Nikon Capture NX2 Tutorial: how to use selections and masks

    By | Tutorials | 11/01/2013 11:02am
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    Nikon’s Capture NX2 photo editing software enables you to make and modify selections to tweak tones. In our Capture NX2 tutorial we’ll show you how to selectively target and adjust particular tones for greater strength and subtlety.

    Nikon Capture NX2 Tutorial: how to use selections and masks

    In our start image we shot straight into the sun, so we needed to clamp down the aperture to try and preserve the sky’s highlights and the misty mountains’ midtones. The darker foreground forest has been plunged into shadow.

    Despite our efforts therefore, the sun’s highlights are too blown out and mountain detail has been lost in the atmospheric haze. Fortunately, we captured the shot in Nikon’s .NEF raw format, so there’s more shadow and highlight detail available than initially thought.

    We could use Quick Fix’s Highlight and Shadow Protection sliders to selectively adjust highlights and shadows, but there are more powerful and accurate ways to target and tweak particular tones.

    Capture NX2 has a range of selection tools that we can use to target and tweak specific areas, 
so you can selectively lighten under-exposed shadows, claw back blown out highlight detail and gently burn in more midtone information to give the mountains more impact.

    Marvellous masks
    We’ll use these selection tools in the following steps. As a bonus you’ll learn to display the various selections as overlays or greyscale masks, so that you can see more clearly which areas will be altered by particular adjustments.

    Nikon Capture NX2 selection controls

    In our cheat sheet below we’ve identified some of the key points in the Nikon Capture NX2 interface that you will use to make selections and masks. Click on the infographic to expand the file, or simply drag and drop it to your desktop.

    Nikon Capture NX2 Tutorial: how to use selections and masks

    01 Selection Control Point
    When you click to place a Selection Control Point it samples similar adjacent tones. We used this point 
to lighten the foreground forest.

    02 Selection Display Control
    Click here to access different 
ways to display a selection. The Overlay option displays selected areas in tones of green.

    03 Overlay
    A green overlay selection display indicates a graduated selection. When changing tone levels in the Adjust pane, the darker green areas allow a stronger adjustment.

    04 Gradient Range
    By sliding the Gradient range’s midpoint you can change the graduated adjustment’s transition so that the sky begins to darken at a higher or lower point in the frame.

    05 Selection Brush
    The Selection Brush enables you to define which areas will be adjusted by spraying on them. You can change the tip’s Opacity and Size to work with precision. This is a great way to dodge or burn tones.

    06 Adjustments
    Once you’ve started to make a selection, you can assign an adjustment command to it. This enables you to change tone or colour in the selected area.

    07 Sensor spots
    Once you’ve finished tweaking the shadows, midtones and highlights using different selection techniques, grab the 
Auto Retouch Brush and spray 
on sensor spots to hide them.

    PAGE 1: Cheat sheet to your Nikon Capture NX2 interface
    PAGE 2: Step by step how to make selections and masks in Capture NX2
    PAGE 3: How to use a Marquee

    READ MORE

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    Luminosity masks: why raw HDR is the best HDR


    Posted on Friday, January 11th, 2013 at 11:02 am under Tutorials. You can subscribe to comments.

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