Less effort needed in dt 3.2.1 to get a better image than the embedded JPEG. What do others do?

I like to think of myself as an amateur wildlife photographer. I shoot in RAW and generally only use darktable, exporting 2048px wide images for my blog. Occasionally I might edit the JPEG in GIMP. A couple of times recently, using dt 3.1, I had not been pleased with the results and had extracted the embedded JPEG to see what the camera could do, and in some instances I preferred the JPEG. This prompted me to revisit my processing to improve on it.

I am now on 3.2.1 and imported a fresh copy of a photo where the JPEG had made me put more effort in. I found that with Filmic RGB and exposure being applied automatically I had very little tweaking to do for me to prefer it over the embedded JPEG.

With it being wildlife there is less scope for artistic interpretation but I would be interested to see what others would do with this image.

This is the first time I have created a topic so apologies if I have done it incorrectly.
I have tried to upload the recent CR2 RAW file, the xmp file produced by dt 3.2.1 and the exported 2048 wide JPEG from dt.
7D2_5983.CR2 (21.5 MB) 7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (10.2 KB)

The files metadata should show they are licensed under Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.


DT 3.0.2

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (7.6 KB)


@Marfie, I am a darktable beginner (probably still less than one week of serious experience), and I am also finding that the less I tweak, the better the results. My general workflow is Exposure, Color Balance, FilmicRGB (v4). Sometimes, I add Local Contrast and Tone Equalizer.

Beautiful photo, BTW!

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Thanks. That gives me some things to think about; not least my thoughts that I often crop too tight.

Thanks for the feedback.

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Hi @Marfie – nice one!
Much better than those I have been trying to catch
the last few days :frowning: [my specimens most often
turn their backs on me, and leave before I can say click].

Here is my interpretation of your butterfly:

Have fun!
Claes in Lund, Sweden


i try with darktable 3.2.1

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (11,3 Ko)


dt321.pr.less.effort.cr2.xmp (12.0 KB) darktable 3.2.1

Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for providing the raw!

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (11.7 KB)

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7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (6.1 KB)


Hello everyone,
here is a very free interpretation of the butterfly.

made with Art 1.4.1-55.

My take, DT 3.3 git master

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (14.4 KB)

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Beautiful shot. It’s amazing how different the background interpretations are. I’ve gone for colour separation.

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (56.1 KB)
darktable 3.2.1

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Thanks for all your examples. And for your comments on the photo itself.

Perhaps the easiest thing I have learnt is not to crop too tight. Even though the subject is the butterfly, context/surroundings can still play an important part in both telling more of the story and in aesthetics.

The part I will find most difficult is to look at the ones I prefer and try to work out what makes someone think that by doing that it makes the image more pleasing. The way of actually doing it is another matter that can be learned.

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Very good shot, thnks for posting
DT 3.2.17D2_5983.CR2.xmp (7.7 KB)


Same for me. In many images I only apply a preset (vibrance, sharpening, denoising, defringe and vibrance), tweak exposure, whitebalance and dynamic range and crop the image.

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (10.0 KB)
I use the development version 3.3 with filmic v4 which I find much superior and effective than filmic v3. Did your image in 1:20, and that’s slow because that new filmic version currently runs without using OpenCL.

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7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (10.4 KB)

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This is my attempt.

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (65.8 KB)

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DT 3.2.1

7D2_5983.CR2.xmp (12,3 KB)

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