Looking at Rawtherapee

Rawtherapee is yet another project that reads and manipulates Raw files. The first versions of Rawtherapee ¬†were freeware, but since January 2010 the source code was released and it is now an opensource project, but there hasn’t been a stable release since then although a lot of work has been done.

Rawtherapee has a lot of the same concepts as Rawstudio, but it has a lot more options. The tested version is an alpha version from November 29th 2010.

  • Raw support: Since Rawtherapee is ¬†build on dcraw it has support for most raw formats, but a nice addition is that it also supports other file formats like JPEG.
  • White balance and colour correction: For changing the white balance you can use two methods, using a colour picker, and several controls. For colour corrections there are also several options, you can use a colour mixer and you can shift colours.
  • Lens correction: Rawtherapee has support for lens correction, but this is not done automatically by looking at the lens information itself. It is possible to make the lens correction you need and save this as a profile which could be loaded at any time.
  • Tools for straightening, cropping and perspective corrections: Rawtherapee makes it very easy to use any of these tools. Straightening can be done by selecting a straight line or by using a slider in the user interface. Cropping is just as easy, use the mouse to select a region or use the controls in the tool on the right side of the screen. Perspective corrections can also be made, but this can only be done using two slider controls controlling the horizontal and the vertical correction.
  • Export options: Using Rawtherapee you can export photos one by one or by putting them in a queue. You can export the photos to JPEG, PNG and TIFF and you can send individual photos to Gimp or any other configured editor. It is not possible to resize the image.
  • Non destructive editing: All editing in Rawtherapee is done non destructive.
  • Easy and clean interface: The interface feels a bit strange. There is not menu bar (unless you count the Preferences and the Fullscreen buttons at the buttom of the screen as one) and there are a lot of tabs, but these are used for separate all the different options from each other. The only tooltips can be found when hovering your mouse over the toolbar items, but they only give you the name of the tool. I couldn’t find any other help functionality, which would be a great addition for such an extensive program.
  • Photo browsing: On the left side of the screen you can select the folder you want to browse. In the middle of the screen all the photos in the selected folder are shown including some extra information about the camera settings that where used for that photo.
  • Simple ranking system: There is a ranking system available in Rawtherapee. You can give each photo 1 through 5 stars, but this can only be done using the mouse.
  • Multiple versions of a photo: It is not possible to make multiple versions of a photo without physically copying the photo.
  • Adding copyright notice: Rawtherapee doesn’t give you the possibility to add a copyright notice when exporting or on any other moment.

The downside of Rawtherapee is that there is no current stable version. The latest stable version is from 2009. The unstable version is still a work in progress and people are working hard to get it stable.

What I really like about Rawtherapee is that there are so much possibilities, almost everything what I want to do is possible within Rawtherapee. The one thing that is missing is resizing the image on export so that you can save multiple photos for the web with just a few clicks.

I really hope that the new version will be coming soon, since I don’t like to use an unstable program for such important work.