darktable export color problem - Help!



Hi everyone. I’m new to this forum, so I apologize if this has been discussed, but recently I have been having a problem exporting edited photos from darktable. The colors in DT look great but when I export the resulting jpg is very under saturated. It would seem that this is a gamut problem since I’m exporting to sRGB but there are also some other weird things going on. When I zoom in and out of the image in darkroom the color flips from saturated to unsaturated and then back to saturated. I’ve been using DT for about a year and have edited tons of images without this problem. I’m far from an expert on color space so hopefully I’m just missing something simple.

I’m using DT on Windows 10 and am working form raw NEF files and exporting to sRGB on a color calibrated Dell 2007WFP monitor.

Thanks for the help.

DSC_8226.NEF (18.5 MB)

(Mica) #2

What happens if you set softproof profile to sRBG and view that?

(Boris Hajdukovic) #3

Hi @StanStill ,

What darktable version do you use?
With 2.6.0 (but in Ubuntu Linux) there are no problems with saturation neither with the representation in the darktable nor with the export as JPG:

Exported JPG:

I get a desaturated image like in your example if I choose the linear Rec709 RGB profile instead of standard color matrix in the module input color profile:


This is how it looks in the darktable:

Something seems to be mixed up with your color profiles.


Softproof doesn’t change when I change the softproof profile at all.


Thanks for checking it out on your computer. Just got back to my home computer to look at this again.

I’m using DT 2.6.0, though this started happening in 2.4.? just before I upgraded.

I’ve changed my input profile between all the options. It does change the displayed colors onscreen but the export is always the same.

I’ve also noticed another weird thing happening. When I zoom in past 50% the colors go to this de-saturated look and then when I zoom out again the picture is back to as it was.

Any ideas?



I have a similar issue with the colors, except for me they are always varying, like you see the very colorfull jpg and then some greyish colors.

I have posted an issue here

(Mica) #7

@hsilva it is hard to tell what the problem is just by looking at the histograms, as you don’t really explain what histogram is what, what we’re looking at, and under which conditions this problem occurs.


I think I have found my problem… but I still haven’t found a solution. I think the problem is that I have no output ICC profiles. darktable refers to two locations where these profiles might be located but oddly I don’t even have a folder there. I’ve tried adding an ICC profile I found online but it only slightly improved the export photo. I tried re-installing 2.4 but it wouldn’t work.

Any ideas? Maybe I could just download the needed profiles?

(Mica) #9

Assigning an output profile like sRGB would be good.

(Pascal Obry) #10

@StandStill: not sure this is the issue, the sRGB and AdobeRGB profiles are created in memory by dt during start.

Don’t you have anything listed in profile combo of the export module?

(Pascal Obry) #11

Are you using an external monitor? Do you have a dual monitor system? If so, do you have the same issue if using only a single monitor? I’m wondering if the color management of your machine is not messed up somehow…


ok, I didn’t explain myself well. What I encounter is that the colours are not saturated. everytime I turn on/off a module the histogram may change or not (completly random) and the colors I get are not saturated.

I have done on a different ocasion other photo edits and when I load them with the previous modules and export, they don’t look like the previous exported.

I believe this has to do with something in windows 10 update (?) because I have done a system restore and it got back to normal, but then I got a new update.


@Pascal_Obry, thanks for the response. DT does list all the usual export ICC profiles when I select the export options so you are correct that this can’t be the issue. When I hover over the output profile in DT it shows the two locations where you can add profiles. I went to both locations on my computer and there weren’t any there so I thought that maybe that was the issue. I tried adding a profile to one of those spots and it did list it in DT upon next opening on the program. So it seems that everything from that end is working fine.

As for your other question, I have 3 monitors on my computer. One of which has a different resolution. I am using DisplayCAL. I’m not sure how my monitor display profile would affect the DT output file though. This problem has just started about a week ago.

(Pascal Obry) #14

If I’m not mistaken, 3 monitors means 3 LUT and I’m not sure this is properly supported by all graphic cards. That’s why I have advised to do testing by using a single monitor attached to the PC and see if the issue persist.


I did get a new monitor somewhat recently, which might coincide with the export problem in DT. I just tried using 1 monitor to edit and export a couple of different photos and all saw the same results. All images where very under saturated. In fact they are under saturated compared to the unedited initial import to DT.

I’m running a GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card which supports 4 monitors so 3 should be fine. Though, I’m no expert on this stuff.

It seems like I toggled a switch or have conflicting ICC profiles somewhere.

Very frustrating.

(Boris Hajdukovic) #16

I’m not a Windows user but quick search resulted in a lot of articles about problems Windows 10 has with color profiles. Maybe you should check out these forums for solutions. For example, this post seems to address a similar problem:

Color Management - broken on my machine. Does it ever work? Windows 10 pro 1709


Good idea. I’ll check it out.

I just tried exporting a photo from DT 2.6.0 on my work computer (Windows 7) and it worked fine. So that means the problem is with my home computer and likely something to do with Windows 10.

Oddly when I started having this issue I downloaded RawTherapee and tried it to see if I would get the same de-saturated results and RawTherapee worked fine. I also tried Polarr online editing and that also worked fine.

I’ll investigate the Windows 10 issue tonight. Thanks for the idea!


Well I’ve tried everything I can think of and nothing has worked. I’ve removed all the windows 10 color profiling stuff and reapplied the programs I use to apply a color profile to my monitor. As I mentioned previously I tested RawTherapee and it exported perfectly so I’ve decided to drop darktable for now and learn how to use RawTherapee. I’ve read some reviews and it seems that most people like both programs. This really pains me to switch since I’ve spent a considerable amount of time learning darktable and I really like(d) the program but given the current results I have no choice. I’ll try darktable again when the next update comes out. Maybe it’s something to due with the windows 10 install. Frustrating.


So I’ve tried RawTherapee over the last couple of weeks and sadly it just doesn’t work for me. There is no good way of culling or staring photos, which is always my first step in photo editing. I saw other people are recommending different programs for this step but I don’t like swapping between program for something this simple.

So I decided to continue searching for the color issue in Windows 10 in hopes that I could return to darktable.

Shockingly I just found something that seems to have fixed 99% of the color problem! After reading around online I read that the display adapters might be the issue. So I opened the Device Manager / Display adapters and I noticed that I had two active adapters, Intel UHD graphics 630 & NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060. The NVIDIA GPU is obviously the better display adapter so I disabled the Intel UHD, restarted and boom! The darktable exported sRGB jpg image is 99% color accurate to the DT in-program RAW rendered image. I say 99% because there is still a very small difference in the saturation where DT is more saturated but it is much better than before and ultimately close enough for my purposes. I should also say I updated my monitor drivers, which were out of date, but this didn’t seem to have any affect on the exported color saturation. Oddly RT seemed to be unaffected by the two display adapters.

I consider this one solved!