Selective masking of adjustments on PL6

A feature that I find useful in Capture 1 is creating an eliptical (not circular) mask, feathering it and rotating to where I want it, usually then inverting it before applying adjustments - usually darkening. Can I create the same effect easily in PL6 elite, FP or Nik?

It is of course possible to create a control point and set the sensitivity settings to zero, but to create anything other than a circle, it is necessary to add additional control points with the same settings as the first, but then it appears no longer possible to invert the mask. Is that correct, or have I missed something?

Why not just use the brush with a very soft adge?

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Yes, that is possible - any pattern can be generated that way - but when it comes to moving the mask around to work out what is the right shape or the right position, its a lot more difficult than having a tool to do it.

Then you can always user the eraser.

If you need tools like that stick to Capture One. The layer-functionality in Photolab is still very archaic compared to C1. Of course, many things are possible to achieve even in Photolab, but it will take you far more time to do it. In Capture One everything is layers and the tools far more sophisticated and effective and all of them works with layers and not just some like in Photolab.

DxO might have to do a lot of work to modernize Photolab and its layer-functionality. Most of the competition is already on trac and DXO ought to focus on this in the next release to stay relevant because this is a very obvious week point in their offer today.


Can I ask what types of things I might do in Capture One, using Layers, that I can’t do in PhotoLab because those layer tools are not powerful enough? If so, why would I want to?

When I want a graphic editor for things I can’t do in an image editor, I used to use Photoshop. But I used to think of that as a way to “create” an image, not to edit an image?

I must admit, since using layers in Capture One I have somewhat fallen in love with it. I know similar effects can be achieved with local adjustments and clever use of control lines in particular, but it feels like a hack when comparing the two

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Local Adjustments is “bolted on” and not like C1 where “all is layers” from bottom up. You start with a background that unlike PL also is a layer.

Take Color Wheel in Photolab. it’s good but limited because it is a general tool that affects the whole image and just that. The layers in PL are bolted on with Local Adjustments and it is a completely autonomous system with its own color handling. In C1 it’s both and. You can even with a pipette select part a color in the image and save it as a new layer in C1.

In C1 there are Mask Refinement tools completely lacking in PL which leaves you with a completely manual time consuming job. PL has many times felt more effective - as long as you are not trying to get out of normal every day boundaries and processes but C1 have addressed these performance problems last years. A few versions ago they introduced Style Brushes (21 default and possible to add your own). That has changed it completely. Now if selecting one of them the layer is created in the background automatically which has been a revolution for me. No more thinking - just doing.

In C1 they have smart “Magic Brush” and “Magic Delete” that helps a lot to speed up the processes when creating the masks. There is even a Focus Mask that marks all areas in focus with green color which is a very handy tool when I take repro images of old positive film color slides.

Today I have an AdHoc-session in C1 where i just copy the images not suited for PL. I’m done wasting unessessary time trying to fix these images in PL. I need them both and the reason to keep using PL is that I don’t need to “import” images there like in C1 and that PL integrates so well and far better than C1 with Photo Mechanic and XnView. Even Deep Prime XD should be difficult not to have.

C1 also cured me from using Photoshop completely a long time ago. Have no use for Adobe ever now.

They have also added Smart Adjustments especially with wedding photographers in mind. Take a master picture and adjust white balance and exposure and then apply these changes an a selection of your own to analyse and change these to an even look and feel. This is not like old static style sheets it’s dynamic and AI-driven to speed up postprocessing.


Be happy with Capture One. I have stopped with it. I have used it since version 3. The layers are impressive but imho DxO, archaic may be, does a better job. I use DxO also since a very long time. The colors of Capture One with e.g. Canon 5DS are bad, too bluish. The upgrade price is criminal.

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I’m rather happy with both PL and C1, but of totally different reasons, but the layer tools in PL are week and inconsistent compared to the ones in C1.

That’s really another thing with the colors though. Even in Photolab 6 Canon colorprofiles looks less vivid together with Sony ARW than my Sony profiles do. I know that from experimenting in PL with Canon-profiles myself. Maybe you should try some Sony-profiles instead. :slight_smile:

I have version 23 perpetual now of C1 and I can use that version till I die :slight_smile: I don’t plan to upgrade ever. Have everything I need.

It’s different with PL. I will continue to support them just as an insurance and if you add what it cost to buy the whole suite Photolab, Filmpack and Viewpoint I think it will add upp to the same amount as the cost for.Capture One. DxO is not cheap at all.

If you are concerned about the money I think you should sign up with Adobe instead - few packages are cheaper. Even Lightroom has far better layeroriented tools today than Photolab.

It is not the money but I don ’t want to throw it away. I have yet a perpetual license version 22. It are the bad results I got with C1. Over years wrestling with the colors in C1. The first color profile Canon 5DS was too reddish, the second too bluish. Before the new price policy I decided already to stop with C1. Perhaps C1 is good for professionals (products, weddings). I am only a simple but sincere landscape, macro, architecture photo amateur.

