What am I missing here? (Can't produce decent output)


Now that I am really ready for RAW-files I again opened up RawTherapee. After playing around I was not very satisfied and opened up Apple Aperture. After adjusting just 12 settings in Aperture, the result was pretty amazing. RawTherapee seems to produce a flat, non-dynamic image, while the Aperture one looked very rich.

I’ve been trying to mimic the Aperture output for 1-2 hours now but still not getting very close. How come? Is this really down to skill? If so, how to improve?


This is the article you’ve been missing:

(Morgan Hardwood) #3

The key to developing an image is keeping an eye on the preview and reacting accordingly. This may sound blatantly obvious yet over the years I keep seeing people who say they want to “walk east” and so they “walk west”. Well, if you walk west far enough you will eventually get east, but that’s where the comparison falls apart. Granted Aperture may be more automated while RawTherapee’s strong point is that it doesn’t do anything you don’t tell it to, but you can still produce vibrant and dynamic images. Take a look at the #play_raw tag to see what can be done to a raw file using various programs. As for your specific problem, you won’t get a specific reply because you haven’t showed any screenshots or results from Aperture nor provided any sample raw files.


Ok, RT skills are missing then. Today RT won over Aperture. Little bit of a cheat by starting with RT auto levels, but it’s a start. I will see if there are some nice tutorials and rtm. Thanks.


Hey guys,

Overall it’s going great but I can use some advise now.

Aperture + Paint.NET:


Truth to be said. The Aperture one probably loses without Paint.NET correction. The action take in Paint.NET was Auto-Level, which rarely works, except today. It gave the image a less blue, warmer/browner look. And the RawTherapee version does have a few things better than Aperture.

Anyways, let me describe why I don’t like the RawTherapee output.

  1. It has a nice blue sky like the Aperture version, but with RawTherapee the blue is projected onto the non-sky elements too. The shiny glass building in the middle is unrealistically blue. Even the clouds them self are too blue.
  2. The sky in the Aperture version seems to have more contrast or something. It’s less flat, more 3D, more aggressive.
  3. The Aperture version is much sharper. Look at the window with all the cut out window views. (Above train, slightly to the right.)
  4. In the right bottom of the image I made a 100% zoom cut out. RawTherapee has so much noise.

All this sums up to the Aperture photo being a city that pops up from the landscape with an explosion of light and clouds behind it. It’s almost like you can move the clouds around with your mind. With the RawTherapee photo everything feels more static.

What did I do to try to fix the problem?

  1. I don’t know what to do. Making the building/clouds less blue means the sky won’t be as blue as it is now.
  2. Contrast, contrast by detail levels, local contrast.
  3. Sharpening. Seems to work a bit at 100% zoom, but zoomed out no difference.
  4. Turn off sharpening. Not much difference. Turn on Nosie Reduction; that made it better but not enough. Tried several settings but default seems to give the best output.

Note: As I am still pretty new, I might not have used the optimal settings with the methods mentioned above, so it doesn’t mean that those methods won’t work at all.

(Karlheinz Lehmann) #6

This kind of problem usually is WB related. In the WB section there are two sliders to adjust the tint and a blue/read equalizer. IMHO you need to play around a bit with those two sliders.

(Alberto) #7

if you let us use the picture (nice! btw) for a play raw thread you might get a few tips…

(nosle) #8

@SaturnusDJ your image comparison is a very good example of a problem I’ve been having as well. It’s as if objects take up the colours of the surroundings in a stronger way in Rawtherapee. Sometimes this is good but it can give the scene a “transparent” feel. What the effect is and how it comes about has been bugging me. Contrast plays a large part so by increasing contrast via curves or the contrast slider you will get closer.

As @ChasingShadows says it looks like a whitebalance issue but using the camera wb should result in the same colour temp in all editors one could hope.


It can be also related to DCP. Is there a DCP for this camera?

I am not proficient in color management.
I think that WB results in the application of 3 multipliers to RGB channels. Is it true?
And I think that in exif data, WB is provided as the 3 multipliers. Is it also true?
If both true, then above quote should be necessarily true, temperature and tint being just an interpretation.


Yes I did move the temperature up quite a bit already in the output above. Can’t go much further.

@nosle’s description is a good addition. All problems seem to be locally.


(Double post as I can’t mention more than 2 users yet.)

Thanks for the suggestion. I will consider for later.

I tried DCP just now. It makes it worse at first and I didn’t continue to be honest. The whole color field shifts toward cyan.

Example of 1:1 again:



(Karlheinz Lehmann) #12

I wasn’t talking about the temperature. I was taking about the sliders below the temperature …


Blue/red seems to help a bit, but there is so much more difference.

Just as @nosle I feel it’s something with contrast or something that’s called ‘structure’ in Instagram.

Counter intuitive I turned down the contrast, lightness and saturation, turned up the exposure and that brings it closer again. But still too much difference.

(Karlheinz Lehmann) #14

As @agriggio already said, If you would give as the raw file we might be able to help you



I believe that is true.

I’ve played with the uploaded png, and it is difficult to get the colours correct, but who knows what has already been done to it! You need to provide a raw file to get more help, other than the general advice already given.
Your 1:1 sample clearly shows more contrast in Aperture, this would also help the image appear sharper.



Is there a setting to take away saturation from low saturated color areas and at the same time enhance the saturation of areas that already have quite strong color saturation?


without providing a raw, you will have very little hope to receive a precise and valuable advice. It’s a blind guess.


Yes, the Lab tools have CC curve = chromaticity as a function of chromaticity.
The demonstrated curve does what you ask.

(Cyril LAPORTE) #19

Just to be sure : when you activated the DCP, where you on the neutral profile ?
Did you checked some of the box under the Setting?

For me it’s a goo d starting point with DCP, a little S curve on the LAB curve, a bit of black and Vibrance.

(Olaf Berthelsen) #20

I had the same experience as you. When you use RT “out of the box” and open your first raw photo you become disappointed, and it is absolutely not easy to adjust your photo to something pleasing using all the different sliders and tools.
In fact in the beginning I found that RT was much more suited to process jpg photos simply because you are almost already there, so you just need a little fine tuning.
To me the breakthrough was to get an input profile under the colour management section as described in Rawpedias paragraph “General Photography”. And while you are at it get a lens correction profile too.
I use a Nikon D7100 and a custom input profile does wonders for you - but remember to disable auto levels or the result will not be useable.
Then you should create your own raw default profile. I adjusted the following for a low ISO profile:

• Exposure
• Shadow/highlights – local contrast
• Sharpening
• Input profile (as described above)
• Lens correction profile (as described above)

Good luck….