Extreme light-dark differences - ART vs RawTherapee [solved]

I get very good results very quickly with ART, but I usually get the last bit of quality with high contrasts with RawTherapee.
Here is a photo taken with extremely high contrast, a bad picture but a good example.

In this example, the contrast of the garden outdoors is simply more brilliant at RT. How can you achieve this with ART? However, ART is better indoors here and doesn’t look quite as artificial overall as the enormous contrast compensation with RT.
My question is: Can you always achieve with ART what RT can? (I am familiar with RT and have achieved the best results so far).
Since ART also has capture sharpening, I’m about to switch.
Ks.RW2.pp3 (15.3 KB)
Ks.RW2.arp (11.2 KB)
Ks.RW2 (23.1 MB)

This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

ART 1.21

There’s more that could be done to the image, but in terms of matching RT (particularly through the door), all I did here was:

  • Added 0.5 stop exposure

  • Darkened shadows in Tone EQ to 65

  • Using Local Adjustment Color/Tone correction:

    • Added an area mask over the door


    • Negated the magenta cast slightly


    • Tweaked tone just a bit


That looks pretty close to RT, to my eye (without obsessing too much about it).

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Oh, the contrast outside turned out great. I will try to implement your instructions. Let’s see if I can do it with the mask. Didn’t you want to upload the .arp?

Did you develop my picture further or did you start with neutral?
What do you mean by Darkened shadows in Tone EQ to 65 - I had the shadows at +21, did you reduce them to -65?

Oops - Here it is. :slight_smile:
Ks.RW2.arp (12.2 KB)

Sloppy wording on my part (I’m in a hurry and didn’t pay attention to what I wrote). I applied your arp and went from there. I then set the TEQ shadows to 65.


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Hello @lphilpot
Yes, with your settings there is no more distance to RT. And if I make some fine adjustments now, the result will be even better. That’s very surprising for me. Yes, you obviously have unimagined possibilities with masks. I had never used them before.

A big thank you for your time and energy!

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With ART I could obtain this using all modules in the Exposure tab (Tone equalizer, Tone curve, Dynamic Range compression and Log ToneMapping), and Local contrast in the Local editing tab (without the need of masking):

Ks-1.jpg.out.arp (11.5 KB)


Produced three exposures from Filmulator (-1 to +1 EV), blended with Enfuse.
Pulled into GIMP and tweaked with luminosity masks.

My version…

Ks.RW2.xmp (20.5 KB)

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Just wanted too look into this, when I recognized I had already done so:smiley:.

Ks.RW2.arp (12.0 KB)


It’s amazing how much contrast you can compensate for - even without masks.
I still have to learn log tone mapping, I’ve only used it blind so far, but that’s not very edifying. Do you know where I can get to know this mysterious tool?

Hello age,
How did you proceed?
I see: Exposure +0.95 and
Tone Equalizer only Highlights -64 and Whites -34.
Your Tone Curves look a bit straighter, did you change them too?
And I still see Film Simulation. I’ve never worked with that before. What is the secret of this?
Have I overlooked something else?

Yes, I presented this photo for editing a good year ago. At that time I wanted to compare ART, dt and RT. Now I’m limiting myself to ART and RT. Both have developed further. Especially ART, because it now also has capture sharpening.
I don’t take so many photos anymore, videos are my main work. But every now and then I want to develop a photo well and my interest in ART is huge. And with this topic I hoped to learn that you can develop with ART just as well as with RT. And that has now happened. You made an example with dt then - I have a huge respect for dt, but it’s too cluttered and complicated for me, especially for people who don’t work with it regularly. At least I forget too much. ART is fantastically easy to use, almost playful and intuitive - that suits me very well.

I haven’t found anything better than playing myself with the tools. The tooltips and Alberto’s wiki on bitbucket are a good start.

Tone mapping module in ART is a bit like using filmic in DT… I think you use DT as well correct??

This might not be the same as in RT. I think @agriggio Alberto just renamed it?? I could be wrong…

Looking at the ART file in this case is was used to apply essentially the sigmoid module again similar to the one in DT… via a CTL script

It is normally used for managing LUTs… ie like *.cube files but it has of late become way more versatile with CLF luts and CTL scripts

You can check here for the explanation…


One set of scripts provides controls that basically gives you a slider interface for all the combinations that you could perform with something like color zones in DT… so select by hue and alter saturation lightness hue… and all the various combinations

There may be more even now but here are the ones I have installed and you can use them in Color and Tone so you can use masks…


Look somewhat familiar…


It has been renamed because it has always been the same. So the algorithm did not change, but there was no need to do so…

Hello priort,
ART is now my favorite raw converter. It makes me happy to see that you don’t have to do without many excellent tools from dt. I can see from your descriptions that you have already delved much deeper into the subject. I’m not making such rapid progress. But it’s good to know what’s possible. When I look at this: Working with LUTs, it’s like having Lao-Tse’s Weisheist books in front of me in the original Chinese.
Nevertheless, thank you very much, as I said, I am very pleased to see how little one is restricted with ART.

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As for the luts…traditional ones are in a very simplistic remapping of pixels from a table of values usually to impart a color grade or “look” but not always they can be used in other ways. The scripts that are working in the lut module and Color and Tone are a bit different in that they essentially present you with another module or tool whatever you want to call it… you can tweak and edit them but I have not tried. I have only used the sample ones provided…