Episode 198: Darktable revisited

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darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers. It manages your digital negatives in a database, lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable and enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.”

I cant say it better than this bit from their page.

I had tested darktable in 2010 and found it promising – but stayed with f-spot and later Shotwell. But now I’ll switch to darktable.

These 42 minutes are a rigorously cut down version of my nearly 2 hours long walk through darktable – I was distracted so much by the endless modules and possibilities that I forgot the time. This will not be my last darktable video, I’ll try to focus a bit more on usable stuff in them. ­čśë

You can find Pascal’s videos at pcode.nl, you have to search a bit for them.

And here is a collection of darktable videos, recommended by our Bert (rayadagio).


00:00:00 Start and book savings announcment
00:02:32 Darktable startup
00:03:50 Importing images and grouping them
00:06:10 Copying and moving images
00:09:00 XMP files
00:10:30 Tagging
00:11:35 Geotagging
00:15:00 Rating and marking images on the Zoomable lighttable
00:16:20 The manual
00:18:30 The darkroom
00:21:00 The interactive histogram
00:21:40 Undo with the history stack
00:22:20 Lots of modules
00:25:40 Cropping and rotating
00:27:00 Zooming in the darkroom
00:29:30 Non destructive editing
00:30:20 Levels and curves
00:32:30 Stacking curves (and other modules)
00:33:20 Color correction
00:34:20 Monochrome conversion with color filters
00:35:30 Correction lens errors and lots more modules
00:39:00 Exporting the image
00:42:00 EOF

Meet the GIMP Video Podcast by Rolf Steinort is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License.
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14 thoughts on “Episode 198: Darktable revisited

    • There are lots of short tutorials around on YouTube, but not from me. I would have to put so much planning into the production that the fun for me would be lost. So YouTube is not my primary target, it’s just a site that also has the videos with slightly less quality due to re encoding. ­čśë

      This is all CC-BY, feel free to remix, cut down and put on a faster commentary.

    • The length of the video is just right. Remember that Rolf is a┬áteacher by profession and has a┬ágood grasp of how much time a┬átopic requires to be presented understandably. 42┬áminutes is close to 45┬áminutes, which I’d consider his ┬╗inner limit┬ź (out of habit).
      But if some complex and difficult editing would stretch episode┬á200 to two hours length ÔÇö then so be it. I won’t mind.
      After all, you’re not required to view the episodes in one session, like a┬ánormal lecture, you can make a┬ábreak whenever you like. If youtube doesn’t allow you to do this, just get the video directly from here and use a┬áregular player.

      • The 42 minutes are a coincidence(*), not my work habit. No kid tolerates a 45 minutes monologue. ­čśë I had a recording time of 1:58:26 – that is outside of anything that I want to publish, and so I threw away a lot of short sequences of poking into interesting modules. I will cover them in future episodes – after I have understood them properly.

        If you use the VLC player or any other that knows about chapter marks, you can skip ahead to the next chapter if you don’t want to waste your time with the current sub topic. An advantage of getting the video directly from the server.

        (*) I was down in editing to about 41 minutes, couldn’t resist to add one extra. ­čśë

  1. Rolf, I was really looking forward to your Darktable introduction. Great show on an amazing software! Thank you very much. I am very keen on your sequels ­čÖé

    • Thanks!

      darktable is indeed great package. I have read complaints about the complex UI and no obvious clues for a good workflow, but for me it’s a good solution.

  2. Wonderful timing, I have had an ongoing problem with shotwell for to long, I was looking for an alternative, rapid photo downloader was not an option. You might have just made my decision easier.

  3. Is it possible to have more than one “sidecar” file per original image file? For example, if I wanted to have a second crop of your zoo photo with just one of the primates as the subject, would it be necessary to duplicate the original file?

    • No, it won’t. The xmp format is able to hold several independent or partially-linked editing chains. However, this is currently not widely implemented. I don’t have a┬áworking version at the moment, but I think darktable solves it by showing a┬áduplicate of the image when only a┬ásecond xmp file is actually created.

      • I beg to differ, “duplicate” in the lighttable mode duplicates the XMP file and leaves (as always) the RAW file alone. The first file has the name DSCF0268.RAF.xmp, the second DSCF0268_01.RAF.xmp and so on.

        You can also export the XMP file, change it elsehwere and then reimport it as an additional copy.

        That was in the miles of film that were left on the cutting room floor….. ­čśë

        The manual is well written, it covers all this stuff.

        • That’s what I meant ÔÇö only a second xmp file is created for the same rawfile.
          There’re different approaches to this. In Digikam experimental you can have a┬ásecond (or thirdÔÇŽ) editing stack for the same image with only one xmp file. Darktable will read this, but only show the last chain modified.
          I don’t know which way is better ÔÇö one file per chain or everything belonging to one source image combined together.

  4. Yeah! A darktable episode! I was hoping you would do an episode on darktable. Thanks for The great introduction. I hope tot see soms general workflow episodes on darktable in The futures.


    • I will have to get a good workflow for myself running first. But I will cover some more darktable soon, there are so many interesting modules.

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