Capture One Pro 11 Released: Improves Layer-Based Editing, Masking, and Photographer-Retoucher Collaboration

Today Phase One has announced the release of their updated image editing software, Capture One Pro 11. Alongside the expected performance improvements that comes with new versions, Capture One 11 brings exciting changes to the way layers are handled throughout the application and annotations for journaling or collaborations.

With Capture One Pro 11, layers have been made far more universal in the software. The application has removed the local adjustments tab found in previous versions in favor of a Layers tool. The Layers tool can now work with all adjustment tools, such as color balance, for more flexibility in what can be edited locally. A major downside for professional work is that at this time there is only a maximum of 16 layers that can be created with an image.

With the new approach towards a layer-centric image editor, Capture One can also handle those Styles Packs they’ve been selling much smoother. The Styles can be applied to a single layer, and then have its opacity adjusted to tone down the look. Styles can be layered and masked locally to really refine an image towards your vision.

Speaking of masks, Capture One Pro 11 is adding refine and feather mask functionality. When demoed the refine masking, individual hairs were easily selected out from a plain white background. With a color range selection added to a mask, further mask refinements can be made to fix any rough edges.

The other big announcement in the Capture One Pro 11 release is annotations. These annotated notes or drawings can be made on images to share with a retoucher on how you want areas of an image handled, or just as personal notes. Annotations are part of the files metadata and can be exported in a PSD file as a separate layer, or packed in an EIP with the raw image. Likewise, watermarks and overlays can now also be added to images and exported as PSDs in a separate layer.

Capture One Pro 11 is available now for $299. Subscription pricing is $20 per month or $180 annually. Owners of Capture One Pro 9 and 10 can upgrade for $119, and if Capture One Pro 10 was purchased since October 31, 2017, upgrading is free by reusing the license key. Phase One has a fully-functional trial version that can be run for 30 days to see how you like the new features.

Check out everything new in Capture One Pro 11 on the Phase One website.

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Dave Kavanagh's picture

Ooh I like that. Their style packs look nice but often those kind of styles/presets are a touch more graded then many would like. The ability to apply as a layer and reduce opacity (without needing to hop into PS) will be a welcome workflow enhancement for many.

Hmm, one of the reasons I don't use Photoshop and why I like Lightroom is because I don't have to work with a layers palette. I'm still try to figure out how this is useful and why anyone would want to start replicating the archaic and overly complex Photoshop in apps that are supposed to make photo editing simpler. And with that kind of pricing I don't see how they are going to compete with Adobe.

Dave Kavanagh's picture

Just because there's an option to use layers now doesn't mean anyone is obliged to use it. In my experience most people do work with layers as there's some types of edits that simply cannot be done without them. If you don't like layers, don't use them. Simple.

I didn't say or suggest someone is obliged to use them in C1. I also don't believe any photo editing needs to be done with a traditional layers palette. People have used it because that is what has existed in Photoshop and what they had to use for easy nondestructive editing.

Dave Kavanagh's picture

How would you suggest a technique like frequency separation is done without the use of layers?

Well, just ask yourself is there an easier way that kind of functionality can be designed into an app like Photoshop. If you and the developers are stuck in the paradigm that you must use layers to accomplish such a function then there will never be an easier and therefore better way to accomplish that function.

Keep in mind that before apps like Lightroom there was no other way to do nondestructive editing without working with the traditional layers palette and functionality. Now in Lightroom every tool is essentially its own invisible layer that can be easily undone or adjusted.

Dave Kavanagh's picture

Thats fine, if your edits are basic enough that those tools suffice. How about composite work? If I bring an element from another shot into the image I'm working on I can't see any good argument for not wanting to split it onto non destructive multiple layers. I get it that you don't like multi layered workflows, but lots of us do. Its really that simple. For the record I updated to the new version of Capture One last night and the layer functionality works a treat. It doesn't intrude on any previous non layered workflows, just adds the option if anyone wants to make use of it. Another fine release by Phase One.

It is objectively easier and faster to do most edits in Lightroom and similar working apps. What someone prefers despite that fact is of no concern to me. I don't debate the subjective. That ability can also be further improved without the need for a traditional layers palette.

As for composites I don't see any requirement for having and using the traditional layers palette.

There's also no point in mentioning non-destructive in a particular context since everything in such apps is non-destructive.

On a side note, I started testing C1 earlier today and it struggles when just panning an image at 1:1, taking a second each time before the image area being viewed actually appears as 1:1. That's with Sony 24MP files. No such performance issue in Lightroom, even with my biggest files in the hundreds of MB. Readability on that really dark interface is also awful.

Dave Kavanagh's picture

I think we'll have to agree to disagree there. I'm not too fussed about convincing you otherwise as the performance and quality differences between C1 and LR are well documented. If you're happy with LR then I'm happy for you.

There's the school of thought called lossless editing, it means you can edit an image where no pixel was harmed. A lot of retouchers, like myself, worked this way in the early 00's with smart objects, adjustment layers and more. It also allowed to do multiple edits on the same image for a client to decide between them.

Also using Adjustment layers saves on RAM usage as they're just text instructions to Ps as to what to do (grossly over-simplified but you get the idea).

I'd suggest learning about layers, blend modes and channels if you wish to do any kind of serious retouching for landscapes, portraits or even product shots. It's almost impossible to get clean edits without layers in a professional capacity.

I hope C1 doesn't become bloatware by trying to do too many things. It definitely does what it does very well but trying to do what Photoshop does seems like a bad idea. What next on Capture 12: Content aware fill? Keep C1 lean and mean like Photo Mechanic.

