Why use PureRAW ?

DxO PureRAW is a demosaicing software that uses the PhotoLab Elite engine. It allows you to benefit from the correction of lens defects according to DxO and digital noise processing of raw files.

The output files can be sent to the user’s usual software where the processing will be finalized.

PhotoLab Elite users have no interest in using PureRAW.
PhotoLab has the same functions, with additional and customizable settings.

Workflow for an optimized file

PureRAW produces an optimized JPEG, TIFF or DNG output file. 

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The choice of image type depends on its destination.

* JPEG files are usually used as is, without post-processing. This is why PureRAW applies an additional automatic brightness correction (DxO SmartLighting)

* TIFF files are ideal for finalization in bitmap image editing software (PhotoShop, Affinity photo or GIMP for the most common). Their large size is the condition for a qualitative treatment

* Linear DNG files are to be preferred in a workflow with a development software (Lightroom classic, Capture One).
Although demosaicing, these files look like a raw file with the same correction potential; the three RGB layers are separated. Because of this characteristic, their size is about three times that of an uncompressed raw file.

See the tutorial “Mastery of PhotoLab – Two export modes to DNG

PureRAW Interface

PureRAW can be launched in three ways:
– PureRAW in standalone version 
– Directly from the File Explorer / Finder (without interface)
– From Lightroom Classic, via the plug-in Process with DxO PureRAW

The last two methods are described in chapter alternative treatment initiation.

The PureRAW interface is basic.
– Add (Open) or Drag and Drop files into the PureRAW Lightbox

* The files present are displayed as thumbnails
* The optical module loading window opens when PureRAW finds one or more raw whose module is not yet present, or if there is a module ambiguity for which the lens used must be specified (the stored EXIF metadata correspond to several possible purposes)

See the tutorial “Mastery of PhotoLab – Hardware characterization

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Files are selected by default when they are newly added.
– Select or Unselect the whole, with the button of the toolbar
– Individually by clicking on the thumbnail or by group with CTRL or SHIFT key

Files sorting is done via the button at the top right:
– by file name (initial display)
– by date
– by ISO value range
The sort order is reversed by selecting the same sort criteria again.

Selection and sorting are important functions that allow us to perform a differentiated optimization of groups of images. E. g:
– Sort on ISO values allows you to select the high ISO photos for which to choose DeepPRIME noise treatment
– With another selection, we will choose to use the HQ processing for low ISO files

Double-clicking on a thumbnail opens the viewer window.
– Double click to switch between full screen and preferred zoom value (200%, etc.)
– Button to display preferred value OR wheel to zoom in/out
– Click and hold to navigate through the image

The displayed image is the result of a first processing without any correction (all options unchecked).
PureRAW never displays the JPEG version of the raw file.

This method makes it easy to see each image. It is an important aid to selection, for example by allowing you to see that a photo is not 100% clear on the screen and that it should be deleted.

When a first treatment has been performed, the environment is enriched.

The processed images appear with a check mark on the thumbnail.
The visualization window (double click) is then enriched with two functionalities.
– Button for split display Original / Optimized
Before / After comparison toggle

An interesting option consists in filtering the already processed images according to their status.
– Options at the top right of the screen

The Lightbox can be emptied or the thumbnails deleted one by one.
This is to remove them from the PureRAW environment, never to destroy the files.

Optimize (process) files

– Select one or more photos
Process Now button

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The optimization criteria can be predefined for a group of photos according to the sorting criteria presented previously.

– Click the Add to Queue button
– Specify the correction parameters
– Repeat the operation
– Launch via the Continue processing button (in the middle of the lower toolbar)

The optimization window has three groups of settings:

1- Raw processing and Noise reduction technologies

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PureRAW offers three demosaicing modes:
– HQ
– deepPRIME and deepPRIME XD

See the tutorial “Efficiency with PhotoLab –  Noise Reduction

With a high-performance machine or if processing time is not an obstacle, it is advisable to systematically use DeepPRIME, including for low ISO photos for which the algorithm brings a notable improvement in the dark or underexposed areas.

DeepPRIME XD is reserved for delicate photos or those intended to be presented in large format.

Optical corrections

The optical corrections are a specificity of DxO from which PureRAW benefits. They are qualitatively superior to their Adobe equivalents (Sharpness or Blur Mask).

These corrections are applied automatically according to the lens module characterized by DxO. In principle, there is no need to deactivate them.

They are presented in four groups:

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* Lens softness reinforces the accentuation by contrasting the contours (the pixels at the borders between light and dark areas) present in the image.Sharpness can be turned off without affecting other lens correction settings. However, the disabled sharpness is inconsistent since it corresponds to the standard value.

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PhotoLab users access this setting through the Detail / Sharpness Mask / Global correction. They also have a set of finer adjustments.

