[Play Raw] Enhance snowy mountain detail (high-frequency high-contrast) in RawTherapee


(Horea Christian) #1

I occasionally have this issue where the camera software produces better microcontrast than I can via RawTherapee. I am unsure whether this is an issue with the software or with my ability to use it. All files presented here and their associated .pp3 files are available here: chymera.eu/debug/rawtherapee/mountain_detail.zip.

The best I can obtain from the .NEF is:

As you can see the background looks rather flat and dull, even a bit “foggy”.

This is what the camera generates:

Doesn’t look like much, but that’s mainly due to the lightness.

Based on the camera .JPG but not the .NEF , I can get:

Which has much more contrast on the cliffs on the mountainsides in the background.

What I tried to do in RawTherapee is to tweak the “Tone Mapping” and the “Contrast by Detail Levels” dials, and they both helped, but not nearly as much as when starting off with the JPG file (all .pp3 files available in the aforementioned archive).

Can you help me get results similarly good to the last picture while starting from the NEF (this would allow me to better preserve the dynamic range and reduce clipping).

(darix) #2

you know … attaching full hd resolution would have been enough. you dont need to attach 3x 11MB files to this thread for discussing.


I don’t understand what you want to archive, anyway here is a tryout.

The main problem imho is “wrong”, unneeded iso 1250 that is killing all the advantages of a fullframe.

(Shreedhar Inamdar) #4

It is difficult to do this without the .nef file. I suggest you have a look at the [Play RAW] category rules and see if it is suitable for your image.


@shreedhar the nef is linked.


Moinchen, @Chymera!

Here is my first attempt in RawTherapee, using your .NEF as source.

camera.jpg.out.pp3 (11.5 KB)

Note: except for white balance, I have only used modules from
the Exposure tab (the first tab) in this exercise.

Claes in Lund, Schweden

(Shreedhar Inamdar) #7

Oh I see. My bad @Chymera . I tried to click on the address in the first post and it did not work. Now I copy pasted it to a new tab and it worked. Thanks for pointing it out.

Here is my attempt using the nef file.
camera-1.jpg.out.pp3 (12.5 KB)

EDIT: I added Haze removal and corrected the colors to get this
camera-2.jpg.out.pp3 (12.5 KB)

(JegMeg) #8

The Chymera link gives me an error
" The requested URL /debug/rawtherapee/mountain_detail.zip. was not found on this server "


The DL address is what’s there WO the dot


13M camera.JPG
30M camera.NEF
10M from_jpg.jpg
12K from_jpg.jpg.out.pp3
11M from_nef.jpg
12K from_nef.jpg.out.pp3
64M total

(Andrew) #10

Those were the days, going skiing…
Here’s my effort mainly using a Lab tone curve.

Here’s the curve -

@Chymera, this may be of interest -

I see the Nikon jpeg has managed to suppress the lens flare rainbow top centre whereas the rest of us haven’t.

(Andrew) #11

With Haze Removal and more Lightness -


Indeed i’ve noticed too the lens flare rainbow suppression, this is the first time i see such a feature!

(JegMeg) #13

My first edit in RT was difficult. Was hardly able do improve it at all.

I also tried to erase unwanted reflections in the picture. Where is the spot removal/healing brush tool ? I can’t find it …

Then I tried to do some edit in DxO , and realized it is possible to restore the sunny green color in the trees.


Then i tried for more than one hour to do the same in RT. This is what I could do in RT 5.5

I guess a more experienced RT/dt user could do a lot more than me.

(Morgan Hardwood) #14


(Glenn Butcher) #15

Yeow, that was tough. The “thing” seems to be to get the halo around the sun to blend, rather that just blob out.

I tried RawTherapee first (don’t code on me, @Claes:smile:), but I’m not color-managing it yet so what looked okay in-program didn’t look the same exported.

So, I reverted to rawproc, opened it with dcraw ProPhoto colorspace and gamma, and build a rather challenging curve to do the “thing”. Bit of saturation, then resize/sharpen for output to sRGB colorspace. Let’s see how it looks out there:

Here’s a screenshot to show the curve it took:

(Sander Knopper) #16

Ok, this was a challenge…

I’m aware this isn’t a PlayRaw and the thread is actually about rawtherapee, but I just couldn’t resist giving it a try in darktable. Sorry! :smiley:

camera.NEF.xmp (6.0 KB)

(Jonas Wagner) #17

Here is an attempt with darktable and a bit of gimp:

camera.NEF.xmp (19.3 KB)

I think one of the problems in your attempts is that you lose a lot of detail to noise reduction. Curves + a bit of local contrast should get you pretty far already. With that said I always struggle with the local contrast in RT. :slight_smile:

(Andrew) #18

@Jonas_Wagner, how did you avoid the coloured flare streak please? Gimp?

(Jonas Wagner) #19

Didn’t do anything to it, from all I can tell it’s still there. And looking at the image again a bit after editing, I guess I went a bit too crunchy and contrasty but oh well. It was about enhancing detail after all. :slight_smile:

(Glenn Butcher) #20

I just curve-dragged it into clip oblivion. Above a certain point, everything is just white… :smiley:

Seriously, I’ve found that images with saturated pixels require such treatment if you do your processing “by hand” - white balance, in particular, separates the saturated channels, and the only realistic way to corral it is to set the white point at the lowest of the histogram spikes.