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Rawtherapee logo black blur 100.png
Screenshot of RawTherapee pre-5.0 editing a raw photo of a misty scene.
Screenshot of RawTherapee pre-5.0 editing a raw photo of a misty scene.
Original author(s)Gábor Horváth
Developer(s)RawTherapee Development Team
Stable release
5.6 / April 20, 2019; 47 days ago (2019-04-20)
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Written inC++ gtkmm
Operating systemLinux, FreeBSD, Windows, macOS[1]
Available inMultilingual
Typepost-production tool for photography
Licenseproprietary (up to version 2.4.1)
GPLv3 (as of version 3.0 alpha 1)

RawTherapee is a cross-platform raw image processing program,[2] released under the GNU General Public License Version 3. It was originally written by Gábor Horváth of Budapest, Hungary, before being re-licensed as free and open-source software in January 2010.[3] It is written in C++, using a GTK+ front-end and a patched version of dcraw for reading raw files. It is notable for the advanced control it gives the user over the demosaicing and developing process. The name used to stand for "The Experimental Raw Photo Editor"; however that acronym has been dropped, and RawTherapee is now a full name in itself.[4]

RawTherapee 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.


RawTherapee involves the concept of non-destructive editing, similar to that of some other raw conversion software. Adjustments made by the user are immediately reflected in the preview image, though they are not physically applied to the opened image but the parameters are saved to a separate sidecar file. These adjustments are then applied during the export process.

All the internal processing is done in a high precision 32-bit floating point engine.[5]

Input file formats[edit]

RawTherapee supports most raw formats, including Pentax Pixel Shift, Canon Dual-Pixel, and those from Foveon and X-Trans sensors. It also supports common non-raw image formats like JPEG, PNG and TIFF.[6][7] It also supports high dynamic range, 16/24/32-bit raw DNG images.

RawTherapee uses a patched version of dcraw code to read and parse raw formats, with additional tweaks and constraints to parameters such as white levels and the raw crop area based on in-house measurements. Thus, RawTherapee supports all the formats supported by dcraw.

User interface[edit]

RawTherapee provides the user with a file browser, a queue, a panel for batch image adjustments, a 1:1 preview of the embedded JPEG image in the case of raw files, and an image editing tab.

The file browser shows photo thumbnails along with a caption of the shooting information metadata. The browser includes 5-star rating, flagging, and an Exif-based filter. It can be used to apply a profile, or parts of a profile, to a whole selection of photos in one operation.

A toolbox alongside the file browser allows for batch image adjustments.

The queue tab allows one to put exporting photos on hold until done adjusting them in the Editor, so that the CPU is fully available to the user while tweaking a photo, instead of processing photos while the user is trying to tweak new ones which could result in a sluggish interface. Alternatively, it can be used to process photos alongside tweaking new ones, if one has a CPU capable of handling the workload.

The Editor tab is where the user tweaks photos. While the image is opened for editing, the user is provided with a preview window with pan and zoom capabilities. A color histogram is also present offering linear and logarithmic scales, and separate R, G, B and L channels. All adjustments are reflected in the history queue and the user can revert any of the changes at any time. There is also the possibility of taking multiple snapshots of the history queue, allowing for various versions of the image being shown. These snapshots are not written to the sidecar file and are subsequently lost once the photo has been closed, however work is underway on migrating the PP3 sidecar system to XMP which already supports storing snapshots.

