Author: Rod Lawton

Use Color Efex Pro control points to mask your graduated filters

Graduated filters are perfect for toning down bright skies, but they have a problem. Any object sticking up into the sky gets ‘graduated’ too! But Color Efex Pro control points are the answer… All the filters in Color Efex Pro have opacity control points. You can use them to hide the filter effect in areas you don’t want it, or add them to apply the effect only in specific areas. They use Nik Software’s clever ‘U-point’ technology, which automatically masks the adjustment based on the tones underneath the control point. This becomes a lot easier to understand when you...

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How to use the Capture One Color Editor to fine-tune your image’s colours

The Capture One Color Editor is designed for subtle manipulation, not wholesale colour substitutions. It has much in common with the Replace Color tool in Photoshop and Elements, but restricts itself to modest hue shifts rather than complete colour changes. It’s really useful where the image as a whole is more or less right, but individual colours are slightly off-key or over/under-saturated. This moody Welsh landscape is a good example. It’s already had some editing work done on it to enhance the clarity, contrast and overall saturation, but I’m not happy with the greens (they’re more brown than green)...

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How to adjust the point curve in Lightroom

Curves adjustments are tricky to get right. Small changes can have a big impact on the image, and it’s easy to make things worse not better. That’s why Adobe’s provided a secret weapon – the Adjust Point Curve tool in Lightroom. Normally, you make curves adjustments by estimating or measuring the position of the area you want to adjust on the curve display, then add a control point and drag it up and down to change the brightness of that area. If you drag upwards that area becomes lighter; if you drag downwards it becomes darker. You can add...

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Maximising dynamic range in Aperture

One of the biggest advantages of shooting RAW is the extra dynamic range in your files – but how do you recover those blown highlights? Here’s how to maximise dynamic range in Aperture, while minimising the impact on your overall exposure. It’s done using Aperture’s Recovery slider, which pulls back extreme highlight detail without affecting the rest of the tones in the picture. Lots of RAW converters aim to do exactly the same thing, but in my opinion Aperture does it best. To me, the highlight recovery tools in other programs affect too much of the tonal range, encroaching...

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How to use control points in Silver Efex Pro

Black and white photography relies heavily on dodging and burning to add emphasis to certain parts of the image, to balance or contrast areas of tone, and improve the overall composition – and Silver Efex Pro’s control points let you do this in moments, without masks or selections. You don’t always need them. Silver Efex Pro’s edge burning tools, vignettes and other options mean that you can create great black and white imagery without localised manual adjustments. But when you do need them, you’ve got Nik Software’s control points. You click on the image to add a control point,...

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