Ramp up your efficiency with Local Adjustments

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Discover three very useful extra features of the Local Adjustments Tool. These features can help you save time, and aid in the creativity of your images.

I hope by now you’ve had the chance to explore using Local Adjustments on your images. It has certainly brought the ‘darkroom’ back to my photography.

Capture One Pro 7 allows you to add up to ten different local adjustment layers with individual changes to Color, Exposure, Clarity, Moiré and Sharpening.

The so-called extra features that I am going to describe here are the ability to Copy, Invert and Fill a mask. These three actions can help you save time, and aid in the creativity of your images.

The not-so-red robin

The title image here is a little colorless and flat with no adjustments made in Capture One Pro 7.


My plan for this image is to improve the saturation and clarity of the robin and make it stand out more from the background. I’ll also apply sharpening to only the robin itself, as there are no details to sharpen in this shallow depth of field image.


I’ll start by drawing a mask on the robin. I have selected a fairly hard brush so I can get a good accurate edge.


I am drawing the mask with a Wacom Pen and Tablet, which I find much easier. I wrote about this in more detail in a recent blog post if you want to know more.

It was pretty straightforward to draw this mask so far, but I’ll need to reduce the brush size and add in the beak. I can use the Wacom tablet’s Precision Mode to help with drawing this small area.


To save a bit of time, I don’t need to brush in the centre of the robin (see the first screen grab of the mask) as I can just use the ‘Fill Mask’ command. This will fill in the ‘hole’ in the centre of the mask.


Access this by clicking on the small arrow in the top right of the Local Adjustments Tool. The mask is now automatically filled in.


If I need to, I can clean up the edges a little, but I am pretty happy with the first result! You can also see I have named the layer ‘Robin’ so I can keep track of what layer does what. This is very useful if you have several layers to keep track of.  To name a layer, just click on the default name.

Now I can set my adjustments for the robin itself.


I have increased the Saturation, applied some sharpening (I had disabled all sharpening in the Background layer, simply by choosing the Preset ‘No Sharpening’ in the Sharpening Tool ), increased the Clarity and Structure and finally made a selective color correction of the chest feathers with an increase in Saturation and reduction of Lightness.


It looks much better now.


Now to work on the background. It would be a waste of time to mask out the background as I already have the inverse – the robin.  First of all, I will make a new empty layer by clicking the plus icon, and call it Isolated Background.




Then copy the mask from the Robin layer to this new layer in the same menu.

Now, the Robin layer and Isolated background layer match, so the final step is to invert it, so I just have my background masked.




Now, the mask looks like this.

Perfect!  For the background I have decided to desaturate and darken it a little, soften it with some negative Clarity and make sure no sharpening is applied.

2014-01-21_15-39-20Here is the final result alongside the original image. I hope you agree it is somewhat improved.



Fill, Invert and Copy mask functions are simple but can certainly shave a few minutes off here and there when creating multiple layers. Don’t forget that even after copying or inverting masks, they can still be edited with the Draw and Erase mask brushes.


Best regards,



David Grover

David Grover

David Grover is part of the Capture One marketing team based at our head office. He runs our weekly webinar series on Capture One 7 and produces the video tutorials on Capture One too.

41 thoughts on “Ramp up your efficiency with Local Adjustments

  1. Renaud

    Your robin is in fact a chaffinch, which might explain why you don’t find it red enough.

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Renaud,

      Well, guess that shows how much I know about ornithology. Looking at it now… I don’t know what I was thinking. Not one of my most observant days I guess!

      Thanks for pointing out the error of my ways.



  2. Chris

    Can individual colour temperature (White Balance) values be applied to different layers as in Photoshop?

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Chris,

      Not currently. But you might be able to achieve the same with the colour editor.


  3. Colin J Green

    Even though the ‘robin’ has resulted in the wierdest chaffinch I have ever seen I will still find your tutorial extremely useful in improving my images. Ornithology may not be your forte, local adjustments are not mine. Thank you David.

  4. Ian Bowie

    I thought it wasn’t the common European Robin but some other one.

