Mask Manager

Mask Manager

This week's tutorial features a discussion of Darktable's Mask Manager. Adding the Mask Manager to your Darktable toolkit will help you organize drawn masks, and adds functionality and efficiency to your edits.
We missed out on "Edit my RAW" last week, so we've doubled up this week. The first image involves some stubborn fringing along a cliff edge at sunset, and a variety of approaches to tackling it.
In the second image, everything comes together smoothly to lead into our Mask Manager discussion.
Thank you to both Rainer and Pedro for your winning contributions. I look forward to mailing your prizes out.
You can find scripts I use in the show at My Scripts. The compositing I quickly gloss through in this episode is fully explored in the Compositing with Darktable episode.

RedRock Canyon RAW
RedRock Canyon XMP 1
RedRock Canyon XMP 2

Norfolk Island RAW
Norfolk Island XMP1
Norfolk Island XMP2
Norfolk Island XMP3

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

This week's first edit is a RAW contribution from Rainer.

We've got a sunset and sandstone cliffs.

It looks like there's a fringe around the edge everywhere.

See that? Right there.

Maybe it will come out with the Chromatic Aberrations Control.

We could turn that on and save it, and see if it's better.

Let's see now.

Well, the Chromatic Aberration Control got rid of a lot of it.


A little bit here on the side.

And right here.

Oh, and here too.

Well, it certainly got rid of a lot of it, though.

This edge looks so soft.

This looks a little rough right here.

Let's try the Defringe Module.

Oh, that got rid of a lot of it too.

I'll turn down our Threshold.

I think that got rid of most of it.

Right there.

Oh, now we've got this halo that the Defringe Module is creating.

Look at that, right there.

Okay, take our Edge Detection Radius and turn it down so we get rid of this halo.

And, does it still correct in these other places? Mostly, but not fully.

We've got green on one side and red on the other.

Is that from the Defringing Module? No, I think that's the way it came out.

That's frustrating.

Let's see if we use a different DeMosaic-ing operator.

I had set DeMosaic-ing to PPG, so we'll change it to AMAZE.

I've still got this green edge.

Color Smoothing? I'll turn it all the way up to five times.

We've still got this edge.

VNG? That helps some, but with the Chromatic Aberration Control on, it's giving me...

Okay, does that help? Argh! I can't tell if the Chromatic Aberration gets rid of the fringing or not.

I have to...

Here, I'll delete this and I'll save this again.

And we'll look at it with the Chromatic Aberration on.

I'll turn it on.

And over-write.

And export.

Let's see what happens.

No, we've still got it.

I am not going to get rid of that easily.

We'll use a brute force approach, then.

We can take the sky and move it into the rocks a little bit with an L Mask.

Let's see what that looks like.

Let's see: I've got my Chromatic Aberration on, I've got my DeMosaic-ing set to VNG; I'll just take my Color Smoothing off and go with AMAZE.

I don't need my Defringing Module, so that's off: good.

Okay, we'll export this to the Watermark Directory as a JPG.

If I make it small, I can probably keep my quality to 100% Let's see: Freehand, and make it as small as this edge here -- the area in question.

Let's see, I set up a pre-set for this.

It saves it to the Watermark Module as a JPG.

Since I'm making it small, I'll try keeping my quality all the way up at 100%.



And I've got a quickie script I wrote that just looks for the most recent file in the Watermark Directory, uses Inkscape to convert it to an SVG, and then reads me back the size.

This script is on my website, under Resources.

Oh, good: it's only 6.2MB.

You can get all the way up to 8MB and be okay.

Okay, it's done now.

We go to the Watermark Module and look for tmp.svg There it is.

Okay, you can see that it applied it on top of the other one.

We want to vertically align that.

We'll use a Parametric Mask, and we don't want to apply it to the sky, just to the rocks.

L Channel, and get rid of the sky.

Oh, too much.

That looks good.

That's with it off, and that's with it on.

Set our Y Offset.

There we go.

Without it, and with it.

It cleaned up that edge really tight, but it gave us this little ghosting here, so we'll change our Blend Mode to Darken Only.

There we go.

That really tightens up this edge.

Let's see what it looks like over here.

That's before it.

We've got all this maroon fringing and this green fringing here, and a soft edge here.

And, after, it's all tightened up.

We've got a little bit of fringing but a lot less than we had before.

Well, that looks good, but I don't need it everywhere, so I'll combine that Parametric Mask with a Drawn Mask and just paint where I want it.

I'll give it a little bit of a Blend Radius.

There we go.

0.6 pixels; not even a full pixel.

Alright, let's look at our before and after.

Here's our before, and there's our after.

A little bit of a brute force approach there, but it gives a nice edge and we don't have that halo at all now.

What's next? Noise Reduction.

Let's look at Noise Reduction.

There's not much noise in the sky.

What was this shot at? 200 ISO: no wonder there's not much noise.

There's just a tiny bit.

This Profile Denoise is great with the Nonlocal Means for when the noise is really light, and you can turn the strength really far down.

I usually turn it way down, then just turn it up barely as much as I need.

It looks like I only need right around 0.4 on the strength.

Let's look at what our sky should look like.

Let's see: Sky chart.

Probably somewhere between Deep and Dark.

It looks like our A should be somewhere between zero and whatever our L value is; our B should go somewhere between -60 and -20.

We'll take some samples.

We're probably going to have to adjust that so that the A is a little more positive because there's all this maroon in the sky.

Okay, and here, and how about one more: this one.

It looks like our B needs to be a lot more negative because we're nowhere near that.

And the A is not too bad: that looks about right.

Okay, so we want a lot lower B.

Now, how about the sunset areas? Let's add some of those.

One, and another, and here's another one.

Okay, what are we looking for there? Sun: there's not much difference between Copper and Deep Red.

This one looks like, on this side, the B Channel is higher than the A, and on this side the A Channel and the B Channel are closer to the same.

It looks like the A and the B should be pretty close to each other, and so should the L.

What do we have? We have the A and the B being dramatically different, with the B a lot lower.

So, we want to lower the B in the sky, but we want to raise the B in the sunlit areas.

We can do that with Color Correction.

Here we are.

There are two dots.

You can only see one dot when you start, because the white dot is on top of the black dot.

The white dot controls Color Correction for the lighter parts of the image; the black the black dot for darker parts of the image.

So, I'll take the black dot and move it towards the blue, and the white dot towards the yellow.

Now I'll look at my numbers here.

See, that made this warmer and made this cooler.

Before, and after.

It's hard to tell because it's affecting the sandstone too, so let's exclude the sandstone.

Use a Parametric Mask and just exclude it.

Turn on our Mask Indicator.

There we go.

A little Blend Radius there.

Before, and after.

Okay, the blue is a bit much, so I'll bring the blue back up a little bit.

What does that do? We got a little warmer than we'd expect on the A, but that was what we wanted because the sky is a little maroon, but we've got some nice solid blues here.

And, over here, our A and our B are still needing more B.

I'll bring this to the left a little.

Okay, that brings us a little more in balance.

And, I'll take the whole thing and only apply it around 2/3 strength.

There we go.

Okay, that's before we started, and that's after.

We've got a little more color separation and our blues are a little bluer.

Our highlights are a little more warm.

Now I'd like to do a little Tone Mapping on these sandstone cliffs to bring out some of the contours, but if I do that now, I'll change some of my inputs on my Parametric Masks, so I'll Save before I do that.

So, I'll save this as a TIFF in the directory I'm working in now.

Alright: Tone Mapping.

Oh, that does a great job on these cliffs.

I don't want it to happen in the sky, so I'll use a Parametric Mask again.

Give it a little bit of a Blend Radius.

It looks like almost 1.5 px Blend Radius.

I'll change my Opacity.

There we go: 69%.

I could probably go less than that.

There we go: 50%.

That's before, and that's after.


Now I'd like to add some contour shading, but first I want to increase the contrast in the sandstone.

I'll use the Tone Curve for that.

Change this to Area and select an area.

There we go.

I'll remove these so they're not confusing.

And bring this up a little bit.

Oh, nice; now I've got something to work with.


And we still look good on our exposure.

I'll increase the tonal detail of certain sizes by using the Lowpass Filter.

I'll turn the Saturation all the way down and bring up my Brightness a little and bring my Contrast down just a little.

Take my Radius and change it to the size that gives me the shapes I want to see.

This gives me nice, rounded and macroscopic features.

It also brings out some of the shading and contours in the clouds.

That's around 15px or so.

I'll apply that with the Softlight Blend Mode.

There we go.

And turn down the Opacity a little.

That looks good right around there.

I'm right around 50%.


I'm going to do that again, this time with a little smaller Radius.

I'll bring my Contrast down a little, my Brightness up a little, get rid of my Saturation, and use a little smaller Radius so I get some finer details.

Like that: now I can see the horizontal stratification lines in the cliffs.

That's around 7px.

Once again, I'll apply that with the Softlight Blend Mode.

And adjust my Opacity to the right level.

Okay, that looks good.

Now we've got a nice, sharp edge here.

I like that.

