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Image Processing and Workflow RAW, DNG , TIFF and JPG. From Capture to Ready for Publish/Display. All software and techniques used within an image workflow, (except extensive retouching and repair or DAM).

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  #1  
Old May 31st, 2013, 03:15 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Default Open-Source workflow software - what is there and how to use it

Background: The current situation with Microsoft Windows 8 and Adobes change(s) in licensing policy were a welcome incentive for me to test how I can get along with Linux and Open Source tools for RAW conversion and PP in general as well as the other things I use a computer for (mainly boring things).

This thread is the place where I write down from time to time what I experience, what I like and what not.
This is purely done from a user perspective and please mind that my PP skills are not that developed as I try to do as much as possible right from the beginning so that any required PP should be minimal. I might get carried away from time to time and play with a picture I like.

So what's in the box?
darktable
GIMP
rawtherapee
ufraw (which uses dcraw)

This list may change.

From what I could gather in this virtual place I am an outlier here using this toolset, but I could be wrong and invite everybody using these or similar tools to join in.

Right now I have nothing specific to write down, but this will arrive soon.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #2  
Old May 31st, 2013, 04:36 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Michael,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Background: The current situation with Microsoft Windows 8 and Adobes change(s) in licensing policy were a welcome incentive for me to test how I can get along with Linux and Open Source tools for RAW conversion and PP in general as well as the other things I use a computer for (mainly boring things).

This thread is the place where I write down from time to time what I experience, what I like and what not.
This is purely done from a user perspective and please mind that my PP skills are not that developed as I try to do as much as possible right from the beginning so that any required PP should be minimal. I might get carried away from time to time and play with a picture I like.

So what's in the box?
darktable
GIMP
rawtherapee
ufraw (which uses dcraw)
I'm going to give GIMP a try.

I'll let you know my observations.

I'm not a big raw data user, so I probably won't be playing with tools primarily devoted to raw operations.

Best regards,

Doug
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  #3  
Old June 1st, 2013, 01:21 AM
Nicolas Claris Nicolas Claris is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Hi, Michael,



I'm going to give GIMP a try.

I'll let you know my observations.

I'm not a big raw data user, so I probably won't be playing with tools primarily devoted to raw operations.

Best regards,

Doug
Wow! Doug… I don't get that, a technician like you not using raw? Explain why you prefer in camera jpg (but maybe in another topic, would may be OT here : )
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  #4  
Old June 1st, 2013, 05:27 AM
Sam Hames Sam Hames is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Background: The current situation with Microsoft Windows 8 and Adobes change(s) in licensing policy were a welcome incentive for me to test how I can get along with Linux and Open Source tools for RAW conversion and PP in general as well as the other things I use a computer for (mainly boring things).
...
From what I could gather in this virtual place I am an outlier here using this toolset, but I could be wrong and invite everybody using these or similar tools to join in.
...
I've been using mostly free software on linux since I began photography in 2010 - so you definitely aren't the only one. All of my editing is done in gimp, with a few plugins (GMIC collection and wavelet denoise.)

In general the open source options are technically fine, but lacking in terms of user interface and finish. The free raw converters may open and read your camera files, but may lack colour and lens profiles so expect to invest some time getting things to your liking. I just use JPEG so it isn't an issue for me.

I would recommend a few more tools:
Geeqie for photo/library management

Argyll CMS for colour calibration and profiling

(Not free, but worth it to not have to deal with CUPS directly for printing, plus they make very good profiles)
Turboprint for driving your printer

Sam
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  #5  
Old June 1st, 2013, 08:30 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Doug,

Thanks for joining in. I am interested in your take on GIMP.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #6  
Old June 1st, 2013, 08:43 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Sam,

thanks for the links - I already heard of Argyll (I have a Spyder 3 Pro that I wanted to put back to work anyway)
and I will have a look into Geeqie.
I do mainly jpeg+raw and work with the raw if I feel there is more to get out of the data than the camera did.

I started using GIMP for basic image manipulations in 2010, mainly because it is one of the programs you could work with on a netbook when traveling. Before I used mainly PSE in different versions.

On lens profiles - many raw converters include lens profiles, ufraw and darktable use lensfun.
Do you also use hugin for panoramas?

