Best way to Pre Flatten an Image?

Hi Everyone,

I am in a little dilemma. I tried out a lot of software including Lightroom, On1, Luminar, Rawtherapee, and darktable while I was trying to hunt for a editor that fit what made sense in my brain. For some reason darktable makes sense in my brain and I love working with it.

During this time I developed what I consider a weird workflow possibly not sure why I developed the habit but I really like the results it presents.

Basically what I do is:

  1. Lens corrections/CA
  2. Correct exposure/white balance if needed.
  3. “Pre Flatten” the image
  4. Start the develop process.

When I say pre flatten basically what I do is pull the highlights and shadows closer into the mid tones which makes the image really flat compared to even just a straight raw file.

This seems to give me tons of control over everything because what I assume is happening is I am expanding the dynamic range I have to work with. It really lets me go “ham” on the contrast, I love contrast :laughing:

My issue is with darktable I can’t quite figure out the “best way” (a very loose term) to flatten out the image to get a nice flat result.

  • It seems like Filmic can be used to do this but I really struggle figuring that module out.
  • Shadows and highlights module should be able to do it but I can’t seem to get results out of it.
  • Tone Curves is the method I am currently using but my results are not quite there yet, as out side of contrast :laughing:, I don’t quite fully understand everything here yet.

If anyone has any help and or advice to give it would be much appreciated even if it is only some resources that I have failed to find in my hunting.

1 Like

The filmic module should be able to do it. Make sure the base curve is disabled.

First slider is midtones.
Second slider is highlights.
Third slider is shadows.

Don’t worry about the rest of the sliders at this point.

1 Like

Thanks @paperdigits I will give that a try on my next edit.