Local Adjustments are a means for the photographer to enrich his-her images and improve their readability.

Global corrections and Local Adjustments offer the same types of functionality.
The latter complement those already performed, but their action is limited to an area defined by the mask.


Local Adjustments are the cornerstone of some development software and, in fact, appear fundamental for some users.
PhotoLab did without it for a long time (DxO Optic pro, its precursor, did not have it). If you look closely, the algorithms used for the different global corrections apply their effects locally.


The development of photos with PhotoLab is based on the global processing of the image.

Only when this first mode of correction mode has been pushed to the limit, using the most powerful tools, that Local Adjustments must be implemented.

They allow the photographer to add the creativity, or the best readability, that he wants to bring to the image.
This practice can be confusing for the user coming from other software.  However, it is logical and relevant.


In the tutorial dedicated to beginners in digital image development, we have seen:
The user spontaneously has in mind to reinforce the presence of the subject while it is sometime appropriate to decrease the importance of secondary elements.

The corrections available in PhotoLab are designed to interact with each other. If the complement to be provided is significant, it is therefore more qualitative to optimize the image to highlight the subject before using the Local Adjustments.


See the tutorial “Getting started with PhotoLab – Taking ownership your own image


A Local Adjustment is performed in three steps.
1- Choose the appropriate mask type
2- Create the mask, define the area to be corrected
3- Correct the masked area


Choose mask type

There are several modern approaches to making Local Adjustment masks.
Some software editors have worked on shape recognition.
DxO has chosen the path of selection by content; by density (brightness, contrast) and color.



DxO offers six masks types and an eraser to resume masking. They each have their own field of application.

Click to enlarge – Alt+ < to return

* The Control Line is a graduated filter applied to pixels similar to the collected area.

it’s the versatile mask, the one to choose. It makes a very discriminating selection according to the structure of the desired area.It is unparalleled in its ability to change the density of an area, distinguish between two close color tones, cancel out a color cast or establish the color balance of two light sources.


Click to enlarge – Alt+ < to return

* The Control Point performs retouching on pixels similar to the collected area. Inherited from Nik Collection, it has contributed to the success of PhotoLab’s Local Adjustments. However, it is often misunderstood, and in fact, misused.
It is suitable for isolating complex shapes but not for creating an extended mask (e.g. the sky).


Click to enlarge – Alt+ < to return

* The Auto Mask is used like a brush that automatically detects the edges of the subject.

It is ideal for detailing an object or isolating a face (or a person).


Click to enlarge – Alt+ < to return

* The Graduated Filter simulates the effect of a graduated filter placed in front of the lens.
This basic type of mask has to compete with the control line.

Sky correction is its domain.


Click to enlarge – Alt+ < to return

* The Brush is used to paint the retouching. The outline of the mask is progressive, more or less distinct.

It is very useful for changing the light tone of an approximate area.
It is mainly used to specify the shape of other masks, by enlarging or reducing their surface area.

* The brush then becomes an eraser, accessible via this seventh button.


Each mask type is presented individually on the following pages.


Create a mask

Define (or draw) the mask specifying the local area to be corrected otherwise.
– Click on the “Local Adjustments” icon in the SmartPalette to start the function
– Choose the mask type (e.g. the brush) to create the first mask
– Paint the area to correct by holding down the mouse button
– Release the button, the marker (the mask symbol) appears

* No need to draw precisely for this first sketch. The mask will be refined after the first correction.

Press button “Show mask” (M key /Shift+ M)
Top right for Windows, bottom right for MacOS
– Checked: mask display is permanent
– Unchecked: only the indicator is visible
– Move the mouse cursor away from the window to stop seeing the masks

* Click the question mark (H key) activates – deactivates the help panel.



For high enlargement rates, panZoom (movement in the image) by click + drag is no longer available.
– Press the space bar to access it

The size of the mask creation tools is insensitive to the zoom magnification rate. The choice is:
– Enlarge the dimensions of the mask (Ctrl+ wheel) to increase the mask’s overlap area
– Zoom (wheel) to reduce it and gain precision … and the opposite

When the masks are difficult to execute, do not hesitate to multiply the Virtual Copies to mark out the realized drawing (return to this state).


Correct the masqued area

Perform Local Adjustments.
– Lighten (e.g.) a person
Move cursor away from window to hide tools

Toggle between mask definition and associated corrections.
– Refine mask (e.g.) erase
– Select the eraser tool OR
– Press the ALT key
Move cursor away from window to check conformity

* Several corrections can be performed on the same mask.



See the action sequence tutorial Local corrections – Using Local Adjustments


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