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Author Topic: Hitting the Perfect Skin Tone?  (Read 54776 times)
gwhitf
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« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2008, 09:58:06 AM »
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« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 08:27:48 AM by gwhitf » Logged
Frank Doorhof
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« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2008, 10:00:20 AM »
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Maybe it would be an idea to use a more warm whitebalance card.
The advantage you can find in using that is that you can replicate the setting everytime with different light setups.

I indeed thought that you needed neutral color (sorry).

What I do is balance on a correct whitebalance card and after that copy the red channel in a softlight blending mode and play arround with the opacity.
When that's pleasing I will desaturate the yellows and reds.
Most of it is repeatable and gives me something I like, I have played with the idea of asking dynatech to create a whitebalancing card with that look/feel but I think it would be hell for them to figure out what's happening.

when you would make a card with a bit too much red it would mean it would take out red when you balance on it.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2008, 10:01:58 AM by Frank Doorhof » Logged
gwhitf
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« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2008, 10:16:15 AM »
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« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 08:27:28 AM by gwhitf » Logged
bcooter
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« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2008, 10:40:43 AM »
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Quote from: dougpetersonci
What a really spectacular idea. Your suggestion to P1 if I'm understanding it correctly, is to focus less on finely tuning one specific "portrait" profile and instead offer a variety of both subtly and drastically different portrait profiles......................yes! I am going to pitch that in every post). Experienced photographers, experienced techs, and the head of development for C1 all working together during the Q&A to identify needs and solutions.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio


doug, wish you the best of luck, but there is not a single statement in this entire thread that Phase has not been told direct by photographers that buy and use their product.  

(I'm sure the same holds true with all the other makers also).

has phase (or any medium format company for that matter) taken their equipment and shot 12 different ethnic skin tones with strobe, then hmi, then tungsten, then window light then daylight, then soft shadows with ambient fill, then . . .?

have they done this next to the canons and nikons and film. does any medium format maker ever shoot their digital backs next to film.

I've done it, though not specifically for profiles but for projects and I can tell you with all honesty all the the medium format backs I've used and owned are way way  too color sensitive and depending on the subject and the light source can go from the best in the world to the worst just by switching a modifier or a cloud going overhead.  The best I've seen on skin was a hd 39 prototype using the old flex something color but I wouldn't attempt to batch correct 5,000 files in flex something color software so that wrapped up that thought.

maybe focus is a better software, I don't know, but I do know that really beautiful skin profiles are not going to come from a manufacturer shooting color charts, vegetables and raw meat.

if I was any camera maker I would hire some kid out of school who understood the fundamentals of color and give him 12 boxes, one of digital backs, one of cameras and lenses and 8 cases of different films one box each that says canon and nikon on it and test to produce profiles for each lens, back and lighting situation next to film and what the others are doing and howeach rendered these different situations.

instead we get color editors and "fear of giving the wrong marketing message profiles".

actually the color editor is a good tool for fixing casts in backgrounds like white or gray or taking out some issues, but overall it's limited.

the best "color editor" for roll your own film is in raw developer.

anyway I strongly suggest take some subjects,  (not danish) take some film and start shooting.

and when your talking to phase with your professional users group take them an i pod to show them an lcd.

but to let anyone in on how to get great skin tones is easy.  start with subjects with great deep brown skin tones and stay away from white pasty translucent skin.  now if you can just get a client to let you shoot everything in brazil or argentina your set.

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tho_mas
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« Reply #44 on: December 05, 2008, 04:13:54 PM »
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Hi gwhitf,

I am unfortunately very unexperienced with skin tones but hopefully some of my suggestions are a little bit helpful.

Quote from: gwhitf
I go into the Color Editor and just stumble around. That's my problem. I just grab those Reds and Magentas and drag them around, and try to calm them down. Who knows if I'm doing a good job.
Why don't you take your camera and profiles and go to an experienced engineer who knows how to create/edit profile with you sitting next beside him all the time. Okay... maybe takes one or two days of your time but maybe worthwhile (who knows).

Quote from: gwhitf
But you need some way to display them SIDE BY SIDE, so that anyone, however unTechnical, can just point to a variation, and say, "I like that one. Run it normal".
Actually you can do something similar with the "variants" in Capture One (but cerntainly more time consuming as you would have to assgin the different profiles to each variant before you are able to display them side by side in the viewer; too limited to 12 captures).

