What’s new in Darktable 2.6

What’s new in Darktable 2.6

Like the last few Christmases have done, this one too gave us a brand new version of my favourite image processing software, Darktable. This time we got a whole lot of new toys to play with. A whopping three new modules, significant updates to several others and lots of smaller tweaks all around makes this one a really great release.

New module: duplicate manager

We have always had the possibility to make virtual copies of images in Darktable when we wanted different versions. The new module duplicate manager takes this to the next level. Now we can give the different versions names and we can compare edits quickly with a single mouse click.

New module: filmic

This is one of the most talked about news. It’s a new approach to shaping the contrast and fitting the relatively high dynamic range of modern cameras into the lower dynamic range of a jpg file, and at the same time mimicing somewhat the image characteristics of film. The author of this module, Aurélien Pierre, has written a long and very good article about this module on his website, which is well worth reading: http://bit.ly/2RXFQue

New module: retouch

This is a replacement module for the old spot removal module, with new and advanced tools. Spot removal is still available for compatibility reasons, but it is no longer necessary.

Where spot removal only used cloning, retouch uses “intelligent” healing by default. Cloning, as well as blur and fill is also available. And where this module really shines is in its ability to work on different detail levels due to frequency separation.

Updated modules: raw denoise and profiled denoise

Both these modules have got a graph like the equalizer module, where you can ajust which frequency bands the noise reduction will affect. For profiled denoise this is only with the wavelets mode. This gives greater control over the noise reduction, minimizing unwanted artefacts. Profiled denoise has also got two presets, meant to be used together when you use two instances to separate color noise and luminance noise.

Updated module: color balance

The color balance module has been reworked and has got some good additions, making it much easier to use. You can now use two sliders in each of the shadows, midtones and highlight areas to select a hue and adjust the amount without having to balance the R, G and B channels separately. The old method is still available too.

Updated module: tone curve

The tone curve module has also got a few nice updates. Linked RGB channels is now the default mode, which for many will be the expected way. The curve graph can be viewed in logarithmic mode, which gives much better control in the low light areas. There is also a selection of three different algorithms to calculate the curve smoothness.

Updated module: spot removal

Not much here, but for those who want to continue using spot removal, you can now change the opacity of each shape intividually.

Updates to parametric masking

Parametric masks are now even more powerful and easy to make with the new edge aware feathering option. I wasn’t aware of this when I made the video, so I don’t mention it there.

Other updates

  • You can have scroll bars on the sides of the image when zoomed in. This is available in Preferences.
  • The file type in lighttable view is more visible, as it it displayed vertically for portrait oriented images. It is still hidden for square images, though.
  • An option in Preferences makes it possible to display some EXIF data when you hover over an image in lighttable.
  • Some new sorting options are introduced.
  • I am sure there are things I have not mentioned here. For a complete list of everything new and how to use it, read the blog post on the Darktable website: http://bit.ly/2RSwwrL

And don’t forget to view my video:

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