PLv7: Redesign of PL's Local Adjustments user-interface ... A constructive perspective



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Why do you think it was missed? It was not a bug, but a design decision. After much discussion about it, it remains unclear whether DxO will eventually add the picker. Some people did not think it was necessary. I do. However, for those using the Windows version of PL 7 there is a work around. Using the global color wheel picker also selects the same area on the local adjustments color wheel. It is inconvenient but it works. Unfortunately, that trick does not work on the Mac version.


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It (color picker) is needed there of course (even if there is an uneasy workaround to get the picker here) - and is needed at a lot of other places in photolab too.
Maybe when it will appear again, it will be a part of code thought to be inserted (called) anywhere else it is needed.

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Really ?
Everywhere a color, a hue, or a value needs to be selected, a color picker should be avalaible (curve tool for instance).
Isn’t that obvious ?


It was obvious to me, but not everyone thought it was necessary for local adjustments.


Where did you get that from?

Here, we are in a user forum and can report what we like and don’t, what works and doesn’t etc.,
but developer?

I use the workaround and it really sucks (as unlogical it is) and it is a design flaw that really stands out. I just can´t understand how a developer with some sort of self-esteem is willing to leave an unfinished job like that.

Where I got that from? Haven´t you upgraded yet??

Yes, even developers are users and there are other developers here that are non DXO too that seem to feel about the same. Poor design and bugs you see and are aware of you fix before it ends in a lot of bad will.

As another developer put it in another tread:

“Don´t get the users/customers look elsewhere”. DXO is doing that really with version 7. That will be very bad for business and eventually that will hit the lojal users since there will be less resources for future development. That is very simple math.

Here is where I got that from Wolfgang - Incentive to buy Photolab 7

Here is a quote from Brian Nelsons post in a parallell tread:

"I have to admit, I came into the fall this year a bit biased against DxO because
it was SO much effort to move my images from one computer to another, and from
one disk to another (both external SSD’s).

But to read about the “hostage” features, that just about killed it for me. A
company that does that is either greedy, or in bad shape and in need of more
cash. Either way, it’s not good and for me most likely the end of my association
with them.

I had figured out on my own that the editing history is in the DB, and so I
figured that installing PL6 on top of PL5, then doing a backup of the DB,
unplugging the disk, plugging it into the new machine, and then installing PL6
on the new machine, and finally restoring that db backup on the new machine
would be the way to go. I asked support about this approach, and the answer I
got was, “Customers who have tried this in the past have not been happy with the
results.” Talk about someone who could care less about my problem. Almost
certainly didn’t talk to any developers, didn’t do any tests, nothing. Just a
heaping amount of apathy.

In point of fact, that IS the correct approach! I asked in an existing thread on
the topic earlier this year, and got several different answers (which tells you
how well architected and documented it is), but one kind soul actually tested it
for me. That’s supports job! But thanks again @platypus for testing, and to all
for responding with your knowledge and expertise. I learned a lot from YOU.

The more I learn about DxO, the less I like. As a software developer for many
years, I can tell you that even mediocre engineers will tell you that you NEVER
want to have more than one “source of truth”. PhotoLab has at least two that I
know of, the database, and the DOP files. Some info is in one, some in the
other. That is NOT a well architected system. It’s a mess. Given their apparent
lack of technical prowess, and the fact that they need to keep the plugins
working, I’d suggest they do away with the DB altogether and just use the DOP
files for everything, including editing history.

The DOP files are a bit of a mess too, though, right? They’re not compatible
between versions. Ugh. I don’t know their code base of course, but on the
surface that seems extremely easy to fix! The fact that they haven’t says
everything, to me.

If I were in charge of this software, I’d tell them to stop all work on new
features, and let’s fix these architectual problems right now. I worked on more
than one release that was just bug fixes, and both I and customers appreciated
that. Everyone one wins, because you’re hopefully removing the biggest
impediments people have to using your software, which reduces support costs.
It’s not sexy, but it works. Heck, you can even advertise them as features if
that makes it easier for you to actually fix them!

I’m thinking of starting a photography business, and I’ve come to believe that I
CANNOT trust DxO to help me do this. I’d like to, because there are aspects of
the software I really like. The camera/lens profiles that they pioneered are
great, and I love Local Adjustments (although others have something similar now
too). I don’t think they have the best RAW converter, just to disagree with some
of the comments in these forum threads I’ve read. Pretty much all the 3rd party
reviews give that honor to Capture One. I used it for a couple years, and I did
love the results. And they have their act together when it comes to
catalogs/sessions and managing files/data, unlike DxO. The thing I didn’t like
about Capture One was their interface, I found it clunky and hard to use. I was
also really busy with work (day job) at the time, so I just didn’t have the
time/patience to deal with it. Now I have more time and more motivation to try
again. I’ll probably do a lot of reading and watch some videos before I even
sign up for a trial.

