Shadows/Highlights & Tone Equalizer

Does the Shadow/Highlights & Tone Equalizer tool of Dev version exist outside of local adjustments? I personally find the sliders easier to work with than the tone curve, particularly for bringing out detail in the midtones without compromising highlights. Right now I have been using it as full image spot with 100% scope, but it would be nice if this were a global tool. Am I missing it somewhere?

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The shadows and highlights part has been available in the exposure tab for some time now, but the equalizer is new. I’m considering adding the tone equalizer as a global tool along with some enhancements some time in the future.


Yes, I am aware of the shadow highlights tool. It’s the equalizer that I was looking for.

I think it is in ART…

No, rt has one but as the op said in the local adjustments tab.

There are a lot of goodies in the local adjustments not found in the rest of rt.


I have said to myself that the Local Adjustments tab is about 80% of the way to being a complete software package. Add the Raw and Transform tabs and white balance tool and you are there.

In Art you have one with tonal false color…


Is the preferred way to work, to not use the “Tone Equalizer” along with “Lab adjustments” on the same image?

I couldn’t find anything on the subject in RawPedia.

FWIW, if so then I’m wrong. I’m in ART but with the same basic tools mostly.

I use (out of habit more than understanding?) L*a*b* chroma as an almost-default bump in global chromaticity on virtually all images. I then use other tools from there. Also, I use the Tone EQ far more often than a tone curve. If all I need to do is tame some highlights, I may just use a bit of Highlight Compression (in Log Tone Mapping). If it needs more I’ll use Tone EQ.

But more on point I use L*a*b* to set a kind of baseline and then use other tools (locally or not) to adjust from there.

My point is they all add up to a cumulative end result. So to my mind, if you can best use Tool A for 50% of an effect and Tool B for the other 50%, why not – Even if A or B could do all 100% each? Maybe if you use Tool A for 75%, then Tool B for -25% and then Tool C for 50% there could be some streamlining. But if it works, it works.

However if I’m being stupid I won’t be surprised.

Hi Mike, there’s no recommendation on whether you should or should not use them together. Although they can be used to achieve similar goals, they operate differently and produce different results. Use them in whatever combination is required to achieve the desired effect.


I’ve found this to be really poor UI design given that many of the tools are globally useful. Hiding them behind “Local Adjustments” leads to those who are only interested in global tools not realizing they exist.


And vice versa, unfortunately.

Can’t count how many times I set a tool in LA to 100% scope and “Full Image”.

The tools RT has are great, you have to know your way around the UI.

They are. But I think @Entropy512’s comment is valid nonetheless. FWIW I’m using ART but IMO that’s one way darktable does it better: There’s no inherent LA context / limitation. All tools can all be applied locally or globally, with or without masking.

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My comment was meant to be in support of what he said too. :blush:
Because the UI is a bit confusing, it’s easy to miss stuff, so you must be proficient with “where is what and how do I use it” in order to leverage the full potential.

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Understood. I misinterpreted your intent.

Ideally I think there should be no distinction in availability for LA tools, just a restriction on where they operate. That’s how darktable is designed.

And as I’ve posted elsewhere I think an adjustment brush would be a hugely helpful feature. It’s possible to partially approximate it in darktable but not completely (e.g. the change to the mask isn’t visible until the stroke is ended, not as it’s drawn in real time). But that’s another topic.