I'll bring out more detail, this time using the Highpass Filter, once again with the Softlight Blend Mode to get the detail I want.

I like these shadows in here; I want to emphasize them.

Get my Contrast.

There we go; that looks good.

Okay, I'll apply that with the Softlight Blend Mode also, but it's going to come out too strong.

So, I'll apply an L Mask to this.

Instead of Uniform, I'll change it to Parametric, and on my L Channel I'll change my Input so it's Linear.

Okay, and I want to get more effect down here, so I'll bring this down a little bit.

Like that.

I'll take the Opacity down because it's too much, and I don't want to get this halo effect up here.

I'm still getting that halo effect.

Let's see what we've got.


I think I'm going to apply this just to the darker parts of the image.

Combine this with a Drawn Mask.

That gives us more detail in the sandstone, but leaves the sky.

This edge along here...

...I think I don't have to worry about it.

We're not getting that halo, because of the L Mask.

So, I was able to bring this all the way up to 48% What next? I want more color.

I want more color in the whole image.

I want deeper color in the whole image.

I'll use the Subtract Method to do that.

I'll do another Lowpass Filter.

I'll set my Radius low and slowly bring it up until I get some larger features of color.

That looks good.

Then I'll change my Blend Mode to Subtract and bring my Opacity up very slowly.

It deepens the colors, but does it in spatially large areas so I get more separation.

Before and after.

It's a little dark up here.

I want more contrast in this part of the image.

There we go.

Bring this up a little and bring this in a little so I get more contrast.

Before and after.

I like it; that's good.

We've got a second RAW contribution this week.

This one's from Pedro.

It is from Norfolk Island.

I looked that up; it's somewhere near Australia, I think.

Is there more than one Norfolk Island? I don't know.

Anyway, it was shot with a Nikon.

Beautiful shot.


I want to be able to see detail down here, and bring out some of the colors up here.

First thing, we'll set the Base Curve.

This is a Nikon.

There are a couple of Nikons here.

Let's try that one.

Then, this one is an Alternate.

Let's see what that one looks like.

I like that first one better.

We need to do a little Crop and Rotate.

First, I'll de-rotate by using my right mouse button, and clicking and dragging on the horizon.

But, after doing that, I've got an awful lot of sky up here.

Let me do a little Gamma adjustment so we can see what we're looking at.

There we go.

We've got a lot of blue sky up here, and I don't get a sense of a vista because it looks a little boxed-in.

It almost looks like I didn't get straight on my horizon.

Let's adjust just one degree.

That looks better.

Let's try a 2:1 ratio.

There we go.

Now it looks like I'm looking at a spanning vista.

Like, right there.

Also, this looks like I'm looking down on these trees.

Maybe, if it looks like I'm looking into the distance...

I'll catch the bottom of this tree, and then it continues on.

Maybe a little bit higher.

This white building is a little jarring to me, so I'll just adjust it to miss the building...

Oh, I do like these trees, though...

Okay, like that.

White building stays.

2:1 I like that.

I like that a lot.

Okay, what do we have for noise here? Shot at 100 ISO, we probably don't have any noise, or very little.

There's a little bit of color noise.

Oh, there's some noise in here too.


Let's try our Profiled Denoise, which works really well for these low ISO, low noise situations.

I'll just take my strength down really low and bring it up slowly.

Right about there.

Oh, I feel like I'm losing detail.

Let's try denoising it with the Equalizer instead.

Go to the Luma Channel here, and I'll just raise these first two until the noise goes away.

Then I'll bring this and this one over until I just get rid of the noise, and no more.

Right there.

Okay, what does that look like? Ah, I feel like we're keeping more of the detail.

Let's do that with the Equalizer.

We can do a little Chroma Denoising while we're at it.

We're a lot less critical with the Chroma Denoising.

No, that did not turn out well.

I'll have to make that a lot smaller.


Get rid of this Tone Curve.

That was temporary.

I'll use Global Tone Mapping to bring out these shadows.

I'll use Tone Mapping AND Global Tone Mapping.

If I just use the Global Tone Mapping, that doesn't quite do what I'm looking for.

Let's see.

If I use this Tone Mapping: Ah, there we go! See, that really brings it out.

That's what I wanted.

Contrast Compression is way too high.

Let's bring that down.

Maybe there.

And the Spatial Extent.

Let's bring that down.

Right around there.

What are we at? 8%.

Then, I don't want to apply it everywhere; I want to use an L Mask and apply it to the darker parts of the image.

I'll use a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and set it to only the darker parts of the image.

Like that.


I'll apply it with a Screen Blend Mode instead of Normal.

That kind of adds it to itself.

And I can take my Opacity and turn it down a little.

Where it comes in here: because of that L Mask, I'm going to need to set a Blend Radius to give me a smoother edge.

Okay, I'm all the way up to 2.5px That looks more natural.

Now let's do some Global Tone Mapping in addition to that.

Ah, there we go.


Now, our Blend.

Let's take this Opacity and turn it down.

What if I just base that on the L Channel linearly? Oh, I like that.

I'm going to give it a little bit of a Blur too.

So, I just went from 100 gets 0 percent of the effect, so that 0 gets all of the effect.

That gives me a linear gradation of this Tone Map.

Then I'll turn down my Opacity because I don't want it full strength.

There we go.

Let's look at our history here.

This is when we started.

And this is where we're at now.

We've got a lot more detail down here and we didn't lose our contrast up here.

We can get a little more equalization between the brighter areas and the darker areas by using a Lowpass Filter with the Overlay Blend Mode.

Take our Saturation down to zero and bring our Blend Radius up.

There, now we just have large light and large dark areas.

That's what I want.

It's aroung 72px.

I'll apply that with an Overlay Blend Mode.

Then I'll turn my Contrast all the way down to zero and slowly bring it down a little past zero.

There we go, we're all the way down at -26.

That's before, and that's after.

That knocks down the highlights a little and brings up our shadows a little.

How are we looking here? We'll have to set our Black Point.

It's off.

But I don't want to do that now; we'll mess up all our Parametric Masks.

How are our colors? Take a sample of our greens.

Here's some green.

Here's some green.

It looks like our greens are a little heavy on the green and light on the yellow.

I'll warm up my White Balance a little.

And take my Tint There we go.

This looks like a better ratio.

Okay, Demosaic-ing.

Then, Chromatic Aberrations.

Then we'll save it and start over again.

Let's see: PPG, AMAZE.

You know, I really like that AMAZE.

It does a wonderful job.

We've got beautiful definition on this island.

I'm happy about that.

VNG makes it a little softer.

I'll stick with AMAZE.

Turn on my Chromatic Aberration Control.

Then save this as a TIFF.

Now, open it.

I'd like to get more oomph out of this back part here in the distance.

We can apply a Drawn Mask going in two different directions.

We've got one coming this way.

And one coming this way.

Turn on our Mask Indicator, and we see that it's the Union of the two.

And we want the Intersection.

So, if we turn on our Mask Manager here, we can right-click on this one.

This top one should be Union.

Then the second one needs to be Intersection.

There we go.

It's in between the two.

I'll turn off my Indicator.

I want to do a Subtract on this.

And base that on the L Channel.

So, that would be Drawn plus Parametric.

It mostly affects the brighter parts of the image.

Slowly bring up my Opacity.

That should deepen the colors and darken it as you go to the horizon.

That was before, and this is after.

I'd like to see these foreground areas show that the sunlight, despite its distance, is affecting them.

I want to set it up so that, in the foreground, the areas that are lighter get a little more yellow.

I can do that with the Tone Curve.

I'll do a Drawn Mask so that we're just doing the stuff in the foreground.

Reverse the Polarity.

There's what it looks like.

Then we'll combine a Parametric Mask with that so that we get more of the effect on the brighter parts.

Lets see.

Like that.

There we go.

Okay, I don't want it to affect this water here.

So, I've got to bring that down a little.

That's what I want.

Now I'll give more yellow punch to that area.

I want to get some shaping and shading to these larger elements like these trees and the islands and whatnot.

I'll use the Softlight Blend Mode on a Lowpass Filter.

So, I'll take my Saturation down to zero and use my standard technique of dropping my Contrast down a little and my Brightness up a little.

Get my Radius so I'm seeing these trees and these islands pop from the background.

I'm losing detail, and that was right around 25px.

Apply that with the Softlight Blend Mode and then attenuate it with the Opacity.

That's none of it; that's all of it, so maybe right around there is what I want.

Okay, I'm up around 30%.

I'm pretty happy with that.

I like what it did with the clouds too.

Before and after.

It gives them a little more separation from the background.

Now, this top part: I want to see more color up here.

And I don't want to just increase the color everywhere.

I'll just try to increase the color in certain areas.

I'll use the Equalizer.

There's our Chroma Channel.

We'll do a Drawn Mask for these parts up here.

If we increase that...

That looks good to me.

Before, and after.

I'll get rid of the Mask Indicator.

Before, and after.


What else? I want to pick up some detail.

I've lost it with these Lowpass Filters that I've applied, so I'll use my Highpass Filter to get some of this detail back.