Adjustment tools and processing[edit]

  • The following Bayer demosaicing algorithms are available: AMaZE, IGV, LMMSE, EAHD, HPHD, VNG4, DCB, AHD, fast or mono, as well as none.[8]. Raw files from X-Trans sensors have the 3-pass, 1-pass and fast demosaicing methods at their disposal.
  • Processing profiles support via sidecar files with the ability to fully and partially load, save and copy profiles between images.
  • Processing parameters can be generated dynamically based on image metadata using the Dynamic Profile Builder.
  • Exposure control and curves in the L*a*b* and RGB color spaces.
  • CIECAM02 mode.
  • Advanced highlight reconstruction algorithms and shadow/highlight controls.
  • Tone mapping using edge-preserving decomposition.
  • Pre-crop vignetting correction and post-crop vignetting for artistic effect.
  • Graduated filter.
  • Various methods of sharpening.
  • Various methods of noise reduction.
  • Detail recovery.
  • Removal of purple fringing
  • Manual and automatic pre- and post-demosaic chromatic aberration correction.
  • Advanced wavelet processing.
  • Retinex processing.
  • White balance (presets, color temperature, spot white balance and auto white balance).
  • Channel mixer.
  • Black-and-white conversion.
  • Color boost and vibrance (saturation control with the option of preserving natural skin tones).
  • Hue, saturation and value adjustments using curves.
  • Various methods of color toning.
  • Lockable color picker.
  • Wide gamut preview support on Windows and Linux, while the macOS preview is limited to sRGB.
  • Soft-proofing support.
  • Color-managed workflow.
  • ICC color profiles (input, working and output).
  • DCP color profiles (input).
  • Support for Adobe Lens Correction Profiles (LCP).
  • Cropping, resizing, post-resize sharpening.
  • Rotation with visual straightening tool.
  • Distortion correction.
  • Perspective adjustment.
  • Dark frame subtraction.
  • Flat field removal (hue shifts, dust removal, vignetting correction).
  • Hot and dead pixel filters.
  • Metadata (Exif and IPTC) editor.
  • A processing queue to free up the CPU during editing where instant feedback is important and to make maximal use of it afterwards.

Output formats[edit]

The output format can be selected from:[9]

  • TIFF (8-bit and 16-bit)
  • JPEG (8-bit)
  • PNG (8-bit and 16-bit)

Version history[edit]

v2 series[edit]

Version 2.4.1 was released in September 2009; the last closed source version released. Since then RawTherapee has become open source (it was closed before 2010) and a number of developers have joined the project, adding new features and improving stability.

v3 series[edit]

The 3 series with version "Dev-3.0" was the first to be released as open source. Major changes incorporated in this series include:

  • New licensing: RawTherapee is now released under the GPL licence.
  • New interface layouts possible offering more efficient screen space usage. Separate file browser and processing queue tabs. A choice between "single tab filmstrip mode" and "multiple tab mode", both with the possibility of having the tabs positioned vertically.
  • Ability to open multiple images simultaneously.
  • New preview logic. Faster and smoother zooming and panning. Smoother preview image.
  • Numerous new filters and demosaicing algorithms.

4.0 series[edit]

Version 4.0.0 was released on 2011-07-30, leading up to the release of version 4.0.12 on 2014-01-07 which concludes the 4.0 series.

Major changes incorporated in this series include:

  • New engine, all processing takes place in 32-bit floating point for high precision.
  • UI is improved and more customizable.
  • New image processing tools, like black point compensation, new highlight recovery methods, automatic distortion control on Four Thirds system cameras, flat field correction, dark frame subtraction, etc.
  • Improved color management, with high precision custom profiles created for some cameras specifically for RawTherapee.
  • CIE Color Appearance Model 2002 implementation.

Because of the higher RAM requirements of the 4.0 version, though 32-bit operating systems are still supported, 64-bit machines are highly recommended for performance and stability.[10]


RawTherapee 4.1 was released on 21 May, 2014.[11]


RawTherapee 4.2 was released on 24 October, 2014.[12]


RawTherapee 5.0 was released on 22 January 2017.[13] There are two variants tagged as 5.0: one uses GTK2, and the other GTK3. Both variants are identical in every way except for the graphical toolkit.