Honestly, I feel that DxO has made the Cardinal Sin in business: NEVER give the
customer a reason to look around. Why? Because if you do, they will almost
always find a reason to leave. There’s just too much competition in the
marketplace. This nonsense of keeping features hostage is just appalling. DxO’s
prices are so high, if you upgrade all 3 packages (PL, VP, FP) it’s $267. That’s
almost the FULL price of Capture One! And much more than the upgrade for Capture
One. I’ve definitely seen CO listed for $199 during the holidays, and maybe even
$149 like on a Black Friday sale. Upgrades are $179.

Besides the lack of caring from support, the horrible documentation is also
contributing to my feeling it’s time to leave DxO. Here are the things I’ve
looked up so far:

How to move images from one computer to another: not documented. 2. How to
copy/move images from one disk to another: written so badly I couldn’t figure it
out. 3. ICC files not supported in PL 7: this is just plain wrong in the PL 7
docs. They are supported. 4. Soft proofing only supported in DXO Wide Gamut
mode: also just plain wrong in PL 7 docs, you can do soft proofing in the
“Classic” color space as well.
Does anyone proofread their docs?

Perhaps most damning of all, I just don’t agree with the latest major features
in PL 6 and 7. In version 6 it was the DXO Wide Gamut color space. I have to
admit, my photos look far, FAR better in that color space. But that’s only
useful to me if my monitor screen is my eventual target. For me, and I think
most of us, it’s not. We almost always want to print our best stuff, right? If
you do enough reading on color calibration, you’ll see the same phrase repeated
over and over – it’s not terribly useful to edit your photos in a color space
that’s wider than your eventual target.

Why? Because then you have to do soft proofing, and probably make MORE edits for
that target! If you just edit in the color space of the target, they probably
won’t look their absolute best, but you only have to edit them ONCE. Soft
proofing goes away altogether. So which would you rather do? Edit in the wide
gamut, and then have to soft proof and edit each photo, for each printer, or
just set the color gamut of the target and edit each photo once?

DxO coming up with their own color space, as well as only allowing 2 color
spaces to be set in the editor at all, just exudes hubris in my opinion. Unless
a lot of printers start adopting this color space, I don’t see how it’s terribly
useful. Why not use an existing wide color gamut? Because they think they know
better. EVEN if it IS better, it’s only useful to use in the editor if a lot of
other companies support it. I see that as being highly unlikely, certainly in
the short term. If ever.

Actually, this reminds me of some comments I saw recently about how DxO refuses
to use the corrections embedded in the RAW images from the camera manufacturers.
I’m sure they’re right that those aren’t as good as DxO’s corrections could be,
but they’re a HECK of a lot better than nothing! Which is what we’re left with.
Their refusal to not use them reeks of more hubris. There are ways to use those
image corrections that would make it clear it’s not as good as DxO’s; for
example, a popup that says something like, “We’re sorry, we don’t have a profile
for the camera/lens you’re using, would you like to use the manufacturers
corrections? Be warned they will not likely be as good as DxO’s profile would
be.” And then a checkbox that says “Don’t show me this again.” Probably very
poorly worded but it’s not intended to be something for a final product, just to
show that it’s possible to give the people something while still maintaining
your own standards.

But back to PL 6, which I naively purchased, what they SHOULD have done was NOT
limit us to 2 color spaces, but allowed us to set any ICC file we want as the
color space to edit our images. That they only gave us two again says hubris to
me, “We know better”. At least they did leave the Classic (AdobeRGB) color space
which a lot of printers use, but some still use sRGB. And as new printers come
out they might use different color spaces. We know PhotoLab can handle this
because that’s what soft proofing does, you set an ICC file and that’s the color
space you’re editing in. I’d rather just set the ICC file in the main editor,
and do away with soft proofing.

And PL 7 is even less appealing, I did a trial version. I don’t own a color
chart, but to use the main new feature in 7 I’d need to buy one (at least $50),
and carry it around and remember to use it. But I already have some things for
getting accurate colors, I have an Expo Disk, a generic version of the Expo
Disk, and a Kodak grey card which on the back is a white card. I’ve tested all
3, and all work, but for me the best results are in this order: Kodak white
card, Expo Disk, generic disk. Is the color chart better than the white card?
Maybe, but I doubt it. More importantly though, the white card solves the
problem further upstream, at the source. That’s really important. Any software
developer will tell you that the further upstream you solve a problem (or avoid
it), the cheaper/better/easier/simpler it is to change, that’s why design
meetings are done. With the white card, I just point the camera at it, click the
shutter (while in the proper Custom White Balance mode of course), and then all
my photos will have accurate colors. Done. With DxO’s solution, I have to
remember to carry around and use this OTHER thing, then back at the computer use
their solution on the first image and THEN apply it to all the photos that were
shot in the same light.

In my opinion, there’s only one way a company should ever try to lock in users,
and that’s by delighting them SO much they don’t even WANT to look around.
Sadly, very few companies even attempt this these days.

I’ve “met” some really terrific folks in these forums, and I want to thank them
again. If it weren’t for you, I probably would have bailed on DxO long ago. I
wish you all the best. But if things go as I suspect they will, I will be
leaving DxO software for something else.


Brian "

I’m not sure why you think the workaround sucks, It just requires an extra step which is, of course, inconvenient and not obvious to many users, Workarounds are not intended as replacements for better designed functionality, they are just a way of achieving the same results.

