06 Create a foreground mask

Capture One gradient mask

Now I need to lighten the foreground, so I’ve clicked the ‘+’ button (1) in the adjustment layer panel to create a new adjustment layer (2) which I’ve called ‘Lighten foreground’. Then I’ve used the gradient mask tool again, but this time dragging upward from the centre of the picture towards the sky – you can see the mask I’ve created here as a red overlay.

07 Lighten the foreground

Capture One gradient mask

Now I can set about adjusting this foreground area, and I’ve increased the Exposure value, Contrast, Brightness and Saturation. You really do need to be working on RAW files for this, by the way, because JPEGs probably won’t have the extra tonal range needed.

08 Global adjustments

Capture One gradient mask

It’s still possible to make global adjustments to the picture using the Exposure tool tab, for example. Here, I’ve used the Shadow slider to bring out a little more detail in the darkest areas, and slightly increased the Saturation and Clarity.

09 The finished picture

Capture One gradient mask

This is quite a transformation compared to the original picture, and the car and the sky are much better balanced. I’ve deliberately exaggerated the adjustments to make them obvious, but don’t forget that if you decide you’ve gone too far (or not far enough), all the adjustments in Capture One are non-destructive, so you can just go back and modify your adjustments until they look right.

See also

More Capture One tutorials