PureRAW Standard corresponds to PhotoLab Global +1.
Soft, Strong and Hard values correspond to -1, +2 and +3.

See the tutorial “Mastering PhotoLab – Sharpness Control

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* Vignetting
* Chromatic Aberration

These corrections are also linked to the DxO lens module. They must always remain active.

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* Lens Distorsion
This is a major point of the corrections module by DxO. It must be systematically activated.

Distortion correction most often results in a very visible change to the edges of the image. The DxO technology is known to exploit to the maximum the pixels located on the edges of the image. There are three options for cropping the output:

Image cropped to original ratio; Some side parts may disappear
Maximum rectangle; The maximum number of pixels is kept
Complete image area; All pixels of the photo are available and the image is presented in a barrel or pad

See the tutorial “Efficiency with PhotoLab –  Cropping

The Complete image area option allows you to recover interesting areas on the edge of the image in post-processing with a tool like Clone Stamp.

2- Output Format

Three output formats are available. They can all be checked for simultaneous output.
– DNG (linear)
– JPEG, with quality level adjustment
– TIFF, in 8-bit compressed or not, or 16 bits

The choice of JPEG quality level depends on the destination of the file. It is generally advisable to use a high quality (90 – 95%) which can be reduced for images intended for example for a diffusion on the Web.
Note that PureRAW does not allow to resize the output image which remains in the original definition of the camera.

16-bit TIFF encoding is the preferred choice for uncompromised working quality for later correction in the host software. 
However, some software does not accept 16-bit TIFF files.

Destination folder
The output files are created in a sub-folder of the original photos; DxO.

It is possible to choose any other folder with Browse, or to choose a recent or favorite folder by clicking on the double arrow.

File Renaming is a very important option during the calibration phase of pureRAW for your needs. That allows you to specify the characteristics of the image optimized by PureRAW.
By default, the demosaicing and noise reduction mode is indicated before or after the file_name-extension.

This option is interesting to develop the same image several times with different criteria. Otherwise, PureRAW asks :
Overwrite; the previous output file is overwritten
Use unique name; an index -2, etc is added to the output file name

It can be interesting to inform the sharpness correction brought to the image. We have seen that different optimization criteria can be predefined in the queue.

When several output formats (DNG + JPEG + TIFF) are requested, they are processed in this order and the last processed output is displayed (example.tif).
The viewer window displays the last processed version, which in our example is TIFF.

Please note that the JPEG version is displayed when outputting a DNG + JPEG file

If a new version is requested, it is always made from the raw.

3- Export mode   

This option allows you to send the optimized files to the software that will finalize the processing.

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It is interesting to launch this software after the automatic development made by a right click from the File Explorer / Finder.

During the installation, PureRAW detected the existing compatible software (Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop) and filled in the list of choices.
It is possible to add other software to this list.

Be sure to export to a software able to demosaic raw if the format is DNG.

Specific export to Lightroom Classic
The system automatically opens the Lightroom library pointing to the optimized files folder.

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Alternative launch modes

From the File Explorer / Finder
Right-click on one or more raw files
– If necessary, the optical module loading window will be displayed

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The first four options in the pop-up menu allow you to specify the level of noise processing and the type of output file.

The optimization and destination settings are predefined by DxO and cannot be changed. On the other hand, this method combines simplicity and speed.

The 5th option Process using with application settings is a special one; the treatment is performed according to the settings applied during the last use of the standalone application.

This option implies that at least one optimization with output has been performed beforehand in the software.
However, it allows you to use the full potential of PureRAW’s settings and options in a simple process.
This method is particularly suitable for expert users.

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From Adobe Lightroom Classic
– The raw files to be processed must be selected from the Lightroom library
– The files have been sorted in Lightroom
– The PureRAW plug-in is called from the menu File / External Modules – Extra

When using this procedure, PureRAW as a Lightroom Classic plugin, a collection is created when returning to LR, which is not the case when exporting to LR from the standalone version

As the optical corrections are performed by PureRAW, the corresponding settings are disabled (grayed out) in the ACR / Lr development module.

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Prerequisites for using PureRAW

The requirements are the same as for PhotoLab.
* Raw files to be processed are mandatory come from a camera characterized by DxO. DNG files, native or converted by Adobe DNG converter, are accepted under the same conditions
* To benefit from optical corrections and sharpness optimization, it is also necessary that the couple camera + lens is characterized by DxO.
Without a lens module, the processing remains possible but without any image improvement.
* Because of the computational power required by the advanced noise processing features (PRIME, DeepPRIME, and DeepPRIME XD), a suitable graphics card is desirable to use GPU acceleration

See the tutorial “Mastery of PhotoLab – Software and Hardware configuration

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Categories: 9 - Appendices

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