GTKRawGallery, a Python Based RAW Developper and Organizer

Howdy! Just after packing my photo computer for overseas travel, I received an email from Daniele Isca the man behind GTKRawGallery. The thing is: I had been waiting for that email for months since Daniele previously told me he was completely revamping GTKRawGallery. And this is part of his latest email:

Because this version revolutionized GTKRawGallery: a simple viewer turn into a workflow oriented photo manager with basic photo retouching tools at 16 bit/channel and Batch Processor.

Well, now that the computer is back to work (in 110 V), it is my pleasure to introduce to you Daniele’s work and GTKRawGallery (version 9.3 at the time of writing).

Downloading and installing

Since GTKRawgallery is a Python based application, it doesn’t need to be compiled; just download the file, extract it and browse the gtkrawgallery-0.9.3 directory.

Check the README file to see if you have all the dependencies satisfied (all the packages are available from Ubuntu’s repositories).

Double click on – it should launch the program. If nothing happens, just launch GTKRawGallery from a terminal and see if you have a missing dependency.

What it is like

This is what GTKRawGallery looks like in action:


On the main window, you have a directory navigator, the albums / tags navigator and your image with the directory’s or album’s thumbnails. You can change the layout to four different options. In the top part of the window, you have album management, a batch manager, selection management, the layout choice, a full screen and a slideshow button (that’s right, you can view your RAW files as a slideshow and even add a music background file in GTKRawGallery’s preferences). Eventually, you have the zooming and navigating options.

All this would very much look like a classic image viewer but (and that is the hell of a big but) GTKRawGallery deals with RAW files – just as well as with JPEG or TIF.

Details Window

Right clicking on an image gives you the option to view the current image for editing / RAW development – the “details window”. This is what it looks like:


The tabs on the right will give you the following possibilities:

  • all the image metadata information (Metadata tab)
  • tags management (Tag tab, indeed…). GTKRawGallery tags use IPTC keywords.
  • a dcraw configuration tool – including 16bits / channel output capabilities and color management; but better know what you are doing there.
  • Enhance offers brightness, contrast, normalize, color balance, a channel mixer, etc. Missing for my taste is my beloved curve tool.
  • Transform allows to scale, crop, rotate… the image
  • Effects offers the unsharp mask, blur, a simple noise removal tool, etc.

From the details window (top toolbar), you can navigate between images, zoom, play a slideshow, etc. At the far right of the toolbar, you find two interesting tools: add the current image to batch (for later processing), and save the current workflow (to apply the same settings to another image).

Some more info from Daniele

Because Daniele wrote quite a detailed email about GTKRawGallery, here is a couple of more quotes from him, first about GTKRawGallery’s dependencies:

Many dependencies?
Yes, but many of them already come with most known distributions.
GTKRawGallery besides hold together:
1) Imagemagick (best image processing library);
2) Dcraw (best raw ‘decoder’);
3) Exiftool (best metadata reader/writer, especially for raw and 16 bit images);
For more info, see the README file please.

Secondly about the “Python is slow” argument:

I think Python could be one solution: it permits to speed up development and simplifies software maintenance. Language speed is very good, because all the hard work is done by c libraries. Image processing time is due to the image size. GTKRawGallery leaves you to select for “Full image size workflow” or not.

My conclusion

Trying GTKRawGallery makes me think a lot – which is always a good thing…

I have always considered that a RAW developer and an image viewer are two different programs. One develops images, the other one views and organizes them. Still, going that way means that I am tagging my JPG images (processed from RAW); this is not very logical since the RAW file is the “source” of the image from which the JPG is derived. If I redevelop a new JPG from the same RAW file, I have to redo the tagging. So doing the tagging at the RAW level makes a lot of sense – and this is the route GTKRawGallery takes.

On the other hand, GTKRawGallery gives me the impression of too many options scattered in too many places – do I really need a musical slideshow with my RAW files? Do I want to browse through an album and right click on an image there to access a full blown RAW developer?

I would summarize my GTKRawGallery dilemma this way: it makes a lot of sense to integrate tagging in a RAW developer; but trying to integrate an image viewer and a RAW developer in the same program is a bit over the top.

Still, GTKRawGallery is definitely worth being installed and tried… I wouldn’t be surprised that some find it their perfect tool – make your comments here or on GTKRawGallery’s mailing list.

And to keep a good ol’ tradition alive, here is one of my first pics from my new hometown:



5 Responses to GTKRawGallery, a Python Based RAW Developper and Organizer

  1. graphius says:

    I will admit I like a quick RAW processor with my image browser. In the non-linux world, Adobe’s Lightroom is pretty popular.
    Maybe I will have to try GTKRawGallery…

  2. Svein says:

    I own a copy of Lightroom and love the program. I still have not upgraded to v. 2, but I am planning to do that.

    On the other hand, I am looking at alternatives running on Linux. So far, I have had a look at digiKam and really like what I see. For me, it is important that all metadata I enter immediately is saved to the image itself as EXIF/IPTC as this will prevent disaster if I loose the database. It also makes backup a breeze as copying the picture means copying all info as well. Burn it to CD and you do not have to think about other files than the picture.

    Metadata is really important and for me the ease of editing metadata is as important as the ease of developing the RAW file. So small metadata fields crammed into a corner is not my preference. I want it to take center stage with only a thumbnail of the pic in the corner. You might call that metaediting mode. And here is another one of my favorite things to rant about… Keywords. I know there are projects that aim to standardize the way we make keywords. It should not be too difficult to choose a few keywords and then have the software add all other relevant keywords for you. If you are taking pictures of flowers, you should be able to add the latin name and then the normal English name, colors etc. should automagically pop up. This could help a lot when you later want to search and find something.

    So for me, it has to be a kind of combination. Input, organizing, developing and output.

  3. Rolf says:

    Nice to have you back!

    I am just looking at F-Spot, but this is worth a look too.

  4. paul says:

    Just to quote two of your questions:

    > … GTKRawGallery gives me the impression of too many options scattered in too many
    > places – do I really need a musical slideshow with my RAW files?

    Definitely not. RAW are original images and normally no results to include in a presentation. But the Viewer is not for RAWs only so this could be done with JPGs, too.

    > Do I want to browse through an album and right click on an image there to access a
    > full blown RAW developer?

    Of course! What else do you want to do with RAW files if not developing then? I never understood why to separate photo viewer and editor/developer. It seems to be an organizational issue, because the developers of such a software need to write a good organizing software _and_ a good editing/developing software. And that would require so much time that we are all using existing tools with somehow loose connections between.

    I use F-Spot. And I love the concept of F-Spot as an organizer with the ability to include plugins or similar, to open the images directly in Gimp/Ufraw/Whatever.

    Besides this, the handling and possibilities GtkRawGallery gives me to develop RAWs are even less than UFRaw.

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