My new user experience

I’m new to Rawtherapee and thought it may be helpful if I wrote up some first impressions.

I work in photographing artworks for a wide variety of artists, galleries, and museum and then I make prints for them at my print shop. So far I’ve primarily been using ACR for raw processing because 99% of what I do is single images that I don’t need a database for.

I had tried switching to Capture One about a year ago but it didn’t work well at all for single images (if you tried to open a single file it would force you to try to add it to the database then if it was already in the database it would give you an error but wouldn’t tell you where in the database it was - huge PIA - plus the keystone tool is totally broken and has been for 10+ years, only ICC profiles from Color Checker cards, and a host of other issues).

I had also used Darktable some a couple years ago though it always felt more like a kind of clunky replacement for Lightroom than a replacement for ACR to me. It seemed ok but not quite what I was looking for.

So then recently I tried Rawtherapee 5.8 and I have to say WOW - I’m absolutely amazed at the level of control this software gives. Its already making it much easier to notch out colors when doing color correction and it does a lot better job interpreting dng color profiles than ACR does IMHO. But then I tried the keystone tool … the reason I left C1 … well good thing I used to run a software company. I built the dev build from git and was pleasantly surprised to see a really great implementation in Rawtherapee. I hope there is a public release soon so everyone can see this huge improvement.

Its great to pick up a piece of software that makes you realize how much you still have to learn about an aspect of the field in which you work.

There are a ton of little things I really appreciate - like being able to choose dng color profiles from any folder (and not just a common folder like in Adobe). This has allowed me to move the color profiles next to the files they are for which is really useful when making backups.

My biggest feature request would be to allow interpreting ACR presets (or some other method) so that I can use HSV adjustments generated by the Datacolor SpyderCheker 48 software. I know this works slightly differently in Rawtherapee but I think it should be possible to translate it. I capture x-rite classic, x-rite sg, and datacolor spyderchecker 48 cards with every artwork I photograph (different cards work better for different use cases) and with rawtherapee i’m limited to using 2 of the 3 currently (unless I’m missing something of course)


Hi and welcome! Good to hear you’ve found a tool that resonates with you.

Features requests, if serous, should be filed on the github.

You’ll probably need to elaborate on the data format of the Datacolor software, I’m not aware of anyone who uses it.

However, if you want to elaborate on what you do here, there is likely another way your workflow can be accommodated, and we have many knowledgeable people who can help you out.

@BSLprints For right now you can use opensource tools to make icc files from your datacolor card. I have the 24 patch and use Argyllcms with Coco GUI…or you can use DCamProf and make DCP files from that card…I can provide links if you need them… Also you might want to revisit DT …it has basically changed dramatically over the the last two years with new modules and workflow options…it has integrated support for the datacolor card. it uses a colormixer optimization to fine tune color rather than the traditional profile approach…


Don’t know if you are aware, but there’s this section in RawPedia: How to Create DCP Color Profiles.

The actual creation of the dcp profile is based on DCamProf .

Features requests, if serous, should be filed on the github.

Thanks! Will do.

I’ve tried Coca and didn’t really care for its UI and found it overly confusing. Maybe I’ll give it another go. My long term goal is to write my own DCP generator for my specialized needs, but thats going to be a few years down the road. In the meantime I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and invest in the repro edition of Lumariver Profile Designer - anyone here have experience with it? I downloaded the trial but the limits make it hard to test.

dcamprof and lumariver share the same core engine - the main difference is that lumariver provides a GUI.

I’m not sure if there are any features in lumariver not explicitly available in some way within dcamprof via appropriate application of commandline options

Lumariver does seem to be well regarded by most who have used it, but a significant number of the people here are comfortable enough on the commandline that we just use dcamprof (which is the software used to generate all of RawTherapee’s bundled DCP profiles by the way, using the procedure linked by someone else above…)

Echoing what @Entropy512 said Lumariver is a fancy GUI for Dcamprof…if you follow the Rawpedia link given by @Jade_NL the basic command lines are there to create your DCP. Having said that your comments were a bit confusing as you mentioned on one hand writing your own DCP software but were confused by Coca…a very simple GUI for Argyllcms. In Coca you simply pick the layout of your card and the matching data file and then point it to the tif image of your card and then its just a matter of picking the style of icc you want and you can tweak the white patch brightness and the gamma with a couple of settings…I think that is it… So if you found that interface too confusing then the Lumariver one is armed with a barrage of options…making it powerful but with so many choices you might again not find what you want in your workflow…on the other hand maybe it is what you are looking for??

For Coca its not so much the number of options as the way they are presented (and I’m sure the 90s Java UI also helps in my negative opinion TBH) - the Lumariver trial seems to be just much better laid out and obvious what everything does.

I’ve considered using dcamprof directly and I should probably try it out - but I’m worried that using it on the command line will be a cumbersome workflow for something I’m doing multiple times every day but maybe it wont be so bad if I set up json files with my most common options - I’ll have to look into that more.

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I can easily see a badly laid out GUI being worse for some people than a commandline interface or even just coding up a Python script yourself from scratch… I’m one of those people for sure. We’re rare but we do exist.

I often find myself preferring commandlines, where complex commands either get thrown into a shell script, or I have a text file with a reference of “commonly used commands with all arguments” (I think I have 5-10 specific ffmpeg use cases I’ve put into text files for example, and in many cases once I’ve run a particular command once I’ll run it a few more times on other files, in which case bash command history is a wonderful thing…)

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the big thing I’m worried about with using dcamprof is, I assume, the files have to straightened and cropped before feeding them in - which if you are doing 15-30 of these in the same day adds a lot of time overhead compared to using a gui to select where the patches are. I think coca also had this same issue (as does Datacolor’s own software TBH)

Ya its a bit of a fiddle to prepare the images. DT’s recent solution is nice because you can just for the most part place the grid and you can do it in the raw file…no tiff required as it is using an optimized channel mixer instance to bring the colors closer to the reference values from the applied WB and input profile settings…then you just use that as a preset for similar photos…does delta E calculations and identifies good and bad patches…

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Ah yeah that could be a problem - argyll-scanin attempts to autodetect the patches but it fails pretty often tbh…

When I make profiles from DPReview studio shots, i crop the colorchecker to include the alignment marks, and scanin eats it every time…

Regarding command line, I too incorporate dcamprof in shell scripts, and I find that while the effort to develop such can be a bit tedious, the payoff in repeatability and subsequent time savings is enormous…

Regarding Lumariver, I don’t own it but I would in your case, @BSLprints. It’s one good example of purpose-built software that works well, according to second-hand anecdotal evidence. I’m a big FOSS user, but not above buying something that does a particular job well. Not photography-related, but I’m about to purchase a program called ConeLayout, $39US, that lays out cylindrical constructs with eccentric tapers, like motorcycle mufflers. I’m going to use it to lay out the tapered course of a locomotive boiler; it happily pukes .dxf files that the metal cutter I’m going to use accepts without hassle. IMHO a good expenditure of $39…

@BSLprints You could also try another GUI I have used…RoughProfiler…It does what Coca does I think its just a little nicer and it has a nice log with numbers and stats after it makes your profile so you can assess how well it fit…it also has the ability to set the corners of the chart from the display…just select show co-ordinates and then click starting top left for your chart…again might not be something you like but it helps with the scanin issues and not having to be precise…Just set google to translate the page …it is in Spanish… ArgyllCMS GUI :: RoughProfiler :: Color Management for ICC Profiles - Jose Pereira