I will make one final - last ditch attempt to get all of us to see through the haze of sticking to a legacy approach, that does not work for everyone, and I am not alone in saying that we can do better, I am sure there are other voices amongst the darktable user community who share a similar opinion, but may not be as vocal.
The purpose of a tool, is to make life easier. Not more difficult.
Any additional functionality introduced into darktable will not take anything away from what is already there. Neither does it discredit any of the hardwork that it has taken to bring darktable to where it is today. Change and progress - that is life, and I would have hoped that a community of open source people and open source users, will also be a lot more open minded. I must be frank, the conversation and conservatism in this group from some has been dissappointing. there is a bigger world out there, which darktable can tap into for ideas to become a better tool. darktable’s origins have already borrowed lots of ideas from existing tools like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. What’s the problem with borrowing a few more good ideas. None.
I have read the conservative clamour for keeping things the way they are, from those who like darktable as it is, no issue, adding new functionality does not take away the legacy you like, just do not clamp down on new ideas that may improve darktable for others like me (and I am sure many others).
Aurelien and others speak of a cherished retention of providing “controls” so users can tailor to their hearts content in their own individual way. Implementing new functionality in darktable in a new module, will not take away the control they already have.
If you take a proper step back and look at darktable, you find right in the filmic module, and in many other modules, a button or icon, labelled “Auto”. Interestingly the english version of the darktable 3.4 manual mentions the word auto either on its own or in words like automatically - 146 times. That’s what darktable also does, automatically doing so many things for the users, and some of it can be by their choice.
In the filmic module - you have the auto button, so all this clamour about user choice is not taken away, by adding an auto feature. You can have darktable do certain things automatically by a user chosen choice to achieve something. In the case of the filmic module it does some analysis, obviously and then uses its in-built “Colour Science” to make a guess at ideal settings. Other modules in darktable have similar features on buttons or other controls like eye dropper tools, to make things easier. This does not in any way take away from the control features available. Within the filmic module, if you use the Auto function, you still have the ability to go ahead and improve or alter the automatically chosen settings.
So its not one or the other, you can have control and also have assisted “photo intelligence” in the same tools, or modules and the end user who should be the most important customer of the tool has a choice, but also has the option to take advantage of any assistance provided in the tootl - an option - you do not have to use it.
The way it has been managed in filmic is great, you have direct access to the settings automatically achieved by the auto button, andcan still change the results, to what you prefer.
I would suggest the new functionality that provides a ready to use image, be created in another module, so that filmic module development can remain independent according to whatever Aurelien had intended for it.
I suggest that the new functionality to address the concerns I have raised for a more end user friendly image as a starting point in darktable, be implemented as a module somewhat similar in approach to filmic where all the parameters that the tool uses to make an accurate “guess” of the best settings, are available as sliders, buttons, or whatever is the most suitable way of presenting this in the user interface, and all we need is an auto button, which when clicked results in the module which I will call “Polaroid” for want of a better name - but you get the idea - simple one click, and you get a nice image, but all the controls and sliders have been adjusted so you still have control, and much more control, cos you can go ahead and adjust to your hearts content.
Control is not taken away from you, actually it is enhanced, you have direct access to the intelligence behind such wonderful photo “colour science” that can inteligently analyse an image and adjust settings to present you a wonderful starting point. You do not have to use the auto button in this new “Polaroid” module, but its there for those of us who like to use it, same as you find in the filmic module. One click, you get a great image, if that is what you want, and you can then tweak the settings and use the other modules in darktable to complete your creative intention.
I reiterate, we have one good example of this is an open source tool - Filmulator, and if I could code myself, I would do this.
Maybe I need to challenge myself andt learn to code in C or C++ like Aurelien had to also learn, a few years ago, and like him, add this new module to darktable. It would be so much faster though if others who have far more abilities than me, saw the value in this and could achieve this much faster and more completely than I could.
The key 1st step would be to understand the code in Fimlulator and decide which variables are set by the “embedded” photo intelligence and how to expose these variables as controls, so that when the auto function in the new “Polaroid” module is activated, this sets the values of the exposed controls. Of course there could be default settings like in filmic. So you have three options, stick with the default generic settings, click on the Auto button to get enhanced settings of the controls, or start from manual and tweak the defaults to your liking without any assistance by and Auto “photo intelligence - colour science assistant” button. Pretty much like it already is in filmic, just more like what we have in filmulator, with the potential of instant high quality as a bonus.
Certain frustrations led to the development of filmic, and I’m making a genuine case for more. maybe some of the existing or other new developers will also catch my frustration and help out, to add much needed functionaility to darktable.
At the end of the day what distinguishes humanity is our persistent development of tools, and it does not matter who makes them, what’s important is that we move forward. Each of us can choose to play a part in progress or decide not to, its our choice. I would sincerely hope that we can move darktable forward. If I can think of these ideas, I am sure many others are likely to have thought similar thoughts, I only happen to be the one at this time kicking up a fuss about it cos I’ve seen this implemented, and moreso in an open source tool. We can do this and close some much needed gaps, in darktable.
It’s ony a matter of time, someone will add this feature to darktable - to provide instant hight quality starting points, similar to what is achievable in other tools Lightroom, Photoshop, Filmulator, and on Mac you have RAW photo processor which is similar - freware, but closed source(to the best of my knowlege), and we can either participate and contribute to making this happen.
Base curve - great starting point.
Filmic - even better.
“Polaroid” - next step. which will happen one day, its only a matter of time. “Polaroid” will combine the simplicity of Base curve, with some of the kind of user interface of Filmic, to combine simplicity and control, so you have the best of both worlds and above all a high quality auto finished product of a pretty decent image, if you so choose to click that “Auto” button, and still have all the control to modify the auto generated settings.
It will happen, its only a matter of time. Someone will do this.