Another look on shadows and filmic

@obe Nice image. It would be a good fit in the PlayRaw category, if you want more exposure. Up to you.

I don’t understand this statement. i assume that you meant ‘switch off’ above. Turning filmic and the exposure off gives me a dark image, with shadow detail lost:

If you check your filmic settings, it seems you’ve set it to cover over 18 EV of dynamic range, which is certainly more than your display (and sRGB) can handle.

You are right. I meant “off”.
If you switch filmic off and adjust the exposure there is no (only minimal) clipping. See below. Therefore, the image doesn’t need compression. Do you benefit from using filmic in this situation? Or should you edit the image on basis of the rawfile using other dt tools?

that depends on what you’re doing in the pipe until filmic is applied. If you’re editing in scene referred mode you can increase exposure until your midtones are ok without bothering about the white areas - filmic brings them back, so you don’t need to care (i call this a benefit) :wink:
Of course you can do this using different tools (curves, masked exposure) - there is no such thing as right or wrong in an editing process.

On my display, the details in the shadows are gone. The over/underexposure indicator showing hardly any or absolutely no clipping does not mean that details are not gone (e.g. if you crush your shadows into a uniform dark grey, there will be no discernible detail, but the indicator will still not show clipping).
Aurélien often says that we should edit the images, not the histograms. If this is the look you’re after, fine. Otherwise, trust your eyes (and check what the different modes of the clipping indicator mean).

15s edit in Lightroom. I’ll try o replicate with Darkable but I doubt I can do it :confused:

@KristijanZic: Is this a screenshot, export or something else?

I’m asking 'cause there are horizontal lines (very slowly bend) showing up. Especially visible in the greens on the left side and the top right. Almost looks like you took a picture from an old CRT monitor and the frequency flicker is showing up :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Hi’ @KristijanZic

It’s impressive that Lightroom is able to tweak the image so much. Having said that I will also say that the scene in real life looked much more like my second image (after having adjusted the original filmic settings).

If that’s the look you are after, here is with DT 3.4. I know it’s not exactly the same, and not 15 seconds either, but I think close enough for quick and dirty edit.

DSC_2481.NEF.xmp (31.0 KB)

Or this one: dt 4.0 (exposure +2,65 with mask)
Like the LR example you can see massive banding in the shadows. The camera is clearly out of its specs here. I really prefer one of the darker examples.

DSC_2481_01.NEF.xmp (26.6 KB)

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I think the topic was meant as “look, you CAN get some visible shadow detail back with just filmic”.

Yes, I often advise to use another tool to get the shadows to your liking after filmic, but if you get a picture without other tools you like : go for it :).

I personally always try to use scene referree , so that means exposure,color calibration and filmic as a base. But I understand if people have another way.

Personally I’m in between the op image and the one with a bit of tone equalizer. The last few attempts have a ton of overdone color (green) for me, and show haloing and other local contrast effects.

The reason I like filmic is the more natural look, so it seems.

Exposure, old global tone mapper and desaturation, local contrast

DSC_2481.NEF.xmp (10.7 KB)


As already mentioned, for a natural look filmic will do it. A shadow is a shadow, and unless there are important things to see it can act as a border.
The LR example doesn’t look really natural to me.
I like using tone EQ and contrast EQ to add a little “mystic” touch for photos like this:


a nice example that “global tone mapper” looks simple, effective and natural :+1:
… (and should not be considered “out of date” … my opinion :upside_down_face:)

I forgot…

rgb curve, global tone mapper, local contrast, WB

DSC_2481.NEF.xmp (7.7 KB)

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Well, no not exactly……Having watched the video of @anon41087856 I decided to put the information about clipping warnings and filmic to a test based on the photo shown in this thread. It’s no problem to tune a nice photo a little by means of some of the many (70) tools in DT. When you are faced with a challenging photo like the one shown in this thread it’s not so easy.

Since the scene referred workflow is strongly recommended and possible to choose in the presets you are likely to use filmic in combination with exposure in every case. Is this wise or should you sometimes choose another approach?

In the scene referred workflow filmic (very often) darkens the shadows by default. I don’t understand why. Since the primary objective of filmic was to compress the dynamic range then the highlights should be darkened and the shadows lightened, so the image is compressed into the range of the output media.

You are able to adjust the sliders in filmic to lighten the shadows a lot and do many other adjustments as shown in this thread. But of course you will need other modules to obtain the best possible result.

I like the output of filmic after these adjustments. But is filmic the best tool in this case? Or put another way: when is filmic the best choice if the image doesn’t need compression of the dynamic range?

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Filmic really just let’s you control the upper and lower bounds of your image effectively. It also gives you felxability in retaining color in your highlights.

Whether the dynamic range is too much or to little, filmic is a good choice.

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In the end, it is just an s-curve that rolls off the shadows and highlights. This is why in the session, he used other modules to help flatten those areas before applying local colour contrast.

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This is something that comes up. I’ve been mentioning this since the very first implementations of filmic. Filmic is by design focussed on midtones and highlights. Its been getting better though and with tone eq you can recover shadows fairly well.

You are still fighting filmic as it crushes black by default. But using filmic it seems to be something to get used to. Sorting it out is a second step but can be done well.

Previously people have said, yes avoid filmic when the assumptions behind it arent satisfied. Now it seems many find that it can and should be used all the time.

You’re wasting time if you expect an „if this then that“ approach for darktable. There’s no such thing.
Theres more a juridical "it depends on the case“.
You can use filmic to shoot yourself in your foot and you can use it to improve your edits especially if your‘re brightening already bright highlights as a collateral effect on tweaking midtones or shadows. You can achieve similar or even better results using other modules, but also not in an „if this then that“ set of rules.