Whitebalance setting in presets in Darktable

I made a lot of presets in Darktable and found following problem with setting whitebalance:
I prefer the old white balance tool. To my liking the developers tend to much to produce more complex tools which reduce my workflow.
So my problem is, that i made a preset which also sets the white balance to what the camera took. now if i use that preset, it does not choose that option for the images but instead takes actual white balance setting of the picture i made the preset with. That doesn’t work out well. Maybe someone has an idea for me.
Kind regard Kakaotrinker

if the new tools doesn’t fit your needs - you don’t need to use them. Others like having more and better tools :wink:
You can simply deactivate automatic workflow settings.

Maybe share such presets so someone can inspect why it doesn’t work.

Presets for the white balance module store the coefficients used when creating the preset. (from this post )

In your case, I think @MStraeten 's advice is best.
In the “preferences” dialog, “processing” tab, set “auto-apply chromatic adaptation defaults” to “legacy”.
If you also want to get rid of the auto-applied tone mapper, set “auto-apply workflow defaults” to “none”

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Those will soon change that has been reworked… Setting workflow to none in the upcoming 4.4 should get legacy WB…

But also you can now apply styles and I think presets and have it reset module defaults so get away from that side effect of applying a preset or style with the values that were in place when you made it…

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If you are using a new enough version of DT you could set your workflow to none and this would give you legacy wb and then add if you want the filmic and exposure boost or anything else…The exposure boost is easy that is a fixed value by default and you can change that for your camera or images but filmic would apply some defaults but you can apply it with the reset option when you create the auto preset and then it will act as if you added it in the scene referred workflow… So this would give you exposure and filmic with legacy wb… I think the workflow settings might affect the default mask blending mode… in that case you might want to use the filmic or sigmoid scene referred workflow and apply wb and disable color calibration… you can use presets and save the module in the disabled state and then enable it later… so there are a few combinations possible that should allow you to land on the one you need…

This topic might also be of interest:

I find that the white balance that Darktable applies automatically to each of my images is not desirable. Id like to remove White Balance from the auto-applied modules… but how?

Do that and you will have a green image… So are you saying if you disable CC and use WB set to as shot that you are not happy with the result?? This should come right from your camera data…

Could you please share a raw file with the default xmp applied by darktable?

I’m asking because there are two ways to set the white balance:

  • ‘legacy’: this applies the multipliers that the camera records in the find headers. That should give you a starting point close to the camera colours. The white balance module is set to as shot, and color calibration is disabled.
  • ‘modern’: this requires that the parameters for the D65 reference white point be accurate in the profile. The white balance module is set to camera reference, and color calibration is enabled, reading the camera’s white balance and applying it on top of the D65-balanced image produced by white balance. If the reference multipliers are off (this has happened in the past), you will get wrong colours. If that is the case, you can either work with plain old white balance, or apply the procedure described in the manual: darktable 4.2 user manual - color calibration

WB is a needed step in demosaicing (like, really, NO WB is not a good look, it’s all green and ugly ).

I assume you mean that you dont want it set to 'camera reference’s by default , but you want it set ‘as shot’. The option in preferences explained above your post does this .

If you want the WB module to so really nothing, set the multipliers doe r,g and b to 1, 1 and 1. Make a preset of that and set it to auto apply.

But like is aid , you will not get good images from raw files that way I imagine :).

Heys guys,
Thanks for the input. So after you input and some trying is the intended way, to have white balance on D65 as standard and then use color calibration? Because now my images look like intended while in the beginning of me using darktable it often looked pastel colored, when using both.
And D65 refers to the norm work space lighting right?
Best wishes

The standard working space is Rec2020, which has a white point of D50.
white balance with the reference D65 is used to give a somewhat wrong, but ‘better than nothing’, approximate white balance, because some modules rely on the colour being at least approximately correct. color balance can then re-read the camera’s WB setting, and make sure not D65, but the actual illuminant white point is mapped to the working space’s D50 white point. At least that’s how I understand it.
You may find the colour temperature (CCT) readings in color calibration are not what you expect. I think the reason is what I described here: Confused about D50, D65, and CCT in white balance and color calibration modules - #10 by kofa.
Also, as you are a newcomer: do not worry, if the color calibration module says the CCT is invalid.

When the CCT is followed by “(invalid)”, this means that the CCT figure is meaningless and wrong, because we are too far from either a daylight or a black body light spectrum. In this case, you are advised to use the custom illuminant. The chromatic adaptation will still perform as expected (see the note below), so the “(invalid)” tag only means that the current illuminant color is not accurately tied to the displayed CCT. This tag is nothing to be concerned about – it is merely there to tell you to stay away from the daylight and planckian illuminants because they will not behave as you might expect.

(darktable 4.2 user manual - color calibration)

Well, that’s why now I don’t like to use modern chromatic adaptation.

Initially I was really enthusiastic, you could call me an “eager early adopter”

But now I’m leaning towards the concept of proper whitebalancing with the basic WB module and pass that nice data to demosaic module. Seems more reasonable to me than firstly introducing an error and then mitigating it.

And as the photos look good, computer has one step / module to calculate less… I’m more than happy :wink:

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I guess the hope is that the more complex method used in color calibration takes some non-linear aspects of human vision into account, while white balance, a matrix multiplication, is a linear operation. I have to admit I don’t see day-and-night differences, and the trouble caused by incorrect D65 coefficients has led to quite a few posts on the forum.


I think the point of modern wb is, that to get a somewhat better perceptual rendering of colours , the color calibration needs to know how bright the scene is.

In other words , color calibration with CAM16 as an example needs to be done after exposure correction.

I believe those models are also meant to be applied on a technical good white balance (as in, not always the most pleasing looking balance to you). I believe just ‘daylight’ is a good starting point.

So color calibration tries to do white balancing while taking exposure / brightness of the colours into account. For that it needs to be after input profioe, after exposure , after demosaicing. Since demosaicing requires at least somewhat correct white balance , there is a daylight/reference starting WB set.

So demosaicing works , exposure can be set , input profile is applied to somewhat ok colours , and then they are corrected in color calibration.

On my cameras this often fails in the input profile part. The ‘somewhat correct colours’ get changed by the input matrix in a way that color calibration can’t do its job ok anymore.

So i started xlusinf ‘as shot’ and then doing color calibration on top (ignoring the double WB warning ).
But in the end i tried some pictures but never noticed a difference in what CC is doing (often ends up being a noop practically) . So i often don’t bother anymore.

if your illumination isn‘t a standard D65 illuminant then the whitebalance is also just a ‚somewhat wrong‘ setting.
But if it’s good enough for you - there’s no need to use a different colorcalibration workflow…