Capture One Pro 12 was released at the end of 2018, and since then, it has made my workflow drastically more efficient. Let me share some of my tips to help you supercharge your workflow with this latest version.
Removing Noise Only in the Shadows
When editing weddings, I've noticed that when denoising a picture, I would apply the adjustments to the whole image. However, most of the time, the noise was visible only in the shadows. Thanks to Capture One Pro 12 and its Luma Feature, it's now very easy to select only the shadows and then apply noise reduction locally.
To do so, start by creating a new filled layer using the Layers tool. It's good practice to rename it so you can easily remember what it does.
With the layer created, click on Luma Range. In the new window, start by displaying the mask so you can clearly see your selection and then adjust the range and falloff of your luminosity mask. When removing noise only in the shadows, I tend to dial both dark sliders down to zero and then drag the white range between 64 and 128 with the falloff anywhere between 100 and 160. But feel free to play around with the sliders and find the settings that work best for you. Also, be sure to adjust the radius and sensitivity if the mask falloff isn't too smooth for your taste.
Once you've selected the Luma Range, go to the Details tab and find the Noise Reduction tool. Adjust the settings to lower the visibility of the noise and bring back details as you see fit. And that's it! You reduced noise only in the shadows and the rest of the image retains as much detail as possible!
Copying Settings Without Changing the Crop
Until Capture One 12, when copying and pasting settings from a picture to another, I always had to use the Adjustments Clipboard tool to remove the crop settings, as in most cases, I don't copy and paste crop from shot to shot unless it's the same framing. It wasn't a big deal for small portrait sessions, but it made me lose a lot of time when working on weddings or large still life projects. In Capture One 12, you only have to go once to the Clipboard tool to leave the crop out of the selected settings and never have to think about it again!
To do so, go the Adjustments tab and find the Adjustments Clipboard, then click on the three dots next to the question mark, go down to Autoselect and pick Adjusted except Composition. Alternatively, if you don't want any setting selected at all and pick each time which ones to include, you can choose None.
I'm sure many will say that both linear and radial gradient masks have existed for a while in other photo-editing software. And that's true. But in Capture One 12, it has helped my workflow, especially when combined with the Luma Range and the refine mask feature. Now, when I batch edit pictures with a sky that's slightly overexposed compared to my subject, I can drag a linear gradient mask, apply the necessary settings and paste the mask and settings to a series of images.
Having vector-based masks makes adjusting it for each frame easy and quick. If the mask needs to be refined, I can also rasterize it and paint on it with my brush or use the refine mask feature to get a better mask without doing any brushing.
When trying to adjust the sky or the foreground to match exposure, the Luma Range feature also comes in handy to help. The process here would be the same as described before for noise reduction, but instead of using a filled layer, create an empty one and use the linear gradient mask to fill it. Then, refine the Luma Range and apply any necessary setting.
The three techniques above are some of my favorites to use that are made possible by Capture One 12, but I have many more. I'll try and share some more in future articles. I use the Luma Range feature for a wide variety of applications, from evening out skin tones to color grading; once you start using it, there is no coming back. What's best about it is that I can copy and paste my Luma Range layers easily from one picture to another. In the past, I used to rely on Photoshop for most of my masking. But now, with Luma Range, Refine Mask, and the Gradient Mask, Capture One Pro has become an even more crucial part of my workflow, making it faster and more efficient altogether.