Hi Stenis. You are very brave, throwing the “L” word around with abandon :slight_smile:

It’s always a difficult to discuss improvements to Photolab when you are referring to alternative products because if people haven’t any real experience of these products, it’s hard to describe the advantages.

The reality is that Photolab is playing catch up with most of their competitors outside of lens corrections and noise reduction for which DXO are rightly famous. The root cause of this situation is probably down to the DxO ONE debacle which must have wrecked their development program.

Having said that DXO have made tremendous progress over the last few years including addressing major issues such as the limited raw colour space. Buying NIK was a master stroke and this gave Photolab a big boost to its local editing which was further enhanced with the introduction of a layer UI similar to most other software. Yes, DXO’s layer based local editing is still behind the competition but they have the basics in place to easily extend its capabilities to match the competition. Improvements needed include:

a. Ability to control the feather of a mask after creation.
A feather mask feature, which enables you to expand the width of the mask’s transition border after the mask has been drawn. The Radius slider determines how broad the blending along the edge of the mask will be and is measured in pixels. It is especially useful when masking elements of images with indistinct edges

b. Ability to refine a mask.
Refining a mask enhances the precision of the mask along the border. The Refine Mask tool’s edge-detecting technology makes it ideal for fixing edges, creating accurate and clean selections of complex elements from backgrounds, such as when masking hair, fur, or other objects with intricate or fine details. It can also be used to improve brush work along the horizon in landscapes and cityscapes, for example, as well as other elements with highcontrast edges.

c. Colour range masking.
Selecting a range of colours/saturation in the image or within the selected layer mask.

d. Luma Range.
Selecting a range of Luma values within the image or selected layer mask.

e. Filled Mask.
A basic improvement to eliminate the need for the “push control line outside the image” kludge.

f. Editing of existing masks.
Selection masks can be rasterised to convert them to a pixel mask (effectively converting them to a brush mask) allowing them to be edited with a brush or eraser.

g. Magic brush
Adding colour and luma selectivity to a brush mask that also uses edge detection technology to select a portion of the image that match the selection criteria but selection stops at the edges of the object(s).

These improvements are clearly possible with the existing UI, which is very similar to C1, and would advance DXO to the next level. The question is, where DXO want to go in their development short term?
Lightroom has made great advances in masking technology (equivalent to DXO’s game changing noise reduction) and everyone will need to respond to the challenge provided by Lightroom. This is particularly relevant now that Lightroom has responded to DXO and incorporates advanced noise reduction, coming close to DeepPrime.

Interesting times.

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Haven´t we all used Lightroom before we got here? :slight_smile:
Adobes R&D was a long time very slow concerning Lightroom, but I think Lightroom really seems to have gone through a facelift the last years.

For landscapes, macro, architecture or street life Photolab is perfect, gives great results with very little efforts normally and is very effective. Unlike many other users I think - for my type of use at least - Photolab ImageLibrary works pretty well when used merely for consuming XMP-data maintained by external software. I think it is impressive to manage to develop the ImageLibrary in such a short time despite some well-known short comings and flaws but that priority may have costed DXO quite a lot since they didn´t have the resources to address the layer tool issues.

For a general use the Control Points in Local Adjustments are kind of unique and very smart and effective but they are not up to the job when real precision is needed. The Keystone Tools in the ViewPoint-plugin are really top notch and I think the Retouch Tool long has been far better than the ones in C1 (Clone and Repair).

I really hope DXO will focus on the layer-system and tools for the next release. It would have been nice too to be able to use one converter instead of two. I´m also longing for a Photolab like Lightroom when it comes to handling DNG and serialized DNG from Vuescan which really is some kind of industry standard when it comes to scanning-software and I´m also longing for an option to override the barr that stops us from opening RAW-files lacking a Photolab camera profile. It is not OK to have to wait months or half years to be able to open the files from a new camera - not at all for professionals and not for the rest of us either.


No, I’ve never, ever, used Lightroom.

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No, never. The last Adobe product I used was Photoshop CS3. Then a friend recommended DxO PhotoLab 1 and I have never looked back.


Me neither.

Surprising replies. I did use Lightroom from version 3 all the way to the last stand-alone version, Lightroom 6.14. I fell in love with PhotoLab 1 in the fall of 2017 and have never looked back. Of course Lightroom and PhotoLab have both grown and matured a lot since then.


Since version 3 in 2008 till version 22 in 2022 I was an user of Capture One Pro. Since 2014 DxO Optics Elite 9 I am a happy fan of DxO.

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Being a Canon shooter, I simply used DPP after first diving into digital(after 38 years of film). I was not impressed. DPP was a far cry from what it is today and I felt that the RAW processing was very limited. Then I got a free copy of Optic Pro 8 Elite and it was like WOW, this is what RAW processing is all about!

I used OP 8E then OP 9E and OP 11 Essential(no Prime) until finally coming on board with PL 3 elite and have used practically nothing else for serious work ever since. Adobe’s idea of “importing” photos into LR was a major turn-off for me as I like to move my photos around frequently and then store them archivally where I want them. DxO’s file browsing system was(and is) perfect for me. Plus I never liked Adobe as a company and still I use no Adobe products even today.


I think that was the offer that I started with too.