Quote from: gwhitf
I use something like this:
http://www.warmcards.com/
but it's not this one. It has neutral grey, warm grey, and cool grey. I've had it for years. I think from that Jack Bingham guy.
If you are that critical with skin tones you should use a white balance card without metameric deviations. Color Checker and all similar cards reflect light inaccurate (accurate enough but maybe not for you). Don't know these "warmcards" but according to the price I doubt that they are accurate with regard to metamerism.

Restrictions/problems I see when editing profiles in Capture Ones color editor (though it's a great tool) on the level you are asking for:
- all you see is restrictred to your monitors gamut. Out of gamut colors are clipped (so you don't see modulations although they might be there).
Maybe not that important as skin tones should be inside your monitors gamut (but I bet the darkest skin tones are out of gamut)
- gamma. Phase One camera profiles are ~ gamma 1.8. If you set AdobeRGB with it's gamma 2.2 as ouptut profile you convert from a color space that differentiates very much in brighter tonal values to a color space that differentiates less in brighter tonal values. Skin tones may suffer from this transformation. when using the color editor you should set the output profile to "embed camera profile" (at least as long as you edit profiles... but again: all you see is limited by the gamut of your monitor.... which, in this case, ideally should be calibrated to gamma 1.8, too)
- film curves: quite agressive (steep) in Capture One (whished I could edit them as they are much more responsible for oversaturation in Capture One as the profiles themselfes). for editing profiles it's probably the best to set the film curve to "linear" and choose the camera profile "no color correction" and start from the very beginning with your profiles (even for editing a certain look by hand).
To sum up: use a gray card without metameric deviations. Set everything as "linear" as possible in Capture One. Create your profiles. Take the whole stuff to an color engineer to let him check your profiles (or let him rebuilt profiles in the way you want them to work/look like).


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Frank Doorhof
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« Reply #45 on: December 05, 2008, 04:21:33 PM »
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Maybe a tip, just thought about that.
I once had a demo version of a plugin for photoshop that let you select skin types and colors, it had dozens of different types of skins.
You could select almost ever skintype like black, asian, european etc. and male or female I think.
By selecting one you could balance your photo to that skin, I tried it out and it worked great, however because it doesn't fit my style of work (I do want to start out neutral) I never looked into it.

If I have some time tomorrow I will browse my HDD if I maybe still have the demo version and post the name here, I think it might be what you are looking for or at least gives you alot of things to play with and maybe store something you like.

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PeterA
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« Reply #46 on: December 05, 2008, 11:30:49 PM »
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http://www.brucelindbloom.com/

Here ya go Snook - some interesting reading for you - enjoy!
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« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2008, 12:15:11 AM »
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I'm not sure if there is really a universal perfect skin tone, but I got a very popular skin tone (among people I photograph)out of Kodak.
This is what I do: Kodak SLR/c + Kodak Photo Desk. Do white balance by "pick" on the gray card, then adjust exposure (in Photo desk) down 2 stops (darken),  then adjust the mid tone by 3~4 stops (light up).

I've compared this with Lightroom. Lightroom is more flexible in tone adjust, but the skin tone is no comparison to Kodak Photo Desk.





 



Quote from: gwhitf
I know this forum is mostly landscapes and such, but I wonder if anyone here is truly feeling good about nailing the perfect, natural skin tone, even with strobe, without a ton of post work needed after the fact?

I have owned 1ds, 1ds2, 1ds3, P45, P30, P21, and I fight it every single job. I call it the search for that Natural Global Brown Skin Tone. I have a theory that the whole reason that all this crazy over-processed style came about was because all these film guys switched to digital one day, and they were clueless about how to hit skin, so they said Well if I cant hit it, then let's just start another fad, and we'll desaturate the skin and add some contrast, and it'll be cool. But not every job is appropriate for that. And sometimes it comes down to the real basics -- how to nail the skin, without a dozen Adjustment Layers. The nicest skin, to me, still results from Color Neg film, even in 2008. I'm talking just natural even skin, without those harsh transitions, and without runaway Reds and Yellows.

I have used the Color Editor in PhaseOne 3.79 a good bit, to create new custom Input Profiles. It works OK. Yet I find that damn near with each job, in each new lighting situation, you almost have a create a new style. Every job.

With Canon DPP, you've got Contrast, and you've got Hue, and you've got Saturation, and I've found that Canon always skews toward the Red, (as does Phase). So you think, Well just drop the Saturation, or slide the Hue, but then you're affecting everything, which is awful. And even then, still hard to hit that magic skin.

