Darktable Edit #1 – Sunset on Mauna Kea

Hi everyone This is Harry

I'm going to do a screencast of an edit in Darktable This is a picture I took a couple days ago on top of Mauna Kea Alright Nice Picture You definitely want to bring out these shadows, knock down some of these highlights, and it looks like this area in here is blown out: we have no data; it's been clipped

This is an observatory This is Mauna Loa This is in Hawai'i, looking toward the sunset Okay, first thing we want to do Let's fix some of these highlights in here

There's a nice tool called Color Reconstruction You can adjust the threshold, the spatial extent, and the range extent The threshold is how bright the pixels are that are affected If we turn it all the way up, it only affects the very brightest pixels, which is none in this case, and as we go down, it will affect less and less bright pixels So, we want it to affect it right here

Okay, here we go And then Spatial Extent is how far into the area that has clipped data do we want the effect to go We can extend that if we want, or reduce it, see? And then it doesn't go far enough And if we go up, we can go too far so that it bleeds out here We don't want that either, so we're going to come in a little bit, there we go

And reduce our Threshold There we go The whole thing's nice and yellow Alright, that good to me Alright, now we're going to try and bring out some of these shadows

I like to use Tone Mapping to bring in shadows or highlights I don't like to use Tone Mapping on the entire image It doesn't have an effect that I like But I do like using it just on the extremes of the image If I'm using it to pull up shadows, I like to go down around 6% for the Spatial Extent and if I'm working on highlights, maybe around 10%

Okay, so what I'm going to use is a Parametric Mask to isolate the darkest parts of the image, and I adjust my sliders, turn on my indicator, and pull this down so that it only affects the very darkest parts of the image Let's see, that looks pretty good Now, this has a decreasing effect, because the top slider is all the way to the end So, you can see it's got a gradient effect So, the darker the part of the image, the more the effect; the lighter part of the image, the less

If I end up with some halos , then I'm going to have to go in and adjust my blur, but we'll try it first this way Now, I never like to use Tone Mapping at 100% I always like to mix it in at around 50/50, and then I use my Contrast Compression to adjust how much of the effect is being used Okay, that looks pretty good I don't like to have any one tool do everything for me, so I don't want to bring out all my shadows with just the Tone Mapping, so I'll bring it up a little bit, and then do the rest with other tools

Look, I'm getting a little bit of a halo here Let's zoom in a little closer Alright, we don't want that So, what can we do? Well, we can extend our range a little bit and go a little bit into these grayer areas here, okay? Unfortunately, that means we're going to get into like, up here and off to this edge, hmmm, I can get rid of this by combining the Parametric Mask with a drawn mask, and then just painting Painting this away I will reverse the application of this so it only applies to the rest of it, and we'll turn on our indicator and you'll see now what's here

Now let's try also a little bit of a Gaussian Blur to the mask itself, not to the effect Move this out just a little bit… alright, let's see what that looks like Well, that's not really helping much, is it? Okay, that looks pretty good That was a Defringe tool I used there It really only seems to work when it's in RAW; I don't get very good effects after a second or third pass on the image

Okay, we got some of our shadows brought up Let's do a little noise reduction It does look like there's quite a bit of noise in parts of this image The reason is that I shot this image with dual ISO That's a Magic Lantern option that lets you do an HDR all in one shot

So, I believe I shot this at 200 ISO and probably 800: alternating scan lines of 200 and 800 Anyways, as you can see, there's more noise in the darker parts That's probably because it was shot at the 800 So, I'm going to apply Chromatic Aberrations and Raw Denoising I like to go around

002, okay, and then I'm going to add a little more Noise Reduction here in the dark area First thing I'm going to do is apply a 3 pixel Gaussian Blur to the Color channel only, for the whole image It doesn't seem like it has much of an effect, but later on it will make a difference for us This Equalizer here has a part where you increase contrast and a part where you decrease contrast This top part, that you can drag up, is based on Fine to Coarse sized objects, and this bottom part here works the opposite way and reduces contrast

