How to build darktable 1.6.x on Ubuntu 12.04

In response to a query on one of my videos, here’s how to build the latest 1.6.x version of darktable on Ubuntu 12.04.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get build-dep darktable
sudo apt-get install git xsltproc
git clone
cd darktable
git tag # find the latest 1.6 release tag
git checkout release-1.6.6 # at the time of writing 1.6.6 is the latest
cd "./build" ; sudo make install

darktable is SourceForge Staff Project of the Month

SourceForge Staff have selected darktable as their Project of the Month. In an interview with SourceForge, Developer
and Project Founder Johannes Hanika discusses the project’s history, purpose and direction.

“SF: Has the original vision been achieved?
JH: We would say it has been surpassed quite a bit. Nowadays darktable has features we never imagined would be possible.
It’s translated into languages we will never be able to understand and reached a level of complexity that is only
manageable by a larger community, not a single developer.”

Congratulations for all the hard work to everyone in the darktable community!


Darktable: Equalizer module

darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer. In this video I run through how to use the powerful Equalizer module. Thanks to Tobias and Johannes for fact checking this video.

I cover the Equalizer module in more detail than you’ll find in one place anywhere, referencing all the way back to the original scientific papers and even asking questions of the amazing developers (Jo and Tobias).

Related links:

Read More


New features in the darktable 1.4 release

Running through the new features in the darktable 1.4 release. You can see what’s new in the darktable 1.4 release notes.


  • Parametric masks were present in darktable 1.2 by selecting a blend mode then changing the blend dropdown to “only, if…”.
  • Offline mode caches the full RAW file in ~/cache/darktable then writes back the xmp file to the main storage location when it becomes available again.
  • Webp is not built by default but is available as a compile-time option.

Read More


Darktable workflow: Motorbike

In this video I cover a full basic workflow in Darktable, along with some very basic RAW edits. This means that I do everything:

  • loading all of the images into darktable
  • running through and choosing the best images to process
  • basic editing the individual images
  • exporting them to JPG

This will give you a sense of how I work, what shortcuts I use, and how I do basic edits on batches of edits that don’t need to have 15 minutes spent on each.

In this video I use the latest development version (1.3+917) of darktable.
Read More


Darktable RAW edit: Water Lily

I briefly discuss various plugins that affect global exposure: exposure, levels, tone curve, base curve, fill light. I relate each plugin back to the tone curve so that you can see how these plugins relate to each other. I also demonstrate some parametric and drawn masks. I also show off the brand-new “contrast, brightness and saturation” plugin.

When I say “global exposure” I mean that it affects the whole image without being masked off in any way, like the shadows and highlight plugin does. When I talk about gamma in the video, here’s what I mean:

After introducing these plugins, I run through and process the image for output.

In this video I use the latest development version (1.3+917) of darktable.
Read More


Building darktable from source

In this video I show you how to install the latest development version of darktable. If you’d like to try out the latest and greatest features (and don’t mind things being in a state of flux), check this video out. It might be easier than you think.

Warning: this can break your database (which contains your styles and tag collections). Back up your database (usually in ~/.config/darktable) before trying out the development version.

It’s also worth checking out the instructions on the darktable website.

If you installed in the default location (/opt/darktable) here’s a link to a modified .desktop file to add an icon to Ubuntu’s Unity launcher (copy into ~/.local/share/applications and then search for darktable in the Dash).
Read More


Darktable RAW edit: Swiss mountains – dealing with high dynamic range

After our recent trip to Switzerland, I came back with a great shot for demoing how to deal with high dynamic range. A lot of what we do as photographers is dealing with the limitations that our equipment put onto us. Our eyes can see 15 stops of dynamic range but our digital cameras can typically only see 7 stops, so we have to get creative when our scene has more dynamic range than the camera can capture.
Read More


Darktable RAW edit: Golden hair portrait

Continuing my series of RAW edits in darktable, here’s another image from the FroKnowsPhoto forum. This is a two-part edit, the first part being work in darktable, and the second part finishing off the image in GIMP.

In the first video I use the the current (as of 24-08-2013) development version of darktable (1.3+838) which will eventually become version 1.4 to do the basic enhancements, and then I use the GIMP to remove blemishes and smooth the skin.
Read More


Darktable RAW edit: architectural perspective

Have you ever taken some great shots of buildings only to be disappointed by parallax turning them into wedge shapes, rather than the straight, square buildings that we perceive when we actually see them? This is one of the problems that affects photography, where the “truth” of what the camera shows differs from what we actually saw or perceived when we were there. A lot of our battles in photography, and our post-processing work come down to massaging the images we recorded with our cameras so they more closely match our perception of reality that our mind constructed when we were there.


Read More


Darktable: noise reduction techniques

In this video I do an overview of the noise reduction features that darktable offers. I also do a comparison with AfterShot Pro and NoiseNinja.

There are a lot of different modules for noise reduction in darktable which can be a bit confusing. I cover all of the modules in this video, and make some suggestions on which type of noise reduction is best.
Read More


RAW edit: butterfly

Time for a video doing a specific RAW edit. This is a basic edit, showing my normal workflow from beginning to end. If you’re just getting started with Darktable, or RAW editing in general, this is a good summary of the whole process. Despite my somewhat boring story at the start, stick with it. ;)

The basics of crop, exposure, histograms, white balance, local contrast, drawn masks, denoise (profiled), velvia, vibrance, saturation and vignetting are introduced, and I even manage to find a bug in Darktable (fixed in under 24 hours after I reported it).
Read More


Darktable introduction

I recently found a photography workflow application and RAW developer for digital photos called darktable.  For those who haven’t used one before, this kind of app allows you to convert your RAW photos into JPGs (or other formats), treating the RAW files as digital negatives which you develop for posting online or printing, much like photographers used to do in the dark room in the black and white photography days.
Read More