Let's see.

That looks good.

Bring my Contrast just as high as I need it to be to pick out the detail I want.

I'll apply this with the Overlay Blend Mode and bring the Opacity down.

I'm happy with how that turned out.

I want to talk about the Mask Manager.

The Mask Manager only works with Drawn Masks; it doesn't work with Parametric Masks.

But you can combine Drawn Masks in ways that you cannot from the individual modules.

Let's try an example.

We'll do a Gradient.

Here, I'll turn on the Mask Indicator so we can see what's going on.

And then, maybe a circle...

Now they're combined.

It's the Union of both, though.

That's the mathematical operation here.

You've got to click on this little arrow.

When you do that, you can right-click and it offers you options.

Now, these are in order.

The order matters.

So, the first one needs to be Union.

Then, the second one can be Intersection.

You'll find then that you've got a gradient fill from one end to another on this circle, because it's the Intersection of the two.

So, if I take my Gradient Fill here and make it smaller, it changes how this works inside of here, so that now the Gradient Fill is inside of the circle.

There are other operations too.

You can change it to Exclusion, which is like exclusive-or.

I think that mostly the Intersection, with the first one being Union, is what you're looking for.

If you start with Intersection, you're not going to get anything.

You always have to make that first one Union.

Another cool thing about the Mask Manager: you can re-name your Masks.

You can take a group and name it something.

You don't right-click on it; you double-click on it to name it.

Then you can call it whatever, like "my group." And you can name different shapes, too.

So, you can call this one "sky gradient," for instance.

And you can call this one "sun" or "island," or whatever you want.

Anyway, I love the Mask Manager.

It lets you make groups.

You don't just have to have groups that are associated with a Tone Curve; you can make groups and have them be separate.

Then, when you go to another curve, or whatever Module you're using, and you select Drawn Mask, the name of your group will show up.

See, it says "my group" right there.

Also, here is "island" and "sky gradient." The Mask Manager will save you time and keep your Masks organized.

Last thing about the Mask Manager that I really like.

If you've got Masks that are right next to each other, it's easy to select them in the Mask Manager because you can just click on the name; you don't have to try and get it on the screen, and then that's the one that's highlighted.

Alright, everybody, thank you for watching this week.

My wife and I have been working on building a studio.

We tried to buy a 24 inch printer so we could do some canvas wraps, but ran into difficulty having it shipped to Hawaii.

After much frustration, we looked on Craig's List in desperation, and found a beautiful 60 inch, 12-color printer just 100 miles from us.

So, we rented a truck and fetched it.

We converted part of our greenhouse into a studio to house it, and just finished the project a day ago.

Here's a little walkthrough video I made for you.

"It's a beautiful morning in paradise.

Hi, Little (our dog).

Let's see what's going on with Tanglewood Studio.

(noise of walking on stones) 'Hi, Sweetheart' 'Hi' We've got some art on the walls.

We've got our desks set up.

We've got our printer.

This is our new studio.

It used to be our greenhouse.

Now it's our sanctuary in the jungle." Oh, that was fun.

It's wonderful to have our own studio.

Here's my website.

It's called I have a second site called Please send comments and suggestions, and engage in the discussions.

I love to hear from everybody.

It makes us all better photographers to learn from each other.

I look forward to next week's edition.

We're getting close to the holidays.

Maybe we'll come up with something in a holiday theme.

Please send me your RAW contributions.

That's my favorite part of the show.

See you all next week.



Getting more nuanced with compositing

In this week's edits I look at some trickier blends while compositing with the watermark module. I use a 15 second and a 1/4 second exposure of the supermoon rising and create an HDR image with parametric blending. I discuss some considerations involved in this composite in an attempt to show more nuance associated with the process.

The Edit My RAW this week is a shot from Thailand that was previously processed with beautiful results. I attempt to compliment the photographer's work with a few of my own touches.

The RAW files used in this video are available here
Supermoon (15 second)
Supermoon (1/4 second)
Thank you for the contribution Norman 🙂

Here is my latest version of my compositing script:


ls -t .config/darktable/watermarks/tmp* |grep -v svg |head -n1 |read file
inkscape -f "$file" -l '.config/darktable/watermarks/tmp.svg'
ls -l '.config/darktable/watermarks/tmp.svg' |cut -d' ' -f5 |read size_n
ls -lh '.config/darktable/watermarks/tmp.svg' |cut -d' ' -f5 |read size_h
[ $size_n -gt 8000000 ] && echo "File too large. Size $size_h, but needs to be smaller than 8M." || echo "File size okay $size_h"

I set it up with a hotkey sequence and use it often now.

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

Aloha everybody, and welcome to Weekly Edit.

This was the week of the Super Moon.

We were concerned we weren't going to be able to see it both nights because we had lots of clouds and rain, but right at the last minute, it cleared up.

This time-lapse is from the first night.

It was beautiful seeing the moon come up behind the clouds.

We didn't think we'd get as lucky the second night, but we got the same show with the moon rising from behind the clouds just over the horizon, over the ocean.

Here are our Super Moon shots.

We've got two of them.

The first one is 15 seconds to catch as much detail as I can in these dark areas.

I don't know how much we'll be able to pull out of the ocean.

The second one is a quarter of a second to try and keep the moon from blowing out.

Let's zoom in a little bit.

See this fringing we've got? This will be a challenge.

This is the light bending around the edge of the clouds.

I want to pull out more detail in here.

Let's see what we can do.

Maybe if I bring this down a little.

Does that help? Yes, a little.


Boy, there isn't much there.

Can I get something with the Highpass? Maybe.

If I use a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and Soft Blend Mode, sometimes I can pick up some highlight details that I can't get otherwise.

Oh, yeah; that helped a little.

Okay, that's our moon part.

I'll crop this.

Because we just want the moon; we don't need all that other stuff.


I'll save this.

Now, I want to combine this with this one, so I'll save it as an image file, then convert it to a vector-based format, SVG, in the Darktable Watermarks directory.

Then I'll import it into this one under the Watermark Module so I can paste it over the existing moon.

When I'm saving an image that I'll be importing into another image like this one, I save this image as large as I can, so that when it's converted to a vector-based format, SVG, it stays under 8mb.

I set up a pre-set for Watermark.

This makes it easy for me.

I just call it tmp because it's my temporary watermark file.

I store it here: .config/darktable/watermarks Now, I can use a variety of extensions.

I can use JPG; I can use PNG...

This one has been cropped so heavily, I'll save it as a PNG at 16-bit.

I like to over-write my old files so that I don't have the time of these temp files in there, and I'll hit Export.

I've been working on my script.

Here it is.

I added a couple of things.

One: I put in an 'ls' with a time order to it so that when it looks for tmp files, it just picks the most recent one.

So, if I store it as a JPG or a PNG, it doesn't matter; it will just find the most recent one and use that name.

This script just calls Inkscape.

The '-f' is the name of the file.

That name comes from up here.

I'll post this script on my show notes.

The '-l' says: what should we save it as? So, all I'm doing is using Inkscape to convert either a PNG or a JPG to an SVG.

Here I have it save it to that folder I was telling you about: .config/darktable/watermarks/ and I call it tmp.svg so it just over-writes it each time.

If I want to save a file so I can do non-destructive editing and use it again, I'll have to save this file with the original RAW image files or TIF that I'm working on, and the additional sidecar XMP files.

Then, when I'm working on it, put it back in the watermark directory or put a copy there.

Anyway, you'd have to save more than one file if you're doing compositing.

Next, I check the size of that SVG file.

If it's over 8 mb, I just tell myself 'file too large' and needs to be smaller.

Then I can make an adjustment.

And, if it's okay, it says 'file size okay' So, I already saved it.

It tells me that even as a PNG, the SVG it formed was only 426K, so that is fine; that's well under 8mb.

I can just open it here now.

First, let's do some corrections.

We'll do Demosaic-ing and Chromatic Aberrations and Denoising, and all that stuff.

So, this is what PPG looks like, and here's Amaze, and VNG.

Speaking of Demosaic-ing, Alex wrote in and suggested doing Demosaic-ing before Denoising.

He is right.

I'll try to remember to Demosaic before I Denoise in future.

So, the VNG seems to help with the fringing a little.

Not too much, but it's better than the Amaze.

How about a little Color Smoothing? Does that help? That doesn't hurt either.

Okay, I'll go with the VNG.

It's a little soft, but I want to get rid of this fringing, so: wonderful.

I'll correct for Chromatic Aberrations, but I'll do that after Denoising because, if I zoom in and I have Chromatic Aberrations on, I'll get the wrong information about what fringing is actually there.

First: Denoising.

I'll just use the Equalizer on this.

It's all nice, fine grain.

800 ISO is not that high of gain, so it came out nice.

I'll work on the Chroma color first.

This bottom row denoises; this top row enhances contrast locally.

I'll bring up these two.

Okay, that color noise is gone.

Then I'll try to bring these sliders over to the right as far as I can before I introduce noise.

Oh, I can see a little color noise there.