RawTherapee 5.0-r1 was released on 2 February, 2017. This revision is functionally the same, but includes a few bug fixes which came to light after the 5.0 release.[14]


RawTherapee 5.1 was released on 15 May 2017. Major new features include Pentax Pixel Shift support, the Dynamic Profile Builder and a dedicated command-line executable to reduce loading times for CLI users.[15]


RawTherapee 5.2 was released on 23 July 2017[16]. New Features since 5.1:

  • GIMP plugin to open raw images in GIMP using RawTherapee.
  • "Remote" mode (-R command line option) to allow opening images ("Open with" or passed as arguments) in a full-fledged instance. The -R mode allows you to open an image in an already-running instance of RawTherapee, if that instance was also started using -R. Opening an image without the -R option will open RawTherapee in "no-File-Browser" mode which lacks the File Browser and Queue tabs, and the Preferences button.
  • Added DCP profiles for accurate color for Fujifilm X-T20.


RawTherapee 5.3 was released on 30 September 2017[17]. New Features since 5.2:

  • CIECAM02 enhanced with control over the scene and viewing conditions.
  • CIECAM02-friendly "Average Surround" color theme and L* middle gray preview background color, takes into account human vision and color appearance with regard to the surrounding color.
  • Manually save the collapsed/expanded state of tools.
  • Lensfun support, for automatic (and manual) profiled lens correction.
  • ACES, DCI-P3 Theater and DCI-P3 D65 output color profiles.


RawTherapee 5.4 was released on 20 March 2018[18]. New Features since 5.3:

  • New default processing profiles, now the default look for raw photos closely matches the out-of-camera look with regard to tones and includes lens distortion and vignetting correction.
  • New histogram matching tool, to have RawTherapee automatically adjust the image for you to match the out-of-camera look with a single click of a button.
  • New HDR Tone Mapping tool to compress the light in scenes with a high dynamic range, allowing you to show details in both shadows and highlights in a realistic way.
  • New Local Contrast tool to boost clarity using a simple interface.
  • New color toning method L*a*b* Color Correction Grid.
  • New RCD demosaicing algorithm to minimize artifacts even with artificial lighting and strong chromatic aberration.
  • New thumbnail overlay icons in the File Browser and Filmstrip to help you distinguish normal images from HDR and Pixel Shift ones.
  • Added support for showing out-of-gamut areas based on the output profile.
  • Added support for reading and writing metadata and ICC profiles to and from PNG images.
  • Added support for processing Sony Pixel Shift ARQ raw files - make sure that the ARQ extension is enabled in Preferences > File Browser > Parsed Extensions.
  • Create Sony ARQ raw files using https://github.com/agriggio/make_arq
  • Added support for saving 32-bit floating-point TIFFs clamped to [0;1].
  • Added profiled chromatic aberration correction support using Lensfun.
  • More tools now have an on/off switch.
  • The user interface is cleaner, with all power-house tools moved into a new "Advanced" tab to prevent slider-shock to newcomers.
  • The Metadata tab now lets you choose whether you want to copy metadata unchanged, edit metadata or strip metadata when saving images. Now you can also make metadata changes in batch mode.
  • The choice of whether the main histogram should display information using the working profile or the output profile is now available from the Editor tab's top toolbar.
  • The Crop tool's aspect ratio now defaults to that of the image, and RawTherapee automatically zooms-to-fit the crop once it's placed.
  • RGB input-type ICC profiles can now be used as output profiles.
  • The saved reference image for profiling (created from within the Color Management tool) now contains metadata.
  • PNG and compressed TIFF images make use of better compression.
  • Shortcut key changes: Zoom-to-fit the crop using "f", fit the whole image using "Alt+f".


RawTherapee 5.5 was released on 17 December 2018[19]. New Features since 5.4:

