The sequence of edits - does it matter?

and by exporting the image with all the edits you get the tif or dng or jpg as the result

Again, the sequence does not matter as long as one pushes a slider here or there. What matters are presets, that can (and will) obliterate some of what was carefully edited before.

The example is blunt: Carefully balance tones and colours first, then apply a B&W preset. Possibly not the smartest way to proceed, but PhotoLab will always give ua a preview of all we did to an image. :man_shrugging:

I know it works that way. But the question is WHY?


And the counter question is - why not?

You can ask but doesn’t give an answer on the “why”.
The editing you do on an image is relative to the actual state of that image. And that state of that image is the result of former edits. There is no discussion about that.


I’m a little perplexed at the moment as to where this discussion is going.
We know there is a raw file
this is displayed within DXO as an editable image, but is not touched/changed by changes in the original.
All changes are written to the database and if activated to the sidecar .dop.
All changes are revocable or can be overwritten by new changes.
The changes are immediately visible on the screen (but do not change the original raw file).
If the displayed image is to be the result on the hard disk, I have to export the image.
The order of the processing steps within the export process is controlled by DXO and is relatively unimportant for us as users.
The result is a graphic file as JPG, TIF or DNG and can then be passed on.

Do we have an agreement for this list

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I understand it’s about editing, but your editing concerns are unclear to me. Perhaps you could express them by detailing step by step what you’re talking about.


Every time we change a setting, PhotoLab recalculates the preview. The calculations are done in a way/sequence that has roughly been described in one of the many posts out there.

Imagine addition, multiplication, subtraction and division. It does not matter if we add 5 to 7 or 7 to 5, the result will be the same. Sequence matters, if we divide. So, depending on what we do, the sequence must be arranged in a way to make sure to give us a valid result. PhotoLab does that for us.

It’s the name of this thread: the sequence of edits-does it matter. Globally the answer is no. But now the answer on the why.


Actually, to some extent the sequence does matter. As it has been pointed out, it is best to apply geometric edits before local edits since local edits do not automatically re-adjust properly after geometric edits are made. However, if no local adjustments are made, then you are correct


Don’t forget the minus: 5-7 is not 7-5.

That’s fine with global edits. If that is a multiplication in some way. But what when also more local edits are involved like mini contrast.

I know from the old Nikon CapureNx2 there was a sequence. When one did a step backwards to an already used tool then the later edits where gone. One has to activate them again. But one could set a recalculate tag in the preferences. Then they where still there.


And what makes you think Photolab’s calculations to edits are done by addition or subtraction?
5×7 = 7×5, right?
Apparently you’re coming from the darkroom processing where it does matter which developer you use first, which gradation filter you like to add more contrast to the shadows. But here we are in a mathematical process and if you have a couple of multiplications, there’s the commutative property. It doesn’t matter in which order you multiply, the result will always be the same.

Photolab ≠ old Nikon Capture Nx2 :grin:

I’m in no way a mathematician, but a little bit of school math was not for nothing.

Try to read first before trying to be sacrcastic. It’s an answer on a post from @platypus.

There might be a fixed sequence, either by programming or by using. The strength of an edit is based on what you see and the calculation is done based on a certain point zero. But I also think that’s the way all converters work. I’m not sure yet :worried:


Then try to think logically before lecturing others: It doesn’t matter, if you add or multiply numbers. You were the one who came up with subtraction of only positive numbers, but it remains unclear, why. Also, if you work with negative numbers like (-5)+7 or 7+(-5) it again doesn’t matter which sequence you use. The problem with your oversimplified calculation is your confusion of sequence and parameters. Of course the result is different if you put exposure to +7 and black to -5 or put exposure to +5 and black to -7. But this are two different sets of parameters and not the sequence. For the first result it doesn’t matter if you move the sliders for black first or exposure. As well for the second.

And then also: If you had used the time to postulate your doubts (and by time and mean yours and ours!) you also could have tried to experiment with two sequences and find out for yourself.

But then, why am I stupid enough to reply to your question which doesn’t bother me and a couple of others not too much? As long as it’s working and the result is good in my eyes, I really don’t care about the sequence. If you want to remain not understanding – your decision. You are in doubt, not me.

What is this supposed to mean?
Looks like I’m speaking chinese to you. Or double dutch :grinning:


Most of us should have learned in school that some calculating operations are commutative while others aren’t.

Maybe, some of PhotoLab’s operations are commutative while others are not, which would mean that the sequence of operations could be relevant. However, if such relevance exists, PhotoLab takes care of it and we are completely free to do whatever we like in whatever sequence.

That’s why I added the subtraction to your post. You didn’t mention that.
However I don’t think it’s one summary calculation/formula.
There’s another example which does make me think of a fixed sequence and recalculating. Make a negative by pulling down the right side and pulling up the left side in the tone curve. And now use the exposure slider. You’ll see that more exposure darkens the picture. The same with highlight slider in the selective tone tool.


It really depends on what we do. Raising the exposure by one EV looks like we add something, while we actually multiply each pixel (rgb) value by 2 etc.

All this background knowledge is not so important, as long as we see what e.g. raising exposure does…

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There was one discussion for the same theme here in 2019 with answers from Benoit

Maybe it helps, I have to do some other things :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


As a personal preference, my order of editing is this:

I find I prefer to get the image’s overall exposure and colour balance to my liking. By doing this I find it much easier to then see where I feel the need to apply any local adjustments (this can save me time too as I won’t now apply local adjustments to areas that were corrected by the global adjustments).

Then I apply any crop, horizon and perspective corrections. Again, this saves me time as I now won’t try and apply local adjustments to areas of the image that are now cropped out of the frame. As others have said, this also means that any local adjustments and repair tool brush strokes remain in the correct place when I make them later.

Next I apply any local adjustments.

And finally any repair tool brushing.

So, in reference to the thread title: Yes, the sequence I apply my edits does matter to me, but as others have pointed out this isn’t because of how PL will apply the edits, but rather I find this sequence is the most efficient and productive for myself.

But, as mentioned at the start, this is my prefered methedology and others may have different procedures they recommend :slight_smile:

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