Hmm…I could have sworn the topic here was “Understanding Selective Tone control”. Of course, I have been a bad boy, too, and added my own comments to the color space discussion.
Back to the original subject: I wanted this thread to help PL users understand how the selective tone control works, but also to discuss workarounds for any deficiencies. People contributed some workarounds, and I have been trying out a number of them.
I’ll suggest another workaround: chain the processing with another image processing tool. Many RAW tools will handle DNGs, TIFFs and JPGs.
I was working with an image where I needed very precise control of small tonal ranges. I took it as far as I could in PL. Then I loaded the result in Darktable. Whoa! Suddenly, I could control the tonal range selections with ridiculous flexibility.
In addition to a multitude of tone controls, I could combine these tools with parametric masks, which themselves could be combined with painted masks. I was floored by the flexibility of the masking system–it includes features I could only dream about in PL. (I have a feature request for combining control points with painted masks which attempts to achieve just a tiny bit of what Darktable already does–it’s garnered 0 votes. See https://forum.dxo.com/t/combine-painted-masks-with-control-points/9834).
On the down side, darktable has the typical complex UI of many open source projects. Also, the DxO folks probably nail the technical details a lot better. I would stick with PL for lens correction, lens sharpening, vignetting, PRIME noise reduction, smart lighting, clear view, etc. I had an image where PL did remarkable highlight recovery. In darktable, nothing brought out the details buried in the highlights. It was a testament to the power of PL.
I do wish that PL would pick up a subset of darktable’s masking system (i.e. local adjustments). I mean, I like being able to define a mask based on luminosity or hue proximity, but on the A or B channel of LAB space? And while I understand how the mask might be based on the output of a control, it’s really hard to imagine how to apply that to the typical image changes most of us make.
Since we did drift into color management, it looks like darktable is also ahead of PL here; for instance, soft-proofing is supported and the histogram is not tied to the monitor’s color profile.
I was using the first release candidate for darktable 3.0.
PL can be chained with a lot of other tools, of course, including my ancient Photoshop CS6.