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Thread: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

  1. #1
    orlcam88's Avatar
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    Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Wondering if anyone is using Darktable. This is a freeware program alternative to Lightroom/Aperture available on Linux and Mac OS x.
    http://www.darktable.org/features/

    I did most of my editing on Ubuntu but I learned about Lightroom so I had to go back to using Windows. Then I found out about darktable. I see the only item that it doesn't have is local adjustments which would all but stop me from switching back.

    Please don't ask why I don't want to work with Windows (or Mac for that matter). That's a totally different subject and way to long of list for this forum!

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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Hi I have just joined and use several including Darktable. I run Linux so windows apps are out.

    I find Darktable OK and it's getting better. Not sure if it has lensfun yet but when it does it will have lens specific correction files. If you are going to run Linux may as well have several about. Darktable is neat because it indicates how much various curves can be changed which can be useful. I find the interface a little cluttered but am slowly getting used to it. For anybody who want a look there is at least one video demo on youtube. Others------

    Another is Photivo. An interesting one with a number of filters. I'm having problems with colour rendition in it in comparison with others at the moment and haven't really tied that down. It has lots of camera icc profiles included and my problem is probably the icc profile used to drive the monitor.

    Rawtherapee. Another one. Probably more easily used than the others but adequate. Will also work on jpg's. Some wont. It has manual CA correction and camera profiles plus a number of other things including defringing. Of great interest if trying micro 4/3 as I am. Defringing and ca is also in photivo.

    Ufraw+gimp. I actually like that arrangement but gimp is hard to get to grips with. Often gimp usage difficulties can be cured by looking for plugins. There are some interesting ones including refocusing - part of g'mac. Gimp is an extremely powerful package. There are many tutorials on youtube even on how to make it look like full blown photoshop. There are an untold number of plug ins for it. Some have been stolen by adobe.

    Ufraw to tiff or another package. Ufraw just converts raw files and only does what it needs to do. It is worth looking at. A camera profile can improve colour accuracy. I've mentioned 2 sources of those. It's not bad without one. It generally gets yearly update and I've heard that lens fun will be included. That will take care of distortion and ca. Another program called hugin can generate the parameters for lensfun. Best look to see what that can do. The use I have mentioned is covered in the tutorials on it's web page. Ufraw also has a ca fix option. Opinions on it vary.

    Last but not least Fotoxx. The above can be obtained as windoze applications. Not this one though. It's what might truly be called a digital darkroom and has all sorts of retouching functions that can be applied to all or selected parts of a shot. It's also very easy to use and works in full 16bit. colour. It will convert raw too and work on tiffs and jpg's. Best search youtube for Fotoxx as the author has made a number of videos on using virtually all of it's functions. Like others it works with layers but that fact is hidden from the user which makes it very easy and quick to use. It's also very capable and should meet the majority of needs but the other apps can be there if odd things are needed. No lensfun though which may or may not be a problem. This mean that it might be best to pass the shot through one of the others 1st. It evolves though and the author is open to suggestions. I made one concerning select on colour which is rather good as it comes. He seemed to be interested.

    John
    .

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    orlcam88's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Thanks for the info! Besides Gimp, Rawtherapee I heard of. I've used gimp also but found it to be too clumsy. I was using PS2 under Wine as this was the only version that worked at least 90% compared to the other versions of photoshop. Bridge was the one item that wouldn't work.
    As for lensfun, yes they did add this. Darktable's website makes it look like they are serious about their efforts which makes much more interesting. As most of my older photo's still reside on my linux machine, I'll give it a try.

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    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    We may be alone on here. I can't understand why people run windows.

    Gimp actually is the source of many of the features in PS etc in fact it's had some of them a lot longer. Not sure clumsy is the right word given that it can be made to look like PS and Co. A lady shows how to do that on youtube. It just like PS can be hard to get into. That to me is it's main drawback plus finding the right plugins. When found they may have changed which is the other problem. eg National Geographic did what is said on the can - punchy gritty pictures as per the mag. It now has sliders. One refocus routine now removes movement, Complex pugins like g'mac that contain a whole series of filters hopefully remain untouched, The joys of open source.