Best regards,
Michael
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  #7  
Old June 1st, 2013, 09:58 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Do you also use hugin for panoramas?
Hi Michael,

Hugin is quite capable indeed!

Another set of (command line) tools, with e.g. (compared to many applications) superior resampling technology is ImageMagick.

Cheers,
Bart
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  #8  
Old June 1st, 2013, 10:37 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Bart,

you are bringing memories back - I had some brief contact with ImageMagick back in the mid 90s on SunOS.
That was also the time of xview...

Best regards,
Michael
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  #9  
Old June 1st, 2013, 12:20 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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I tried Argyll together with the Gnome Color Management and it was pretty straightforward to use, thanks Sam for pointing me to it.

I also gave Geeqie a run an I will keep it as it is really fast, something I wish sometimes for darktable which needs some serious processing power.


So there are two different toolsets I give a try:
darktable together with GIMP
Geeqie with ufraw (maybe rawtherapee works as well) and GIMP

The first is good when your PP is limited to the usual corrections adding GIMP only if you need more than that.
IQ is high and as long as GIMP does not come into play it is an all-in-one solution.

The second is more versatile and considerably faster but three tools to use/maintain.


Just to give you an idea whenever I write about speed and processing power, the configuration I use for this try is a Core 2 Quad (Q8200) running at 2.33GHz with 4GB of RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 120 Graphics Adapter and a screen resolution of 1920x1200.
Nothing to brag about by todays standards, people doing heavy PP usually have more powerful machines, but it should help to get an idea.
OS is Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 64bit. I might switch to Debian one day, but I wanted to have an easy start.
This distribution installs easily and the configuration does not require deep *nix knowledge - this is just for anyone who wants to give it a try.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #10  
Old June 2nd, 2013, 01:38 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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hugin is easy to use and it does not require a lot of ressources except a decent amount of RAM.
The following panoramas were stitched using hugin:

http://openphotographyforums.com/for...ad.php?t=16936
http://openphotographyforums.com/for...ad.php?t=16931
http://openphotographyforums.com/for...ad.php?t=16961
http://openphotographyforums.com/for...ad.php?t=17212

The processing was relatively quick on older hardware.
The first three were stitched on a 1.66 Core Duo with 1.66GHz (Ubuntu 12.04 LTS 32bit).
Processing time was less than 5 minutes in all cases.
The last was done on the hardware described in the post above and the pure processing time was a few seconds, the manual steps needed took most of the time.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #11  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 09:46 AM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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It's not free, but it's not terribly expensive, and it comes for Mac, Windows, and Linux, with a single key to unlock them all.

Corel Aftershot Pro. It used to be called something else. It's really fast, and comes with lens profiles. A lot of power in an easy to use interface. A bit of a learning curve at first, because some of the stuff is unusual.

But if you're looking for a non-cloud alternative to Lightroom, especially that runs in Linux, it's worth a look. Probably worth a separate thread too, since it's not open source.
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  #12  
Old June 3rd, 2013, 11:35 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Bob,

Thanks, but I was specifically referring to Open Source. What you mention is based on bibble - a good raw converter which was already commercial software before the purchase by Corel.

darktable (mentioned in the first post) is the closest contender when it comes to a workflow-tool to replace Lightroom.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #13  
Old June 4th, 2013, 04:22 AM
Sam Hames Sam Hames is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Sam,

thanks for the links - I already heard of Argyll (I have a Spyder 3 Pro that I wanted to put back to work anyway)
and I will have a look into Geeqie.
I do mainly jpeg+raw and work with the raw if I feel there is more to get out of the data than the camera did.

I started using GIMP for basic image manipulations in 2010, mainly because it is one of the programs you could work with on a netbook when traveling. Before I used mainly PSE in different versions.

On lens profiles - many raw converters include lens profiles, ufraw and darktable use lensfun.
Do you also use hugin for panoramas?

Best regards,
Michael
I am aware of lenfun - just wanted people to be aware of one of the (potential) issues, especially if they're using equipment out of the mainstream equipment, or require good digital correction to make the most of their lenses (ie, micro four thirds where distortion correction etc. are essential). I expect the libraries to be a lot more complete in a few years, but for now...

