Photography and Linux on Linux Journal

(Pat David) #1

Recent post on Linux Journal about photography in Linux…


Linux and FOSS have made huge steps during the last decade as far as photography is concerned. However, some important features are still missing.

  1. GIMP cannot handle large color spaces - this is crucial for professional printing
  2. Krita can deal with large color spaces, but it has no proper clone brush resp. retouching tools
  3. as far as I know, focus stacking is very complicated with Linux/FOSS
  4. except for Cinnamon, no desktop environment has proper color management. It is possible to use other desktop environments, but compromises are necessary as far as color management is concerned

Do not misunderstand me. I do not want to say that Linux/FOSS is useless for photography - on the contrary. This is just my “whishlist” to Santa.


Can you elaborate in desktop color management? Cinnamon have it?


By “proper color management” I mean that everything works perfectly, including loading calibration data form a profile and multiple monitor setups. And above all that there is a nice GUI for setting up a color managed workflow. Actually, I was not quite correct, because probably Gnome is as good as Cinnamon in this respect.
I am quite unhappy about the fact that XFCE has no GUI app at all for configuring monitor profiles.
With Cinnamon/Gnome, the profile can be set properly in colord as well as X atom, but this is not the case with KDE. Therefore you need to configure color managment in every image editing program manually (where this is possible). Or, if you want to use XFCE, you can choose the right profile within programs such as RT, but you cannot use a software-calibrated screen, because the calibration data cannot be loaded form the screen profile because the screen profile cannot be set easily within the desktop environment. Etc. etc.

(Christian Kanzian) #5

Nice article.

A bit off-topic.

Well there is colord-kde, but it still not made into a stable Debian release e.g.:
So it is not in other distributions as well, which rely on Debian. This reminds me on some conversion I had with the package maintainer … I totally forgot about that and next Debian string freeze is coming soon.


Krita does have a clone/healing feature. That is just not a different tool than the actual brush. You can use _Clone_Tool brush preset as clone tool. For healing, check the “Healing” under “painting tool” in the brush setting.


Where do I find the _Clone_Tool brush preset? Which group of brushes?


Ok, _Clone-Tool found. How do I use it? Does not appear to work like a normal clone tool at all.


OK. Never mind. Got it. Works nicely.

OK. Thanks. I guess what really stays on my whishlist ist focus stacking.

I also want to mention, although this has nothing to do with photography: Cinnamon and Gnome have nice color managment, but configuring my touchpad does not work properly there. I cannot make the system decativate my touchpad while typing. This works well in KDE though.

(Mica) #10

You can do stacking via enfuse/hugin!


I knew that in theory it works with enfuse. But does it work as well and as easily as in Affinity?

(Mica) #12

You’ll have to try for yourself:


Have not tried this yet but it does not look similar to Affinity or Photoshop. I need to be able to edit every level/mask manually with a brush. Apparently it is a totally different approach to focus stacking (at least form the user perspective). Manual corrections appear to be very limited or not possible at all.

(Pat David) #14

Manual correction using Enfuse? You can export the masks being used and manually edit them as much as you want.

(Stefan Schmitz) #15

What’s the deal with focus stacking in GIMP? You pile up layers à gogo and work with transparency … is there any other way to do it?


yes, but you need to see everything (meaning all the layers, ie the result) while you are editing the masks. the most convenient way would be a script which opens all the layers and masks that were created by enfuse in GIMP or Krita. Can GIMP or Krita deal with 50-100 layers with masks?
I think we are not far form a comfortable way to create focus stacks.


unfortunately, it is not that simple, especiallly if you have dozens of layers


@betazoid If you haven’t already, please follow what the others have suggested. I agree that some of it is not as straightforward as you would have liked but I certainly learned something from following @patdavid and other’s tutorials and concepts. Adversity builds character ha ha :joy_cat:.


hey I am really trying to be constructive and motivate you (who no doubt have done a great job so far) to be even more ambitious!


That was an interesting read. A few observations:

  1. The Polarr link is broken. I had to Bing the name to find the actual link.
  2. Having found the link, I’m still not clear on what Polarr does or why it is special. The website, oddly, does not have a proper About section.
  3. When I click on the Linux link for Polarr, it takes me to another website that says the license is proprietary. Not sure if this should fit into a discussion on FOSS workflow unless we are including free beer in addition to free speech.
  4. I notice that the author did not specifically include a tool for EXIF/other meta data editing. Is that not particularly important for professionals?
  5. I was interested to read that the author had managed to start a photography group at his workplace. I wonder what the success formula is for that. I have tried offering free photography lessons where I work, at the request of my colleagues, but the interest seems to fade when it is time to actually show up for a session.