editions already form a kind of scripting (or macro), but only based on manually selected images. This could be extended to other criteria, like date, time, geolocation, folder based, image tags etc. It should be possible to script all the functions of PL

Well, I guess DXO will have to compete so if that is not what they add, something else will have to be improved or added to keep up with ever bigger competition in their space. Macros would be one good edition, especially if they are forced or decide to rewrite PhotoLab for speed and compatibility with the future systems.

If I understand your request correctly, you’d like DxO to add a possibility for other apps to plug in to PhotoLab - today, only the Nik Collection apps do something like that, but they also necessitate to break the RAW workflow. In view of open requests that are more important imo, I’m holding my vote for the time being.

Such a feature might serve a bunch of users, but I’m not one of them at the moment. In view of open requests that are more important imo, I’m holding my vote for this request too.

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In computing, “a plug-in is a software component that adds a specific feature to an existing computer program”. So ViewPoint and FilmPack are plugins. By the way the PL6 folders shows C:\Program Files\DxO\DxO PhotoLab 6\Plug-ins and contains about 50 dll with very specific names as “DxO.PhotoLab.Correction.CreativeVignetting.dll”
As I mentioned in a previous response, the issue for DxO is probably less a technical one than having the resources to support the plugin developers and users.