A lot of this noise is pretty small so we're going to bring up these two bottom ones a little bit Ah, see how that got rid of it? But I don't want to use that in the lighter parts, so I'm going to use a Parametric Mask to apply that only to the darkest parts of the image Alright This is where our greatest Denoising is being applied Alright

So, we've got full application down here and lighter application up here Alright, there we go I'm going to use this Tone Curve to bring up some of these shadows a little bit We'll sample this area here Change that to Area, and we'll look and see what this, okay, the lightest areas are: right here, so we'll move this over a little bit

I want this to not get brighter, so I'm going to bring this back down Okay I still want to push more of my image into the mid-tones Let's go like this Ah! I've got a better idea

Let's apply a large Gaussian Blur with the Inverted Contrast to the entire image So, first thing we'll do is get rid of the Saturation: bring that down to zero Alright, now let's increase the radius of our Blur significantly, about like that Then, we'll take our Contrast, and we'll turn it down so that it's the reverse of what it was, and we'll apply this with an Overlay, and then we'll adjust how much of it is applied with the Contrast slider Like I say, I don't like to apply things with just one tool, so I brought my Opacity down to 50%

Okay, now this is going to brighten the darker areas and darken the lighter areas There we go With it, without it, with it Well, that pushed a lot of our data toward the middle I think we can do more so, though

Let's see Let's do that, and there we go Okay, there now all our data's in the middle range Whoa, that was crazy Alright, I went out of gamut a little bit there

We're going to save this That will cause it to collapse all the layers, all the work that's been done on it That means when we do additional changes to the image, it won't have to re-calculate everything in the future It can just start from scratch again I'm going to save it as a 16-bit TIF

If I set my Sizes to zero, it won't scale at all I work in Adobe RGB I just leave profiled image settings; that keeps it in Adobe RGB the whole way So, anyway, I'm going to export this That's converting everything we saw here into a 16-bit TIF

We'll re-open it Alright, now we're starting over again See, our History Stack is ready to go Okey-dokey; we're going to apply Tones I like to apply tones using the Low-Pass Filter and the Soft Light Blend mode

I like to use about 9 for my Contrast and 03 for my Brightness I find if I use those settings, the image doesn't creep toward a darker or lighter version; it tends to stay approximately where I start I like to work from my larger-sized objects down to my more fine detail

So, I'm going to start with my larger-sized objects here, and I want to get nice, smooth tones in the sky and in these larger objects That looks pretty good to me Now, I'm going to apply everything that you see there with the Soft Light Filter and I will use the Opacity to modulate the effect Oh, that looks pretty good, right there Okay, so: without it, with it

Now, let's do that again Each time I say, we're going to do a slightly smaller size Okay, we're just going to Radius down, pick up some more detail, not much There we go; that looks good Now, as we do this, it's gobbling up mid-tones and pushing them toward the edges

We're going to have to create an inverted S-curve here to adjust for that as we go, and we'll have to make adjustments as we apply more of these low-pass filters I'd like to pick out these cables here; let's make sure we catch them That looks good, right there I've been adjusting the radius That also picks up these little rocks

Soft Light again Oh, that looks good; okay Once again, we'll have to bring this up a little bit, and this is getting a little bright There we go Okay, that looks good

Alright, I want to bring out more of these larger-scale changes in the landscape I want it to look a little less flat Let's see if we can do that There we go I'm also going to get in there and pull those apart a little bit with my Tone Curve

I change my Color Picker to Area Alright, let's pull this up just a little bit, and pull this down a little bit Allocate a little more of our bandwidth for that area Oh, this is looking pretty good Alright, we're going to apply a little color

Some of these areas already have a lot of color I don't want to apply color there, so I'm going to use a Parametric Mask once again This time I'm in Chromacity Channel, and what I'm going to do is I'm going to adjust this so that the items that have the most color get the full effect and the items that already have color get little or no effect Alright, so I'm going to pull up this bottom slider a little bit, until everything gets a little bit, but the more colorful areas don't get much See all this grain? That's a little too much, so I'm going to pull in my Blur a little bit

