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Darktable icon.svg
Screenshot of darktable 1.6, darkroom view, en US.png
Screenshot of darktable 1.6, darkroom view
Original author(s) Johannes Hanika[1]
Initial release April 2009; 7 years ago (2009-04)[2]
Stable release
2.0.7 / October 23, 2016; 3 days ago (2016-10-23)
Repository darktable.org/redmine/projects/darktable/repository
Development status Active
Written in C
Operating system FreeBSD
unofficial: Windows
Available in 26 languages[3]
Type Photo post-production
License GNU General Public License 3 or later[4]
Website www.darktable.org

darktable is a free and open-source photography workflow application and raw developer. Rather than being a raster graphics editor such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP, it comprises a subset of image editing operations specifically aimed at non-destructive raw photo post-production and is primarily focused on improving a photographer's workflow by facilitating the handling of large numbers of images. It is freely available in versions tailored for most major Linux distributions, macOS and Solaris and is released under the GNU General Public License 3 or later.[4]


darktable involves the concept of non-destructive editing, similar to that of some other raw manipulation software. Rather than being immediately applied to raster data of the image, the program keeps the original image data until final rendering at the exporting stage (the adjustment parameters made by a user are however visible in real-time). The program features built-in ICC profiles, GPU acceleration (based on OpenCL), and supports most common image formats.


A major new feature in version 1.4 is support for drawn masks, allowing application of effects to manually specified areas of an image. There are five mask types available: brush, circle, ellipse, bezier path, and gradient. All are resizable, allow fade-out radius for smooth blending and can have their opacity controlled. An arbitrary number of masks can be created and are collected into a "mask manager" on the left hand side of the darkroom UI.[5]


darktable has built-in ICC profile support for sRGB, Adobe RGB, XYZ and linear RGB color spaces.[6]


Raw image formats, JPEG, HDR and PFM images can be imported from disk or camera, and exported to disk, Picasa Web Albums, Flickr, email, and to a simple HTML-based web gallery as JPEG, PNG, TIFF, PPM, PFM and EXR images.[7]


darktable can be controlled by scripts written in Lua version 5.2. Lua can be used to define actions which darktable should perform whenever a specified event is triggered. One example might be calling an external application during file export in order to apply additional processing steps outside of darktable.[8]

Multi-mode histogram[edit]

Multiple histogram types are available, all with individually selectable red, green and blue channels: linear, logarithmic and waveform (new in version 1.4).[5]

User interface[edit]

darktable 1.0 as it appears after installation

darktable has two main modes, lighttable and darkroom. Each represents a step in the image development process. Two more modes are tethering and a map view. Upon launching, “lighttable” opens by default, where image collections are listed. All panels in all modes can be minimized to save screen real estate.[9]


The left panel is for importing images, displaying Exif information, and filtering. Rating and categorizing buttons are at the top, while the right-side panel features various modules such as a metadata editor and a tag editor. A module used to export images is located at the bottom-right.


The second, "darkroom", mode displays the image at center, with four panels around it; most tools appear on the right side. The left panel displays a pannable preview of the current image, an undo history stack, a color picker, and Exif information. A filmstrip with other images is displayed at the bottom, and can be sorted and filtered using lists from the upper panel. The latter also gives access to the preferences configuration. darktable's configuration allows custom keyboard shortcuts and personalized defaults.


The third mode allows tethering through gPhoto to some of the cameras which support it.[6][10]


The fourth mode can display maps from different online sources and geotags images by drag and drop. It also uses maps to show images already geotaged by a camera.


Current logo of the Volapük Wikipedia
Old plugin palette with 14 active plugins, of which 2 are set as favorites (in red)
Future logo of the Volapük Wikipedia
Current plugin palette used in darktable 1.2.

As of March 2012, darktable includes 47 image adjustment plugins, which it divides into 5 groups;[7]

Basic group

Plugins for simple well-known photo adjustment operations include crop and rotate; base curve presets, which sets general basecurve presets to automatically improve contrast and colors; exposure controls; highlight reconstruction; demosaic; white balance; and color invert, which allows defining the color of the "film" with a color picker.

Tone group

Plugins related to contrast and lighting include fill light for modifying the exposure based on pixel lightness; levels to set black, grey and white points; tone curve; zone system; and tone mapping.

Color group

Plugins related to hue and saturation include overexposed, to display pixels outside dynamic range; velvia, which mimics Velvia film colors by increasing saturation on lower saturated pixels more than on highly saturated pixels; channel mixer; color contrast; color correction, to modify the global saturation or to give a tint; color zones; color transfer; vibrance; and input/output/display color profile management.

Correction group

Plugins for repairing visual imperfections include sharpen; equalizer; denoise (non-local means); denoise (bilateral filter); lens correction using the LensFun library; spot removal; chromatic aberrations; raw denoise; and hot pixels for the correction of defective pixels.

Effect group

Artistic postprocessing plugins used for visual effects include watermark; framing; split toning; vignetting; soften; grain; highpass; lowpass; monochrome; lowlight vision; shadows and highlights; bloom; colorize; and graduated density.

Version for Microsoft Windows[edit]

There is no official version for the operating system Windows.

  1. ^ "contact". darktable.org. Retrieved March 16, 2012. 
  2. ^ "darktable main repository". darktable.org. Retrieved August 23, 2012. 
  3. ^ "LINGUAS". darktable.org. Retrieved February 4, 2016. 
  4. ^ a b "about". darktable.org. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b "Darktable 1.4". Nathan Willis. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b "Darktable For Open-Source Photography". Michael Larabel. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "features". darktable.org. Retrieved March 15, 2012. 
  8. ^ "Darktable user manual chapter 7". darktable.org. Retrieved April 30, 2014. 
  9. ^ "A RAW Feast on the Linux Darktable (Photo Editor)". Carla Schroder. Retrieved April 28, 2012. 
  10. ^ "How to Remote Control Your Camera with Darktable on Linux". Carla Schroder. Retrieved April 30, 2014.