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