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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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Conclusion

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

 

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.

45 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.

    Reply
    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.

      ;)

      David

      Reply
  2. Chris

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

    Reply
    1. David Grover Post author

      Hi Chris,

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

      David

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
      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.

        Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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?

      Reply
  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?

    Reply
    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.

      David

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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?

    Reply
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  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”
    Thanks

    Reply
      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

        Reply
  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.

    Reply
    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’.

      David

      Reply
      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?

        Thanks,
        Alex

        Reply
        1. David Grover Post author

          Hi Alex,

          The reasoning is that Local adjustments are 99% of the time unique to an image. I.e. it will be very rare that the mask will be the same image to image, unless in a sequence of course. Then you can copy / paste from the Local Adjustments tool.

          Therefore there is no preset, due to the likely uniqueness of a mask and adjustments to the image.

          We haven’t had plans to expand the functionality as the use case for it is very slim. Unless more of you chime in and say otherwise!

          David

          Reply
          1. Alex

            Hi David, thanks much for your response.

            I agree with you that masks are 99% unique to a photo, (which I said as well).

            But I cannot agree the settings applied to the layer (whether they be a color tweak, clarity, sharpness or whatever) are unique – they are as “preset” as any other go-to settings we use repetatively.

            An example off the top of my head – I often tweak/enhance the green of nature for a lush effect on the grass/leaves/plants when they look too yellow (read: dry) – currently I apply the color settings to the whole photo. However, this can cause skin tones to also go a little green (and also blonde hair).

            The obvious “best” way to do this would be a saved layer style with the green color settings, where my workflow would be to add the layer, then just draw in the mask (over the green nature). Next pic.

            But that’s one example of a thousand – how about a preset layer for softening skin? Eg whatever your favorite skin-softening settings are, you’d add it to the photo and just draw the mask over the skin you want softened.

            Another are some settings I use on harshly sunny days, applied high contrast areas of people’s faces (not the whole photo). The settings are always basically the same, even though the mask is always unique. Presently, I add a new layer, draw in the mask AND set each setting because I can’t save/recall it. Recreating the settings each time is a real time waster.

            So it’s not about saving the mask, it’s about saving the settings of the layer, with the ability to ADD them to a new photo (albeit maskless), without destroying other layers that may be there.

            I can’t imagine anyone who uses layers & masks wouldn’t want to be able to save their favorite layer settings.

            If you don’t think so, perhaps you could poll the users with the question at least?

            Thanks again,
            Alex

          2. Gareth Wright

            Hi David

            I have to agree with Alex about the ability to save local adjustment brush settings as presets. Having a range of favoured presets for various adjustments (especially for portraits) is a great time saver when you have an image that only needs a few quick tweaks – it would be great if you could save a range of local adjustment brushes for things like Iris enhancing, catchlight enhancing, skin smoothing, teeth whitening etc. I’m sure that other users would appreciate the value of a feature like this in future upgrades.

            Thanks

            Gareth

  16. Doug Dolde

    Fill 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.”

    This is absurdly difficult to find. Come on make it more prominent.

    Reply

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