RawTherapee Appreciation, Improvement Suggestions


Hello there,
Whilst I am not a programmer (in this instance I wish I was), I am a long-time passionate Photographer and RAW Post-Processor User. So when, having used in the past such Applications as Lightroom, CaptureOne, DXO, and darktable, among others extensively , I say RawTherapee has become my ‘go-to’ Program there is valid reason for that. In my experience it is “better” than the others in a vast many ways. Of course, as with most applications each have their pro’s and con’s, strengths and weaknessness. RawTherapee however manages to produce and pull out, in my opinion, the “best” final output for many reasons… These include:

Superior Highlight Recovery
Ability to choose Demosaicing Algorithms
LAB Adjustments

However, I would like to list areas I see much room for improvement… 1) Listing ways to improve existing functionality and 2) Possible tweaks/changes that I firmly believe would draw more potential users to the RawTherapee and have people start really realizing the serious power RT provides and dispels the unfounded illusion that “free is cheap” (and also, like GIMP, it is too complicated - I myself initially tried RawTherapee some years ago, but that brief period didn’t last long because I found it confusing. Now having returned I am mostly using it, yet the following will highlight my frustrations…)

  • Right off the bat, the Exposure ‘Module’ is way too long (Vertical-wise) that not only does it not appear as a separate category, in many instances (depending on screen resolution, font size, etc) it actually exceeds the screen. I recommend splitting it (making the Tone Curves separate). Also, unlike most of the other “modules”, there is no way to turn it off and on (a common practice to see what effect it has on the Image)
  • Likewise, but not as prominent, yet still would benefit from much “tidying up” are the Wavelets, and Lens/Geometry Modules. CIE Color Appearance, Retinex could also maybe, but don’t want to overwhelm anyone.
  • Ability to Collapse all Modules, not only that, start the Program with all Module Tabs Collapsed by default. My reasoning here is, things can get cluttered very quickly. Many of us able able to navigate quite easily… at first. After developing a few images, copying Styles/Presets from one to another, can induce confusion, especially if one is tired.

Now I see the above as Tweaks, mainly focusing on tidying up the User Interface. What is paramount of course is the ability to process images, but I would say equally is a “comfortable environment”. Trying out DXO turned me away from it not because of it’s Image Rendition capabilities, but just how one has to go about in order to achieve such results. My personal experience there was one of a headache. Far worse that RawTherapee, if only there we had multiple Module Tabs appearing in multiple instances in various categories.
Also as in DXO the increments of Values are not always “clean” and have unusual default values (Shadows/Highlights for example with Radius set to 40, Defringe Threshold set at 13). At least the increments are as “ultra precise” as in darktable, there when moving the sliders you get values such as 13.21 or 270.58…
In most other programs we are able to use the Scroll Wheel for the Sliders, is this a possibility? Some of us, sometimes, are not always at the Keyboard and just use Mouse/Pen Tablet.
So with that in mind are we able to implement an Undo/Redo button?

One big “deal breaker” I have found frustrating is lack of not necessarily Local Adjustments, but Parametric Values - ability to apply certain Filters (say, targeting the Shadows)

All in all I thank you so grateful for this wonderful product. I have been meaning to put across some of these suggestions, but I was really motivated to do so when darktable released a new version yesterday and after trying it out, for me personally, it only reinforced my appreciation for RawTherapee. darktable has its Pro’s, yet even they admit certain aspects of RT are superior - Noise Reduction, etc.

Thank you for listening, and thank you thank you for such an amazing product. And the price, the best things in life truly are Free!


Hi @EE-TV,

I get a feeling that you have not read the docs:

…for instance using the mouse wheel here
… or the menu collapse feature here

(Ingo Weyrich) #3

That’s easy. Just go through all tool panels, right click on the topmost tool to collapse all except the topmost and left click again the topmost tool to collapse it. Now all tools in the tool panel are collapsed.
Then go to preferences and

(Hermann-Josef) #4


Using RT 5.5 I followed the above suggestion and arranged all tools in the collapsed/expanded state I mostly use. Then I disabled the above mentioned button, hit “save tool …” and exited RT. However, when I restart RT and open the next image, the arrangement of the tools is not in the state I wanted them. So either I did something wrong or there is a bug with the procedure described above.


(Karlheinz Lehmann) #5

After clicking the button “save tool …” you also need to click the okay button, then you can exit

(Hermann-Josef) #6

@ChasingShadows @heckflosse

Yes, this is what I did. But still some panels are again expanded after I restart RT, although they were collapsed when I saved the settings.


(Sebastien Guyader) #7

I thin mints the collapsed state is saved only for the main tools, not for subtools. Maybe those tools you see expanded again after saving are subtools?

(Hermann-Josef) #8

@sguyaderWhat exactly are the "sub"tools? E.g. in the “transform”-tab (I hope this is the correct English translation, the one with triangle and scissors) I had the tools “perspective”, “objective corrections” etc. collapsed and they were open again after restart.


(Ingo Weyrich) #9

@Jossie Are you using Single Editor Tab Mode (SETM) or Multiple Editor Tab Mode (METM)?

(Hermann-Josef) #10

I work in METM, although I had to look in RawPedia first to understand what this means :slight_smile: . I use 2 monitors and have the editor window on the EIZO (AdobeRGB) and the file browser on the ASUS (sRGB).


(Ingo Weyrich) #11

Then please ensure that only one editor is opened when you save the tool collpased/expanded states in preferences dialog. If there’s more than one editor open when saving the tool states I don’t know which editor is used to get the states.

(Ingo Weyrich) #12

@Jossie It seems the tool states are not written correctly when using MEOW (Multiple Editors in Own Window) mode. As a workaround, switch to METM, save the tool states as you like and then switch back to MEOW.

I will try to fix this bug.

(Hermann-Josef) #13


Ingo, thanks a lot for looking into this and also for the workaround.



Thank you all, I did read the Manual. RawTherapee is my choice of all the RAW processors I use. Constantly promoting it on places like dpreview, where everyone seems obsessed with subscription models and such. I must say, some of the results I get with RT beat even the Noise handling of some of the more “professional” apps. The multiple choice of Demosaic is paramount here! Yet the clunky module (especially the Exposure tab) can be a hindrance at times. It’s very “long in the tooth” and can take up more space than the screen allows depending on the screen resolution. No complaining, just suggestions and opinions from someone who is passionate about photography.
When people point out what they don’t favor in order to make the complete switch (as I have) over to RT I make a point that this App is constantly in development (see here: https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/62216517 with regards to local (labs) editing,for example).
Again, I cannot express my appreciation for RawTherapee strongly enough. Now if only there was a more user-friendly version of GIMP (FOSS/Linux)…