Looking at UFRaw

UFRaw is the first tool I will discuss in my search for a set of programs that will help with my post processing needs. UFRaw allows you to open a raw photo and apply different corrections to it. UFRaw tries to use other libraries where possible, and just provide an interface for a lot of functions.  For reading raw files it uses a modified version of dcraw, which is basically the leading open source project for reading the most raw formats (as far as I know at least…). And it uses Lensfun for lens corrections. After manipulation you have the possibility to export the image to different formats and to gimp or cinepaint.

Looking to the list in my previous post I come to the following result:

  • RAW Support: UFRaw is written espacially with raw support in mind and can’t open normal JPEG files.
  • White balance and colour correction: White balance can easily be changed using the sliders and by using presets. It is possible to do some colour correction, but for me it was harder to find.
  • Lens correction: There is lens correction in UFRaw. They use the library lensfun for this, but this is only available since version 0.17. The current versions of Ubuntu only deliver UFRaw version 0.16 and an older lensfun version which is not supported by UFRaw. So I can’t really tell how well lens correction is working.
  • Tools for Straightening, Cropping and Perspective correction: UFRaw has the tools for straigthening (rotating) and cropping image. Cropping you can do by using the controls in the tabs, or by (when the Crop and Rotate tab is active) use the mouse to drag the borders to other places. Rotating (or straightening) can only be done by the slider, and this is not very useful in my opinion.
    Perspective correction is not available, but there are plans to try and get support for that as well.
  • Export options: UFRaw can export to different formats, jpeg, tiff, png and ppm. It is not possible to resize on export.
  • Non destructive editing: All changes made in UFRaw are non destructive. You can save an ID file which contains all the changes so that you can open the file later again to make other changes as well.
  • Easy and clean interface: I don’t really like the interface of UFRaw. It is difficult to see what each tab is for and you have to use the tooltips to see what a button or slider is used for, but even then it is not always clear to me what it is for. Of course this has also partially to do with my lack of understanding Post Processing.
  • Photo browsing: There is no photo browsing option in UFRaw and as far as I understand, there will be non in the near future, unless someone provide an easy library for it.
  • Simple ranking system: UFRaw doesn’t have a ranking system.
  • Multiple versions of a photo: UFRaw doesn’t have support for multiple versions of a photo, you have to do it yourself.
  • Adding copyright notice: There is no such option in UFRaw.

I really like UFRaw and the concepts where it’s build upon, using existing libraries instead of reinventing the wheel. The integration with Gimp is very useful. The biggest drawback I have is that the user interface is not really easy to use. You really need to have some knowledge about post processing terminology to do some of the more advanced things that UFRaw provides, and which I don’t understand yet. Another drawback is, but it is not really the fault of UFRaw and it’s maintainers, that my distribution of choice still hasn’t updated to a newer version, so I still don’t have lens corrections.

Combined with other programs like gthumb and Gimp, it is possible to get a complete workflow toolkit, but using multiple programs isn’t making the post processing process a lot harder than is necessary.

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