Not including the color picker In the local color wheel was a DxO design decision. DxO believed the color picker was unnecessary for local adjustments. A number of users have agreed with that decision, although I’m not one of them. It has absolutely nothing to do with developer self-esteem, and it is not a bug.


Sorry, no need to repeat what others have written. We can read this for ourselves.

I don´t even understand how people can defend such a poor and unlogical design as the Local Color Wheel but we are all different. I see problems when I see a design flaw like that.

I´m both an old IT-developer and a teacher of both teen agers during 10 years in public schools in Basic Computer Knowledge and I have also trained a lot of people to use industry-applications I have developed myself for about another 20 years. So, I have quite a few years of experience of designing user interfaces myself. I also got a lot of education by Microsoft during the nineties and I learned a bit of their usability tests they did in order to make the Office Suite more usable. Their own studies lead to the abandonment of deep menu hierarchies for banners and so called “wizards” that were mandatory in all early Windows-applications like the Office and their competition like Lotus Smart Suite and Wordperfect. They found out that he common WinWord-user was only using 5-10 of the applications functions.

The Office Suite was sold as “productive tools” but the users mostly found themselves far from as productive as they could have been possible with better training and a better designed and more user-friendly interface So that´s why even a “color picker” in Photolab matters. As it is now it´s both unintuitive, ineffective and unlogical. In fact, it checks most check boxes that identifies a poor design. Then it is also poorly integrated with the layer system. A user shall not need to think of creating a layer of some sort in order to be able to activate Color Wheel. Look at Capture One and see and learn and turn it he other way around. They have consistently automated the creation of layers when using a lot of the tols in CO now. That is an efficiency awareness that just isn´t there in Photolab and DXO and that´s another reason why Photolab will not be the choise of the industry.

Wolfgang, it was you who asked me “where I got that from”, wasn´t it??

Quote: “Where did you get that from?”

I just helped you with a clip so you shouldn’t ´t have to look for it all over by yourselves.
If you don´t want the answer, don´t ask the question!

@Stenis … developer ???

Before I retired I had 35 years experience as a software developer/analyst and a software development manager, mostly at the largest bank corporation in the United States. JP Morgan Chase.

I am certainly not defending all of the design choices that DxO has made for PL 7, but I do know how and why some of them morphed into their current state. Hopefully, some of those design choices will be reworked in point updates to PL 7 or in PL 8.

Unfortunately, in my experience, once new features are implemented in PhotoLab they are usually not updated with enhancements to their functional design but only to fix bugs that prevent them from working. As a result, I am concerned that the design decisions for PL 7 Local Adjustments may not be addressed anytime soon!


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At first I saw this combined price as well (PL7 + FP7 together). Don’ t know how I did it, but tried again and eventually € 89,- (PL7) + €59,- (FP7) = € 148,- total.
As advertised in their Black Friday offer.

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Yes I developed the product information and pricing system for a Nordic IT-product distribution company called Scribona between around 1993-94 to 2008/2009, both on the server side in the systems five distributed MS SQL-databases and on the clients. I made the applications too. That Enterprise had daughter companies in Norway, Finland and Denmark too. That time Internet was not at all that fast so that’s why we had to have servers locally too. This was during the "client -server days.

I also built the SQL-database cluster platform for their Dataware House together IBM where they supplied the replication software that replicated IBM I-series data to our Windows Server Warehouse. They also used a software to analyse data cubes called Powerplay that built these datacubes from that I-series sales data in the Warehouse. The Windows servers owned the business data for that Nordic billion $ business and they fed the Nordic websystems where most of the business took place. That product management system survived for more than 15 years during several processes where the main I-Series applications were changed to other software.

I got a lot of training by Microsoft in the nineties so I knew most of their server softwares and of course the Office-applications. That’s why I came to use those softwares when building solutions both for the business world and museum

That was also the reason I got the job to develop The Digital City Museum of Stockholm. After that I designed the backend data integration of the City Museum of Stockholm´s SQL Databases with SQL Server Integration Services and build most of the front end interfaces for their FotoWare Workstations that were used to maintain the XMP-metadata used on the digital assets of the museum. That included a lot of XMP Schema development too and those schemas were the very foundation of the webinterfaces in FotoWare Fotoweb, Fotoware’s webapplication but others developed the webinterfaces.

So I have designed even a handfull of pretty complex interfaces sometimes with hundreds of data fields/elements used in these organisations and I have had a close dialog for many years with people using them and I’m pretty “occupationally injured” by working so long developing workflows and user interfaces that I´m pretty allergic to sloppy, poorly designed inefficient solutions even in the software I use privately and that is absolutely mine problem but I´m for sure not alone to think like that.

I also think it is time to stress that most development of softwware includes both elements of design, testing and debugging - in an endless circle. It is just different phases of the same process and DXO have both bugs and design flaws to fix in version 7 period.

Oh well, that seems to be difficult … “we” all are users, but no developers for DxO.
That is, “we” can report … (see above).

And to avoid further misunderstanding – I’m not defending DxO’s design decisions or else.