By David Grover
Capture One Pro is a raw file converter, image editor and asset manager, popular with pro photographers who want both the best in image quality and a specific suite of tools to enable precision results.
Phase One Capture One Pro is different from Adobe Lightroom and Apple Aperture in that the interface can be completely customized to your own preference. You can remove tools you don’t really use and position the various elements of the interface, like the Viewer and thumbnail Browser, in different locations or even spread over multiple monitors.
The Capture One Interface
The interface consists of four key sections.
1. The toolbar: This contains clickable action buttons and the cursor tools (in the center), which change the behavior of the cursor.
2. Tools placed in Tool Tabs: The tabs are divided into different groups. Hover the mouse over the tabs to display the name. Each Tool Tab contains a set of Tools that can be changed and reordered.
3. The Viewer: The selected image(s) in the browser are shown here.
4. Thumbnails displayed in the Browser: All the thumbnails in the current selected collection are shown here. Collection is the term used to describe any group of images, such as images from an Album, a filtered search result, or a folder.
There is a number of different ways to configure each area and also to arrange these areas in your chosen monitor or monitors.
Starting with the toolbar, by right clicking and choosing ‘Customize Toolbar’ (Figure 2), various action buttons, cursor tools and spacers can be dragged into position anywhere on the toolbar.
The gateway customization in Capture One is in the View menu. This menu allows you to change the position of the main elements (Tools, Viewer, Browser) and, to a greater extent, how they are configured. Shortcut keys, which can also be customized, are shown to the right of the options too.
For example, the Browser can either be at the side (left or right) or at the bottom (Figures 4, 5, 6). The Tools will naturally be on the opposite side of the Browser if you have elected to place that at the side.
Configuring the Tool area
As well as its position, the contents of the tool area can also be configured. Tools are displayed in a number of tool tabs that can contain any number of tools of your choice. The Default workspace contains suggestions for good starting points, and it’s easy to change from there.
Hovering over any Tool Tab indicates the name and shows a reminder of how to reorder the tabs. With a Mac, command-drag will reorder and in Windows control-drag.
Additional tool tabs can be added by right- or control-clicking on any tool tab. The standard tool tabs can be added, and you can even add a Custom tab.
Tools can be added or removed from any tab in the same way, but this time choosing Add Tool or Remove Tool.
Tools can be reordered by dragging and dropping.
Floating tools can also be created, simply by dragging them out of the Tools area.
This can be very useful for workspaces that need only a couple of tools available but with maximized image area. Some tools, like the Curve tool, Color Balance Tool, and Color Editor tool, can also be enlarged to enable more precise adjustments.
Both the Browser and Viewer allow further customization. For example, thumbnails can be shown in a Grid, Filmstrip, or Detailed list form, and labels (exposure information, see below) can be hidden or shown in the Viewer.
Once you’re happy with your Workspace, save it to be able to return to it again. Go to Window > Workspace and Save or Delete.
If you regularly want to switch between different workspaces, you can place the Workspaces icon on the toolbar to give you fast access to all your workspaces.
Customizing Keyboard Shortcuts
Using keyboard shortcuts can save a lot of time in your workflow. Capture One has a default set of shortcuts, but it can also be changed. The Edit Keyboard Shortcuts menu (Figure 14) shows the Default set and the opportunity to duplicate this set for further customization.
Locate the item in the command list, click on the current shortcut (if displayed) and type in a key or key combination. A current list of keyboard shortcuts can be displayed from the Help menu.
Basic Workflow in Capture One
In the default Workspace, tools for adjusting Exposure reside in the Exposure Tool Tab and Tools for adjusting Color in the Color Tool tab.
Each tool functions in a similar way.
- Drag a slider to change the value
- Double click on a slider to reset it
- Use the cursor and keys to change value or enter numerical data.
- Click for help (if present)
- Click for Auto adjust (if present)
Figure 16: Copy, reset, and save/recall preset icons
- Copy the selected values to the adjustments clipboard
- Reset all values in the tool (option/alt-click this icon for a temporary reset to preview the effect)
- Save and/or recall preset values
Figure 17: The cursor toolbar at the top of the screen
The cursor toolbar changes the behavior of the cursor. For example, Panning, using a Loupe or Cropping. Most cursor tools show additional options by clicking and holding.
Copying and Applying Adjustments
To copy adjustments from one image to another, first edit one image and then click the Copy Adjustments icon in the toolbar (circled below).
Then select additional images in the Browser. (Either shift-click a group of images or ctrl-click (Windows) or cmd-click (Mac) for individual images).
Then click the Apply Adjustments icon, also in the toolbar: (Figure 19)
Images can be exported into final formats in two ways. Either with File > Export Images > Variants or via Process Recipes.
From the File Menu
- Select the images to be exported
- Go to File > Export Images > Variants
- In the export dialog, decide on the Location, Naming and Recipe for the exported images.
Via a Process Recipe
Process Recipes offer a more powerful way to export images. Different Recipes can be created and recalled to export images to any location and in any format. More than one recipe can be used simultaneously.
1. Go to the Output tool tab
2. Select one or more recipes from the default list. The function of that recipe is shown in the Process Recipe tool. (New recipes can be created by clicking on the + button in the Process Recipes tool).
3. Decide on the Output Location and Output Naming in the corresponding tools.
4. Click on the Process button in the Process Summary tool.