Capture One Ver. 12 – Luminosity Masking

Capture One Version 12 has recently been released and one of the most exciting additions to this version is the improved masking capabilities including new linear gradient masking and radial gradient masking tools. However the most interesting addition to this version is the addition of luminosity masking which we will focus on here. I have been testing this new version out over the last few days and am very impressed at this new capability which offers a wealth of possibilities for improved processing allowing a much more refined method to handle the highlights (or shadows) in an image.

Here is an example of one image and what luminosity masking can do. The image was taken recently during a tour of South America and was taken at the harbour in Ushuaia, Argentina.

The image straight out of the camera looked like this:

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The image needed some basic processing to adjust the exposure and bring out some more of the details. I adjusted the exposure and used the High Dynamic Range sliders to adjust the highlights and shadows. I also added a slight RGB curve adjustment which I do routinely to my images. Lastly I added a small amount of clarity and structure was bumped up to bring out some of the lovely details on the old shipwreck. A minor auto adjustment on white balance was also done.

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The resulting image after this basic processing is as follows:

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A big improvement but still I wanted to get more detail out of the stunning sky. I have usually always added a linear gradient mask over the sky region so I did this by adding a layer which I called sky and then using the new linear gradient mask tool to add in a mask as shown below:


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Then using the Luma Range tool I could then adjust the area to be masked based on luminosity. You can see from the picture of the Luma Range below I have restricted the mask to the far right (highlights) of the image. The radius and sensitivity sliders allows you to adjust just how hard or soft the feathering is done so you can best blend the mask with the surrounding image. The red coloured areas show the final mask and you will note that it only applies to the white highlights of the clouds leaving the blue sky unmasked – something a normal linear gradient mask tool would be unable to do. So in landscape photography this is a very useful tool as it masks only the areas such as bright, white clouds (or conversely deep, dark shadow areas) and does not effect any of the surrounding areas such as trees, hillsides or other parts of the image which you do not neccesarily want to mask. Previously I would have to add in the linear gradient mask then manually erase areas that I did not want to be masked.

Now you can then make multiple adjustments to the masked area (sky) and in my case I brought done the exposure slightly, adjusted the highlights using the Highlight slider under High Dynamic Range and then added just a slight tinge of blue using the Colour Balance Tool which is always nice to do to the sky regions.

The final image brings out some lovely detail in the sky and brings much more punch and dynamics to the image.

Ushuaia, Argentina

Passionate Photographer …. Lost in Asia

Stuart Taylor of HighlanderImages Photography has been making images for over 30 years and can offer a diverse range of photo imaging services with a focus on Asia and a documentary/photojournalistic style. These services include planning and executing a photo shoot on location but importantly all the post-processing and image preparation needed for the specific finished media format required by the customer. Stuart’s experience and knowledge in all of these aspects make HighlanderImages Photography a one-stop-shop for a comprehensive and professional image production service.

Stuart can be available for a variety individual assignments or projects and he specialises in areas such as photojournalism, commercial, architectural, real estate, industrial, interior design, corporate, urbex, adventure, wilderness, and travel photography. 

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