And this one -- right about there.

Because I want to be as efficient as possible, I'll do the same thing with the L Channel.

I'll bring this one up.

That got rid of a lot of it.

There's still this larger-scale noise, though, so I'll bring this one up.

That will probably get rid of it.

It does, but it gets rid of it more than we need.

So, I'll bring this over.

And this one.

I'll try to get as efficient an area under this curve as I can to get rid of that noise.

I'll do a crop so I can see what I'm looking at, but I'm going to rotate this.

I don't want to do that until I rotate it after it's been composited, so I'll just give it a quickie crop here and leave some extra so I can rotate it later.

It makes it easier to work if I crop it, especially when I'm working with compositing.

If I import my image, I can scale that image, and I have more control over scaling it if I crop my original first.

I'll show you because this can be confusing.

So, there's that tmp.svg file that was created by the script I wrote.

And there's the moon.

We'll make the Opacity small so we can see both things at the same time.

This moon turned out really large because we used a cropped image.

I can control its size with Scale here, but we want a size around 20%, according to this.

So, if I didn't crop this and it was full size, then when I import this SVG, I have to bring it down to 12% in order to overlay it.

Now, that's fine; I don't have lower quality, but I don't think I can put in 11.5 here, see? So, I can only do 12 or 11.

See how much it changes? That's quite a bit.

So, if I want to have more fine-tuned control over the size, I'll crop my back image prior to compositing.

But, like I say, it's tilted, so I can't do a full crop.

I've got to leave enough extra so that when I de-rotate later, I have enough edges to lose some.

My goal is for this crop to be something like this, approximately, maybe a little taller.

About like that.

So, I'll give it just a little space on all sides and crop it there.

Let's see if we can gain a little with our Shadows and Highlights Module.

Turn that on.

Okay, that gave us halos around the sides, which we can get rid of with the Bilateral Filter.

Oh, that made a difference.

See that? Look at this edge, when I change it from Bilateral to Gaussian.

That's Gaussian, and there's a halo around the edge.

Now I'll change it to Bilateral.

Bingo! It's gone.

So, these default settings have gotten us this far.

Oh, good; we can see a lot more detail in these clouds and the tree looks good.

I won't get any detail out of this tree, and I don't even want to try.

For one, it was incredibly dark, and secondly, it was moving, so everything is blurred.

Now we'll composite that first image with this one using the Watermark Module.

This is the file I want: tmp.svg This is the one I created with that script, and you can see that makes it large.

We're going to want to make it smaller.

In order to place it properly, I'll just change the Opacity so we can see what's behind it.

There we go.

Move it over and down.

Make it smaller.

I'll use the Parametric Mask to get it placed right.

I want to get rid of the dark parts in the sky.

Let's see what that looks like.

There's the moon over this part that is blown out.

Now I want the moon to go out a little farther, so maybe I can feather this a little.

Now I'm getting these darker parts here, so maybe I can use this Output Control to eliminate output that's dark, like that.

Okay, and I can feather both this Output Control and this Input Control to get the moon so it fills just where I want it.

I'll move it to the right a little.

Oh, it doesn't go all the way.

I'll make it a little larger.

And, down here, it looks like the moon is coming over the top of the clouds.

I'll change the Input to eliminate that to some extent.

Oh, that will be tough to do, won't it? Oh, that's not SO bad.

There we go.

A little Mask Blur.

Let's see: a little over a pixel; I've got 1.4 pixels here.

I'll lower the Opacity just a tiny bit.

I just took it down to 96.

Now, the background is a little bright.

I'll use the Tone Curve to adjust the background.

Let's see what we've got.

We're like, right around there.

Let's bring that down to see if we can get a better match.

I don't want to bring down the darkness from this Tone Curve everywhere; I want to do it close to the moon, so I'll use a Drawn Mask.

That brightened everything right back up again.

How do the edges look? I don't like this dark part here.

Let's see if I can tweak these values a little more.

There we go.

That helped a little.

And so does that.

There we go.

We've got most of it gone.

Oh, I love that; that really turned out sweet.

I'll save this, but before I do, I'll do Chromatic Aberration Control and Hot Pixels.

Since it was a 15 second exposure, it will have hot pixels.

It says 65; I bet there's a few more than that.

I'll turn my Threshold down.

No, it's not going up very much; just some.

Okay, we already denoised with the Equalizer, so: Chromatic Aberrations, and let's save it.

Here we are.

First: de-rotate it.

I like the water down here, and I like to see the bottom part of the palm tree, so I'll leave as much of the bottom as possible.

I'd like for the moon to look large, so I'll do an aggressive crop.

And I want to still be able to tell that it's a palm tree, so let's try this.


I want to bring out some brightness in the water so I can discern it from the palm tree.

Let's just look at what tone this is and bring that up.


That seems to work pretty well.

I don't want it up here.

Maybe I can use a drawn mask? Reverse the direction.

Give it a little bit of a feather.

Make this just a little larger.

There we go.


Now I can tell the difference between the tree and the water.

I'd like a little deeper color here.

I can do that with a Multiply method.

First, I'll apply it with an L Channel.

I'll bring my Opacity all the way down to start because it comes on a little strong.

I'll give it a little bit of an S curve and bring up the Opacity slowly.

This is giving me a lot richer colors.

So I'm around 15%.

That's before, and that's after; that looks great.

It's a little coppery or green here.

Oh, look: I've got a line from that file.

One of the nice things when you're working between versions is that you don't have to lose your XMP file.

You can just make a change to one.

I'll come in here, and see: I've got this little line on my watermark.

I'll add a Drawn Mask to it so it's both a Drawn and a Parametric Mask.

There we go.


I'll save that and make sure that I over-write.

Remove this one, because it will use the cached version for the thumbnail.

When I re-open the directory, it will keep the old XMP file that we were working on, see? But now our square is gone from around the edges.

So, that makes it possible to bounce back and forth between versions.

I wonder what that dot is from.

Oh, those are stars! Right: because it was night.

What else? It looks a little green here, and I want it to look more copper.

Let's see: Color Zones.

We'll take some samples.


We're over here: right there with that black line.

And if I go up here, ah: we're over here.

I'll take this slider and move it right where the offending colors are, then bracket it with two other control points.

Using the mouse wheel, make the circle smaller so I have finer control.

Then, I want to go from this line over to here, so I'll go down a little.

There we go.


It was a little green or blue, and now it's the same color as the rest of it.

Okay, what else do we need? Let's get these clouds to pop a little bit from the sky.

I can do that with an Overlay method on a Lowpass Filter.

I'll turn my Saturation down to zero, then set my Radius so that the clouds and not the details show up.

Okay, I can see my individual clouds here.

That was at 16 pixels.

I'll change my Blend Mode to Overlay.

I'll probably have to take my Contrast down a little bit, but first I'll just take my Opacity down and see what I want to do.

That's not so bad.

So, around 24%.

It gives me a little separation on these clouds.

Let's see if I can do it a little more.

Okay, I'm up to 31%.

I want to bring out some of these highlight details.

My favorite method for doing that is with the Highpass Filter.

Try and find a ratio of my Sharpness and Contrast to bring out the details I want.

I'm looking for some of these details in these clouds.

Look at all of these stars: that's crazy 🙂 Alright; just like that.

I'll apply this with the L Channel, Parametric Mask and Softlight Blend Mode.

That's without it and that's with it.

It's giving me a little detail in here, but I'm getting this dark ring around the moon, so I'll exclude the moon from this.

Combine it with a Drawn Mask and draw a circle around the moon, and reverse the Polarity so it happens everywhere but there.

Alright, what have we got? Like that, and like that.

I think that's it.

It looks good to me.

While we're dealing with Super Moons...

I had this shot I did.

It's a panorama.

I shot the bottom third first when the wave was coming in, then panned up to catch these clouds, and panned up one more time to catch the moon.

But, it's such a wide angle that the moon looks tiny.

I'll crop this and get myself a version of this moon, then put it back in the same picture, but place it in a different location and make it a different size.

I'll save this to the directory that we've been saving them to.

Since it's being cropped, I'll change it to a PNG.

And I've got my Watermark Script.

It says my file is only 300K, so I don't have any problem with that.

Un-crop it.

Go to my Watermark Module.

Look for tmp.svg And there's our moon.


Let's put the moon behind this cloud and make it nice and big.

Why not? This is fun stuff, right? We'll move it up.

And over.

And use a Parametric Mask.

Not have it post in the darker clouds, but have it post in the lighter sky.

Let's see.

The lighter sky is around 190, so I'll put one mark there.

And I'll bring this one up.

There we go.

Now we can move the moon wherever we want.

There's a lot of extraneous stuff that came with it.

So, I can take a Drawn Mask and add it to the equation.

I've got a little color mis-match here.

I could do a tighter circle.

I need to work on my Parametric Mask numbers here a little bit too, so the clouds cover the moon better.

There we go.

There we are.

And we'll get rid of the old moon.

That looks good.


I've got a couple of things I want to show you on the Interwebs.

One of them is Alex here had asked on about saving for Facebook.

