darktable 3.4.0 released

Started Dec 24, 2020 | Discussions thread
JeremieB Senior Member • Posts: 1,501
Re: workflow for newbies

His Dudeness wrote:

This triggered me to propose a setting for beginners

jthomas39 wrote:

I clicked the "hamburger" 3-bar menu icon, and switched to "Beginner" for now. That's a much smaller subset of modules.

I say: don't use this setting. If you are a beinner, I defenitely encourage you to learn the scene-reffered workflow right from the beginning. I don't know why they added this "beginner" preset. For sure it will feel more familiar to users of other software, but it just doesn't make sense to me.

in preferences -> processing: make sure "auto-apply pixel workflow defaults" is set to "scene-reffered"

Most important modules (IMHO):

  • (white balance... see below)
  • crop & rotate (also for manual keystone correction, if automatic correction does not work)
  • exposure (set middle gray)
  • tone equalizer (dodging and burning)
  • contrast equalizer (for sharpening)
  • color calibration (as a wonderful channel mixer, but may also perform white balance... read below)
  • color balance (global contrast and color grading)
  • filmic (tone mapping... e.g if you bumped up your exposure)
  • local contrast (first steps may "kill" the local contrast, get it back here. I recommend to use a parametric mask with focus on mid tones here)

Apart from that, these modules may be useful (not mentioning all the eye-candy stuff):

  • color zones
  • lens correction (can be applied automatically)
  • "denoise (profiled)" (general noise reduction)
  • perspective correction
  • retouch for removing sensor dirt, for cloning or for portrait retouch (don't use spot removal)

If I may ask, what's wrong with spot removal in your opinion ?

I used it regularly and didn't notice any issue.

I didn't take the time to dig into retouch module (yet), at first glance it's very mysterious to me

What about white balance?

Sorry, this became slightly more complicated, because you need to decide for one way:

1) legacy way: add the white balance module to the important modules above and use it as you are probably used to do.

  • in preferences -> processing: make sure "auto-apply chromatic adaption defaults" is set to "legacy"
  • Use color calibration as channel mixer only
  • When using color calibration tool, make sure that the in the tab CAT the adaption is set to 'none (bypass)', otherwise it will do another WB correction. (should be automatically)

2) "modern" way: In this release the "color calibration" module has been released. It is a generalized channel mixer, which is also capable of performing advanced white balance. Nevertheless, the white balance module is required in the pipeline and must be in a specific mode (camera reference).

  • in preferences -> processing: make sure "auto-apply chromatic adaption defaults" is set to "modern"
  • WB module should be set to "camera reference" automatically and it is no longer required to be displayed in your list of essential modules
  • WB is now configured in the "color calibration" module
  • There may exist certain camera models, for which the "camera reference" data may be slightly off, which may be confusing for beginners.

As a beginner: Decide for an option. Maybe the first one is easier for now. You can always play with the other options by setting the WB module in the correct mode.

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