ART vs RT takeup

Random: I regularly read here and occasionally read the Milestone threads regarding RT. RT is starting to look towards v6.0, and removal of some tools etc… I moved from RT to ART and doubt I would go back - and I wondered, are there public figures for the number of users of each package?

Many thanks.

Edit: Just found download numbers for ART here:

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I have no idea, but I wouldn’t trust the number of downloads – that only provides a very loose upper bound. The number of users is probably 1/10th, most likely even less. (Speaking for ART of course)

I have wondered how the future of these two programs will pan out. I think RawTherapee is a great program and I have used it since version 2.1.

However since trying ART, it just seems to have quite a few features (masking, tone equaliser, saves snapshots, inspector) which makes it really nice to use, and as long as it remains supported, I will continue to use it as my main software.

If somebody wants an open source editor that produces good images with little effort, but still allows a lot of flexibility and creativity, I couldn’t think of a better program. For somebody moving from Lightroom, it would work pretty well - your image starts looking very similar to your OOC jpeg (the average person who has done no research will assume that the OOC jpeg is the ‘correct’ starting point, and anything different is broken), then you move a few obvious sliders and they behave how you would expect.

However, looking at its download numbers, the number of users must still be pretty small. It isn’t that easy to find by most people - if you do a search for free raw software, most will bring up darktable or RawTherapee.

I haven’t done much to promote ART, because I am not sure whether Alberto necessarily wants a lot of users. If lots of people start wanting a free alternative to Lightroom, he is likely to be bombarded with questions from people who may have done little research for themselves, or just requests to make it more like Lightroom.

Yep, I found ART by chance. It’s a pity that is not used way more because of the three applications it’s the most user-friendly by a mile.

For me, I don’t really care about “how friendly” ART is.

The magic of ART is in the default/base processing. When opening an image, it’s already 90% there. Then I can decided if I want to go that direction or b+w or …

Thank you for al the hard work.


Well, I’m certainly not against more users – because more users means more feedback, more bugs discovered, and potentially more contributions, so in the end a better tool – but I’m not doing anything to advertise/promote art, partly because the main goal is to have fun, and partly because I don’t believe in self promotion


This should also be the case for RawTherapee. The only difference with ART is an added little default sharpening. There may be plenty of reasons to prefer ART over RT, but imo this is not a valid one.

For example, can you tell me which of these is the default processing in RT and which in ART?


When you say default/base processing are you referring to Neutral?

No, for ART I refer to ‘Standard’ and for RT I refer to ‘Auto-Matched Curve - ISO Medium’ (which I believe is the default profile after first installation).
The Neutral profile should be virtually identical in both programs since all tools are turned off.

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Okay, thanks!

No it does not.

Here is the same image opened with ART and RT. The only change, I did, is the resize to 900 pixels for simplicity:



Very different starting points for my own processing…

Okay, yeah, that looks distinctly different up to the point where it’s reasonable indeed to prefer either of the two. I wonder about the origin of the differences though. Would you be able to share the original raw file?

Edit: I must say that I prefer the RT edit here, which has retained much more detail in the highlights.


I hadn’t realised there was such a difference…wonder what is causing it and whether it only shows up in certain photos. The ART rendition needs a bit of taming here, I wonder what the OOC jpg looks like?

I have always seen and used RT as a platform for mainstream state-of-the-art, yet practical, rendering algorithms that hand the user much more control over variables and outcomes than commercial packages.

As a result it is comprised of a very large, powerful, sometimes complimentary and sometimes redundant toolset that can be daunting for the uninitiated: to get the best out of an image one needs to be a bit of an image processing geek, know where to find which tool and understand what they are doing with it. The learning curve is not for the faint of heart.

Enter ART. My interpretation of its vision is to improve the RT user experience for those who are more interested in practical, advanced raw conversion than the science behind it: driving the car rather than taking a peek under the hood to tweak the carburetor for maximum power. It is mainly based on the RT platform, bringing to the surface the most used, ‘best of’ tools, in an uncluttered dashboard, with unnecessary controls hidden away.

Assuming they will continue to share code and improvements, I don’t see RT and ART as mutually exclusive. On the contrary I see them as PS and Elements, both based on the same engine but aimed at slightly different audiences.

Keep up the good work, both of youse!

PS Then there is out-of-the-box DT, which for reasons I have yet to understand brings to my mind subconscious associations with St John the Baptist shouting in the desert:slight_smile:


Good analogies there, not sure what the darktable team will make of the last one though!

Ah, no offense intended of course, per the emoji. I only have respect for their work, there is a lot of R&D there.

I am sure no offense was intended, just a bit of light hearted banter…

thank yuo for that thread, I discovered ART today. The first impresion is controversial: some important things are missing (e.g. Lab adjustments tab or contrast by detail). On the other hand the working with masks is beautiful.
But my question is why ART is so slow in comparison to RT?

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Slow with what? I don’t see any performance differences between the two…

Contrast by details is listed as local contrast but has a histogram to represent it rather than a set of sliders so is similar to RT.
There is also a Lab adjustments tab for L, a and b histograms too under the colour tab. It doesn’t have all the other combos found in RT, but similar things can be achieved using colour equaliser or colour correction.