If I was Phase, I'd include about TWENTY different input profiles just for skin alone, canned inside CaptureOne. I have found it's best, with CaptureOne, to use NO COLOR CORRECTION input profile with Phase, and then tweak it in Photoshop later. NCC is much much more neutral, and you reduce that weird "Yellow to Red" transitions that happen with Phase chip.

Same with Canon and DPP. Right now, there's Neutral, and Standard, Landscape, and such, but I'd like the ability to have twenty "styles" inside of DPP for skin alone. A true professional solution.

I have no idea how Leaf deals with this, or Hasselblad. Never used their software, (other than the old Flexcolor, with the Imacon scanner).

You see these retouched samples inside of say Victor Magazine, and they're stunning, but what they don't tell you, of course, is that who knows what the hell the RAW file looked like, right out of the can, and they never include the five figure invoice from the Retoucher either.

Is it just me, or is everyone else hitting perfect skin, right out of the can?
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John_Black
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« Reply #48 on: December 06, 2008, 02:26:13 AM »
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Quote from: gwhitf
I use something like this:

http://www.warmcards.com/

but it's not this one. It has neutral grey, warm grey, and cool grey. I've had it for years. I think from that Jack Bingham guy.

But this is not the topic of this discussion; the heart of the matter are Input Profiles. This warm card thing is way too general.

I think custom ICC profiles and white balance go hand in hand.  If I take a custom ICC profile tuned under 5k strobes and then apply it to a sunset beach scene at 7200k, odds are it won't look very good.  gwhitf , when categorizing the color styles you created in C1, add a color temp suffix such as Red -12 Yellow +2 @ 5000k.  Personally, I find getting the right white balance can be in art in and of itself (rather than a science).  If you have your custom color styles sort by white balance, then that would be a filter and help you identify which ones may work for a given image.

Also, Canon has a color editor like C1's and those profiles can be uploaded back into the 1Ds3 then are auto-embedded into the RAW.  To utilize this new profile requires DPP, but it's great what to categorically dial down the reds.  I agree the Canon's canned color styles stink, but being able to develop your own and upload them back into the 1Ds3 is a powerful tool.  I hope this catches on because it's a baby step towards developing film formulas that could be selected in the field and previewed on the camera's LCD.
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Frank Doorhof
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« Reply #49 on: December 06, 2008, 04:02:25 AM »
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Found it:
http://photoshop.pluginsworld.com/plugins/...e/skintune.html

But it seems the companies website is down.
But this is what I played with, from what I saw I think it COULD fit your needs.
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bjanes
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« Reply #50 on: December 06, 2008, 09:20:17 AM »
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Quote from: digitaldog
The CMYK by the numbers "technique" is pretty bogus (its based on some undefined press condition which has nothing to do with what you're editing).

RGB is not as difficult but again, what working space? Its really easy in Lightroom using the percentages. Again, YMMV (as you point out, everyone has differing skin). But I've found that by comparing well known, quality files of various ethnic groups, that is, files I know output well, that if R is about 8-10% higher than G, and G again about 8-10% higher than B, you get a good ratio (ie 80%/70%/60%). But you still need to use your eyes and brain, a calibrated display and spice to taste.

The variation idea would be great, I've been asking Adobe to beef this up for years. I also recommend that if you create a gallery of good, well known files of skin tone that's output as you desire, you can use that as a visual guide. Again, in LR that's easy, make a collection.

I wish Adobe would produce an info palette that would toggle to the 0-255 scale to percentages as we have in Lightroom. Then there would be more parity between the two products and in cases like this, working with RGB percentages is useful. Again, the working space is a factor as the percentages in LR are based on Melissa RGB.

The ratio method is interesting, but even if the ratios are correct, the saturation may be wrong. I presume that this could handled by a saturation adjustment. Another approach is to use LAB, where color and luminosity are separated. Dan Margulis suggests a recipe in his book Photoshop Lab Color, chapter 16. The recipe is rather involved and interested persons should read the book. The method involves layer overlay blends in the A and B channels to enhance color and building contrast via use of the green channel with the Apply Image command. Dan presents examples using photos of subjects of varying ages and races and the results look good.

Because of the antipathy between Dan and Andrew, I doubt that the Digidog will have much good to say about the method, but his comments should be interesting.

