Stacking (cumulating) presets in PL4

I’m running a trial of DXO PL4: I’m an experienced LR/Pshop user who has relied for some time on his own presets to short-cut development tasks.

I’m enjoying many aspects of the rendering of PL, but I find the preset operations clumsy to the point of useless. As I think the ‘manual’ admits at one point, every preset is a “full preset”: it contains information on every correction visible in the palettes (afaik) and is either on or off, has a value or no set value (which is itself a value).

The latest preset applied therefore overwrites the FULL set of possible corrections whether or not it is targeted only at one value in one correction.

It seems to me that this means it is impossible selectively to cumulate the impact of presets unless the last preset applied adds the existing set of corrections and also includes all of the corrections already made with the value they already contain (including possibly the value ‘inactive’).

So, for example, if I add a certain tone curve to an image using a preset that preset must contain not only the tone curve that I wish to set but also all of the other settings already applied to the image or the settings already applied wlll be reset/lost.

Am I wrong here? I hope so. I hope I have missed some subtlety that allows the accumulation of presets.


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No you are right, it’s just one at a time that wipes out any thing done before.

Hi Peter and welcome to the forum.

I am a new convert from Lightroom to PL4 and you have brought up an interesting question. What you want to do is possible by creating an empty preset, but this is only available in the ELITE edition. So, I am not sure if your trial version has the functionality of the Elite edition.

From my experience, on a Windows PC, PL4 only will create an empty preset inside an existing Presets Folder. If you don’t choose a folder, it apparenty chooses the last folder chosen to place the empty preset…so you might never find it.

In the Preset Editor, create a new Preset Folder and maybe name it “Curves” for example. With that folder selected, right click on the folder and choose “new empty preset”. PL4 will create a new preset, named “New preset” in that folder. You will have to rename it. Now, with your new preset selected in the Preset Editor, click on Edit, either at the bottom of the Preset Editor, or by right clicking on your new preset and choose “edit”. This will turn off every adjustment, with everything set to default settings, and you can now simply create your new tone curve.

Now, go to the curves adjustments palette and put a check mark in the little white box, this tells PL4 that this palette will be included in the preset. Next, simply create your curve that you wish, and then either click on the Edit button in the Preset Editor once more and then tell it to save, or you can right click on the preset in the Preset editor and choose save.

Now you have a preset that only makes the changes that were included. I think the process of doing this could be streamlined and made more user friendly, but that is what we have at the moment.

I hope this helps you.

You’re right @bconner , but I think that what @PeterGallagher wants is not only a partial preset (available only in Elite version) but also to have a cumulative effect of the preset chosen, ie he has already an exposure compensation of +0.2 on some images and some without.
If he applies a preset with an exposure compensation of +0.3, he wants that images with +0.2 become +0.5 and those without become +0.3.

At least that’s what I’ve understood of his request, and it is mine also.

For instance I develop my photos for screen viewing, and I select some to print for which I would need more exposure and more sharpness, so I would add these to all selected images and not replace them.

Thank you for these suggestions. The trial version of PL 4 is the Elite version. I’ll try this approach. Best, P

While I said it is my request also, I forgot to write that it’s not possible to have cumulative preset et the moment.

Hi Patrick,

This is an interesting idea but it’s more than I meant by ‘cumulative’. I meant only that the latest preset should make no changes to the existing corrections/parameters. My mistake: I should have said “incremental” not “cumulative”.Thank you. P

Thank you Bryan: that works exactly as I’d hoped. Don’t know why I didn’t figure this out from the ‘manual’ but your explanation was both clear and correct. I’m grateful. Best, P

You are welcome Peter. Don’t feel bad, I didn’t figure it out from the manual either. I am happy that I was able to help you.

Hi, multiple preset stacking can be done in two ways.
1 as described bij others with partial presets specific targeting a setting or settings.
(even local adjustments can be used by using the make preset from this settings.)
2 a more destructive way, export as 16bit tiff or dng and apply the next preset, export as tiff dng and apply the next one… In this way the exported file is every time the baseline from where you work. (note virtual copy’s arn’t working that way. But are quite nice to “park” a certain development stage. As a not safed preset.
Comecto a 3 way.
Create a developement level stage, make a virtual copy of that.
This is then a place where you can selectively copy paste from to other images.

In nondestructive workspaces is stacking presets a bit “destructive” because it’s overwriting and not accumilating? Adding up like ev is 3 plus 1 you have on the end not the result you expect if you wanted to add things from a certain point of development.
Now it’s ev +3 plus preset ev +1 is +1 not +4.

Here’s more about presets. I charted the values defined by a preset and marked the values of fields that differ from the values set in the fields of “No Correction”. It’s a rather large spreadsheet and maybe it can help to see what goes on in which of the supplied presets. I’m not keeping the spreadsheet alive, it might therefore not be absolutely up-to-date. (78.9 KB)

Open the zip file and you’ll get a spreadsheet made on Open Office. MS Excel might be able to open it too.

Imo, there is one big caveat with the test version of PhotoLab: It’s an “Elite” edition and if you later buy the “Essential” edition, you loose the ability to create and use partial presets (and more). Be sure to check the differences and the DxO Premium Bundle before deciding on what to get. Go to and scroll way down to find the bundle.

Thanks Platypus. Yes I’m aware that the ‘essential’ version has more limited functions. My gripe is not with the additional cost of the ‘elite’ version but with isolation of one or two essential tools in the otherwise-pedestrian VP and FP add-ons. It’s a transparent cash grab that, for me, is the strongest reason to question the value of the DXO suite.

…yes and your choice is as good as mine. DxO is trying very hard to attract customers and their policy reminds me of IBM’s, where most products seem to have (intended) shortcomings that could be remedied by buying a second product that offered additional values that could only be exploited fully if you bought a third product etc.etc.etc…

Coming back to “incremental” presets: They are currently not possible. If partial presets use the same “sliders”, the last used preset will determine, which value will count. Let’s say that one preset exclusively increases exposure by 0.2 and an other preset by 0.4, the result of applying both presets will be either 0.2 or 0.4 and never 0.6.

That analogy with IBM’s ham-fisted marketing is funny and true. Well picked. Thank goodness we’re talking about $10^2 not $10^6

You are correct on the impact of later preset changes. Still, my needs are sort of satisfied by the ‘partial preset’ Bryan Conner pointed me to.

Best, P.

Creating partial presets should meet your requirements. It may take a bit of practice to build partial presets efficiently. You can modify existing presets but for your needs it might be better and faster to create empty presets and add the adjustments you want in them.


While I agree that Viewpoint 3 should probably be included as part of PhotoLab 4 Elite, FilmPack has a lot of functionality which many people don’t seem to feel they need. I, however, use FilmPack 5 Elite features in almost every editing session. The cost of the whole suite is expensive if you buy it at their regular prices. I have owned the suite since 2017 and have never regretted the purchase. For me the functionally, speed, ease,of use, and the very high quality output makes it a bargain.


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Good advice, Mark. It’s what I’ve started to do.