Darktable v3.6 Update Makes The Free Lightroom Alternative Easier To Use

Darktable — a popular and free open-source Adobe Lightroom alternative — has released version 3.6 and adds a rework of the export and import module which makes the application easier overall to use.

The update also brings with it several other key improvements including a general speed performance upgrade, a better user interface and control, the addition of the “Quick Access” Panel that has several new quick-edit tools, and a new demosaicing algorithm.

This summer update is the first of two major updates planned by the development team in 2021 with the next one planned to release towards the end of the year. One of the biggest improvements in the 3.6 release is the addition of a Quick Access Panel which will replace the existing “basic adjustments” module and adds much more functionality. The new layout brings a refreshed interface to the existing processing modules and bundles them into a single unified layout.

Users will be able to add controls from any module in the application to the new Quick Access Panel and customize it to their liking for what Darktable hopes will help increase productivity. The company says that with this update, modules can also be added or removed from a group in the maintenance window, and the ability to auto-apply module group presets has been added.

The company has also stated that it has made large improvements to the import module, and it now allows users to see thumbnails of their images before the import and makes it easier to handle multiple import tasks. Images that are already included in the Darktable library are now also flagged and can be automatically excluded from the import to prevent any accidental duplicates.

The app also has a new section that has been added to the Color Calibration module that allows users use a color checker chart and a vector-scope has been added to “complement the current histogram, waveform, and parade views.” Additionally, the ability to create and display an opacity mask based on the details or sharpness of an image has been added. Darktable says the feature uses a similar algorithm to the one used in the dual demosaic feature.

The latest (3.6) release of the Darktable photo editor can be downloaded on the Darktable website or via the project’s GitHub. Those looking for a “quick start” guide on the application can find relevent resources here.