    Photivo is also a dead serious package so I would look at that if I were you as well. There is a user group on flickr for it. Rawtherapee is a serious package too. That one has it's own forum.

    However if you get down to using Fotoxx I suspect that you will use little else unless it's needed. It specialises in local retouching in that all of it's filters can be applied locally if needed. It also has a number of other useful features that generally need specialised software - focus stacking for instance. Not as comprehensive but often good enough, Moving object removal from 2 shots, high dynamic range blending. I only use the raw shot if I need to. Being able to work on jpg's can be handy at times. I find reduced jpg's always benefit from a certain degree of unsharp mask however the jpg was generated. This one doesn't work on a black background but I don't find that to be a problem. It uses a darkish neutral grey which personally I find preferable and more representative.

    I've currently lost the gimp. I run kde on opensuse 11.4 and rather than use open with other and selecting when I need it I got fed up and used the option to always use and now gimp wont fire up.

    There is one other package that I didn't mention as it's pay for and in limbo land. That is Lightzone. The cost is modest and it's rather good. The main problem is that the developer now does similar work for Apple and no longer supports it. Licences can still be bought however. It should be free to use under Linux. I'm not keen on paying for something that may have problems in the future as java changes. It runs on all systems even mac now I believe. It may go open source at some point and information on that sort of thing can be found here http://lightzombie.org/ :-) Don't let the name put you off. The site owner is doing his best to get Lightzone up and running again. I think it's well worth keeping an eye on it.

    John
    Last edited by Colin Southern; 5th October 2012 at 11:02 AM.

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    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Out of interest I can post some links to Fotoxx work mostly from jpg. I had to use raw and rawtherapee on the back lit duck due to fringing and ca cause by using a panasonic telephoto zoom on an olympus pen camera (e-pl1). It was titivated via fotoxx too.

    This one is a full res crop taken with the olympus 14-42mm zoom that usually comes with the camera. Dull rainy day so as with most of the others brightness/saturation adjustments,tone mapping and on this one and some of the others dodging to bring out dark detail. Most shots were taken with the 14-42 zoom. All but the duck.

    http://www.23hq.com/ajohnw/photo/8098480/original

    These are 2 flickr albums. Simple perspective (verticals alone or keystone) correction and a fair amount of tone mapping on the china shots to get round shooting through glass. Those were shot at and angle to avoid bounce from the flash. Some return bounce off the china has also been edited out. All from jpg's. Not the greatest shots maybe but I'm evaluating the camera and the software. I blued the sky a little in a couple by changing the white balance mostly out of curiosity.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/4899461...7631145195858/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/4899461...7631109928688/

    Nice to be able to check the links from the preview.

    I particularly like the flower shot. I should really have removed and replace the flower with the leaf over it. I did do that sort of thing to one of the shots in 2 different ways. Which one? Pity I didn't spruce up the focusing manually on the shot with the bee in it. It was raining on both days.

    John

  6. #6

    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Hi all, this is my first post so be kind. I use a MAC running OSX. I recently bought an image editor called Pixelmator for under $15 dollars. It has a striped down photoshop workflow design exclusively for photo editing and adjustments. Includes layers and is very fast and fully featured. Does not yet have RAW ability but if it continues its rapid development as it has then it will truly rock. Its very stable, has lots of bells and whistles to amuse but at its core its a very competent contender. Con side ring the price (almost a donation to the developers) you have no excuse not to try this. V 2.1 recently released.

  7. #7
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    You may find that some of the packages that I have mentioned are also available for the MAC and that aspect is likely to grow. My understanding is that when mac changed processors they hijacked linux plus one of it's desktops and used it.

    Linux crops up in all sorts of things because it's free. Using it saves companies rather a lot of money and time. It's also a major source of ideas for other systems. Unfortunately programs are sometimes copied and modified in minor ways and then sold to people to run on windoze. MAC too probably. This has resulted in open source developers producing packages for all platforms. Even the software tools that are used to develop the software.

