Processing old low resolution digital photos

I’m working on a book about DIY White Water Dory builing.
I still use Gimp occassionally, for a small set of specific tasks (that involve mask editing with a brush). But for the most part–even for old low-resolution digital images from ancient point and shoot cameras–Darktable does a far better job.

The lower the original resolution the less useful “sharpening” becomes, in fact it is often counter-productive. But to the extent sharpening is useful at all (on low res images) Darktable’s sharpening is light years better than Gimp.

rgb levels, haze removal, filmic rgb and color zones can quickily improve old jpeg images. Darktable is not in any way just a RAW editor. Thank you open source developers!

Hi Colin,
I believe you may get better results if you leave behind the unsharp mask method of sharpening common to gimp and DT in the sharpening module and instead try some of the presets such as lens deblur in the diffuse or sharpen module of DT. I am really impressed with these pre-sets and promoting them a lot on this forum.

I’ll try that.
Indeed that is better. I’m trial and error with it at this point but already doing better. I read the DOCS page but it didn’t make sense yet. I’ll poke around for maybe a Bruce Williams youtube.

Another interesting question related to this thread:

If your goal is to optimize images for small format display inside an epub, I have a hunch processing processes change.

Higher constrast and higher color saturation than you would use for a high resolution coffee table book, or for display on an art gallery wall, might be more appropriate (in the epub case). I’m not certain about that. I’ll be playing with it, next few weeks.

I use python3 ebookLib from github for creating epubs on the fly, from ascii text sources. Point and click, manual menu-based editors like InDesign and Sigil take forever to work with. It’s easier to experiment and compare differences when all it takes is a terminal window command.

At present, for this purpose only machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) in 2023, without ANY experience in this field using freeware sites such as.

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What makes you think that? If anything the sharpening routine changes.

RE> “what makes you think that?”

…trial and error.
I’m and old guy with bad eyesight, so it’s possible what I see is not such a good guage.

But when put images I edited for large format into an epub, and then look at it on my phone, I do not see the same thing as I do in my browser on a 32" high res display. It makes intuitive sense to me the requirements do change a bit.

If I fiddle with the image so it does look better inside a phone, then it does not look so good in larger format.

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That AI link was impressive.
I have one phone image so bad I put it in my manuscript as a place marker, with a RED comment to myself that I have to remake this image.

I uploaded that “unusably blurry” image to the AI sight. i was surprised. I still need to remake that image. But still.


@s7habo and @nwinspeare did a couple of the best videos on this module…

We start with





18 g.

Many Gimp users and content creators are in the dark because they don’t use open source AIs to assist Gimp and my plugins. They are doing graphic design like it is 1997 instead of 2023.

1997 was good for me.

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