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It’s pretty safe to say that Adobe have cornered the market in the image management and editing section of the photographic market. Sure there are worthy contenders that pack a hefty punch in a heavyweight battle against Adobe but for the moment Photoshop and Lightroom rule supreme in the payware market – something reflected in our own table of the best photography software around right now.
Not everyone however, wishes to pay the Adobe rent or even use Adobe products. Not everyone has a budget or a need for high end professional photographic software. Fortunately we live in great times for photographers. There are a wealth of free or open source products. Many of these have features that rival their paid counterparts and can become powerful tools to those that take the time to learn their quirks. Today we are going to take an initial look at one such program, RawTherapee. For this article we are not going to delve into how to use it, rather give a brief outline of its capabilities and interface. In future articles we will go a little deeper into it’s capabilities with some “how to” articles.
What is RawTherapee?
Primarily RawTherapee is a powerful non destructive RAW image processing app. It also features some basic image management features such as color coding, rating and searching according to parameters. Its current incarnation is version 5.2 and it available on Windows, MacOS and various incarnations of Linux. It is free to use, released under a General Public License. You can download either a current stable release or beta versions, the later potentially being more buggy.
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The RawTherapee Interface
Lets take a look at the interface. As free software, don’t expect the polish of programs such as Lightroom or Capture Pro. It is however with a little practice quite logical and well laid out. Like Lightroom it is split in to modules, called tabs. There are three of these tabs arranged, a little confusingly, vertically on the left side of the opening screen.
The first tab is the File Browser and in order to see your images you will need to point the browser to the relevant directory. On MacOs this means looking through a UNIX style hierarchy of folders. In my case my image library is on a separate drive to my operating system so I had to look in the Volumes folder and point to the relevant hard drive. Once you have selected the relavent folder you can click the add button under Places. This will allow RawTherapee to remember it is a favourite location.