RawTherapee FAQ and roadmap?

Hi there,

Searching around for a while, I haven’t been able to find a FAQ or roadmap for RawTherapee. Does anyone know if they exist and where I could find them? :slight_smile:

I’m quite a fan of open source software and use Libre Office, Firefox and Thunderbird as my software of choice. I’ve been returning to RawTherapee several times over the last years, to take a look at developments. So far the one thing which has been keeping me from delving into the program has been the lack of local editing. I was wondering if this is a feature which is being actively developed or not, and I have not been able to find any information on this. This is why I’m looking for an FAQ and roadmap in the hope that it would be described there. I appreciate the dedication and all the time and effort the volunteer programmers donate to the development of the software. And it would be nice to know if certain features are under active development or if they require a complete rewrite of the software and therefore are unlikely to happen.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

Ah, now I just found this link to another thread underneath the “Read this first” post: Is there a list of upcoming/planned features?

It seems the OP of that thread asked the same question as me in February. There weren’t many replies to his thread, so my feeling is that local editing is not something we can expect anytime soon. It would still be nice to know if implementing local editing would be a major undertaking, like a complete rewrite, or whether it’s a doable task. I believe it’s a feature many are looking for, so it would be nice to know if it is something that is realistic to wish for and to implement :slight_smile: And yes, I am aware that round-tripping to Gimp is possible :slight_smile:

Are you also already aware of Darktable? It’s a non-destructive editor (and RAW processor) that has local adjustments.

The problem is that there is a point at which local editing begins to overlap with existing pixel-editing capabilities in other software, like GIMP. What would be the benefit of re-implementing some set of local pixel-editing operations in RT or dt, when it could easily be handled through an export and edit in GIMP (or any other area of overlap for that matter)?

That’s not to say that it’s a bad idea, just that I think it must be considered in the context of the intended capabilities, and the manpower available to work on things. At some point it becomes a list of desires that basically mimics (possibly) existing functionality from another project…

I don’t think you can round-trip to gimp in a lossless fashion.


Follow development by watching the issue tracker commits, discussions and branches:


Thanks! Yes, I’ve heard of Darktable and watched some of Robert Hutton’s tutorials on the software: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmvlUro_Up1NBX7VK8UUuyWo1B468zEA0
Daktable looks quite promising, I think :relaxed:. As far as I know, Darktable runs on Linux and Mac OS X and I happen to be on Windows. I’ve tried out Ubuntu on my laptop, and perhaps I might install it as a second operating system alongside Windows on my main PC, just to try out Darktable some more. I’ll have to invest quite a lot of time learning to use the software, so I’d prefer if I could find a raw converter that would work on both Linux and Windows - just like Firefox, Thunderbird and Libre Office. However, I know that is a luxurious wish as that rarely is the case even with paid software :slight_smile:

Yes Patrick, you’re right that overlapping of features may occur, if local editing were to be implemented in RawTherapee. However, personally I see a huge workflow benefit by avoiding having to learn to use two programs and sending a TIFF file back and forth between the two if you need local editing capabilities :slight_smile:

I just came back from a youth week where I was one of the helpers in a basic photography workshop. Thousands of pictures were taken of singing, dancing and different workshops etc. and a photo presentation consisting of perhaps 300 pictures was shown on the last evening. Preparing the presentation the editors used Lightroom to quickly brighten faces and skin in pictures which were backlit or just to make portraits stand out from the background. The workflow was efficient and would have been slowed down considerably, if they had to export and roundtrip to different programs.

IMO it would be great if RawTherapee could develop in to a raw editor toolbox which contained all of the basic editing features most photographers would need on a daily basis. And if you could edit on a local area, I think many people wouldn’t need other software than RawTherapee for most of their work. Then you could use Gimp for more advanced features like compositing, foreground removal, content aware fill, advanced layer masks and whatever all these advanced features are called.

Personally I like to take portraits, but I’m a novice at editing. I’ve dabbled with software like Portrait Professional for quick portrait enhancements and have experimented with advanced editing in Gimp like frequency separation / wavelet decompose following tutorials made by you, Patrick, and others :relaxed: However, very often all I want to do is the following: slightly brighten the teeth and the white in the eyes, sharpen eyes and eyebrows. Slightly increase saturation of the color of the iris and emphasize a catch-light. Lighten the skin under the eyes and perhaps remove a distracting blemish. Because of my limited experience I can’t be sure, but I would think that if local editing, and a good spot healing tool were implemented in RawThereapee then I wouln’t need other software to perform the mentioned enhancements.

I’m not sure if RawTherapee supports plugins, but if it does and local editing were to be implemented, perhaps a programmer with a particular interest in portraits would want to make a portrait enhancement plugin? And another might feel drawn to develop a landscape enhancement plugin etc? That might also be a way to add specific features? :slight_smile:

And certainly, with limited volunteer programmers it is important to consider priorities. I just feel that many people are dismissing RawTherapee which appears to be otherwise very capable, simply because it lacks local editing which so many find extremely useful.

Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts David and for all your many contributions! :relaxed:


Wouldn’t round-tripping with a TIFF file be lossless?

Thanks Morgan! :slight_smile:
I’ll take a look at those links!

GIMP, Linux and Windows have been mentioned… I saw an item the other day where GIMP can be made to look like Photoshop. This is under Ubuntu. The item was on the “OMG Ubuntu” blog-thing. You replace an existing GIMP folder with a downloaded one. Just thought I’d mention…

There are not a lot of lossless editing tools in gimp 2.8.

You should go raw file → RT edits → gimp edits

No. Thing is, the pixels itself are losslessly stored, but the bigger point about lossless (or non-destructive as it’s called) raw editing is that your edits are not baked into the image but stored as processing instructions that can be replayed later. Once you have an intermediate raster file (like TIFF) you are no longer able to fine tune settings done early in your work as that would lose everything you did to the TIFF afterwards. If GIMP learns about nondestructive editing that might eventually change. Until then, it’s a one way trip.


You are of course right :relaxed: I don’t know why I was only thinking of file compression and not of the difference between non-destructive raw editing and “destructive” editing in Gimp and Photoshop etc. A one way trip it is :slight_smile:

You are right :relaxed: For some reason I was only thinking about file compression, when I wrote my last post. I guess it shows I haven’t been using much time in editing software :slight_smile:

My understanding is that “lossless” is an adjective applied to file compression methods which do not lose any data. I believe that “lossless” is not an adjective correctly applied to a raw editing process. I think it is confusing (if not erroneous) to describe a non-destructive or parametric editing process as “lossless” raw editing. On the other hand there are editing tools which act directly on the image pixels and whose effects (under certain circumstances) cannot be reversed. One might well think of such editing as “lossy”

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The original context was in moving from a raw editor to a pixel editor, then back to a raw editor (round-tripping in gimp & rawtherapee) which is a lossy operation. If you can have lossy, then certainly you can have lossless in the same context.