I have started using darktable in a linux machine for photo editing (new to it).

Darktable has a mask feature which allows you to create masks on a image.


I'm able to create masks but when I apply an effect it affects the whole image instead of affecting only the masked area.

Can someone help me figure out how to achieve local/selective editing affecting only certain areas of the image.

  • \$\begingroup\$ you have to specify masks for every induvidual effect and not just one global mask on the left. Maybe this is the problem ? To be more precise: choose "drawn mask" as blend type instead of the default one and then add a mask there \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2014 at 22:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ I guess I am missing something here. I see only the left pane masks manager and there is nothing like "drawn mask", blend type, etc.? Where are these options available? \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2014 at 4:56

2 Answers 2


Finally, I could figure out how to use the masks. Unlike other applications where masks is a separate module/feature, Darktable has built masks under every module.

For example, if you want to change brightness/contrast of a certain part of the image:

  1. Go to brightness/contrast module on the left.
  2. At the bottom of the module, you would find Blend with Off on right hand side.
  3. Click on Off and select:

    • Drawn Masks for to draw masks on the image and restrict effect of the module to that area.
    • Parametric masks for selecting part of the image based on various parameters such as color, lightness, etc.
    • Drawn+parametric masks which combines both of the above masks.

Here are some links from the Darktable manual that might help:

  • \$\begingroup\$ You could probably accept your answer by now ;) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2016 at 22:14

If you're using Darktable 1.4+ you will have access to the masks combobox, inside modules, that can create the masks. You also have access to the masks manager which is in the left panel. The masks manager displays and modiefies the different masks you've created.

Note that the mask feature is still quite new and I wouldn't trust it with important work until they get it stable. Also always make sure that you've got copies of the RAW files and never work on the only copy of a RAW file new features in darktable. You never know what can happen.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I dont think that by installing it from apt-get you would get the develop version. I got it that way and it has the mask feature working just fine. The problem has to be somewhere else. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 22, 2014 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user2664856 What version you will get by using aptitude depends of what repositories you've added. However I now realised that the feature now has been released in the normal version of darktable. The feature list I found on their website where old. I'll edit my anser accordingly. \$\endgroup\$
    – Hugo
    Oct 22, 2014 at 22:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have dt 1.4.2 which is the latest available on arch - archlinux.org/packages/community/x86_64/darktable However, I don't see any masks combobox inside modules, though masks manager is available on the left pane. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 23, 2014 at 4:50

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