Just a note that you can send an image from geeqie directly to an editor of your choice from the right click menu - darktable seems to be set up out of the box for raw files - that might make the workflow and the browsing a bit smoother.

I have used hugin, worked very well but I'm just not into stitching so never went very far with it.

Sam
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  #14  
Old June 4th, 2013, 05:38 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hames View Post
I am aware of lenfun - just wanted people to be aware of one of the (potential) issues, especially if they're using equipment out of the mainstream equipment, or require good digital correction to make the most of their lenses (ie, micro four thirds where distortion correction etc. are essential). I expect the libraries to be a lot more complete in a few years, but for now...
The good things about lensfun are that the library is human-readable xml, you find the files in /usr/share/lensfun/ , and that you can actually use hugin (I did nor mention it the next line totally by accident) to create your own profiles if you feel comfortable and savvy enough to do so. It is up to you if you want to share the profile afterwards, but I would do so, as it encourages others to do the same and the database covers more lenses within a short time with more contributors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Hames View Post
Just a note that you can send an image from geeqie directly to an editor of your choice from the right click menu - darktable seems to be set up out of the box for raw files - that might make the workflow and the browsing a bit smoother.
Thanks, that did not escape me. I actually mentioned rawtherapee here as other potential converter because I noticed the ufraw integration as well as gimp (but without mentioning it) and I would have liked to see rawtherapee as well.
I just saw that rawtherapee is on the list of editors, but disabled. ufraw seems to be the raw-converter of choice for geeqie.

You might be interested in the blog entries about a Linux-based Photography Workflow by Eric Jeschke. geeqie is mentioned there as well, darktable is more recent and does not figure in this blog.

Best regards,
Michael
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my photos on flickr - here is the portion posted in OPF.
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  #15  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 01:23 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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For downloading photos from memory cards or directly from the camera, there is a very useful tool that permits not only to download the files, but also to sort these in a configureable way into folders.
It is also possible to run an immediate backup on another drive if desired.

The tool is called Rapid Photo Downloader (free, GNU GPL), here is the list of features.
It is written by Damon Lynch who is also a photographer.
His photos are worth a look!

Best regards,
Michael
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  #16  
Old June 23rd, 2013, 01:47 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Nicolas,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicolas Claris View Post
Wow! Doug… I don't get that, a technician like you not using raw? Explain why you prefer in camera jpg (but maybe in another topic, would may be OT here : )
Lazy!

Best regards,

Doug
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  #17  
Old October 19th, 2013, 09:28 AM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Default digiKam

Time to revive this thread...

If you want to handle large numbers of pictures and make extensive use of the metadata that can be added, there is digiKam.

digiKam has an integrated raw-converter based on dcraw and including Amaze demosaicing.
There is, however, always the possibility to use another raw-converter of you choice and your favorite tool for editing (e.g. GIMP).

I started using it some 2-3 weeks ago and I like the speed and the many options to handle pictures and collections.

digiKam is now also available for Windows and OS-X if someone wants to try without installing Linux.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #18  
Old October 19th, 2013, 02:14 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
I'm not a big raw data user, so I probably won't be playing with tools primarily devoted to raw operations.
Doug,

Then if we look your habit in ignoring Adobe RGB 16BIT for the MFR's ready -made, "out of camera" sRGB 8 BIT files, we realize that you're buying a more expensive, (quickly outdated), high resolution, large color space camera, but not using the advanced capabilities.

So the question arises, if that's indeed true, what size sensor does one really need to achieve the image resolution and color quality you must have for your web and printing purposes. I'd imagine that you hardly need a 3MP sensor for 99.99% of your pictures! Just process from RAW with an optimized workflow and you will end up with a major cost saving.

Asher
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  #19  
Old November 11th, 2013, 01:19 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Default Update on digiKam

After some time digiKam has become the tool I use most of the time. There are few occasions where I have the impression that there is something missing. As there is still the possibility to use other tools, this can be compensated.

Reasons:
Speed
Ease of use
Uses standard folder structure.

The follwing tools remain in use:
Rapid Photo Downloader
GIMP
hugin
Geeqie
argyll (screen calibration) which works quite well with my Spyder 3pro

Best regards,
Michael
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  #20  
Old April 27th, 2015, 02:06 PM
Michael Nagel Michael Nagel is offline
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Just an update after a while...