He did some research and tried a bunch of different methods.

He says the hot ticket is to go 2048 px for your longest length, regardless of if it's portrait or landscape.

You just make 2048 px your longest length and save it as a PNG.

Yay! Now we all know.

Thank you.

Also, I want to show you Daniel Kordon's site.

This guy is amazing.

He's got this style that's kind of like a soft focus or low contrast in areas.

It gives a dreamlike appearance.

If everything is sharp, then nothing appears sharp.

It's these contrasts.

He gets contrasts between areas that have some aspects, like a lot of contrast and a lot of sharpness, and other areas that have lower amounts.

It makes it really pop.

I love his choice of colors too.


Yes: Daniel Kordon.

Come here and look around.

The guy is great.

This week's Edit my RAW is from Norman.

He sent us a beautiful picture from Thailand that he took -- and processed.

Look at this! You did a great job, Norman; this is beautiful.

I showed my wife and she was impressed with how gorgeous it is.

So, I don't want to re-do it; I mean, look at these colors! This is fantastic.

I love what you did with the shading here on the sand and the relief that you get from the rock.

There are a couple things that might make it even better.

The blown-out sun here: it's hard to get a visual sense of where the sun is because it's all blown out.

We can use the Color Reconstruction Module to fill in the color.

See, like that? We can use the Threshold Adjustment and the Spatial Extent to try and get the best effect we can.

I'll apply this with a circular Drawn Mask to try and draw your eye to where the sun should be.

If I follow this line, I'm assuming the sun should be right here.

So, if I make a circle there and have this feathered edge like this...

Here, I'll turn on my Mask Indicator.

See where that circle is? I'll reverse it so now all of the picture gets the effect, but just not this one area.

I'll make it a little smaller and feather this a little more.

There we go.


So, now the Color Reconstruction happens over here and over here, but not right in the middle.

That helps draw your eye up here, to see where this is.

I love your saturated colors; those are gorgeous.

We can get a little bit more saturation by doing a Subtract.

One of the nice things about a Subtract is that it gives you some really nice solids too.

There are a couple ways we can do a Subtract.

One of them is to just take a straight Tone Curve and do a Subtract.

I like to use a Parametric Mask because I want to protect my shadows some, and the Subtract won't.

Multiply will protect your shadows, but the Multiply doesn't give quite the depth of colors that a Subtract does.

I'll take my Opacity and turn it all the way down, because when I turn this on, it's way overboard.

You can only apply like 4-5% of it.

Okay, so I'm changing my Blend Mode to Subtract, and I'll slowly bring up my Opacity.

Now, don't forget: I've used an L-mask here.

That's important.

Without that, our shadows get black real fast.

And I'll slowly bring up the Opacity.

You can see that the saturation really kicks in to gear.

Like that, and like that.

See what a nice effect that has on these rocks too? And these deep, deep colors.

So, this is what the Subtract looks like with the Tone Curve.

But, I wanted to also try it with something that protects our dynamic range a little more.

So I'll take a Snapshot and then look at the same idea, but with the Global Tone Map Module.

If I turn on the Global Tone Mapping, you can see that it pushes my information toward the middle.

So, now we've got all these beautiful mid-tones.

Once again, a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel.

Then I'll change my Blend Mode to Subtract, take my Opacity all the way down, and slowly bring it up.

Get my nice deep colors.

See those nice deep colors you're getting? And these nice darks, too? Let's compare it with what we got off the Tone Curve.

It looks pretty similar in a lot of it.

But, off the Tone Curve, we've got these really solid blacks, and the sand is a little bright relative to that.

With the Tone Mapping, our solids didn't get any more solid.

We've got the same amount of solids.

But our mid-tones are a little richer.

You get a little more discrimination up here too, in these clouds.

And I don't see any difference here in these clouds.

It looks like the tones are a little richer in the water too, with the Global Tone Mapping.

Yeah, this looks a little washed-out.

And this is nice and rich, too.

So, I think I get a little better effect using the Global Tone Map with the Subtract, and it gives me beautiful colors too.

There's only one other thing I was looking at.

I want to see more detail in these clouds.

When I like to get more highlight detail, I usually use a Highpass Filter.

I'll take my Sharpness and my Contrast and play with them to try and get those nice details in the clouds.

Let's see.

Like that; that looks good.

Oh, yeah; look at all of those details: nice.

I'll take a Parametric Mask based on the L Channel and apply this with the Softlight Blend Mode.

It had an effect on the water too.

I'll take a Snapshot here.

So, the idea of this module would be to give me more detail in my highlights.

On the water, we had low contrast.

Now we're getting some nice pop.

Getting some nice pop here along the shore with these rocks too.

And we're really getting more detail in these clouds.

But since we based that on the L Channel, we didn't lose any shadows; they didn't get too dark.

Those are pretty subtle changes.

I just brought out the clouds a little more, deepened the colors a little, and drew your eye to the middle of the sun.

Other than that, I don't have anything to say.

Thailand, eh? Okay; I want to go to Thailand now.

(laughter) Thank you so much, Norman, for your contribution.

I hope you enjoyed this week's edit.

I'd like to take this opportunity to show you around my website.

It's called Weekly Edit.

If you go here, you can find my most recent videos.

The videos are broken up by what occurs at what time.

You can jump ahead, which is really nice.

I've got it broken up by which topics I went over and by which modules I used.

There's also lots of show notes every week, and you can download the RAW files that I used to do the edit.

You can edit along at the same time if you'd like.

There's space here to upload your own RAW file.

See where it says 'Edit my RAW'? You can click on that and upload your files.

If I select yours to edit on the show, I'll send you a souvenir print, signed and matted, as a thank-you for your contribution.

I really appreciate that.

We have three Patrons now on It's exciting; every week we're getting positive support.

My wife and I really enjoy that.

Thank you so much, for everybody that participates, and thank you for watching along on the videos, and thank you for contributing your comments and suggestions.

And a big thank-you to our Patrons.

Alright everybody, have a good weekend, and I'll see you next week.


Parametric Masks

Parametric Masks

In this video I demonstrate the functioning of the parametric mask sliders in Darktable, use my new compositing functionality on a contributed RAW file, and introduce my Lab color reference chart.
Along the way, there are quick tips on Inkscape and on adjusting panel width and font size in Darktable. I use compositing in Darktable like an old hand now, but here's a quick reminder from last week: Keep your SVG file under 8mb; use Inkscape to convert it from a bitmap like this:

inkscape -f filename.jpg -l filename.svg

and put your SVG file here


The RAW file used in this video is available here. Thank you Jack for the contribution 🙂

Complete Show Text

Download complete text here

Aloha everybody, and welcome to Weekly Edit.

Today I will use an Edit My RAW that Jack sent me.

I'm excited to be using my compositing method on it.

It's become a normal part of my workflow now.

I wanted to show you a website every week that I'm really interested in.

This one you have to go to! It's There are fantastic articles in here: everything from technical to artistic.

The blog posts are great.

A lot of it is specific to Darktable, but it's not all about Darktable.

You could easily spend the whole evening here.

This is an awesome website.

I want to talk about parametric masks today, and what those crazy little triangles under the Settings do.

Before I do that, I want to use Inkscape to make an image we can work with.

This will make it easier to visualize how the Parametric Masks work.

If I hold down the CTRL key as I pull a rectangle, it makes it a square.

I want to give this square a gradient fill from one side to the other.

I'll use this button here.

See: Linear Gradient.

See, I have an alpha on this side.

Here's how you change these gradient fills in Inkscape.

You click on this little pencil down here and it says "edit gradient fill" Then up here are the gradient fills and the stops.

So, I go to the stop with the alpha.

There it is.

See, my Alpha is at zero.

I'll turn that all the way up and set it to White.

Now it goes from red to white.

I want a second one too.

I want to go from top to bottom with dark on the bottom and light on top.

So, I'll duplicate this square and rotate it around itself.

Then I'll adjust the Gradient Fill here.

Oh, you've got to go to 1 and then back; there you go.

Okay, like that.

I'll set its alpha so I can see through it.

Got to set it for both stops.

57 and 57, so I've got the same alpha on both.

So, I go from red to light red to white to dark, and that's two Gradient fills on top of each other with alpha blending.

I'll export these two as a PNG.

I can open this in Darktable.

There we go.

Here's our darker and our lighter sides and our red and our not-red side, so we've got two parameters.

This is what we're going to work with here: the Parametric Mask.

This is all so small, it's the perfect opportunity for me to show you how to change the panel width and the size of the font in Darktable.

Let's leave Darktable and do that.

I'll open either a text editor or just a terminal window, and this is just a text file, so you can edit it with anything that doesn't do formatting.

First, we'll make a backup copy of the RC file.

We'll go to the directory that contains the RC file.

That's in .config/darktable If I look at this, you'll see that there's darktablerc, and it's small; it's just a text file.

Let's look at it, but before we do anything with it, let's make a backup.

I'll cp that to itself with just a backup extension: cp darktablerc darktablerc.bak Now here's my original and here's my backup.

