Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Slider Shock or What Do I Do Now

You have  RT on the screen in front of you. You have read the first pages of the manual and now have the file browsers loaded with a directory full of images. You have selected your first RAW file. You are ready to fix problems.  Your snapshot will become a sent-to-all-the-grandmas minor masterpiece.

Then it hits you. Big Time.  Slider Shock!!. You think "Never Never in a Zillion years will I Learn how to use All those Sliders and Check Boxes."!! You mutter "I want my money back"! Then you remember RawTherapee is free.

Happen to everyone. Even me. And back then there were a bunch less sliders. But by now I've discovered the big RT secret.  Learning how to use all the sliders is for hang-on-the-wall-and-be-awarded-the-ribbon masterpieces. For the send-to-grandma ones you only use a few sliders. As for the rest--I must confess it wasn't until my last post that I needed to know much of anything about what was going on inside the RAW section. You can pick up most things as you go along.

This is a common exposure problem. Too light outside the window. Too dark inside the kitchen, The only thing correctly exposed  is the flowers on the window sill.  

The send-to-grandma workflow in seven easy steps:

Exposure compensation to 1.00.  This lightens Charlotte-the grandma interesting subject--but blows out the outside  foliage.

Enable HighLight Reconstruction. Because we are working with sky peaking through foliage I used the blend mode. The highlight recovery sliders-out of the picture- are at their default settings.

Now we are dealing with what I am beginning to think of as the twin power tools of RT. The four entries in  the history box appears when you set up Tone Mapping and CIECAM02 to work together. Just follow the steps in the Tone Mapping tool tip.

I used the control cage version of the Brightness curve and dragged it up until the snap was brighter than I wanted.

I fine tuned the snap with the Brightness and Colorfulness sliders. This shows the setting I decided to go with.

Rather than loading the snap into the queue. I copied my new procedure to the clipboard.

Finally I went back to the file browser, selected raw files with similar exposure problems, pasted my procedure and sent them all to the queue to be turned into grandma happy jpgs ready to be printed or emailed.

A couple of the jpgs that came out of the queue.

Not hard at all,  If you want to do additional work --a crop for instance--load up the raw files again. They will come up in 'last saved' mode ready to be worked on.


  1. You certainly feel my pain when it comes to slider shock. My initial solution included avoiding Tone Mapping and CIECAM02, like the plague. But since you describe these as the "twin power tools", I guess I have to reevaluate. A more detailed tutorial on these power tools would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. Thanks for the comment. CIECOM02 was originally designed as a research toolkit for the very complicated field of human vision. Jacques, when he adapted it to RT, gave us the full toolkit-some of which isn't that important to real world photograph. My secret-- ignore all the sliders and checkboxes I didn't discuss in my 4 post in January 2113. After using CIECAM for six months I still haven't found any other combination of sliders that made that much difference in what I ended up using for "normal" posting or printing.

    For the "non normal" images--my more recent Hidden Artist posts--just go crazy with the curves and sliders. Can't go wrong just playing around.