Nikon Capture NX Archives

July 8, 2006

Nikon Capture NX


Nikon has just updated their image editing software "Capture" with a new version called Capture NX. (You can download a free trial of Capture NX here). Like all software it has a learning curve and for the first half hour or so I was thinking what sort of crap is this. But I got over it and found that some of the new features are quite useful and will save a lot of time. As I get used to using it I'll write more about it, but for now the biggest advantage I see in the software is the way it deals with selections.

The first way you can select things is by using what is called a "Color Control Point". You just drag one of these onto your photo and then play with sliders to control the size, brightness, contrast and saturation of the selection. The control point selects things within the general area of the control point which match what it is placed on. For example, the white area in the picture below is what is selected when a control point is placed on one of the flowers. If you look closely you can see the sliders below the control point. All of the controls work on the image in the proportion that it is selected, so you can see that the green areas of the image won't be affected at all by this control point.

You can place as many of these control points as you like. In the image shown at the top of the entry I placed a control point in the background and reduced the brightness considerably It took only a second or two to do this without affecting the flowers.

The second sort of selection is just as powerful, but takes a bit of work. It is done with a collection of tools which allow you to "brush" on a selection, use a lasso or marquee or polygon tool to select or to select a gradient. All of these tools can be used in combination to create a selection and can either add or subtract from the selection. Once you have a selection you can do any of the available sorts of manipulation including sharpening the image, changing colors, contrast, saturation, performing noise reduction or even converting to black and white. Shown below is an example of a selection I made to apply some sharpening to the image on the flowers. I applied it selectively to keep the background looking soft.

Combining these tools and adding multiple control points and selections allows a great deal of control over the image with little effort required for making complicated selections or dealing with separate layers as is done in tools such as Photoshop. There is much more to write about as I get further along with this, but so far I can say it is an interesting addition to the image processing toolbox. To close, here is the original image. It is a bit washed out and lacks a clear area of focus compared to the revised version.

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