I'll edit darktablerc You'll see that it's set up where there's a key value pair, so there are these keys, and then there's an equal sign, then there are values after them.

We're looking for "panel".

If I look for panel, I finally find it at the third one down: panel_width=300 Let's change that to 370.

So, now when I open Darktable, I see my original image, and now my panel is wider.

But it didn't change the size of the little triangles or the fonts.

So, I'm going to change that.

But before I change that, I want to show you something about editing this rc file.

If I go in here and I edit this rc file, and change my screen dpi to, let's say, 140.

Then, when I look at Darktable there's no change.

If I exit Darktable and open it again, you'll see there's still no change.

The reason for that is that Darktable over-writes this file every time it closes, so that any changes you make to the GUI or core options get saved.

So, make sure Darktable is closed before you go edit.

We'll go to "screen"; see it set that back to 100.

We'll change it to 130.

There we go.

So here we are, and we've got the right size panel and the right size fonts.


We'll open our image here.

I want to do something so that you can see the difference between the part we're working on and the part we aren't working on, so I'll just make everything blue.

I'll do that by just bringing this down.

There we go.

So, this part was red...

I'll take a Screenshot.

There we go.

So, this added blue to the whole image.

This line here, between the Screenshot and the working area can be rotated by clicking on this.

It can only go in 90 degree increments, though; you can't do diagonal.

So, this on the right is the part we're working on, and on the left is the original.

It made everything blue, so it made the parts that had red in it a little purple, and the parts without color became blue.

This part had a little red in it, so it's a little purple.

This part had no red, so it's just blue.

It goes from with the black or grey added to just the white added down here.

So, we've got four different colors.

If we look at our Parametric Mask, there are two different sliders.

One says Output and one says Input.

For right now, I'll just worry about the Input because it's the real workhorse here.

You'll see some indicators up here.

These are different tabs.

They are different channels.

Some of the modules have even more channels.This one just has five.

There's an A Channel, which goes from green to magenta.

B Channel is blue to yellow.

Chromacity is basically the amount of saturation.

And Hue.

I'll just deal with the L Channel to demonstrate this to start.

What these sliders do: if I move both of them, it makes it easier to visualize what's happening.

They say everything on the outside of these triangles -- everything on this side -- 'don't apply any of this effect.' Whatever I did up here, and it doesn't matter what I did -- don't apply any of it.

And the stuff on the right-hand side: apply the effect.

In this case, making everything blue.

So, if I move these to the right, we'll start to exclude certain parts of the image from being adjusted.

These parts here are in this darker area.

That's why they don't get any of the blue.

Likewise, if I pull these in, the lighter parts of the image won't get any blue either.

Now, why are there two triangles? Well, the top triangle is where all of the blue is being affected, and the bottom triangle is kind of a ramp.

It says, all of the effect, wherever the top triangle is, and go down so that none of the effect happens where the bottom triangle is.

Then, everything to the right of the bottom triangle gets none of the effect.

So, here we go.

We'll move this one over and you'll see we get a fuzzy line here now.

This is the point, right here, where THIS triangle is.

When I move this triangle to the right -- over here.

That's where this triangle is.

So, if I take this top triangle and move it on top of this triangle, it will make that dividing line right there.


Like that.

So, if I want the transition to be from here to here, I could look at this and say, "oh look; that one's at 91" and move both of them over to where I want it to stop and say, "oh, that one's at 81" and take one of them and move it to 91 and the other and move it to 81.

Then I have that exact transition.

I can do the same thing up here by taking this triangle and moving it out to the side.

So, if I put them close together, the transition area is short because they're right next to each other.

The difference is only between 40 and 43, in terms of how bright it is.

So, if I take this bottom triangle and move it over, eventually this is going to fade out to nothing.

Then the blue will go all the way to the end and stop being affected right there.

So, if I turn this like this, I can kind of see what's going on, but not really.

Well, there's this Mask Indicator, and this makes a huge difference.

What this does is paint yellow -- bright yellow-- everywhere where there's a mask.

So, let's move this one back and turn on our Mask Indicator.

Now, this says "where is this effect being applied?" On this side, you see a sharp edge.

That's because these two triangles are lined up right over each other.

On this side, it's really diffuse.

It goes from here to here because our triangles are separated.

So, if I want to know what point to put my triangles at so I get a smooth gradation from none to here, I can remember where I am here.

I'm at 43.

Then I'll take both sliders and move them both until I get just to the end there.

There we go: at 20.

Okay, so if I take the top one and move it back to 43, I will get my nice smooth transition that I was talking about.

So, the blue is being applied fully in this area and fades out so there is no blue at all being applied here.


So, this was our original.

It was all red, and we're adding blue.

You can see that there's no blue being applied here because this red and this red are exactly the same Likewise, when we get down here to this end, you can see there's no blue being applied here because this white and this white are exactly the same.

Okay, let's apply a second mask and we can combine these.

I'm going to put these over each other because I think it will make it easier to visualize.

And that gives us these sharp lines.

Now, let's look at our Chromacity channel.

Once again, I'll turn on my Mask Indicator.

I'll bring down these two.

This has to do with how saturated it is.

I want to be able to visualize the whole thing, so I'll turn off my L Channel.


Go to my Chromacity, and bring this down.

I see that, at 30, it's the most saturated pixels right here.

The least saturated pixels are down here at zero.

So, if I want to apply more of the blue to the most-saturated pixels, I'll have it be that this number 30 is where this triangle needs to be.

Let me explain why.

Where this gets applied is between the two triangles.

So, I want to apply a maximum amount at 30 and a minimum amount at zero.

So, I can take these two and move them all the way over here.

And take this one and move it over to 30.

Now, what this says is between these two triangles gets the full effect, and on the outside of those two triangles, not between them, gets no effect.

So, this gives us a nice ramp here.

We can see our Mask Indicator, this yellow, showing us not being applied at all in the unsaturated pixels and being applied fully in the most-saturated pixels.

If I combine that with where we had our L Mask...

I'll make this not a smooth ramp but a sharp line, like we did last time, by putting these two triangles right over each other.

There we go.

If I bring these in and these in, you'll see that we can combine masks.

So, this is saying that everything that is brighter than this number and everything that is darker than this number doesn't get it.

And, on the C Channel, everything that is less saturated than this amount doesn't get it.

So, only this amount here will get blue.

So, let's turn off our Mask Indicator and see where our blue is applied.

There it is.

Now, if I wanted to make just these pixels get the most, I could take this and ramp it up to 30, and that down.

And I can take my L.

And these pixels here -- this is the Eyedropper tool -- will indicate where a particular area is on this chart.

So, I want the maximum effect right here at 20.7.

That's where this little Eyedropper bullseye is.

So, I'll move these over and I'll say "maximum effect right there." Oh, it gets brighter as I go away.

Well, I can go like this and create a double-pyramid that maxes out right there at that level.

That gets the maximum amount of blue right there in that corner.

I can reverse polarities of individual masks with these little pluses.

And, I can reverse the polarity of all the masks with this.

This re-sets all the masks back to their original values.

Okay: Mask Blur.

Let's talk about that.

Let's say we've got a mask that goes from the darkest to the lightest, so that the lightest parts of the image are getting the full effect and the darkest parts are getting less of the effect.

But, let's say I wanted that to have a sharp dividing line.

So, I line up my triangles.

Now I've got this edge.

I don't want that edge; I want it to be smoother.

So, I can use a Gaussian Blur.

I assume it's a Gaussian Blur -- on this Mask Blur.

That makes my mask have a blurred edge.

In this particular instance, it's about the same as doing this, but that's not always the case.

for instance, this has some cross-hatching, so the Mask Blur is much more applicable.

If you've got trees and stuff, it can get really complex and you'll use a combination of different things to see what's going on.

So, what do the top triangles do? Well, this is Output.

It's a lot like the Input.

The triangles on the left and the triangles on the right work the same.

But, it has to do with what comes out of the module, not what comes into it.

Once again I can limit the output by -- if I turn on my Mask Indicator here I can see what I'm doing -- by moving these sliders.

Then I can see that it won't apply any of the effect to these brighter ones.

I can use that to protect highlights; I can use it if I'm darkening up the scene to reduce the effect in the shadows; I could feather the shadows like this so that a little bit of the effect goes to the darkest, but it won't let me get all the way to the black, because as it gets darker and darker, there's less and less of the effect -- so I can protect my highlights and my shadows, like this.

So, if I'm extending contrast, I might want to do this on my output, just by default, to make sure that, as I extend my contrast -- let's say I do a Contrast Curve, but I don't want my whites to get all the way white, and I don't want my blacks to get all the way black -- so, this protects me.

Okay, that's mostly Parametric Masks.

They can be combined with Drawn Masks in complex ways.

We'll discuss that in another video.

Alright, here we are.

Now, on this one, I really want to get rid of the haze.

I've got some interesting ideas for how to do that.

I want to split the picture into two parts and deal with the sky separately from the bottom.

So, on the sky, let's see what colors we've got first.

Well, that looks pretty neutral: a little blue.

