The LightZone Project

Mission Statement:

We are an international group of members and volunteers dedicated to the preservation, sharing, mutual support, and further development of the excellent LightZone photo editing software.


  • History:

LightZone was created by Fabio Riccardi and sold by Lightcrafts, Inc., as proprietary software, starting in 2005. In 2007, MacWorld gave LightZone its Editor's Choice Award. Light Crafts ceased operation in September 2011.  In October and November of 2011 Doug Pardee and TexAndrews co-founded LightZombie.org in order to provide forums and limited support for the existing user community.  In the late autumn of 2012 Anton Kast, one of the original developers under Lightcrafts, joined us and was able to negotiate with Fabio the release of the source code for use in an open source project under a BSD license which we renamed The LightZone Project.  An international team of new developers then volunteered to work on the project in different capacities, including compiling, RAW profiling, and localization.  In the following months the software was recompiled, made ready,  and re-released to the public free of charge.

Archival material can be found HERE.

  • What is LightZone?

LightZone is professional-level digital darkroom software for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux, that includes RAW processing and editing. Rather than using layers in the way that other photo editors do, LightZone lets the user build up a stack of tools which can be rearranged, readjusted, turned off and on, and removed  from the stack.  It's a completely non-destructive editor, where any of the tools can be re-adjusted or modified later — even in a different editing session. A tool stack can even be copied to a batch of photos at one time. LightZone always operates in a 16-bit linear color space with the wide gamut of ProPhoto RGB. 


While many of LightZone's tools are familiar ones, they also have shared, multiple modification possibilities built in that amplify their power and flexibility.  LightZone also offers some unusual tools for tonal control — meaning brightness, contrast, shadows, highlights, etc.  Some are inspired by the Zone System, and some are inspired by HDR tone-mapping.  These tools put LightZone in a class by itself for working with black-and-white imagery. They're very useful for color photos, too, especially in mixed lighting situations. 


LightZone was a pioneer in selective editing using vector based regions creation. Pixels can also be selected by color and/or brightness ranges. These selection features allow users to edit only a portion of an image in a flexible system that is extremely user friendly and intuitive.


The combination of the individual tools' inherent flexibility, the flexibility of the Tool Stack, its completely non destructive editing in a 16-bit wide gamut color space, and its intuitive GUI, make LightZone a remarkable alternative for those not entirely comfortable with other photo editing software.

  • Who We Are:

We are our membership, now thousands of people worldwide.  Because we are an all-volunteer organization, our strength is in us as a body.  Forum posts, video tutorials, shared knowledge, shared templates, tips, questions, answers----all of these contribute to The LightZone Project knowledgebase.  And every bit of it makes the project stronger.  Of course there are some who have contributed so much that the project might not have been possble without them: Creator, Fabio Riccardi; LightZombie and LightZone Project co-founders Doug Pardee and Tex Andrews; Development Team members: Anton Kast, Pavel Benak, Masahiro Kitagawa, Andreas Rother, Michael Shultze, Jedd Rashbrooke, Ron Goldthwaite, Visa Jokelainen, Peter Wolbink, and others.