Okay, I haven’t really touted it yet, but you might be interested in my software…
When I re-started photography in digital, I also wanted to understand the process. I spent a lot of time experimenting with G’MIC, a command line image processor where you add tools one-by-one on the command line and are able to see their incremental effect. It doesn’t ingest raw files directly, but you can pipe the output of dcraw to it as described here:
I became enamored with the “tool chain” approach to raw development, so long story short, I ended up writing my own software. It’s called rawproc, a GUI program that allows you to open a raw file and add tools one-by-one to develop it into a pleasing image. You can select any of the tools in the toolchain you built for display. You can delete, add and insert tools in any order, to your benefit or detriment. It also comes with a G’MIC-like command line tool that implements most of the same tools found in the GUI program. I’ve developed it to the point where I use it exclusively for my image processing, except for retouching tools for which I use GIMP.
It’s missing some things, like the dual-demosaics of RawTherapee and the tone and color manipulation tools of darktable, but it has all the tools I need to develop proof and final renditions of almost all of my images. Oh, it’s also a bit of a memory hog, as it maintains in-memory the product of each tool, which serves as the input to the next tool in the chain. So, if you’re using something with a large sensor like a D850, you need a LOT of RAM. Sorry, I don’t apologize for that, it’s the fundamental way rawproc is able to be an arbitrary toolchain program in an interactive way.
You’re welcome to try it, from here:
In the releases page, you’ll find a windows installer and an AppImage for 64bit Linux, tested with Ubuntu, YMMV for other distros. You can also compile it from the source using the instructions in the Readme. In the program, you have access to a pretty complete help file that should explain most of what you need to use it.
Being able start with a really-raw image and experiment with different stacking of the tools was a significant learning experience for me. Well, so was writing (and using the excellent LittleCMS, librtprocess, lensfun, and exiv2 libraries). Anyway, if you give it a go, feel free to ask questions here and I’ll answer best I can.
Oh, welcome to the forum. discuss.pixls.us is a great place to study image processing, informative and sometimes lively discourse.