Well, Photoshop performs just fine with its functionalities. It's not a given that adding more functionality will result in a noticeable decrease in performance.

See my response to Dave above.

Lightroom also uses simple "instructions" to edit images.

Some people like layers. Others don't. That has less to do with being archaic or complex and more with the complexity of your edits, along with workflow preferences. I always use layers and, for me, 16 max. layers is a concern.

The most obvious reason for the traditional layers palette in Photoshop was so you could perform non-destructive edits. That is no longer necessary in apps like Lightroom, where every tool is essentially it's own invisible layer.

Objectively speaking, the layers palette is in fact archaic, complex and incredibly slow compared to working in Lightroom when doing most photo editing. Most photo editing is possible in Lightroom, or similar functioning apps, and is actually performed in such apps.

Only Adobe is preventing Lightroom, with its much easier interface and way of working, from gaining more functionality from Photoshop. Ideally all photo related functionality could be included in Lightroom and what's left over in Photoshop could become a dedicated graphic design app, or perhaps rolled into a similar existing Adobe app.

Adobe will likely never do that because what keeps Adobe on top is the myth that Photoshop functionality and complexity is necessary. They have profited greatly in creating and perpetuating that myth.

I'll have to disagree with your initial paragraph. The ability to reorder edits, which is impossible in LR, is critical to certain operations. And, in order for LR to be capable of the same kinds of edits as PS, they would have to make those "invisible layers", visible.

It's easy to assume one's edits, according to individual goals, is representative but I can assure you, I could never do what I do with only LR.

I think the reality, versus mythology, is that Photoshop does what it does very well and Lightroom does what it does, pretty good. If it were possible to give LR the "photography" functionality of PS, C1 and others would have done that. In fact, some try but not very well from what I've read.

I think this is one of the situations where the term, "Your mileage may vary" is appropriate.

I said the most obvious reason, not the only reason.

Of course the functionality you describe doesn't exist in Lightroom, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be, and in a better and easier way than the traditional layers palette. Visibility, as you mentioned, doesn't have to equal the same interface as what exists in Photoshop.

As I said previously, it isn't in Adobe's best financial interests to reduce or eliminate the need for Photoshop. As for Phase One, that company simply doesn't have the resources to do what you said, although it is obvious they are doing their best to do just that.

They could never eliminate Photoshop. It's possible it could become more graphics intensive but you can just use it for that now. They keep adding functionality to Lightroom so you may get what you want eventually.

I already have all the photo editing functionality I need in Lightroom. I use Photoshop mainly for repairing damage film scans.

Of course Adobe could eliminate or consolidate any of its products if it wanted to.

Réjean Brandt's picture

Layers are great for complex edits, and helps you stay organized. When a client comes back asking for a change, I can easily find that layer and make the change. Love the new C1 update!

Previously most photo editing, in a nondestructive form, had to be performed with the traditional layers palette. That is no longer the case today. In fact, as I said to Sam above, most photographers today never use the layers palette in Photoshop and Photoshop like apps for most of their editing; it occurs in apps like Lightroom/ACR.

Layers in C1 are what local adjustments are in Lr. Basically the same functionality, just the user interface implementation differs. In Lr they are represented as one or many "buttons" on the image, in C1 it's a named list in the layers tool.

As long as you're not using any local adjustments, you're working on the "background layer" which is a "preview" of the demosaiced, interpreted and adjusted raw image data.

I fail to see any difference in the basic functionality between those two applications, just one now officially calls it layers, while the other (still) just calls it local adjustments. C1 does have more features around this basic functionality, though. I can give them a name, have then displayed in a list nicely, enable/disable with one click and such.

"I fail to see any difference in the basic functionality between those two applications, just one now officially calls it layers, while the other (still) just calls it local adjustments."

Not the best explanation and response to what I had said because in both apps both local and global adjustments are essentially invisible layers for the basic purpose of non-destructive editing. I understand though your explanation and comparison of layers in C1 to pins in LR; I'm just not convinced that emulating the traditional layers palette from Photoshop is the best way to go about having more control over your edits, local or global.

So, your objection is about how the user interface representation of local adjustments in C1 is so similar to the layers palette in photoshop from an UX design and/or usability point of view? (given we agree the basic functionality behind it is the same)

I guess that's a matter of taste. Personally, I always disliked the pins in Lr for reasons you named already in parts: it makes the adjustment layers mostly "invisible". There are just all those little, nameless pins all over the image. With that "layers palette" I have them all listed in one spot, each with a meaningful name and an enable/disable button right next to it (plus other things like clone, reorder, invert mask etc).

Your focus on local adjustments in C1 is irrelevant since my opinion on the matter would apply whether Phase One chose that layers palette function to work with local or local and global adjustments.

Layers in Lightroom are invisible only when considering the lack of a traditional layers palette.
As for what my objection is, I've already made that clear in my previous comments.

Johnny Rico's picture

Annotations, awesome. Whats the cheapest throwaway Bluetooth pen/tablet I can keep with my tether machine to scribble notes instead of having to write down filenames/client notes on a pad of paper?

I'll probably end up testing this with the Surface Pro, it's ideal for this.

Jaran Gaarder Heggen's picture

or with the new one from Dell... for those of us that already have a desktop computer and cant afford a wacom 4k...

James Kent's picture

I use this. Thats the cheapest because its open box. A new one is $46. Its actually very accurate and you can easily draw masks with it.

Thanks for the informative article. Does anyone know if the upgrade is free if you are on a subscription basis. I'm getting a message that my license isn't entitled to an upgrade and I'm currently on Capture One Pro Subscription, latest version of V10. I thought that was the purpose of the subscription basis.

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