There we go That's nice, okay Now, we're going to apply some color I don't want to apply all the color, but I do want to steepen my A and B channels and that's going to give me color separation and a little bit more saturation Alright, there

Magenta, green, yellow, and blue Bring down our highlights just a little bit There we go Steepen that a little bit Bring this up just a little

There we go Okay Now we're going to apply color to the whole image, but not much The way we apply that: we used this before It's a 3-pixel Gaussian Blur on just the Color Channel

Okay Here's what it looks like, just the Color Channel And we're going to apply that, because as we increase the amount of color we won't be increasing any noise We can apply it right here by increasing the Saturation That all looks good to me

This looks a little bright I want better blacks, and so I'm going to make my Black Point a little bit lower There we go; that looks pretty good This right here is just a bit much I use a nice tool for handling that: Color Zones

I go over here This has a Lightness, Saturation, and Hue setting I use the Saturation setting and find out what color it is, which I did, and then I'm going to pull down the Saturation in that band I can adjust the size of the band with the size of this circle, which I'm adjusting with the track wheel on the mouse See, that pulled down that saturation a little there, really nice

That's beautiful Excellent Okay, now we've got some nice tones, we've got some more color; I'm pretty happy with things We've got noise reduction… I want to do some final tweaks I want to increase some contrast, I want to add a little glow

Let's do that with another setting First thing we're going to do is save this That will collapse everything again Alright, here we are starting again History starts at zero

Alright; I said I wanted to increase the contrast a little bit Bring our Black Point down a little bit There we go Nice Alright

Bring our High End down a little bit Increase our Gamma a little bit Now, let's work on Sharpness Equalizer works on different sizes We'll pull up each of these sliders and see what effect each of them has

That mostly just increases noise at that size We come up a little bit, and we're getting into the size of the rocks, approximately Let's see what that does to the steel cable Oh, yeah; it really brought that out Let's try the next size up and see what that does to the steel cable

Oh, that's good too Let's bring both of those up And, a larger sized object like this, maybe right around here Nice, excellent I want to add a little golden glow to this, so it looks like the sun is shining on it

I think I'll paint that on Mask Blur Let's see how far it goes Oh, that looks pretty good Okay, so we're going to do a couple of things

We're going to give it just a little bit of pop here, see that? A little bit of pop, okay I don't want the whole thing to get brighter, so we're going to give it just a little bit lower Black Point, a little pop, and we're going to move this up a little bit I want to be efficient with the colors, so I'm going to find out what color it is, and then we're going to pull this so it goes more towards the yellow Alright Let's see what that looks like

Without it, with it; ah, yes; that's what I'm looking for I'm pretty happy with this whole thing This sky doesn't do anything for me I'm going to crop that out Try and come up with a crop that's more pleasing to the eye

Let's use the Golden Mean And, bring this down a little bit Oh, yeah What do I want to see? This looks a little bit bright to me, right in here, and right here: this looks a little bright too A gradient fill

I'm going to reverse it, bring it down a little bit, there we go Now, I'm going to sample these areas There's a lot of variation, so I'm going to use the Median Value, and I do that by selecting the area, and then when I look at this area, this darker pink area here? That gets me right where I want to be And I want to bring that down a little bit Oh, yeah

That looks good, but I don't want to lose how bright this is, right here I'm going to bring that up just a little bit Maybe a little bit more down Ah, that, there we go, okay So, this part was bothering me here, in front

This is what it looked like, and what it looks like now That looks more realistic to me Okay Nothing's out of gamut I think we're looking pretty good on this

I'd like a little more Black Point here It looks to me like this is a little gray, so I'm going to take a Gradiant Mask from here to here, and point it this way and increase our Black Point just a little bit There we go: Black Point There we go Okay, that's it; I'm happy