Editing drawn masks case of hit and miss

Because of some very local details I went for a drawn mask.

First a rough contour and then local fine tuning including changes of feather radius. However, trying to edit in restricted edit mode, adding and deleting nodes, (cnrtl-)clicking and moving individual (feather) nodes was very, very cumbersome. Sometimes it worked, most of the times nothing happened. What was supposed to be a quick local edit became an hour at least (and lots of crtl z’s).

Am I missing something in the user interface?

This was using 3.4.1 on Ubuntu 18.04.

I think darktable isn’t made for the kind of very precise localised work you seem to need here.
That kind of very precise masking is more the domain of Gimp, Krita and similar bitmap-oriented programs, where you can create masks with pixel precision. It’s also the kind of work where a graphics tablet is very helpful.


Why shouldn’t very precise localised work be possible? All the tools are there…

The case. Lighting up the left side up the head a bit, and a bit more of just the left eye for a bit more drama:

It’s not that it’s not possible, it’s just very cumbersome, as you found out yourself…

I never said it wasn’t possible. Just that it’s not what dt is designed to do, and so might not be the best tool for the job if you need very precise masking.

After all, you can drive a screw with a hammer, but I find a screwdriver easier for that job. Otoh, I wouldn’t want to drive a nail with a screwdriver…


Trying to stay in one environment has also its advantages. I cannot recall GIMP having the same feather options - especially useful for the feathers on breast and head. For the eye feather is not needed and relatively few pixels are involved (Fuzzy Select works fine enough).

Can you demonstrate that? I do not have problems moving individual (feather) nodes.

It was very local… heavily zoomed in (left side of the heron’s head only) and locally a small feather distance as well.

A wild speculation. Could it be that the select radius selects more than 1 node?

I must admit, I don’t know what you mean by that.

If it’s just about those results you demonstrated in jpeg, that can be done in less than a minute using the drawn and parametric mask. Provide your raw file and I’ll demonstrate it to you as a video.

Usually I think for fine detail you will get the best results starting with some version of a parametric mask and then just enclose the area in a rougher drawn mask…here I just did a vary quick parametric mask with a rough circling of the area and about three or four turns of the mouse scroll in the Tone EQ…reduced the opacity…obviously just working from this jpg download and no real effort on the mask or TE settings…total time maybe 60 seconds…

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I’m curious to how it looked when you did it. Could you maybe do a short screen cast of editing a couple of them?

I have not looked into darktable’s source code. But when you use OpenGL for example and you want to pick (select) a point on the screen you do not want to select one single pixel - you want to select the neighborhood and get a hit. But if there is some relative, or absolute, margin this would make life (picking) easier.

Oh nice thank you! There are many ways to Rome. Will try it as well.

By the way, if there is any interest I can upload a 16-bit TIFF file (the original is a CR3 file). Are the any size restrictions to think of?

You could convert it to a play raw post and people will take a run at it and provide the details…

Is a nice idea. Need to think on how to do that… its a CR3 after all (and I am not a fan of DNG).

DNG would allow every one to participate and is not likely in anyway to influence how people will edit it or provide advice to my knowledge…

But that particular converter runs either on a Windows or a Mac OS system… The full resolution of 8192 x 5464 is not needed - a bit of crop helps.

Just upload the raw people will figure out how to edit it to assist you with any questions…