    Fotoxx though seems to be firmly in Linux land even though it looks like it may compile for any system. Being firmly in Linux land and having always used it for maybe 15 years now at the desktop end I am sort of glad about that.

    People who are interested in processing pictures may find the Fotoxx youtube video's useful anyway as it demonstrates the effects of many common filters etc. All without layers as well which frankly I think is a rather good idea. It does use layers and transparency etc really of course but they are totally hidden from the user. It's a very efficient package in all respects.

    People who run Windows should also look at open source software really. Sourceforge is the best place to look. Just search for what ever is wanted. Some software packages on there will only run on windows! As an example many people stopped buying Microsoft Office a long time ago and used Open Office instead. Unfortunately that has been taken over and wrecked in my opinion by Apache. It lives on though under the name of Libre Office. There are also various attempts at a Gimp with a larger colour space evolving. One was in Open Office but has gone. It seems to be back under the name of Krita. I've not really looked at it and I doubt if it has all of the Gimp plugins and features available - yet. That may take a long time unless PC's switch to 48bit colour which might just happen fairly soon.

    John

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    orlcam88's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Did my first edit using Darktable and I gotta admit, this is a pretty good software. I had no delays on effects unlike lightroom. It has a good sharpening with very little noise increase. I'm pretty impressed with the results.

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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Orlando,

    I currently use OpenSuse 11.2. I haven't been able to find an RPM package of Darktable that will install without dependency errors. I probably need to upgrade OpenSuse to a more recent version. Probably will later, but everything runs fine at present. I normally compile programs from scratch but again with Darktable I have outdated libraries.

    Have you tried Corel AfterShot Pro? It is a commerical program that has a version that is native to Linux. I did not find the price prohibitive. I was curious how it compares to Darktable.

    Serge

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    orlcam88's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by ajohnw View Post

    There is one other package that I didn't mention as it's pay for and in limbo land. That is Lightzone. The cost is modest and it's rather good. The main problem is that the developer now does similar work for Apple and no longer supports it. Licences can still be bought however. It should be free to use under Linux. I'm not keen on paying for something that may have problems in the future as java changes. It runs on all systems even mac now I believe. It may go open source at some point and information on that sort of thing can be found here http://lightzombie.org/ :-) Don't let the name put you off. The site owner is doing his best to get Lightzone up and running again. I think it's well worth keeping an eye on it.

    John
    zombiefying this post (yes I did make that word up):

    John,

    I just recently saw that Lightzone has indeed been resurrected and is now an open source software available in Windows and Linux! The original code was released as open source and Anton Kast, who had worked for Light Crafts Lightzone software is the Lead software developer. They are now up to version 4.

    I took a look at some of the example tutorials and it's an impressive software one that I think Linux users would love. And those that are thinking of jumping ship from Adobe's rental program may want to look into.
    Since it just started backup, a standalone wiki is still in it's infancy but they are growing members quickly so that may start improving.

    Here's a link to the tutorials: http://lightzoneproject.org/node/35 The installation can be found at this site also.

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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by orlcam88 View Post
    zombiefying this post (yes I did make that word up):

    John,

    I just recently saw that Lightzone has indeed been resurrected and is now an open source software available in Windows and Linux! The original code was released as open source and Anton Kast, who had worked for Light Crafts Lightzone software is the Lead software developer. They are now up to version 4.

    I took a look at some of the example tutorials and it's an impressive software one that I think Linux users would love. And those that are thinking of jumping ship from Adobe's rental program may want to look into.
    Since it just started backup, a standalone wiki is still in it's infancy but they are growing members quickly so that may start improving.

    Here's a link to the tutorials: http://lightzoneproject.org/node/35 The installation can be found at this site also.
    Hi,

    Darktable is cooool. Used it in Ubuntu and works fine.

    Thanks for this update/links about Lightzone. Especially about its new Win version 4.0.

    Will experiment with it.

    Cheers.......

  12. #12

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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Hi Orlando,

    Wow. seems they're getting flooded with new users.
    ( I'm one of them....)

