Episode 135: Darktable

Download the Video! (46.1 MB, 24:15)

Late – but here is #135. ;-)

Darktable is a new RAW converter, photo editor and image manager for Linux and MacOS. It is in early development and has some really cool features. most of them I only have partially explored, but what I saw was promising.

You find Darktable for Ubuntu at Pascal’s ppa.

The TOC

04:10 Darktable
04:50 Overview of interface
05:30 The lighttable
06:20 Zooming
08:00 Selections
08:20 Tagging
09:00 The Darkroom
09:30 Profiles needed
10:50 Exposure
11:40 Reset
12:50 Curves
14:00 Clipping / cropping
14:40 Sharpening
16:10 More plugins
16:30 Lens correction
17:30 Colour correction
18:30 Monochrome
20:00 Equalizer
21:00 History
22:10 The Verdict

Creative Commons License
Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort and Philippe Demartin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Germany License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://meetthegimp.org.

36 thoughts on “Episode 135: Darktable

  1. Darktable is a very nice program. I like the look of it.

    The color stuff seems to bwork similar to the tools you have in Capture NX2 with the LCH-editor, in which you can affect a small range of the colours, if you wish. Make the greens brighter, the reds more satureted and so on.

    PS: I think, no one really doubts your enthusiasm ;-)

  2. Looks pretty cool! I have Windows and have played around with Lightroom trial versions, and noticed slot of similarities between the two. I know I could switch over my computer to Linux, but it would be interesting to see if they come out with a Windows port.

  3. I wonder why it is that over the past few months a number of ‘free’ RAW converters have appeared, in various states of development and which I suppose will take over from UFRaw?

  4. I think RAW has come into the main stream. DSLRs are more and more common these days. The popular magazines have covered the basics and are now pushing into RAW processing as the thing to do.

    Adobe and Apple have pushed great software for image processing and managing into the market. I have no doubt that the increased coverage in the magazines has nothing to do with the ads for Lightroom and Aperture. ;-)

    So more people use RAW.

    UFRaw is a very good tool but inherently ugly. ;-)

    And then people are starting to program the next cool thing – and these are image managing suites. The good thing: it is all Open Source and so everybody can “steal” everybody else’s ideas. Let’s hope that we will see an arms race! :-)

  5. @Dwgustaf

    “I know I could switch over my computer to Linux, but it would be interesting to see if they come out with a Windows port.”

    No. This is sort of… um… I was going to say “political” :))) The whole point of creating darktable for Johannes was to have such a tool on Linux. If I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath for Windows version by dt’s principal developer. But if you want to port it to Windows, go ahead :)

    @Norman

    darktable is getting a year old one of these days and there is nothing really strange about Raw workflow tools emerging: UFRaw is really not sufficient when you are on deadlines. Been there.

  6. I’d consider Darktable to be more of an advanced replacement for F-Spot instead of UFRaw. One problem I spotted right away (disregarding the trouble building it) is it needs write access to the directories with the raw files, which is not nice. And it has trouble with some of my raw files, filling them randomly with pink dots. But given its age I suppose this will be solved soon.

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  8. @nachbarnebenan

    “I’d consider Darktable to be more of an advanced replacement for F-Spot instead of UFRaw.”

    No, it is! Darktable already is an _excellent_ raw converter.

    “One problem I spotted right away (disregarding the trouble building it) is it needs write access to the directories with the raw files, which is not nice.”

    There are no known build issues (unless you checked out a broken build, which happens incidentally, this happens with all development branches of any software).

    Also, what do you expect, every decent photo management suite wants write access to the directories with the RAWs. Darktable needs to write the sidecart files, this is a very very very _GOOD_ thing…

    “And it has trouble with some of my raw files, filling them randomly with pink dots”

    What camera produced the RAW files, can you put a sample online? So we can take a look at it.

  9. “There are no known build issues”

    Well, maybe it’s my unusual config. I have a current gtk+ (2.19.7) in /home/mtg-gimp (which is also the target prefix for dt) and an old one (2.16) in /usr, both with dev headers installed. pkgconfig, cflags, ldflags and ld_library var are set to /home/mtg-gimp and this works with everything else (gimp, cinepaint, ufraw) but the makefile created for dt insists on linking to the wrong libs (although the correct headers are included). I had to issue the gcc command manually to finish building dt, which is not fun.

    “Also, what do you expect, every decent photo management suite wants write access to the directories”

    No. Neither UFRaw nor DigiKam needs this. I can perfectly use raw files from cdroms or an ro mounted external drive. I consider this to be crucial.

  10. “One problem I spotted right away (disregarding the trouble building it) is it needs write access to the directories with the raw files, which is not nice.”

    there is a gconf option to avoid writing sidecar files: /apps/darktable/write_dt_files

    it was introduced for people who like their hard disks clean, but is untested so far.

  11. @nachbarnebenan
    Unusual would be an understatement… If you can supply the problem when building to the darktable mailing list it might get fixed, please do try git, since a lot has changed from 0.4.

