RawMagick workflow...

Feb 6, 2005
South SF Bay Area, CA.
At the request of Paul (Montydog), here is my impression of RawMagick and its workflow, in the current incarnation of that wonderful program that Iliah Borg and Peter Dove are writing: it is still in beta, but getting better every week.

The first thing one notices is that is RM has an unusual User Interface that takes a little while to get used to. There are plans to make it better in the relatively short term, however. The output quality that this program can generate (in its High Quality mode) is unsurpassed by any of the other raw converters I have tried: that includes Capture, ACR (from PSCS) and RawShooter Essentials (RSE). This is particurly true for highlight recovery and also with the opening the shadows while controlling the noise, thanks to the curve handling in linear gamma (i.e. prior to the effective raw conversion, demosaicing).

There is a price to pay, though, for this increased quality. RM is also by far the slowest converter that I have used: it takes easily 4-5 minutes of sheer number crunching per picture on a P4 3GHz with 1.5GB RAM. But you don't have to wait for a picture to be completely processed to work on another one, as RM does the final rendering in the background (or on another computer if you have one laying around on your home network! 8))

Regarding the work-flow, it is quite distinct from the Ron Reznick one with Capture. There is no exposure compensation or black point balancing (or maybe I don't how to do those... :oops:). One starts with White Balance adjustments (moving sliders or right-clicking in a neutral area), and then adjust the gamma curve, to control the shadows and highlights rendition. Then one examines, on a selectable preview area, the noise and sharpness characteristics of the raw conversion, adjusting as necessary and hit the lock button. That's the end of phase I. In phase II, some filters, such as sharpening, levels, color booster, etc... are available, but I am not sure why this dichotomy of phases is there in the first place, as once in phase II, you can't go back and adjust the phase I parameters without losing all your phase II work (at least, I can't... :-(). The rendering of the preview with all the filters applied in phase II is also somewhat slow. At that point, one sends the picture to the background processor for the full rendering and start working on the next picture.

As I said, the output produced is very, very good. The user interface will get an upgrade soon and that will make a good program even better. All in all, it's a tool definitely worth having in a digital darkroom! A big thanks to Iliah and Peter for their continuing efforts, developing the program and supporting their users! It had to be said. :D :lol:
Jan 29, 2005
Dear Philippe,

Thank you for your kind words, and your opinion.

The reason behind Phase I and Phase II being separated is memory - when "Lock" button is pressed, we release the memory. Phase I used to occupy quite a lot. Now, with new memory management Peter created, and using half-mode in Phase I we can reconsider somewhat.

The other (and main practical) reason for us to separate Phase I from Phase II is that Phase I is "development" (basically normalizing data and demosaicing), while Phase II is processing.

In Phase I each editing move results in repeating demosaicing. All controls in Phase I actually control demosaicing. But that is not only excessive, but even counterproductive if moves in Phase II will affect demosaicing. So, we decided to split them explicitly. And of course, data has very different representation, matching the needs of those two phases.

To preserve filter settings, you can just use File-Save operation before returning to Phase I. File - Save actually saves settings, not the file :)
Feb 6, 2005
South SF Bay Area, CA.

Thanks for explaining the phase I vs. phase II reasoning. I didn't realize the memory management implications of phase I, but with it now addressed, I can't help but think that although the 2 phases are distinct from a conceptual and implementation standpoint (in terms of what processing the software does), this notion does not have to translate to the user interface necessarily. For example, after the phase II filters are applied (say levels + sharpening), if one decides to alter the White Balance a bit, why not let them, and then recompute the filters afterwards? It is true that in full size mode this may very well be too taxing, but to get a preview of what the HQ rendering is going to do, that may be enough... Just a thought.

And thanks for the File-Save tip! ;-)


Let me add to the conversation.
I think it all started with horses.
In any case these two Peter and Iliah know how to get the most detail from a NEF file.
And on top of that, I have never heard them complaining.
They are two very sharp and astute people.

It is hard work for them and I wish them great success.


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