RawTherapee as part of a workflow – picture management and processing

As I wrote before in “workflow”, there is no perfect or the best workflow.
Many photographers have more than one workflow, depending on subject or purpose.
And even so, picture development software evolves, and gets better in time.
As a result of that, pictures taken a few years ago, could be better processed and have a better disk space result when they would be placed in a different workflow today as they where then.
I know, this last piece is probably difficult to understand – its also difficult to explain.
Ok, a real life example :

Lets say I have a picture folder from 5 years back.
This folder contains 100 different pictures shot in RAW
The folder contains a subfolder with 100 Jpegs for easy viewing, and also a subfolder containing a mix of development tests Jpegs and Tiffs.
The RAW folder is 2.3 GB
The Jpeg folder is 1 GB
and the mixed folder is also about 1 GB
A total of 4.3 GB

Consideration one :
Today i’m doubting I really need the Jpeg folder.
The build in file browser and editor of RawTherapee – although slow – is usable for viewing, so why would I use an extra 1 GB for storing pictures that I probably view only ones or a few times ?

Consideration two :
With the software and my knowledge of today, I can probably create a better picture from a RAW then I did 5 years ago.
So, do I need al the developing tests, or should i only save the final Jpeg and/or Tiff results ?

Both above considerations can result in a dramatically changed and different workflow.
Of course, with family pictures, its probably better to have a Jpeg folder.
But for any other purpose like work – marriages, photo shoots, business projects and photography students, you could make your workflow a lot shorter and more compact, and thus more efficient.

In my case, i’ve noticed that RawTherapee became more and more my main application.
Although it still misses a few important features, like side by side comparison of different
images ( light table mode – explained : https://github.com/Beep6581/RawTherapee/issues/2484 )
and watermarking ( explained : https://code.google.com/p/rawtherapee/issues/detail?id=845 ) –
just to name two of them.
And knowing that the LR mode issue is from a year ago, and the watermark issue even four
years, so its probably not going to be solved tomorow.
Even so, I am working more and more with a shorter and less disk space consuming workflow,
with RawTherapee as my main viewer and processing unit.

This workflow looks like this:
– copying images to computer with DIM 5.0 ( http://digitalimagemover.tumblr.com/ )
– viewing and processing with RawTherapee ( http://rawtherapee.com/downloads )
– watermarking with Gimp Partha ( http://www.partha.com/ )

When creating blended, HDR or panoramic images, the workflow looks like this:
– copying images to computer with DIM 5.0
– viewing and processing with RawTherapee to TIFF
one or more of the following steps :
+ blending images with Enfuse and my own ESF Phase IV generator ( http://enblend.sourceforge.net/ and ESF Phase IV generator here )
+ creating HDR’s with Luminance HDR ( http://qtpfsgui.sourceforge.net/ and https://github.com/LuminanceHDR/LuminanceHDR )
+ Panoramics with Hugin ( http://hugin.sourceforge.net/ )
followed by :
– final processing with RawTherapee ( sharpen/denoise… ) to Jpeg
– watermarking with Gimp

To be continued in picture management and processing II,
where I will write about :
– how I take a workflow shortcut with RT in developing images
– how sending images from RT to an external editor
– using command line scripts in RT, for fast and memory friendly developing with your computer.



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