Using layers and sorting images, and Customise Column

New to this software, liking how it works but coming up against a couple of issues.

Layers - if i want to replace say sky in an image, previously in another software I would add another image layer, drop in the sky image over base image and set opacity to merge the two of them. Can’t see how to do this in PL2.

Sorting - not possible to sort descending in library. If you have a lot of images in a folder scrolling to the newest is a bit laborious.

. Customise Column - the right hand column has everything in it including stuff I’ll likely never use. Is there a way to change the order each section is displayed so thay most used are at top?



There are no layers and that is good !
DxO thinks otherwise the job.
I think you must to read the tutorial I especially conceived for Adobe users.

The down / up clickable triangular buttons reverses the sorting direction.

Have fun

If you need to use layers/replace skies you will need to jump into other software like Affinity Photo, which is easy to do with PhotoLab. PhotoLab is an advanced raw editor rather than a Photoshop clone.


The clickable arrows give you an option to sort and filter but there’s no ascend / descend sort. Whatever option you choose, by date or by filename image ordering remains the same.

If you select the same sorting a second time it will reverse the sort order.


Oh yee.
I need to clear up that.

Which version of PhotoLab are you using? In the Essential version customizing palettes is not possible. In the Elite version you can create multiple new user palettes in the Palettes menu containing just the tools you need and in the order you want them. You can drag and drop tools from existing palettes on your custom palettes and then uncheck the original palettes so they don’t display. You can also put palettes on both sides of the screen.


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What I find most effective with DxO PhotoLab for quick management of images is to make sure the folder I’m browsing only includes selects for processing. PhotoLab is very slow with hundreds of images from a session. It’s unwieldy to manage them. If I move all my selects into a folder before starting work in DxO (out of 200 images I might process between 10 and 70 depending on whether they are artistic images or an event).

FastRawViewer is my sorting and selects tool of choice as it’s fast, powerful and inexpensive. There are others like PhotoMechanic which are equally fast, have stronger keywording tools but are considerably more expensive (more than 10x). The ratings from either FRV or Bridge or even Lightroom xmp files show up in DxO PhotoLab. It may be that even the flagged images show up as selects. I’ve done less experimenting with that.

Before opening up PhotoLab I move most 4 and 5 star images into a separate folder for processing (I say most as it may be I have multiple 4 star ratings for a single image or I just have too many 4 star images for a subject and I don’t want to process them all).

If the image are pre-rated, opening the folder in DxO PhotoLab and filtering 5 star or 4/5 star images as visible also works. I’m not sure how much slower it is to have the hundreds of images there hidden in the background (are the thumbnails taking memory even if they are invisible for instance?).

All of my computers have a lot of RAM and between four and twelve processors so background RAM use or processing wouldn’t show up to me right away. My guess is that opening a folder with 30 images is much better than opening one with 300 even if filtering. I’ve found that AMD graphic cards perform better on Apple with DxO PhotoLab than either Intel onboard graphics or Nvidia cards.

Customise Column - the right hand column has everything in it including stuff I’ll likely never use. Is there a way to change the order each section is displayed so thay most used are at top?

As Mark mentioned, in Elite you can create your own workflow. I have all the modules I regularly use in the first Essentials box. In my case, that’s 16 of approximately 30 modules which make up full PhotoLab.

I have them in the order in which I like to use them as well. Normally I also start with all of them off as starting with some of them active leads to lazy processing and over processing. For event processing, I create a preset early on and then apply that preset to all images as I go (usually even pictures share many white balance and lighting characteristics so presets are really useful for speed).

Isn’t DxO PhotoLab amazing in its flexibility and power?

I suspect that Mandarin may have the Essential version of Photolab. It is unfortunate that Photolab is distributed in two versions, which causes a lot of confusion. I think few of us who own the Elite version would ever consider going back to the Essential version. The missing features are just too significant in my opinion. Additionally, I believe Viewpoint functionality should be standard in Photolab along with at least some of the functionality in Film Pack 5.

While some people may prefer different priced versions of the basic software and the modular nature of the optional add-in packages, it’s not always really clear how important missing features are when you haven’t had the opportunity to use them. The Essential version of Photolab by itself lacks very significant functionality compared to the Elite version with the Viewpoint and FilmPack add-ins.



I use FRV to cull images before I work on them as you and many others do.

However, instead of moving some to another folder to work on them from PL3 I find that if I launch PL3 from FRV by clicking on the image and choosing “Open with…” from the list I have set up in FRV it doesn’t attempt to catalogue the folder, no matter how many images there are in it, and consequently I do not have a slowdown.