  • Filter to remove striping artifacts caused by Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF) as seen in Sony cameras, and to remove banding artifacts caused by Nikon's too-aggressive in-camera PDAF correction. These are available for any camera which has a PDAF entry in camconst.json, currently:
  • Ability to specify custom working color spaces through the workingspaces.json file.
  • Unbounded processing - allows you to decide whether out-of-gamut colors should get clipped.
  • Improved support for Canon mRaw format variants.
  • New Shadows/Highlights tool (replaced previous one).
  • Contrast threshold mask which divides an image into areas of high and low detail, allowing the effect of certain tools to be focused where it matters most and to mitigate the effect on areas where it would be undesirable, for example having the Sharpening tool affect only the in-focus subject without affecting the out-of-focus background. Available for:
    • Sharpening
    • Post-Resize Sharpening
    • Microcontrast
    • Demosaicing
  • Dual-demosaic algorithms, making use of the new contrast threshold mask, allowing one to use a combination of demosaicing algorithms where one is best for details and the other best for plain areas.
  • New color toning methods:
    • Grid, allowing you to separately tone the shadows and highlights using two points on a simple color grid.
    • Regions, allowing you to tone based on any number of masks. Supports functions from the American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List (ASC CDL).
  • Resizable main histogram with scaling models:
    • Linear
    • Log
    • Log-Log

The log scales can be adjusted by click-dragging the mouse sideways inside the histogram area.

  • Support for Blackmagic and Canon Magic Lantern lj92 encoded files.
  • Allows you to specify how many border rows/columns to discard during demosaicing - those who shoot raw video at a standard resolution such as 1920x1080 will appreciate being able to preserve the dimensions.
  • New Soft Light tool which enhances contrast and saturation by emulating the effect of blending an image with a copy of itself in "soft light" blending mode in GIMP.
  • New Haze Removal tool to reduce the effects of haze or fog.
  • The Resize tool allows you to specify whether you want it to upscale or only downscale.
  • New icon and cursor theme.
  • ICC
  • The bundled ICC profiles have been re-generated, and now include ICC v2 and v4 variants.
  • If your screen's resolution is such that not all icons fit in a toolbar, you can now scroll the toolbar using the mouse scroll-wheel.
  • New "Flexible" tone curve type. A characteristic of the cubic spline curve (renamed from "Custom" to "Standard") is that editing one node could have a huge impact on what happens to the curve in relation to the other nodes. The new "Flexible" centripetal Catmull–Rom spline curve allows you to make adjustments to any part of the curve with little impact on the other parts.
  • Allow saving both floating-point and integer type files at both 16-bit and 32-bit precision from RawTherapee GUI and CLI.
  • Improved lensfun chromatic aberration correction.
  • The raw chromatic aberration correction tool can now run in several iterations, and gained a feature to avoid introducing a color shift which could result from correcting chromatic aberration before demosaicing.
  • Certain sliders now operate on a logarithmic scale, allowing for a meaningful response over large ranges.
  • Dedicated "Reset" button in Crop tool.
  • Support for new cameras, and new input color profiles.
  • Speed enhancements and bug fixes, for a total of over 1300 commits.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Repository of the latest releases
  2. ^ "Raw Sharpening And NoiseReduction with Raw Therapee On Linux". linux.com. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  3. ^ http://www.linux-magazine.com/Online/News/Free-Therapy-RawTherapee-as-of-Version-3.0-Under-GPLv3
  4. ^ RawTherapee acronym dropped
  5. ^ RawPedia - The Floating Point Engine
  6. ^ http://www.linux-magazine.com/Issues/2008/95/RawTherapee
  7. ^ http://www.photoreview.com.au/reviews/software/rawtherapee-4.0.11
  8. ^ http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/download/audio-video-photo/raw-therapee-42346-64-bit-3328476/
  9. ^ "Raw Therapee". Major Geeks. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  10. ^ Maximizing memory efficiency
  11. ^ RawTherapee 4.1 is out!
  12. ^ RawTherapee 4.2 is out!
  13. ^ RawTherapee 5.0 Released!
  14. ^ RawTherapee 5.0 Revision 1 Released!
  15. ^ [1]
  16. ^ http://rawtherapee.com/blog/rawtherapee-5.2-released
  17. ^ http://rawtherapee.com/blog/rawtherapee-5.3-released
  18. ^ http://rawtherapee.com/blog/rawtherapee-5.4-released
  19. ^ http://rawtherapee.com/blog/rawtherapee-5.5-released

External links[edit]