Darktable 3.0 filmic question

I’m using Darktable 3.0 I compiled from source a few days ago.

There is a lot to like.
I am having trouble with filmic rgb

When I click this module on the default values are typically quite different than the image as it was at that point in my work flow. One way to learn the ins and outs of a new module is to fiddle with it until the current image more or less matches the appearance of that image before the module in question was started. At that point you might smile and then fiddle a bit more in order to make improvements.

On some images I’ve been able to do that. On other images I find it essentially impossible.

Does a theoretic explanation for what this module actually does help to understand it? Or is it expected that (sometimes) filmic cannot be used to recreate the pre-filmic appearance?

See @aurelienpierre’s videos on the subject. you can find them via the forum.

Imo the filmic module is not there to make your image look the same as without it.
It’s to compress the scene HDR to display LDR, as alternative to basic curve.
You can affect the end look with modules which are in pipeline before the filmic e.g. ‘color balance’ ‘tone equlizer’… the filmic curve is applied on their output, and also module which are after filmic e.g. ‘tone curve’ to finetune the result in display rgb.

Yes I watched Aurelian’s video. I have a better big picture understanding now. I was missing some menu items too.

fwiw I do usually check youtube first, before asking a question. I assumed 3.0 videos wouldn’t exist yet because 3.0 hasn’t been “released” yet.

I am grateful for this software. I use it almost every day.

This question is mine also.
Somehow, I think I’m getting used to the fact that filmic rgb shouldn’t be used in every edit, as I was doing with the previous filmic version.
I bring this example where filmic doesn’t seem to add value.

After basic highlight recovery and exposure adjustments:

After enabling tone equalizer’s relight preset:

At this point, I suspect that the histogram already gives a hint to whether filmic should be used or not, and in this case, I’d say no, it shouldn’t, since the two peaks at both histogram sides have been brought together to form a more uniform area. In other words, tones have already been compressed and represent, to a fair amount, the scene look.
Now it’s just a matter of bringing back contrast to get a final look:

In this case, I used a gradient to preserve the sky, and, to my eyes, this is it. (Maybe a couple more fiddling like haze removal, sharpen and noise reduction, but that’s all)

If I try to use filmic here, I’m lost :thinking:

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If the tones are already pleasing to you, then no need to use filmic, but if you want broad tonal control, filmic can still help. Filmic can also contract the tonal range, not just expand it.


the next video in darktable 3.0 series is encoding right now… I hope it will answer most of your questions.