Filmic RGB shadows

This is done:

1 Like

Yep that’s why your camera cost so much. Just think about how different all the opinions are about edits coming from capture 1, LR ,DT RT DXO yada yada…every raw processor also uses a slightly different sauce so you are never starting out from the same spot and they may be merging images for Noise reduction etc etc . I could go on and I think there are 3 or 4 very long threads here on this topic. You have to come to the realization that all you have with the raw is the sensor data and what you can make from it …you are not capturing a better jpg. The raw data lets you create something with a better white balance and can give you more room in shadows and highlights and you can save it out in a higher bit depth form but you will often struggle to match the color, tone mapping and noise reduction produced by your camera. Add to that all the in the camera modes, film emulations again etc etc.
If you changes your goals you will be happier. If you like the jpg use it. Maybe even edit it. You can do quite a bit with a decent JPG. Or take your raw and make it your own…

1 Like

Oh thanks!!

Its funny some of the discussions around these points reminds me of the hey day of audio systems. There were amps and big speakers and people argued about what the best amps and speakers were. THey spent thousands of dollars on HI FI equipment capable to 5-35KHz even though the accepted range of the human ear is around 20-20K. To get those specs they paid dearly but they could brag about how great the sound was that they could not hear. Sometimes it seems the same here and maybe its the math based nature of DT but so many people are so concerned with such crazy details only to end up looking at 8 bit images on a tv or the sRGB output to the web or social media. Its not a criticism of anyone or their interest or passion…it just amuses me…:wink:


Good advice, I’ll take it.

To be honest, I can make a good edit in Darktable but I’m really struggling on some images. I’d say the thing I miss the most from Darktable is shaddows, highlights, whites and darks sliders. And I’m struggling with bringing back contrast after filmic.

On some images I can bring back contrast with tone eq right away. But on some images I just can’t seem to be able to do it, and when I’m getting close I end up messing it up and start again. I can also do it using a combination of modules but I wonder if that’s too messy approach? I don’t know what’s the most elegant way of doing it.

And with bringing up shadows and lowering highlights, that’s something that I’m only able to do with exposure module and much of masking. I miss shadows and highlights sliders from Lightroom a lot. But I’d like to learn how to reliably achieve the same with darktable.

Again, I can often do it, but it’s messy and hard. Because I find myself doing it by experimenting while I’d much rather try to have some established ways of doing things. Some repeatable procedure for let’s say bringing up shadows or lowering highlights and that I know exactly what I need to do to achieve the desired result except experimenting much.

And one my say, well just use a curve or something, there are many ways. But in my experience none of them can achieve the results that Lightroom can just by using two sliders. So they must be doing all sorts of things in the background and that’s what I need to figure out. So that I know for sure, if I want to raise shadows a lot but retain all the detail etc, this is the combo and the pipeline that will do that etc.

I’m the one for simple one click solutions, but I need to figure a few things out in Lightroom and Darktable to be able to work more efficiently, not like a blindly.

1 Like

I often use the relight preset in the Tone eq for shadows. Some times I play with it bit often just where it lands is not too bad so I don’t worry about the mask or any thing. The I move the exposure comp to adjust the effect or often as I said its often okay but a bit strong so I just use relight at 50%. Its a pretty quick fix and the results are generally good. I do the same with the tone curve and compress presets in the tone eq. If the image is low key I try one of the tone curve presets in the tone eq and then again just move exposure comp slider if needed and or opacity. If its high key I will use the compress contrast preset and then maybe follow with a second instance of tone eq and now use one of the tone curve presets…I blend this in with local contrast colorbalance dehaze and the contrast eq and those modules are pretty much all I need. I have actually been using the color calibration and not so much the channel mixer but the colorfulness and brightness sliders…you might want to try them…esp brightness…darkening blue bumps the blacks and green is related to luminance so you can play with those…I guess that with some masking and blend modes from time to time and that is about as far as I stray. Now that I think of it I do use color zones quite a lot for small fixes. If I have say a rock face with a cast I don’t like. I don’t mess with WB i just auto range pick from the saturation tab of the CZ module with a shift to create an auto desaturate. It often does a great job as is and often without the need to mask. I do the same with skin sometimes to remove color cast. There are a few technical modules that I use. I don’t have an extensive lens correction but even for my smartphone the vignette correction is amazing using lens corrections. If you have shadows and you don’t use the lens corrections you should try because this could be missing boost to the shadows…anyway that is a few random thoughts…keep plugging…believe me I started exactly like that. I was obsessed and could not figure out why I could not get a better result…over time I embraced what a raw file was and then changed my approach to use the inherent strength that it offered…here’s proof…I had the same question…Attempts to get a raw edit that matches the jpeg.... - #13 by priort

1 Like

Color Balance > Shadows part > Factor slider. Decrease it to darken shadows.

