[Newbie] Help in workflow


(Gustavo Adolfo) #1


I’m not sure if basic and generic questions like this apply to the forum, so, if you feel it doesn’t, please let me know.

I’m starting a new attempt (the second) to move from Photoshop into free software.

I’m a linux user and a foss activist, but I must confess that Photoshop is the only reason I’m still attached to the old closed source.

I wonder if you guys could point to some tutorials on basic raw workflows.

I feel overwhelmed with so many options/parameters available on free raw developers (especially rawtherapee), and I couldn’t still get similar results to what I get from PS.

Thanks in advance


I can only talk for rawtherapee (RT), as I am not very proficient with darktable.

First of all, when opening an image in RT it is opened with a default processing profile. It is not the unprocessed raw and it is not the out of camera jpeg!
Next there’s two ways to move on, either select one of the presets from the processing profile drop down menu or set the profile to neutral, which resets everything execpt for the demosaicing, and start you own tweaking from there.
How to tweak:

  1. An excellent starting point is the Basics chapter in the getting started article of the documentation: http://rawpedia.rawtherapee.com/Getting_Started#Edit_your_first_image

  2. If you don’t like to read you can watch this:
    [Youtube] Basic Raw Processing
    The video is my personal take on the getting started article.

The above two contain the basics you need to get well processed images!
Everything else we could call special needs (like local contrast, toning, B&W, special enhancements based on color etc… )

(Gustavo Adolfo) #3

I started following your tutorial on a photo I have but I stopped with an issue. Since it’s related to the tutorial, I will ask for help in that post.

(Shreedhar Inamdar) #4

I think GIMP is closest to photoshop in terms of UI and filters. Try it out. May be the learning curve is less sharp there? Here is one version that I use:

(David LaCivita) #5

I’m not an expert but I’ve made a few videos. I wasn’t paying attention and ended up making a 1 hour video but it’s got over 18K views and lots of positive feedback.


i read your comment in the other thread.
The question rises, do you actually want to use raw files?
Or do you want to process tiffs, jpegs etc…?
Just wondering as you mentioned a tiff in the other thread and here you are talking about photoshop and not lightroom.

You could also just post some examples of what you did in photoshop in the past. Something like before and after images or some information about your workflow in photoshop, the tools used, etc… Then we can directly hint you in the right direction, meaning which software and tools to use to get similar results.

(Gustavo Adolfo) #7

See my answer


And see mine :wink:

(Gustavo Adolfo) #9

@McCap Hehe… I guess I made a cross-posting mess here… never mind, thanks a lot.

I have plenty of material to start playing with.

Thanks to the others as well.

As soon as I have some results I’ll post them here

(Gustavo Adolfo) #10

ok, so here’s what I’ve done.
I have 5 dng frames that I want to stack into an hdr. Here are my 100% foss steps:

1 - Pre-processing each frame- RT - corrected chromatic aberration, hot and dead pixel filters, defringe;
2 - Align frames - Luminance HDR - in the end, saved Mantiuk 08, Ferradans and Drago tonemapping results as 16-bit tiffs;
3 - Mean stacking - Gimp - Stacked the three tiffs saved from Luminance HDR;
4 - Final adjustments - RT - Opened Gimp output stack and did some adjustments.

I’m still not very satisfied with this “final” result:

and this is the result with PS (the same workflow as above, but without RT and Gimp)


I also felt the need for selective adjustments in RT, which I applied, in PS, to the island and the tree
at right.

I also still find my RT version too flat and don’t know exactly what else should I do…

Is there a way to reuse previous tool settings?
(Mica) #11

Have you thought about trying hugin’s align image stack instead of luminance HDR? Then bring the layers into gimp for some luminosity masking.

Is there a way to reuse previous tool settings?
(Gustavo Adolfo) #12

Do you mean this?

(Mica) #13

Yes, that is exactly what I mean! There is a gimp script that does this for you: https://github.com/pixlsus/GIMP-Scripts/blob/master/sg-luminosity-masks.scm

(Gustavo Adolfo) #14

Thanks, great tip! (regardless the tool you’re using)
I’m still tweaking the image with Gimp and these channels, but I already could get some very interesting results.

(Mica) #15

I’m working on a very high dynamic range image that was originally bracketed as well. I tried a traditional HDR but was not satisfied with the results.

So now I’m playing with this workflow:

  1. Process all 3 images in darktable individually. The EV-0 images gets the most love, then the profile is copied to the EV +3 and -3 image. Output a 16 bit tiff.
  2. pull the 3 tiffs into hugin, use align image stack. Output a blened tiff, and the original tiffs, now aligned.
  3. pull all four images into gimp.

Now I’m playing with luminosity masks in gimp, trying to bring a lot of contrast/local contrast to the original shadows areas and knock some color in the original highlights


Did you just calculate the mean of the stack??

(Gustavo Adolfo) #17

I manually changed layers opacity according to the formula: Nth layer opacity = 1/N

(Gustavo Adolfo) #18

But aren’t you reintroducing noise on the stack image by reintroducing the original tiffs?
In my case, where I have a really cheap camera, I’d certainly loose the gain in detail that I get from stacking. My only camera is an old point-and-shoot Canon, its only advantage being its ability of running CHDK, thus allowing me to grab otherwise hidden raws.


It depends on what your goals are. Using all four images would give you more options from which you can pick and choose what you would like to see in the final image. Also, there are other ways to deal with noise (get rid of or introduce), etc.

(Mica) #20

Yeah my current problem with the shadows is all the noise.