Delaboratory delivers free non-destructive photo editing with adjustment layers

Delaboratory delivers free non-destructive photo editing with adjustment layers

Well, we all know that continuous delays of GIMP v2.8 release don't make hi-end features come sooner, but how bad is it? It's probably rather bad, since Jacek Poplawski who was interested in contributing to GIMP ended up with a high bit depth capable photo editor of his own.

The newly released delaboratory v0.1 features adjustment layers, 32bit float per color channel and support for LAB, CMYK and few other color spaces.


A more complete list of features looks like this:

  • native support for RGB/BW, CMY/CMYK, XYZ/LAB, HSV/HSL color spaces (no ICC based color management yet);
  • 4 types of adjustment layers: color space conversion, mixer, curves, blending;
  • histogram with color channels selector depending on color space in currently active adj. layer;
  • reading and writing 8bit JPEG and 16bit TIFF images;
  • sample points (samplers) much like in GIMP and Photoshop.

So where's the catch?

First of all, Jacek has a principal view on future feature set: he is not really interested in local editing like retouching, still preferring GIMP for that job. Next, the user interface needs lots and lots of work. It's OK to have a rough UI for v0.1 really, but soon everyone's going to expect improvements in that area :) The amount of adjustment layers is too modest, but seems to be easily extendable.

Most probable additions to next versions are:

  • per-channel blurs;
  • more blending modes;
  • ND-filters, vignetting and suchlike;
  • blending several images;
  • UI improvements.

The project feels quite a lot like darktable 0.1 back in early 2009: started out of lack of solutions, very rough and yet with a lot of potential. I'm not mentioning darktable for nothing here. With blending modes and opacity controls for every darkroom plug-in the upcoming darktable v0.9 is fixing a number of annoyances Jacek had regarding existing tools, but still lacking some granularity you'd rather expect from a Photoshop-like application.

This ultimately means that delaboratory can create an interesting niche which is currently being explored by onOne Software with their Perfect Layers plug-in for Adobe Lightroom. Well, didn't we tell you recently we are having an eventful summer ahead? :)

At this time delaboratory is only available as source code. You will need wxWidgets to build it (just run make and sudo make install). Don't forget to visit the project's homepage for more technical information and introduction to features.

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