I’ve been threatening to re-launch my YouTube Channel for a while now and have kept putting it off for one reason or another, until now. I’ve recorded a whole series of videos about image processing software and the first ones to see the light of day are these – DxO PhotoLab 7 Videos
Update 27 December
It is exactly one month after posting the first video from this series.
I’ve added 260 subscribers to what was a dormant channel. 6.5k views and a staggering 518 hours of watchtime. I’m amazed and very grateful!
Table of Contents
The DxO PhotoLab 7 Series
There are 14 videos in the series and I’ll be putting them out on my YouTube channel over the next three months.
If you are new to PhotoLab, you may want to read DxO PhotoLab 7 Review.
The videos cover the following areas. This week, the first three will be released, then one a week, every Tuesday.
- Episode 1: DxO PhotoLab 7 Overview – Workflow
- Episode 2: DxO PhotoLab 7 PhotoLibrary
- Episode 3: DxO PhotoLab 7 Presets
- Episode 4: DxO PhotoLab 7 Light Module
- Episode 4.1 Mastering Contrast and The Tone Curve
- Episode 5: DxO PhotoLab 7 Color Module
- Episode 5.1 Changing Color within a Control Point
- Episode 6: DxO PhotoLab 7 Detail Module – De–Noise
- Episode 6.1 Repairing and Cloning with the Retouch Tool
- Episode 7: DxO PhotoLab 7 Geometry Module – Correcting Converging Verticals
- Episode 8: DxO PhotoLab 7 Fx Module – Creating a Watermark
- Episode 9: DxO PhotoLab Local Adjustments Overview
- Episode 10: DxO PhotoLab Control Line and Graduated Filter
- Episode 10.1: Controlling the Control Line
- Episode 11: DxO PhotoLab Control Points
- Episode 12: DxO PhotoLab Luminosity Masks
Exporting & Printing
- Episode 13: DxO PhotoLab Soft Proofing and Printing Options
The Other Side of the Lens
I’ve been behind the lens for a very long time, starting professionally in the 1980’s shooting live videos for rock bands. Over the last decade I’ve been involved in making marketing videos and commercial photography with my company Helter Skelter Studios.
Being in front of the lens is way more uncomfortable – I’ve scrapped more versions of these videos than I care to admit! The challenge is to deliver structured information, concisely, with a dash of personality. If you are not comfortable in front of the lens then it takes practice to get there. I’m not particularly comfortable myself I’ve discovered, and so it’s taken a while to get to a demeanour that I’m happy to put out there.
Making Product Videos is Hard!
I taught Computer Networking at University level for a number of years in the UK and as a consultant, taught programming to IBM development staff at Hursley. That was barely adequate preparation for making these videos.
The challenge is that nowdays people want to find the information they need quickly and consume it faster. That’s why this series contains fourteen (and counting…) videos. Each one answers a specific question in around ten minutes.
That has meant scripting and exhaustive preparation. I’ve been using this software for many years now and any thoughts of improvising were swiftly banished once I got to the editing phase!
The first video in the series deals with Workflow and the User Interface. This addresses a criticism I have heard levelled at almost all software makers. The videos tend to focus on the How, but leave the Why? question begging.
In my opinion, trying to learn RAW processing without a workflow is near impossible. The reason for this is that fundamentally we are dealing with Red, Green and Blue colour values in various tonal ranges. RAW Processing tools arrange a layer of functionality that manipulates these values in order to produce the desired result – eg, Contrast, Clarity etc. It is almost inevitable that the functions overlap so altering contrast for example may have a knock on effect on colour. Exploring the software by trial and error is likely to lead to frustration and mostly, error.
The idea of a workflow, separate from the tooling is that it creates logical steps to minimise the rework occasioned by this crossover in function.
Every photographer has their own particular workflow, but all work the same way, by grouping the actions into sets, categories or areas so that you can move through the workflow in a linear fashion, minimising the amount of iteration that you will have to do and choosing the appropriate tool from each category to achieve the intended result.
I would also add that even if you have a workflow, unless you also have an idea of the way the image will look when it is finished, then you will also become frustrated. By all means experiment, but do it within the workflow, not in freefall.
In terms of an abstracted workflow, my own looks like this.
- Corrections – make good user error and lens/body characteristics.
- Light – General adjustments to exposure, contrast, tone
- Colour – adjust colours as needed to enhance contrast, depth and impact of the image
- Geometry – Cropping, Converging verticals etc
- Local Adjustments
- Export to Print or Web
In PhotoLab 7 I start by applying the DxO Optical Corrections Module
This is a “no click” solution that applies corrections to images that have been created with supported lens/body combinations.
Once I have done this, I know that I have a good starting point to move forward with.
The second thing I do is adjust Exposure to get a balanced exposure including the whole dynamic range. I may alter this setting later on, but I move to the rest of the process with a well exposed, neutral image. I also apply contrast using the Tone Curve at theis stage.
Thirdly I apply Colour correction. This not only includes adjustment to the colour balance, but also to individual colours in order to add depth and contrast to the image.
By this time I have a presentable image. I’ll crop and apply any geometry corrections now.
Lastly I’ll do local adjustments and this will take up as much time as I have already spent on the rest of the workflow.
The next stage is exporting for print or screen.
This workflow can be applied to any RAW processing software. The only difference is in the toolset itself.
DxO Workflow Friendly Palettes
The DxO Tool Palette can be decluttered by using the tabs that go across the top of it.
The tabs include:
- Local Adjustments
Each tab gives you access to the tools that belong in these categories.
You can see at a glance that this closely follows my own workflow.
I hope people find this series useful. It was originally intended for my forthcoming course, Introduction to Landscape Photography and will be featured in that course, along with Adobe Lightroom. Sign up to my mailing list below if you want to know when the course is launched.
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