    Still you improved its looks so it should be a happier bird. Good article.

  5. David...

    Most helpful and most informative. I have been using the gradient mask to correct an over exposed sky, for that purpose local adjustments is ace. The software never ceases to amaze me.

    Thank you

  6. cyra

    I prefer the original, the chaffinch colour was just right. But I learned some about what local adjustment can do. Interesting that you can unsharpen with clarity, I’ll try that some time.

  7. Frank Hoppen

    Very well put together and explained real nice. Thanks a ton for your help to us all.
    And Renaud does not know that bird as well as you do, during the private session with her. Of course you knew it was a Chaffinch, but her birth name was Robin, it showed in her pilot license, right?

      1. Renaud

        Well, I have never met that particular bird, so I’m only speculating here, but I’m pretty sure we’re talking about a male finch here. I’m sorry to tell you that the flight license “she” showed you is probably a fake. And I wouldn’t be too optimistic about the phone number she gave either… God I hate to be the bringer of bad news!
        Anyway, great tutorial, I probably should have written that in the first place.

  8. scott burrows

    Hi David

    in your explanation above about masking out the robin and applying local adjustments. You used the colour editor to adjust certain colours on the bird. Do these adjustments only occur within the masked field ? I try and use colour editor within a mask and the entire scene changes.

    1. David Grover Post author

      Yes, they should occur only in the masked layer.

      Are you sure you were not working on the Background layer?

  9. Alectron Dorfman

    I am wondering what happened to the original image? I hope you weren’t shooting with a Phase One back. It is so desaturated and soft I am wondering if you know why this is. To me it looks like the image is overexposed by over a stop. Could this be it?

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Alectron,

      This was shot with a Pansonic GF-1 so not really upto the standard if a Phase One back! But still a great little camera.

      It is a little over and I find with the Panasonic it then gets slightly under saturated.


  10. Etienne

    Thanks for the Tutorials they are all a big help. A question, after working in the different layers (local adjustments) how do you save them to the final image.

  11. Susanne L.

    The robin/chaffinch confusion is already cleared up so there goes my first point I was about to comment on.

    But: Why did you leave its tail out? It doesn’t show clearly in the original picture but it is there. Leaving it out of the whole make-over has it almost disappear and makes the shape of the bird look too artificial, like a paper cut.

    Just saying.

  12. Keith Reeder

    I presume that the intention here was to make the Chaffinch look like it was getting ready to put in a shift as a radioactive circus clown?

  13. Pingback: How to enhance details with Structure | The Image Quality Professor's Blog

  14. Philippe Lafois

    Hi David

    I have a question about the sharpening
    Is it possible to use it on local adjustment using all the three adjustment of it, i mean “Amount, Radius and Threshold”

      1. Philippe Lafois

        Thanks for your quick answer, the resaon why i asked you, is i am on the way to get C1 and i am using a trial version, and when i tried to do it so, i had just access to to sharpening”Amount” and radius and threshold was in “grey”
        So maybe i did something wrong and i will try again tonight

  15. Fábio José

    Thank You for Your post .
    I’m newbie in Capture One and studying treatment photos. And both , tool tips as the tips of image analysis are useful for me.

    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Jacek,

      You can copy local adjustments in the same way as any other tool.

      Select the image with the local adjustments you want to copy and the others that you want to apply to.

      Click the small up/down arrow in the Local Adjustments tool bar, and the the button ‘apply’.


      1. Alex

        There seem to be several limitation with “saving” local adjustments – can you tell me if I’m incorrect on the following:

        1) No ability to create a preset for local adjustments? (EG once cleared from the clipboard they’re gone and you must re-search for a photo that has the settings you want to copy?)

        2) Local adjustments are copied/pasted “All or Nothing” – meaning a) all layers are copied (not just a specific layer you may want) and b) pasting will REPLACE (wipe out!) any existing layers in the destination pic?

        3) Layer masks are always copied, even though in many cases masks are pic dependent.

        If these are correct, do you have plans to expand the functionality?



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