Digikam is still in my eyes one of the most capable tools to handle a lot of pictures in a speedy manner. I like the simplicity of the UI and the fact that you can easily integrate other tools you want to use for PP.

I could use darktable better now thanks to a better computer, but for some reason I prefer to stick with digikam.

Rawtherapee is - after going through the learning curve - a capable tool. There is not much to criticize.

The following tools still remain in use:
Rapid Photo Downloader
GIMP
hugin
Geeqie
argyll (screen calibration) which works quite well with my Spyder 3pro

The raw conversion and picture PP part is well covered, though there will be always people who may have their reasons to complain and point out that functions they need are not available or covered in the way preferred.
If it is a hobby, FOSS is IMHO perfectly OK. If your income depends on it, a change to FOSS has to be well considered as the support part is not well covered.

The biggest challenge for the moment is from my point of view printing. There are quite a few good printers, but there is rarely Linux support from the manufacturer.

Best regards,
Michael
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  #21  
Old April 29th, 2015, 05:51 AM
Sam Hames Sam Hames is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Nagel View Post
Just an update after a while...

Digikam is still in my eyes one of the most capable tools to handle a lot of pictures in a speedy manner. I like the simplicity of the UI and the fact that you can easily integrate other tools you want to use for PP.

I could use darktable better now thanks to a better computer, but for some reason I prefer to stick with digikam.

Rawtherapee is - after going through the learning curve - a capable tool. There is not much to criticize.

The following tools still remain in use:
Rapid Photo Downloader
GIMP
hugin
Geeqie
argyll (screen calibration) which works quite well with my Spyder 3pro

The raw conversion and picture PP part is well covered, though there will be always people who may have their reasons to complain and point out that functions they need are not available or covered in the way preferred.
If it is a hobby, FOSS is IMHO perfectly OK. If your income depends on it, a change to FOSS has to be well considered as the support part is not well covered.

The biggest challenge for the moment is from my point of view printing. There are quite a few good printers, but there is rarely Linux support from the manufacturer.

Best regards,
Michael
Thanks for the update - good to hear that it's still working for you. Your experience matches my own, in that most of the software is capable, if not perhaps as polished as some people might like.

I have been working a lot with dcraw directly as a batch raw processor - the default output is quite good, at least on the limited selection of systems I've been working on.

Sadly the printing limitations remain true. If you need photographic printing there doesn't appear to be any free/open source approach to getting good support. My comment on turboprint still stands though - 18 months later and I have had no worries about printing. It's been worth the money to get a solid and no hassle printing solution.
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  #22  
Old April 29th, 2015, 05:16 PM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
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I've been using both darktable and RawTherapee for over three years. Both are immensely powerful, and the choice is quite straighforward:

If you need to extract peak imaging performance from every last pixel - whether it's resolution or dynamic range, nothing - and I do mean nothing, including commercial offerings like Adobe Lightroom - is a match for RawTherapee. The choices in finely-tuned demosaic, highlight reconstruction, etc argorithms are a veritable laboratory of fun. This includes dealing with complex möire problems. This has always been important to me with the limited four-thirds sensors (e.g. Olympus E-5).

If you have a more capable camera (say, a full frame Nikon), and softer lenses, and you're not so hung up on absolute resolution - darktable is a lot more intuitive to use, and specifically - for managing large collections and their metadata. It's the closest thing we have to Apple Aperture or Adobe Lightroom in that regard. Also, there are several things that darktable does better - including complex drawn or parametric masks to selectively apply image modules, and much more intuitive controls for everything from night-vision colour mapping to keystone correction.

Becuase I don't need things like LMMSE demosaicing for noisy images from a small sensor anymore, I've finally made the decision to switch to darktable exclusively except for extreme cases, and I am very happy indeed.

darktable is one of the great gifts of the open-source community, and spending a bit of time learning how it works - reading the docs is essential - is a worthwhile investment. I use this software by choice, because I genuinely prefer it to the commercial variants.

Something I have not personally tried yet - because I still need to profile my camera - is darktable's "profiled de-noise" which seems truly ground-breaking, ahead of other standard mechanisms.
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