Then down here? Oh, that's very blue.

Okay, well let's store that there, and this, so that we stay pretty neutral there.

And it looks like we need more contrast and more blue-reduction as we go down on the screen.

Well, we can use that to our advantage and use a Drawn Mask.

So, Drawn Mask, Fountain Fill.


Let's make that larger.

So, I want it to have a little bit of effect up here and a lot of effect down here.

I'll turn on my Mask Indicator.

I can see that it's reversed, so I'll hit this minus here.

That toggles the polarity.

Alright, I can turn off my Mask Indicator and turn off the indicator for my line.

Now, I said I wanted to increase the contrast and get rid of the blue, and -- oh, we've got minus colors here: minus four, so we've got green in there too.

I want to get rid of that.

The sky should be a little bit magenta, and blue, but certainly not green.

Okay, I'll get rid of these midpoints.

Since I'm reducing color, I'll take my curves and move them toward the middle.

So, we've got a little green here.

I want to get rid of that.

Very carefully bring this down.

I'm watching this number as I go.

That's -1.4 now.

If I just put my mouse over an area where there's a pull point -- these little white circles -- I can use the mouse wheel to move it up and down.

That's really cool.

Okay, so now we're at +0.5; that looks good.

That's an awful lot of blue though: -10.

So, I'll go over here to the B and do the same thing.

Use my mouse wheel to give me fine control.

And we're down to -5, -3.

Right there at -3.

A little bit of magenta.

So, that's going to be a lot less blue.

I want more contrast on the L Channel, so I'll open up a new Tone Curve.

I'll use the same mask.

So, if I go to Drawn Mask, it gives me the option here of selecting that mask that I just used.

Here it is: Tone Curve.

Once again, I need to reverse it.

Now I want to increase the contrast down here.

So, I'll use my Eyedropper Tool and change it to an Area.

Then pick that area -- that's from here to here.

It's the pink, not the green; the green is these points.

Okay, so I'll take my pink and increase one side of it and decrease the other side thereby giving me a little more contrast in there.

I'll give myself a lot of contrast.

There we go.

Let's see: I don't want to come down too far.

Before, and after.

Well, we got rid of a lot of the haze.

We certainly didn't get rid of all of it, but we want it to look believable.

I'd like to concentrate on this separation in here, and be able to see more of that.

I wonder if that's possible.

I'll open a new Tone Curve.

Once again, I'll use the same mask.

Reverse it.

Okay, my Eyedropper Tool.

Change it to Area.

We'll look at the difference between these two tones.

There it is.

I'll bring up one side, bring down the other side to give me a little more tonal relief.

That made a big difference.

See this line of clouds? It separates from the background better like that.

I like it.

Okay, I usually use Lowpass and Highpass Filters to do a lot of work, but I like to use different modules.

I want to show you guys how to use the Equalizer.

-- or ways I use the Equalizer-- One of the things I want is to be able to see the clouds pop from the background more.

So, I want to find the right size on the Equalizer with the Luma Channel to give me that kind of separation.

I like to open a Tone Curve and give yourself an artificially large Gamma.

You won't know how big to make it until you start working with the Equalizer, but then you'll see, and you can go back and forth and adjust.

I use the Blend Operator Difference.

It shows me any changes I make.

So, if I pull up one end, I can see where the differences are.

So this is the size that the Equalizer is dealing with: things this big.

And if I bring up another one, it gets to a little bit smaller size.

Once again, and smaller.

And smaller still.

I want to separate these clouds, so it looks like I need the largest size.

Like that? Okay, let's try that.

So, I've got to go back and turn off my Gamma, then go back to my Equalizer.

Instead of Difference, I'll put it on Normal.

Let's see what that looks like.

From that, to that.

Well, it actually looks a little heavy, so I'll pull it down a little.

Now, see this up here? It's starting to clip these highlights -- because the Equalizer increases contrast.

So, it doesn't really just increase the darks darker to increase contrast; it also makes the lights lighter.

We'll probably need to bring down our Exposure a little to compensate for that.

We're getting a little bit of red fringing in here.

So, my Highlight Reconstruction -- I want to bring my Clipping Threshold down a little.

There we go; it went away.

Now, what that does is say "how bright do I make all the colors equal so that it looks white and we don't get color tingeing?" I brought that down from a full value of 1, down to a little bit lower value: this time 0.92 I want to add a little detail in the clouds and get more separation in these brighter areas.

I'll use the Equalizer again.

Make a new instance.

This time I'll use the Darken Mode.

Zoom in here.

And I'll start pulling up the contrast until I get to the point where I'm starting to see the kind of details I want.

That looks good.

That makes these clouds more 3-dimensional.

Now I can start pulling these down until that goes away.

Oh, a little bit there! Come back up.

And there we go.

So, that's a different way of doing that from using the Difference with the Tone -- where you set a Gamma and then you put your Equalizer on Difference.

What I did was set it to the mode I was going to use: Darken in this case or Normal in most cases -- then I brought my levels up without bringing down the other ones -- kept bringing them up until I got the effect I wanted, and then started bringing them down until I stopped getting the effect.

Then I knew what range I wanted to be in.

So, there are two different techniques.

Alright, there are our clouds.

Oh, they look so much more 3-dimensional now.

And I think they look a little overboard.

I'll bring down the equalizers a little with the Opacity.

Bring that one down a little and bring this one down a little.

Oops, not Mix; Opacity.

There we go.

I'm much happier with the sky now.

Alright, I'll save the sky and work on the bottom.

The way I save the sky is I've got a little pre-set here that I did, where it saves it to .config/darktable/watermarks So here's the directory structure: .config/darktable/watermarks I save it as tmp.jpg and I have a little script that just converts it into tmp.svg And I just keep re-using these two files.

So, the thing I have to remember is to move this from Create Unique Filename to Overwrite.

When you save a pre-set, (Store New Pre-set), it doesn't let you save on Conflict Overwrite.

So, you have to remember to do that each time.

So, my magic formula is a JPG at a quality of 93; that seems to yield me the largest possible file size that still functions with the Watermark Module.

I'll use the Watermark Module for compositing this with the bottom.

I'm doing all my work in SRGB.

I got tired of switching back and forth between web-based content and my screen, so I'm just doing all my work in SRGB now.

There we go; I'm exporting it.

Then, I've written a script.

It's quite simple.

Let's see.

cat bin/watermark.zsh And it just says -- it calls inkscape with a '-f' and says 'take tmp.jpg -l and save it as tmp.svg' So, I can just run that script.

And it runs, and that's it.

Now, I can take this, go to my History, and ditch everything.

There we go.

Now, let's work on the bottom.

Here's our original.

we want to work on the bottom.

We're not going to worry about the sky at all because we've already done that.

So, I'm looking at this grass, and it looks like there's some fringing, but I notice that there's no option for Chromatic Aberration Controls on Fujifilm.

I think it uses a different sensor.

So, let's look at our Demosaic-ing options.

Oh, look at that: these are different.

Okay, well, there are three options here: VNG...

Oh, I like that third one.

It got rid of almost all of that fringing.

What happens if we add a little color smoothing? I think that helps.

If we go all the way to the other side? Oh, it looks fine to me that way too.

Well, let's do that.

This has an awful lot of green.

And the green is -- it looks like it's too much brighter than the yellows.

I'd like for these fall colors to really pop.

I mean, it's a fall day.

These are brightly-colored trees, right? So, the first thing I want to do is look at replacing the L Channel with a different one.

I'll take a Screenshot so I can compare.

First I'll look at the least-likely suspect, which would be the blue.

That gives me quite a bit of separation back here.

Okay; it looks horrible up front, though.

Look how contrast-y it is.

Then the green: I expect that'll make the greens too much.

Yeah; wow! Those greens are really a lot.


Okay, how about our red? Oh, that looks more pleasant doesn't it? Let's make it the same as the one on the left.

Oh, I like that better.


It looks like we're losing a little detail.


Do we need to add some of the blue in to get some more of the detail back? Oh, that seems to help.


Look, we're getting this fringing here.

And up here too.


Little spots of it, these little yellow dots.

Now, this happens some times with this Lightness.

I find I can get just about the same effect if, instead of using Lightness, -- What have I got here? I've got 1/4 blue: 3/4 red.

Okay, let's see.

Move all that back to normal.

Re-set back to normal; there we go.

And go to the Grey.

And this will make a grey image.

Let's see: this was 3/4 red and 1/4 blue, my formula.

Then just apply this to the L Channel only.

And we're not getting those yellow dots.


Oh, I do like that better.

But I don't think I want it to be exclusively that.

So, I'll take my Opacity and turn it down a little so it blends in with the original.

Okay, now I've got detail and I like my L Channel a lot better.

My trees are separating from the background better too, and lightening up a little.


What else do we want to do? There's a lot of blue back here; I think I want to pull that blue out.

Okay, what kind of colors do we have here? Well, we should be yellow and green, because it's trees.

I see here that we're a little into the blue territory, and we've got a little bit of green.


So all we've got to do is switch our blue to yellow and we'll be all set.

