After switching my major to graphic design, I was looking for linux software to replace the standard expensive adobe suite that is the standard of design. While searching around ubuntu repos and my favorite resource, software.opensuse.org I saw a program with a promising description. Darktable, who’s website describes it as
darktable is a virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers: it manages your digital negatives in a database and lets you view them through a zoomable lighttable. it also enables you to develop raw images and enhance them.
It reminds me of Adobe Lightroom, my favorite piece of the adobe suite I could never convince myself to buy, because it lacked the linux support I so desperately need. Darktable, right off the bat, meets 2 of my most important needs. One of course, is linux support, specially my favorite distro, openSUSE (But I also found it in repos for Ubuntu, which I am giving another try), and it is Free, and open source under the GPLv3 or above.
Installer for openSUSE 11.3.
It is not in the 11.1 or 11.2 repos, however, it has made it into the factory repos. I’d be willing to bet the current release would work on older versions of openSUSE, but if they don’t please sound off in the comments, and I shall fix it appropriately. Source and git snapshots are also available, as well as Fedora, Gentoo, arch linux, and even some (outdated) Mac OSX builds. Their sourceforge page says a windows version is in the works.
Now let me just say, darktable is awesome. Just awesome. It is just what it claims to be, a digital darkroom, contrast, temperature controls, lighttable, tonecurves, exporsure. Think of anything Adobe Lightroom can do, and I’d bet a days’ wages that darktable can do it. (Ok, pick a day, any day…that I’m not working 😉 )
I’ve been playing with darktable quite a bit for my many graphic design classes, But as I have to turn all that work in, You can see my test screenshot below, or visit their screenshot gallery.
Among its little bonus feature is the ability to save to Picasa web albums, a good replacement for the wine-cannibalized version of picasa provided by google.
As their Main developer,henrik, pointed out in a comment on the original post, Darktable is non destructive. It saves the changes to text files, not actually editing the original image. This also allows you to take snapshots of changes, and apply the history stack to multiple images, so your perfect changes using darktable’s 20 plus tools, can be reapplied to any image you want to.
To export the changes to an image, you double click the image your editing, which sends it back into the album view, where you can select one or many images, and then use an export tool, to save the changes.
Just one small example of darktable’s abilities, not particularity good, but I can safely say, this has becomes a permanent part of my linux photo toolkit.