Bill


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Dustbak
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« Reply #51 on: December 06, 2008, 09:51:37 AM »
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Quote from: Frank Doorhof
Found it:
http://photoshop.pluginsworld.com/plugins/...e/skintune.html

But it seems the companies website is down.
But this is what I played with, from what I saw I think it COULD fit your needs.


Perhaps because they have been taken over by Onone Software?

http://www.ononesoftware.com/press/press_r..._20070913_2.php

Does make me interested in skintune. I find some Onone tools very handy (eg. maskpro).
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Frank Doorhof
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« Reply #52 on: December 06, 2008, 09:52:56 AM »
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Did not know that, will for sure check it out again.
OnOne and Alien skin are about my favorites.
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gwhitf
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« Reply #53 on: December 06, 2008, 10:17:32 AM »
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« Last Edit: December 07, 2008, 08:29:24 AM by gwhitf » Logged
bcooter
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« Reply #54 on: December 06, 2008, 10:36:50 AM »
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Quote from: gwhitf


Phase's c1 4.5 has this skin tone editor thing kind of like the color editor that has presets called honey dew or light melon or something like that.

it seems to work like the color editor and though I didn't give it much time I really couldn't get it to do anything that looked good, but I didn't spend much time on it.

Where you see a big difference in skin tones is when you work on location.  All the color in all the digital cameras can change in a second just by the surrounding ambient color or light.

I do like the new C1 for processing files, it starts out with Canon, Nikon and Phase much closer to the look I want than lightroom.  Actually sometimes miles closeer.

I wish Phase had taken a hint from adobe and made the interface easier as doing thousands of images and having to move from tab to tab for tone, color, sharpness etc. is much more time consuming than lightroom.

Still 4.5 is the closest I've seen in look and color for the Canon files compared to DPP which really gets the best out of the Canon.

Edit:  After a large project when I sit down to process files it always hits me how consuming post production is.  I'm not talking about shooting 50 to 200 frames in studio or with controlled light, but the jobs that are consuming that require multiple locaitons, multiple models and props and a thousand or so frames.

You know that your in for a grueling time sitting in front of multiple monitors, calibrating, tweaking, adjusting, moving, copying, processing, etc. etc. until you step back and add it up and every day of shooting equals at least 1 or 2 very long days of post processing just to get to the first view of web galleries.

I am fascinated about how in the transition from film to digital that all the analog color experts disappeared.  Where did the guys that made film go, why did the labs disappear.

In the film days you could build a  studied history with a film where you knew how it would react in almost any circumstance.  You also had the same relationship with your "color expert" at the lab.  You could drop off 400 rolls of film and a few polaroids and say you know make the contact with those brown skin tones, but like last time, let's try to get some light green snap to the highlights and though not perfect the first round of contacts would be  pretty and predicable.

With digital every job is a roll your own new start.  I use to save presets but I found few if any work on the next project, even if you use the same cameras and lights.  Every times, it's a  roll your own color, come back look at it and do it again.  

I find the same thing with camera.  You can shoot 5 brands of the same subject, put them into their proprieary software or 3rd part software like lightroom and you'd think 12 different photographers did the shot.

There is a reason there are 5 figure per image retouchers out there and it's not just because in digital we can cut and past and move stuff around.  Now our relationships aren't with the film or the labs but with Adobe, Apple, Eizo and the retoucher.

Probably because I shoot under such varied conditions, but I find color to be the hardest thing to hit.  I'll mess with an image until I'm almost there in the processor but I always find it amazing that once I get "almost" there I can just slam the saturation slider to the left and it has the most beautiful black and white look.

I agree with gwtif that the de sat look probably came about because it was just so damn hard to hit beautiful consistent color with a digital camera.

I'm sure some overburdened photographer one day just said screw it, I'll make the faces green and if they don't like it they can send it over to Pascal to fix it.

Somewhere some AD went "cool" lets go with the green and Lürzer's Archive, at-edge  and CA mag became the post processing guide to the world.

A friend of mine recently said that you have  to eventually step back and realize that we're really not shooting cameras anymore, but we're working with electronic devices.  Like a a sat nav system they all can be good but they also can get very bad very quickly and you can find yourself in the South Bronx of life in an instance.

I know that somewhere here someone with a relationship with a camera manufacturer is going to say yea, but my EFIHD65LX mounted on an old  twin lens Yashica using floppycolor software version 12 shoots great skin tones and throw up some over retouched image that has gone through 32 rounds of post production, but before that image comes up, post a link to the web galleries of the 500 frames that were shot sans retoucing post production.

