PSD files in Capture One – now what?
From version 10.1, Capture One supports reading of PSD files. You have always had the option to export to this widely popular file format, but if you wanted to see your work file inside of Capture One after some external editing, you were required to save your layered file as a TIFF. Those days are gone.
Whatever layers you might add on top of your images, Capture One will now recognize and show PSD files as any other supported file type. It is important to mention that processing layered files from Capture One always flattens the image, and the layers in your PSD or TIFF files are not individually visible or editable in Capture One. The files are always treated as non-layered files within Capture One.
Now, what does this mean for your workflow? Depending on how you edit your images, this provides two overall game changing additions if you are a regular user of Capture One and Photoshop (or a similar editing software): asset management and full round-trip workflows.
1. Asset Management
If you are one of the many photographers who finalize their work in Photoshop after having processed the images in Capture One, you might have been missing the ability to see your final work within Capture One, next to your RAW files. Upgrading to Capture One 10.1 now makes this possible.
One way is to use the round-trip functionality within Capture One when sending processed images to their final steps in Photoshop (or other external editors). This ensures that the PSD-file is instantly placed next to the RAW file and will show in whatever Album or Folder you are working from – both in a Catalog and a Session. This is achieved by right clicking the thumbnail of the image and selecting Edit With…, which will open a dialog with processing options for format, ICC profile, size etc. You will notice that PSD is now included in the Format list as well as JPG and TIFF. Open With should be set to your preferred external editor for example Photoshop. This effectively processes your RAW file with the adjustments made to it, and opens it in your selected external editor.
N.B.: Open With, which is placed next to Edit With…in the right click menu, might be slightly confusing without an explanation. The direct Open With option will effectively open your RAW file in an external editor without processing it through Capture One. To summarize:
- Edit With… -> processes file with adjustments -> opens in external editor
- Open With -> RAW file opens directly in external editor
It is recommended to process to 16 bit to maintain as much information in the file as possible. Any changes to this newly added PSD file, from any external editor, will instantly show in Capture One once it is saved, making it possible to use Capture One as your preferred asset management software for all your work. N.B.: Saving with Maximum Compatibility in Photoshop is required for Capture One to support the PSD file.
You can of course also import PSD files as any other supported file types into your Catalog or Session.
2. Full round-trip workflows
The second addition to a PSD workflow is the full round-trip functionality: You have finalized your external work to your PSD file and might need a final touch of color grading, Film Grain, or other Capture One specific tools to take your image to the highest level.
With the Edit With-procedure described in the previous section, it’s easy to send a processed PSD file directly to Photoshop for further retouching. A good tip is to keep the processed image relatively neutral before retouching, and processed to 16 bit. This will give you the option to make different variants of color grading to the retouched image once it is back in Capture One. A huge benefit of this is, that if you need to do additional external retouching to the image, all variants within Capture One will automatically be updated with the changes. It is also possible to ignore the crop you have applied in Capture One from within Edit With… > Adjustments, which gives you the option to crop differently at a later point.
Imagine the following scenario:
- You have shot an image for a client, and want to show them a couple of different versions to choose from. The image needs external retouching and is processed as a PSD file using the Edit With procedure.
- External retouching is done and the PSD file is saved with layers.
- Back within Capture One, the PSD file now shows the retouching. You create two new variants of the PSD file, effectively having three variants of the image ready.
- Using Color Balance, Film Grain, Curves and other tools in Capture One, you finalize three versions of the image to prepare for your client.
- With a process recipe, a small JPG of each version is processed and sent to your client.
- They notice a flaw in the retouching that needs to be taken care of. You therefore open the PSD using your external editor and fix the flaw.
- Back in Capture One, all three versions are now updated and can be processed again with a single click.
- The client now receives and chooses one of the versions as their final pick.
All in all, support for PSD files provides full control to your workflow when using Capture One with external editors.
What impact will PSD support have on your workflow?
May 4 2017
By Alexander FlemmingCategory: Tech TalkTags: Capture One Pro Digital Asset Management Workflow Capture One Pro 10
Alexander works as a Photographer and Marketing Specialist in Software Marketing of Phase One. Previous experience as a Test Engineer along with 10 years of photography have provided Alexander with a broad understanding of the many technical advantages of Capture One Pro.