Enhancing Images with Darktable Drawn Masks

For most images, the 8+ modules I’ve already discussed bring them up to par. For some images, there’s a few more modules I like to use, often in conjunction with a new Darktable feature called Drawn Masks that allow one to select the regions of the image to apply an effect. It’s an option under ‘blend’ and available on most modules. Drawn Masks are great for images that have a specific regions in need of adjustment or to enhance a subject somewhat lost in a busy background.

Contrast Brightness Saturation: I usually use levels to adjust contrast and brightness. Velvia, Vibrance and Shadows & Highlights typically handle Saturation. Some images just need a little extra bump up on the saturation and that’s where this module comes in. If applied using a Drawn Mask it can also be used to restore some color to an over-exposed sky. One could use Drawn Masks to make a subject really pop out by making the background monochromatic, but you’d be better off using the more advanced selection tools available in a raster graphics editor such as Gimp.

Vignetting: (Sounds like ‘vinaying’), this darkens the edges of an image. More often than not I would use Lens Correction to remove this effect on a wide-angle shot but on some photos it’s desireable. It tends to draw a viewer’s attention towards the center.

Soften: Applies a defocusing effect to an image, a more creative module good for conveying a softer dream-like effect. Works well in conjunction with vignetting. If applied using a Drawn Mask, the effect can be used to subtly mitigate a busy or cluttered background and draw the viewer’s attention to the subject. Similar to using a large aperature for a shallow depth of field.

Here are some examples:


Thanks for l00kin!


— Ken Ranous

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