    About the file writing, johannes has already commented, anyway, darktable is meant as a managed library/workflow solution, which sortof implies having the RAWs on writable storage.

    And again, we would like to see the sample RAWs, if we can’t reproduce the problem, we can’t fix it.

  12. Nice show, Rolf. Vielen dank.
    It seems like a nice tool that deserves some studying. Lots of options and possibilities.
    Thanks a lot you too, Pascal; in fact I’m subscribed to your blog and you brought this tool to the table for me.
    Nicely done with your ppa, thanks a lot for it. It sounded so promising that I have spent some hours to upgrade my linux box to Ubuntu Karmic (I was a happy Hardy Heron camper).

    As interesting and promising as Darktable looks, these days I’ve been using a bit RawTherapee. It is brilliant. Seems like -in Rolf’s words- the new kid in the block gives us plenty of room for our RAWs in linuxland. Great.

    Best regards.

  13. The .deb on the darktable site is for 64 bit only. It was kind of a pain getting it to build on my 32 bit Karmic. For those not familiar with building from source (including me!) it takes a lot of tracking down the correct libraries, but I now have a working install and used checkinstall to create an *i386.deb. My understanding is that with this deb, dpkg would manage the dependencies on another 32 bit system. If that is right, I will make it available for those who want to try out darktable. Maybe someone with more software development experience could comment.

  14. Hmmm, may have just answered my own question. I just noticed that there is a version on Pascal’s PPA. Is that a 32 bit version?

  15. “Unusual would be an understatement…”

    It’s just the usual mtg-gimp building environment, you’ll find the scripts to make use of it in the forum.

    “What camera produced the RAW files, can you put a sample online? So we can take a look at it.”

    I can’t put them online, because it’s (sadly) not my camera and I don’t have the permission of the people being shown. It’s a canon 7d and when I first got my hands on it, ufraw had trouble, too.

    To writable raw file directories: My raw photos dir is mounted via nfs and exported and mounted ro only. This way nothing will mess them up. Raw files are never written to anyway, so why allow write access? If new ones arrive I move them via fish and be done. Same goes for raw files on dvd (e.g. for one occasion). Btw, DigiKam is perfectly fine with this.

  16. For me there seem to be two issues. I find the cropping interface to be far from intuitive and on a 64 bit Karmic installation it doesn’t seem to want to actually save or export any images : only the descriptor files.

  17. @Francesco:

    The cropping interface is far from perfect at the moment, it’s a work in progress…

    I’m on Karmic/AMD64 too, and I don’t have your problem. Maybe you’re still using the ancient 0.4 release? Try the git builds on my PPA.

  18. Small note about the builds…

    I use PPA, because they build all packages for all Ubuntu supported architectures, which are i386/amd64 and lpia (atom I think). I’m happy they do…

    But that said, I (as many others) consider 32-bit to be legacy. 64-bit technology has been with us for more than a decade and a half, and has been consumer available for at least half a decade. 32-bit is a memory management nightmare, and kernel developers have worked wonders to keep everything working, but it’s really time to let go :)

  19. @Pascal

    I have the version from your ppa (cannot find an “about” to confirm the version number), in the same way I cannot find where snapshots are saved to (or a “preferences dialogue” to look it up) and for some reason I seem to be unable to actually find any form of “save as”. The documentation on the darktable site doesn’t mention such trivia only the more esoteric stuff.

  20. My PPA has the git builds, you can check the version in Synaptic.

    Snapshots are not permanently saved, they are just an aid in darkroom mode, they are not persistant between sessions.

    Darktable exports files to the same location as the raw in a darktable_exported (or something like that) folder…

  21. Hi,

    Forgive my stupidity. I am using darktable 0.4 – GIT : what I cannot find is the command to export the image that has just been worked on ;-(

    Regards,

    Francesco

  22. This certainly looks to be a promising piece of software. I will need to spend some time with it to know my way around it, but DT looks like it could become my default RAW editor.

  23. >>Darktable exports files to the same location as the raw in a darktable_exported (or something like that) folder…

    Any plans to change this? I already have a filestructure where I have a place for my TIFF files which come out of the RAW-programs I use (UFRaw and RawTherapee, which allow me to configure my out put folder..)

    But in every other aspect, nice work!! More than nice work, I would say, a real cool project!

  24. je pense qu’il faut faire une vidéo sur darktable pour montrer comment traiter une image “RAW” avec les réglages les plus courants et ensuite comment l’exporter. Important, comment sauvegarder ses images et la base de données. Il faut pouvoir récupérer l’ensemble en cas de panne du disque dur. Vidéo en français si c’est possible :-)

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  27. As far as I’m concerned darktable is, despite having some cool features, almost entirely unusable and extremely user unfriendly. The UI looks great, but is actually very badly designed and not the least bit intuitive . Having tried and failed to save any of the work I’ve done in it I’m going to uninstall it and I doubt I’ll ever reinstall it unless the UI improves radically.

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