1 Like

I do everything pretty much the same as you, basically use everything to get something like what you pictured in your head. But I’m becoming obsessed in doing it using as little modules as possible. Although one difference is, I rarely use tone eq as a tone curve without masking and I might need to experiment more with that.

But for shadows, highlights, whites, blacks tone equalizer is just not an equivalent. I just can’t get the similar results. There are so many variables, so either I’m stupid or I’m not yet skilled enough or tone eq can’t do it. I’ve tried rbg curves, zones, color balance (that one I might want to revisit tho).

Raising shadows with color balance is also weird, it affects the whole image and desaturates it (or doesn’t fix chroma and then it appears like it’s covered by a half opacity pure white color). I can get something with different blending modes but it’s still not really that great.

I’ll probably dedicate a few days and really test everything and every combination I can to see if I can figure something out. There must be some kind of module + blending mode combo to achieve a great result. If I can’t I’ll give up and toss it here for the fine and smarter folks to figure it out.

the new color balance might be onto something! When shadows are lifted, they aren’t desaturated, only problem is It seems to raise the highlights and the midtones and I loose all the detail there but I still need to do more testing, I’ve literally just opened it and pulled the shadows perceptual purity grading up so I’m yet to understand and test it properly.

Edit: Oh man, aurelien is really onto something with this new module. It’s still not 100% there yet but wow, I just had a big rant in previous posts and now I see this exact thing being addressed. Colour me impressed!

Is this the one from version 3.4 or are you running master?

This is just the nature of life :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Yeah, the master, the color balance RGB module. It’s much much better but it can obliterate any details pretty quickly. So it’s kinda there but not yet. (the whole video is worth watching, as usual)
Aurélien says filmic is not an artistic tool, and black and white in filmic are not there to manage contrast.


To be clear, that’s true if one uses third-party software, but if you use Canon’s own (Digital Photo Professional), you will get the OOC JPEG look right away, in higher quality. A raw file is not just the sensor data, it’s also a lot of metadata. It’s just that most software doesn’t know what to do with it.

Yes, but that’s the same situation as e.g. trying to import lightroom edits into dt: as dt doesn’t know which algorithms lightroom uses, it’s impossible to reproduce the edits completely.

Canon knows how its cameras process the raw data, so they can reproduce that processing in their software. Anyone else would either have to fork out a “certain” amount of money to Canon (if Canon is willing to sell that information…), or try to reverse-engineer the processing. And I’m not sure any camera manufacturer would want to share their processing.

he just said the same as i wrote in other words.
filmic is not an artistic tool but it’s also no tool to draw perfect curves. Also, when it comes to global tone mapping, your eyes are the best tool to decide if you are overdoing it.

From , up to 1:13:50. He clearly says the curve should not under/overshoot.

Now that’s something that I’m curious too. It’s been in the back of my mind for some time now, but basically my question is this:

Are all raw files the same? Or better: are the raw files that come from different cameras ‘equal’ in terms of possibilities?

Let’s set aside the obvious difference that one would expect between an APS-C and a full frame sensor, or between a full-frame sensor from 10 years ago compared to a new one (say, D700 vs D810), and also the behaviour at high ISOs etc (newer sensor are expected to be less noisy at high ISO etc):
once I have a raw file from a Sony camera, one from a Nikon, one from Canon, one from Fuji, and assuming I apply the same processes to each photo, will I see a difference between each of them? A difference that can be linked back to the “Canon look” for example?.. or the “Fuji look”?

As basecurves are supposed to mimic the “look” of the different brands, couldn’t you take a few raws (playraw,, …) and apply various basecurves to get an idea? I’ve heard that Nikon uses Sony sensors in at least some of their cameras, so I’d expect at least those two brands to give similar raws. But the colours in the bayer filter matrix could be different, which would translate to (minor?) differences in colour rendering.

Caveat: Fuji sometimes does funny things with their sensors, so they might be a special case.

A little bit, because their color filters will be slightly different, which would not be a problem if they satisfied the Luther-Ives condition (i.e. if their spectral response was a linear transformation of that of the human visual system), but because they don’t, any conversion from raw space to a colorimetric space is a compromise: some spectra that would be perceived by us as distinct colors may be mapped to the same color, or vice versa. This is an interesting article on the subject:

With that said, I must admit that I don’t really know the magnitude of the difference between cameras in that regard, and in any case, if you allow yourself local editing, you can always select a part of the photo and make it the color you want.

I once took shots with a Panasonic LX7 and a Nikon D7000 of the same scene, but failed to create the same outcome. Of course the two matrices may not be of the same quality, and the cameras’ dynamic ranges were quite different. I didn’t take a tripod, just hand-held them. If I find the shots, I’ll post them as play-raw, OK?