    Holy Mackerel! We're being flooded with new members and requests for the MAC beta link. A huge welcome to you all---it's fantastic!
    Because of this overload of newcomers, they want us new downloaders to wait a while until their latest Win version gets fixed.
    No prob. Afterall, it's better to get a bug-free Lightzone.

  13. #13

    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Darktable is an amazing RAW converter More than just a pure RAW converter, darktable is an open source project that covers all needs of the photographic workflow. Beside a native color management darktable handles nearly all the available RAW file formats as well as lots of bitmap file formats for Import and Export. In order to manage a huge amount of pictures darktable takes advantage of a database, so it is able to react quickly on complex search queries.

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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    The fact that everything wants to index pictures now annoys me as I use several packages. I feel that a separate package would be a better option. Fotoxx can be used in this fashion as other applications may be "installed" in it as plugins.

    Not being keen on Ufraw of late, certain things aren't being imporved as quickly as they should. I have been looking at other raw converters. GtkRawStudio is looking interesting. Also came across an application called Delabatory. Seems to have been abandoned and describes itself as a colour correction utility.

    Photivo now has a "local" edit facility of sorts. There is a video around on how to use it.

    Darktable now has fill light and zone related adjustments including zoned colour. The user defines the zones.

    So far Fotoxx is the only application that I am aware of that is bright enough to use others as a plug in. It opens the application with the image in it's current state and then regains it when that application is closed. Unfortunately Rawtherapee no longer bothers capturing the image path when they are loaded like this or with right clicks.

    John
    -

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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by ajohnw View Post
    Darktable now has fill light and zone related adjustments including zoned colour. The user defines the zones.

    So far Fotoxx is the only application that I am aware of that is bright enough to use others as a plug in. It opens the application with the image in it's current state and then regains it when that application is closed. Unfortunately Rawtherapee no longer bothers capturing the image path when they are loaded like this or with right clicks.

    John
    -

    Hi John,

    Took up your Fotoxx and finding it awesome. Now going over it. Found out it also has "layers".

    from Fotofoxx manual.

    Edit functions normally apply to the entire image, but it is possible to edit part of an image (an "area") and leave the rest unchanged. If an image area has been selected, then the Retouch and Art edit functions will work only within this area. Other functions ignore a selected area. An area may be selected before starting an edit function, or while an edit function is active. The selected area is immediately active, prior edits are retained, and future edits will apply only within the area. If another edit function is started, the selected area remains active, so it is possible to carry out a series of edits on one area.

    "Layers" in Photoshop and Gimp are "areas" in Fotoxx. Instead of selecting something from the image, making a separate layer from the selection, performing edit functions on the layer and finally merging the layers, you select something in the image and perform edit functions on the selection, with WYSIWYG feedback during the edit. Areas can also be saved, pasted into other images, and edited there.
    Thanks

    ( Forgot my laptop[win7] in the Philippines. Now using my granddaughter's Ubuntu/laptop )

  16. #16
    ajohnw's Avatar
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    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Quote Originally Posted by nimitzbenedicto View Post
    Hi John,

    Took up your Fotoxx and finding it awesome. Now going over it. Found out it also has "layers".



    Thanks

    ( Forgot my laptop[win7] in the Philippines. Now using my granddaughter's Ubuntu/laptop )
    I haven't used the other new aspect in the latest version yet - the option to use Rawtherapee for raw development. That offers a huge improvement over Ufraw.

    John
    -

  17. #17

    Re: Darktable - an Lightroom/Aperture alternative

    Iridient Raw Developer uses your own file structure very effectively and does a lovely job on your RAW.
    In nearly all the others I have, and I have a BUNCH, my Fuji test file opens with lens distortion, but my camera is supported in Iridient just like it is in the modified SilkyPix that came with it, so there's nothing left but a bit of perspective. That SilkyPix version doesn't support ProPhoto though. Iridient has that and many others. I had the trial for a while and there was something I didn't like so I contacted the developer and he issued a new version that fixed that and couple other things. He further issued another that supports more cameras, and I bought that. I am very happy with it, it's easy to understand, and it knows my camera unlike many others.

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