So I'll take out that midpoint and bring down the blue until this midpoint here is up into the yellow a little.

Much nicer.

I'd also like to increase the contrast a little as I go back.

I don't want it to necessarily get darker, so I'll work on the contrast.

I want this to be the brightest and this to be the darkest, and I'll try to emphasize the contrast between these two.

Once again with the Drawn Mask.

I don't want much of this contrast in front, so I'll make it a little smaller.

I can use my Eyedropper.

In this area I'm up around here.

Bring that up a little.

And over here, I'm down there; I'll bring that down a little.

That gives me a little more contrast.

That makes the background pop better.

What else? Well, we were working on the Equalizer; let's keep working on the Equalizer.

I want to separate some of these items, like these trees and these trees from each other, maybe make this pond here a little more separate.

So, let's use the Gamma trick again.

Come up with the Tone Curve.

Give it a huge amount of Gamma.

Then go to my Equalizer.

Change my Blend Mode to Difference and start messing with these things.

Now, see: I'm trying to see these trees from the background.

Now, that starts getting complex.

It's not SO bad.

Let's see if I take this and slide it over a little, towards the larger side -- that looks a little better.

Okay, so I'll try to stay away from over here, because I don't want to add a lot of detail contrast.

Then I'll bring all of these up.

There we go; they're all up.

Now I can see these trees popping from the background.

And this is going to look a little clumpy up here, so I might have to use a Drawn Mask.

We'll see.

Okay, take my Gamma and turn it off.

Take my Equalizer and change it to Normal.

Then use the Opacity to figure out how much of it I want.

Alright, I'm looking back here to see how much of it I want, then I'll look at the front and see if I want to turn it down or not.

That looks pretty good, and it looks pretty good up here too; I think I can just use it like that.

Alright, I want some color too.

So, same thing with the Chroma.

I'll go with the same sizes.

Bring them up.

Ah, yes; now the trees are starting to separate from each other.

The nice thing about adding color with the Equalizer tool is you get spatial contrast in color, which is nice.

I'd like for the front to be more colorful, but I can deal with that later after I combine these images.

I'm just dealing with the things near this transition zone now.

Maybe a little more detail back here.

Just like last time, I'll do my detail with an L Mask.

I'll bring up my levels until I find the ones I want there and there, and then bring them down a little.

Use a Parametric Mask so that the darker areas get less of it and the lighter areas get more.

Before, and after.

That's exactly what I wanted.

It looks like it's time to add the sky.

We'll go to the Watermark Module and select tmp.svg This is that file we made.

Okay, there's our sky: nice.

How do we want to apply it? Well, I can't use the L Mask because I've got things that are bright and things that are not-bright in the sky.

And I've got things that are bright and not-bright down here.

But there is an awful lot of blue in the sky.

So, let's see if we can use the B Channel on the Parametric Mask.

Let's see: tmp.svg We go to Blend; we select Parametric Mask.

And let's go the the B Channel.

We'll use our Mask Indicator to see if that makes a difference.

I'll bring up these levels until I start...

Ah! There we go.


Oh, I'm getting into the sky here.

I'm looking at these two numbers to see how high I can still be and not get into the sky.


Okay, so we'll start there.

Then I can bring this bottom one down.



Bring this bottom one over to feather this edge.

There we go.

Maybe a little Mask Blur too.

Not much; maybe 2 pixels or so.

Okay, let's see what that looks like.

Well we've got a little bit of an edge here; let's see if we can bring the blue down some more.

Ah, that feathers it.


It comes down here, though; I don't want that.

So, let's combine our Parametric Mask with a Drawn Mask.

Use my mouse wheel to make the transition smaller.

Okay, let's see what that looks like.

Before, and after.

Hey, that's pretty good.

How about where these trees are? Before and after.

That's not bad.


This is a little bright here compared to the background.

So, I think if I make a fountain fill that goes from here up to here, and just tries to match that tone a little, that will help things.

Tone Curve.

Drawn Mask.

And, like that.

Okay, I'll get in there.

Using the Eyedropper Tool with Area.

Now, these dark parts here are the parts that I want to get darker.

But these light parts here I don't want to get darker.

So, first thing, I'll pin this point so it doesn't get darker.

Then I'll take these darker parts, figure out where they are, and bring that down to get a better match.

Ah, yes; there we go.

Then, last but not least, I'll take my Watermark.

Instead of applying it at 100%, I'll bring it down maybe to 75% or so.


I was having some blown out areas up here, but by bringing down my Opacity, I picked those up.

My transition looks really good.

There are no halos or anything.

That looks really good.

Okay, last trick when you're applying Compositing this way: You can take your Y Alignment and just move it a little bit.

See how I did that? It moved down.

That gets rid of any kind of border you might have had.

Hey, that looks great.

Now I'll save this.

Then I'll add some more color and brighten up the front.

Let's do that.

I want that.

There we go.

I'll save this as a TIF, because that way it doesn't lose any information.

Okay, now we're done exporting.

There's our TIF.

Now: increasing the color and brightening up the front a little.

I'll brighten the front first, then adjust it as I increase the color.

I don't know where I'll increase it.

This will be a matter of taste, so I'll slide around.

Oh, my direction was backwards; there we go.

Alright; I think that's what I'm looking for, but I'll have to change it when I start applying color with another Tone Module.

I'll apply color with the Multiply, based on the L Channel -- because I think that will look good for this.

I'll give it a little punch by giving it a little bit of an S curve.

Bring my Opacity down to zero to start, because it comes on so strong.

Change my Blend Mode to Multiply.

As I increase my Opacity, the color will get richer and richer.

I can go back to my Gamma Curve and try to keep pace by not letting things get too dark.

I'm up to 45%; that's too much.

I'll bring it back down.

Hey, that gives it a little punch.

This looks a little blue in front...? I'll take a look.

What have we got? Not too much.

It probably should be a little more yellow.

Well, let's add that and give it some final touches.

You know, instead of adding yellow everywhere, I think I want the lighter parts to be more yellow because that's how it looks when the sun is shining on things.

So, let's use the Color Correction Module.

The way that works is the white dot is for highlights and the blue dot is for shadows.

So, if I get my sunny spot here, and find my highlight color that looks good, I can apply that with a Drawn Mask so that the front, towards me, is getting the most of it.

There we go.

Now it looks more like the sun ish shining here.

That makes me happier.

What do our numbers look like here? We're more yellow.

Maybe a little too much yellow.

So, I'll use my Opacity to bring that down just a little.

I'm looking at these numbers here.

I'd like for this number to be twice this one, but not crazy-twice.

This is 13; twice would be 26.

I'm up to 30, so that's a little yellow -- but I wanted a little of a sunny feel, so I think I'm right there.

Is there anything else I'd like to do? Some final sharpening.

once again, we'll use the Equalizer.

Let's go in and see if we can do a little bit with the clouds.

That's a little contrast there.

And so is that.

Yeah, we want these lower numbers right here.

And then we can apply our edges.

Can't apply edges if you don't apply the Luma Channel, because the Edges just adjusts over how much distance the contrast is enhanced.

So, that shortens it up and gives us some nice edges there.

I don't want that everywhere, because, look; we're getting some halos here.

So, I'll say only do that Darken, and do it mostly on the lighter images.

Okay, so we've got a Parametric Mask and we changed our Blend Mode to Darken.

That gives us more definition here, and doesn't give us the halos here.

I think the whole scene is a little dark.

That's easy enough to fix.

A little final contrast adjustment there.

We still look good on our colors.


That's it.

I hope you like it, Jack.

I wanted to show you a couple new things I've been working on.

One of them is this Lab Color Reference Chart.

It's a work in progress.

I've been going through images on Google Images and my own images, and finding instances where I find that colors are indicative, and then coming up with numerous -- like a dozen-- instances of each and looking for statistical correlations.

I've mapped them.

There's one on Skin here.

I go from pale to dark, and these are all in LAB.

I've got a Foliage one.

The Sky.

I'll do additional ones, probably the Sun and maybe Concrete and Asphalt colors.

These obviously would vary based on lighting, but they're good places to get a starting point.

If you're working on somebody, and you say the color just doesn't seem right, you can look and see where you stand in reference to a lot of samples that I looked at.

I use these foliage ratios a lot for setting my White Balance.

And this really helps with the sky; I've used it a few times myself.

Yay! We got our first Patreon contributor this week!!!!! My wife and I celebrated.

There's a Patreon Support button here.

If you have free time in your life and you want to do something really fun, come out here and shoot with me.

We can go shooting together.

I've got this Shoot With Harry page you can go to: It explains how you can book time to come and shoot with me.

We can go see lava, and we can go up to the mountains and stuff like that.

I can teach you a lot about photography; I can teach you stuff I know; I can teach you stuff about post-processing.

We can work on the computer together here.

You can enjoy Hawaii and I can make a little money, so it's good for everybody.

Everybody, I'm having a great time.

Please send me your RAW contributions so I can do them in Edit My RAW.

I will see you all next week.

Have a great week.


Thanks for the RAW file Jack!