Inkscape and Darktable

In our discussion of Darktable in “Post-Production Software 3” I briefly mentioned watermarks and proceeded to move on. I am grateful to announce that I have successfully added a watermark to Darktable and now able to discuss the details with you!

It really is as simple as Darktable makes it out to  be in the resources section.

Having downloaded and installed “Inkscape”. I was able to import the image I created as my studio watermark and saved it off as an “SVG” file. Now that the “SVG” file is created, it can be moved to the watermark folder. The “watermark” folder may not be in the given file location listed in Darktable’s user manual. I did some searches and had each folder list its content until I found the “watermark” folder. Making sure to catalog the folder location I moved the “SVG” file into it and started the Darktable program to make sure it saw the file for watermarking. (If you place the watermarking file in the “watermark” folder while the program is running, use the reload button to the right of the watermark menu.)

Once your watermark is in place, you can change its position or check the box next to “blend” and change the layering modes as well as the opacity of the watermark.

One caution in using “Inkscape” for creating watermarks. When working with layers, be sure to merge all of your layers properly or you will come out with a blank box for text. For

example, below is an example of my mess-up. Watermarking the photo is no problem, however, I was hoping to display my website URL while claiming the intellectual rights of my photograph.

As you can see in the lower right hand side there is a short, white rectangle which was supposed to contain my website URL. I cannot win them all, I guess! This is a good illustration though of learning from mistakes instead of letting the mess-up dictate my choices and attitudes. Each mess-up is an opportunity to learn something new!

Post-Production Software – Part 3

Darktable – Non-Destructive, Data Protective, Photo Developmental Software

Design and Purpose: Darktable is designed to use the RAW Camera Data for dynamic photo editing without destroying the RAW Data. In doing so it provides some amazing capability for the photographer to use in post-production.

The purpose of a work flow program, such as Darktable, is to put the “final touches” on all photos in one album with minimal effort and time. For more personal touches on individual photos, there are presets to speed up those process. Creating your own presets is a great benefit considering each photographer has their own style and each uniquely set their camera settings. Presets will implement all effects on a photo that have been saved in the preset file.

Each Module that offers “presets” in the workflow will have a “preset” icon to access and use a different preset or make a new one! Hovering over items in the Darktable user interface will display a “mouse flag” with the name of the icons operation, such as “preset”. Review the Darktable website for more resources.

Capabilities: Non-destructive photo embellishments/editing, Complete workflow processing, Retouching tool, Water marking automation, Module presets, Film strip review and Customized panel of users favorite tools.

Strengths: Much of the Darktable program is able to be customized with the user’s specific information. Once a watermark is created it can be implemented into the software’s user interface by saving it in Darktable’s watermark specific folder. Please refer to Darktable’s user manual section 4.41. Darktable has good documentation on their website for most of the program.

Weaknesses: As with many start-up software builds there are problems in some areas. In my installation of Darktable I have not been able to create a HDR image, even though I follow a tutorial to the letter. Now, please understand this does not guarantee the problem to be a software problem! Even though my computer meets the system requirements for Darktable, I know that I am working a less than optimal set of hardware for peak performance. I write this as a program weakness so as to make you are aware, nothing is guaranteed to work out of the box. I am working with Darktable bug reporting team as I learn more about my system’s actions and the response from Darktable.

I have installed Darktable on a MacBook Pro, running Snow Leopard (still within the system requirements of Darktable’s build for Macintosh computers) and Darktable will not open. This bug has been reported by other Mac users and is currently being resolved.

I called Darktable a “start-up”, and I do not mean that in a disrespectful way. The newest version release of Darktable is 1.0 and for MAC osX 0.9.2. The programmers have done a great deal of hard work! Congratulations to them for their accomplishments! The fact being which they readily admit is there are going to be some hang-ups here and there. So as a network of users and programmers let us all work together to make the program better!