Darktable – a huge boost in photography under Linux

People say that on Linux you don’t have powerfull software for photography and some people didn’t make a full switch to Linux because they don’t want to dump Adobe products, especially Photoshop and Lightroom, but now, half the “battle” is won if i may say so.

Heeeeeerrrre’s DARKTABLE !

I see it as a free/opensource and VERY powerfull photo management and photo non destructive developing/enhancing tool and… i say it…, an alternative to Adobe Lightroom.

What’s neat is that the viewing/management part is based on the lighttable in real life.

First you Import the Film Roll (folder or single images) like slides and the interface is just like a backlit table, where you can zoom in and out with the mouse wheel or move/pan with <W, A, S, D>-keys. Also you can rate, filter, sort, put meta on photos and import/export from/in different file formats. This will be the lighttable mode.

The darkroom mode or the develop mode is where you adjust/enhance your photos and the tools are very straight forward like: RAW support, exposure, sharpness, color correction, ICC profile support, crop, lens correction and many many more.

Check the website darktable.sourceforge.net, read it from top to bottom, install the software and use it! Try different things on different photos to learn what every button does. The software is far from complete so many nice things hopefully will come.

HINTS:

  • on top, bottom, left and right of the interface there are small arrows, use them to show/hide panels of the interface. Try pressing [Tab].
  • the history stack is on the left, the last operation will appear on top of the stack. Press one entry on the stack to see only that operation.
  • try pressing [1], in both lighttable and darkroom mode.
  • in lighttable mode, move the “slides” (photos) with [w, a, s, d]-keys; very nice combination in addition with the mouse, just like in video games:).
  • the values on the sliders are changed with the mouse wheel.
  • at the bottom right of the interface there’s a panel >more plugins. Expand it to enable/disable ….. huuuhhhh…more plugins :). Use this to make room or have more controls on the right where the operators are.

It is really great piece of software and a huge addition to Linux arsenal for photographers and if you search for an alternative to Adobe Lightroom, this is it!

Use it! Discover it! It’s lots of fun! And please feel free to share your oppinions.

Have fun!!!

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