darktable's filmic FAQ

You could then also use the zone module. It has a middle grey display…hover over it and it shows what is middle grey in the image…couple that with the dymanic exposure short cut and you can perhaps have even a better control over middle grey…hovering over middle grey gives something like this…image


That’s a good alternative. I’ll play with both. Thanks!

Zone system‘s middle grey is the middle gray at it’s position in the pixel pipe.
Why do you need something like middle grey at a place where most color and tonal edit is already done?

Ya I am the same with brightness color messes with me so using this you can highlight by hovering with the yellow or just back away and look at the grey zones…using the dynamic shortcut E for exposure you can just hold E and then scroll wheel or I guess use the histogram but I find that a bit fiddly and then go back and look at the updated zones it works pretty well and now that you can drag the panel wider you can make the display fairly large temporarily when editing…

Well, art schools take 4 years full-time for a reason. There is the doing and there is the seeing, which gives you the feedback for the doing. I can give you shortcuts for the doing parts, but you will need time and practice (and perhaps a teacher) for the seeing one, because there are no shortcuts there.


Call me naive, but after almost a year trying to grasp wtf middle gray was, I came to this intuitive finding: it’s the exposure level that pleases my eyes.
So, after the default scene referred workflow is applied, I tweak exposure until the area in the image that matters most to me is well exposed, or pleasing to my eyes. That’s my starting point. After that, I tackle the other areas that remained under or overexposed.
Maybe in the end I don’t have a precise 128 triple where it should be, but it won’t be far from that.
But… Now thinking about it, maybe this naive method fails because I can be influenced by environment and display brightness conditions…


Incidentally, ART has a false color mask that shows where the different tonal ranges are, much like the zone system module. Something like this would be useful in darktable I think.

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Yes, I came to the same conclusion after some back und forth :smile:.

@gadolf Olá rei ingênuo!
I must say that my method is a bit safer:

XT-4 + M42 50mm Industar-61L/Z + Lastolite foldable grey “card”

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


Ok, I have added a paragraph on middle grey in the FAQ, with real-life examples and unbearable sexyness. (“What is this middle grey you keep talking about ?”)


Thanks I’ll check that out….

Would be great to be able to take the zone module display and use it as the second preview window on a second monitor………

How can you expect anyone to absorb all that information with such a distracting model?

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you don’t need to absorb all this information - if you just trust your eyes :wink:
it‘s not about numbers but about perception

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Did you miss the unbearable sexyness that @anon41087856 referred to?

I hope the grey card moving in the scene gives more practical meaning to what we do when “anchoring the grey”. Then, indeed, the middle grey is only an arbitrary reference for midtones, the real goal is for things to look good and for the subject to look clear enough.


How is a drag-queen view useful ? How do we know what color is what zone ? I would agree with a grey view, but that rainbow thingy is completely illegible. Also, it’s not accessible for color-disabled people.

There is a legend to help identify the different ranges


Well, I suppose it helps in detecting the different tonal ranges and I believe it’s used in the video industry. But I agree, not very helpful for those with colour-impaired vision.

Click bait. Not fair!! :laughing:

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I do it early with filmic disabled so I don’t think the pipe is an issue but good point since I only use it to display the rough middle gray before I enable filmic I guess you could drag could just drag it before filmic and avoid that if need be but I was just expting with it as a guide before triggering filmic