There is a big difference.

Like everyone, I've pulled the magenta banding off arms, the yellow faces under backlit sun, built color back into an image just because a grey building was behind me.

But now I get it.  I'm not using a camera anymore, I'm using a Garmin with a lens.

I really was hoping Kodak or Fuji would be the next professional camera makers.   I'm sure they have thousands of laid of color experts that are playing golf in Phoenix that would like to get back to work.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2008, 11:20:35 AM by bcooter » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #55 on: December 06, 2008, 01:25:47 PM »
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Quote from: bjanes
Because of the antipathy between Dan and Andrew, I doubt that the Digidog will have much good to say about the method, but his comments should be interesting.

I'm not going there <g>......
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Andrew Rodney
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bjanes
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« Reply #56 on: December 06, 2008, 02:34:43 PM »
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Quote from: Frank Doorhof
Found it:
http://photoshop.pluginsworld.com/plugins/...e/skintune.html

But it seems the companies website is down.
But this is what I played with, from what I saw I think it COULD fit your needs.

Another product with similar capabilities is iCorrect EditLab. I sometimes use a previous product of theirs, iCorrectPro. It uses memory colors for foliage, blue sky and skin tones. It some times works with a couple of mouse clicks and sometimes it doesn't. I don't personally use or recommend the current product, since the maker abandoned their earlier product without any upgrade path.

Bill
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #57 on: December 06, 2008, 06:26:05 PM »
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Quote from: bcooter
I do like the new C1 for processing files, it starts out with Canon, Nikon and Phase much closer to the look I want than lightroom.  Actually sometimes miles closeer.

I wish Phase had taken a hint from adobe and made the interface easier as doing thousands of images and having to move from tab to tab for tone, color, sharpness etc. is much more time consuming than lightroom.

Still 4.5 is the closest I've seen in look and color for the Canon files compared to DPP which really gets the best out of the Canon.

You can do that.

In 4.5.2 you can add or remove any tool from any of the tabs simply by right clicking on the tab and selecting which tool to add or remove. You can also drag any tool from the tabs and make it float simply by grabbing and dragging the tool. With a standard retouching setup with two moderately sized monitors this means every single tool in the program can be available at any time, and more usefully that every tool that you want to be on the screen can be. With the ultra-useful Apple-B and Apple-T shortcuts you can quickly jump to full screen viewing or back to the standard tool-browser-viewer setup.

All sorts of neat tricks like that will be covered in our Web-Based Capture One classes.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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« Reply #58 on: December 06, 2008, 06:44:43 PM »
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Quote from: dougpetersonci
You can do that.

In 4.5.2 you can add or remove any tool from any of the tabs simply by right clicking on the tab and selecting which tool to add or remove. You can also drag any tool from the tabs and make it float simply by grabbing and dragging the tool. With a standard retouching setup with two moderately sized monitors this means every single tool in the program can be available at any time, and more usefully that every tool that you want to be on the screen can be. With the ultra-useful Apple-B and Apple-T shortcuts you can quickly jump to full screen viewing or back to the standard tool-browser-viewer setup.

All sorts of neat tricks like that will be covered in our Web-Based Capture One classes.

Doug Peterson,  Head of Technical Services
Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer  |  Personal Portfolio


Holy cow , I did not realize this myself. i just loaded all the tools I normally use under ONE tab. This is awesome and makes it much faster to get around without jumping tabs
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« Reply #59 on: December 06, 2008, 09:57:44 PM »
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Quote from: gwhitf

Unless I missed something in the video, this is achieved with even more flexibility with the *variations* function in Capture One 4.5.2.

Recently I've shot a family wedding and a family Thanksgiving gathering - about 1100 images in all. I have a pretty consistent look that I like with my images, although they can need individual tweaking, depending on the image. I did nearly all the edits without having to click another tab as I loaded up the Quick Tab (Q) with the tools I most commonly use, 5 or 6 different ones. And once I got one image to where I wanted it, it was easy to batch that to the images from the same scene/light.

There's a couple things I would like to see (and they may already be in there for all I know), free sort of thumbnails, more metadata input, and batch rate or batch color tag. But getting what I wanted from each image and then saving out as a web page contact sheet was relatively easy. Knowing some of the shortcuts - especially command-T and command-B to get rid of the Tools or the Browser to concentrate on working from full rez or tagging/selecting is helpful.


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