base curve manufacturer default presets for scene referred processing

I joined as dark-table user at the advent of scene referred processing, so really never looked back at legacy screen referred pipeline.

Now, there is a base curve module, if I understand correctly, meant for screen referred. Do we have similar thing for scene referred?

I have to admit, that I played with some of my photos, and those presets are “good enough” for most of my needs.

Use it if you like the result. I do for some of my pictures. The module is at the end of the pixelpipe.


For scene referred its filmic rgb or sigmod. All three are tone mappers.

Photography is about the look and not the editing tools. If the look suits your artistic needs then use it. I often use filmic with auto tune levels and this works fine on many of my images. Sigmoid is another interesting module to see how it stacks up against filmic or base curve. Ultimately, whichever gives me the result including colors that I like I will use. I probably can’t remember the last time it was base curve for me.

Edit: I just opened up a sunset in the playraw category and both filmic and sigmoid produced a horrible salmon color in the highlights that bore no resemblance to any sunset I have seen or the embedded JPG. Base curve did a great job with the colors. I feel I will remember this for the future. BTW, it was a Nikon raw that the base curve worked well for with the sunset. I guess this is a well characterised curve in DT.

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Did you try backing off the hue preserve slider? I usually find it’s made for this… I did find that sunset tricky though. :face_with_peeking_eye: I agree about using what works however!

I didn’t try playing with either filmic or sigmoid much as the base curve produced a natural result that was very similar to the embedded jpg. I feel the sunset image I refer to, which was recently posted in playraw category, is a good example of when base curve is a very suitable option. I don’t want to make hard work for myself. I plan to show this sunset example to my students whom I am learning Darktable to this week with me.

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That is what I do when editing fire fighting pictures.

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For reference: the sunset image referred to above is:

Just to make it easy to find if someone stumbles upon this thread in a few weeks (or years).


One important thing to remember is that base curve (afaik) doesn’t allow to adjust the dynamic range of the input to the module, it maps 0…1 to 0…1. Filmic and sigmoid can map a larger range to the 0…1 output range.

That means that the user has to make sure the dynamic range of the input is correct before the base curve module in the pipeline (through the use of other modules like exposure or tone equaliser).


Move it to the end of the pipeline. That’s the main difference.

Yep, you are 100% right and thanks for sharing your wisdom. I will remember this in the future.

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So I lookup the actual order and it is right at the front: darktable 4.0 user manual - default module order

  1. base curve
  2. filmic (legacy)
  3. FILMIC RGB – transition from scene-referred to display-referred space

Change the module order to legacy and you will see where it used to be in the pipeline… after that you can click twice on the active modules tab to see all pipeline modules listed from bottom to the top is the order… so its a better position for the basecurve to be friendly to the scene referred modules as opposed to when it came before the input profile locking in the data…

~50 does not exactly look like ‘right at the front’ to me.
On the UI, the modules listed highest come latest. Here, output color profile (conversion to sRGB) is the last, preceded by local contrast, filmic rgb and so on; the first module applied is raw black/white point.


base curve, filmic (legacy), filmic rgb and sigmoid are all tone mappers to move from scene-referred (0 to infinity) to display-referred (0 to 1) space, but base curve can actually not handle input > 1, and does not map mid-grey unchanged to the display (most base curves lift shadows, including mid-grey). filmic (legacy), filmic rgb and sigmoid do handle input > 1, and do not change mid-grey.

In the manual, the order is the more traditional top to bottom numbered order.