In my previous post Adjustments Explained we covered the basics of adjusting with Capture One. In Adjustments Continued I take it to the next level: adjusting multiple images. There are actually two different takes on the subject. One is that you adjust multiple images at the same time, the other is that you adjust one, and copy the adjustments to other images. We will discuss both options here.
When working on images that are made in a sequence, you often end up with similar adjustments for the entire series or part of it.
Being able to adjust images at the same time or by copying adjustments are both big timesavers, but even more, it allows you to create an equal look among images. Note that after copying adjustments you can always fine-tune images individually.
Adjusting Images Concurrently
As mentioned in the introduction you can adjust multiple images at the same time. However, different tools or different ways to adjust with a tool can have a different effect. For example: does it add an incremental value or does it apply an absolute value? How do automatic adjustments work with a group of images? Let’s take a look because there are a few things to know about how Capture One allows you to adjust multiple images at the same time.
Most adjustments and ways to adjust, like dragging a slider or moving the line in the Curve tool, are applied to the Primary Variant only within a selection of images. In other words, whether I have selected one or multiple images, and I move the Exposure slider, only one image – the Primary Variant – is changed.
This way you can individually adjust an image within a selection. There are a number of exceptions to this rule, as we will see in a moment. But please read the important notice first.
For the following examples in this section on adjusting multiple images, I assume that the Edit All Selected Variants toggle is set to on. The symbol on the taskbar is colored orange. For more information on this toggle see my blog on Variants. In case you switch it off, only the Primary Variant is adjusted.
When you edit with keyboard shortcuts, like Alt+Shift+Cmd+= (Mac) for increasing the Exposure, all images in the selection get the same value added per keyboard click. That does not have to be the same absolute value.
One image with value -0.3 becomes -0.2 and another image with value 0.5 will become 0.6 because both receive an increment of 0.1. In other words, this method works incrementally. It does not apply an absolute value.
Note that you might need an extended keyboard for the proper use of keyboard shortcuts for adjusting images.
Another category is the automatic adjustment, as the general Auto Adjust, as well as the automatic adjustments per tool. They also work on all selected variants, but different from the keyboard shortcuts. The mantra here is the same treatment, different results per image.
Thanks to the calculations behind the auto adjust, each image is adjusted individually. I use this very often with the Levels tool: all images get their best settings in one click.
Presets And Styles
The third category in this department are presets and styles. When you apply a preset or style you will notice that they are applied to all selected images. However, in contrast to keyboard shortcuts and auto-adjust, a value in a preset or style is an absolute value.
This means that a preset of Exposure +1 will give a +1 exposure adjustment to selected images, no matter what their settings initially were. I discuss presets and styles into more detail in a successive blog, Adjustments In-Depth.
Rating, Tags, And Metadata
Next, a special mention on rating and tags. Star rating and color tags are also applied to all selected variants, just like presets and styles, when you use keyboard shortcuts or the Adjustments menu > Rating or Adjustments menu > Color Tag respectively.
You can also apply rating and tagging directly on a thumbnail or preview in the viewer. This is set individually per image even when you have a selection.
Note that the thumbnail needs to be set in Edit Mode (View menu > Browser Labels) and the Viewer must show the Viewer Labels (View menu > Show/Hide Viewer Labels). These are default Capture One 8 settings so it should work out of the box.
You can apply rating, tagging, and keywords with the Filters tool to all selected variants through drag-and-drop. Just select your images in the browser and drag them on the item you want them to have.
Specific Group Properties
Some tools have specific group properties. The Lens Correction tool allows you to perform an analysis for Chromatic Aberration (CA) on all selected images at the same time, but the analysis is unique for each image. As the mantra says: one treatment, different results.
The same is true for the LCC (Lens Cast Calibration) tool, which can create LCC profiles for multiple selected images in one go, but each image is analyzed individually. The way these tools work on a group of images is similar to the auto-adjust options. You know the drill: same treatment, different result per image.
Note that discussing the purpose of the Lens Correction and LCC tools is beyond the scope of this post. Some other time, perhaps? Yes, for sure!
You now get to the second part of this post, where we continue with copying adjustments. We will look at a workflow in which you copy adjustments from one image to other images. The basic principle of copying adjustments is that it is a two-step process: copy and apply. To be more precise: copy from and apply to. This process is supported by the Adjustments Clipboard tool. Understanding the intricacies of this process will help you to understand this important feature in Capture One.
Who Is Who?
As I told you earlier regarding copying adjustments (repetition is the mother of all wisdom) the drill is: copy from, apply to. But from whom, to whom?
Capture One copies adjustments from the Primary Variant to the Adjustments Clipboard. This is step one.
Next, you can apply these adjustments from the Adjustments Clipboard to selected images. This is step two.
To elaborate, when you use the Copy command, by default all the adjustments you made to the primary variant are copied to the clipboard. The adjustments remain on the clipboard until you close the program or you use the copy command again, which replaces the previous adjustments.
With the Apply command, adjustments are copied from the clipboard to any variant selected. You can do this immediately after the copy command if you have already selected the target images. But you don’t have to. You can select other images later and apply the adjustments from the clipboard.
Not All Adjustments, Please!
Okay, you got the basics. Now we shift gear. Maybe not all the adjustments you copied from the primary variant to the clipboard need to be applied all to the target images.
For example, white balance and exposure are fine, but the crop is not. The clipboard lets you uncheck any adjustment before you hit the Apply command. Only the checked adjustments are applied.
The action menu of the Adjustments Clipboard gives some options to handle the selected adjustments to your needs: all, none or only the adjusted tools.
Five Ways to Copy and Apply
Because the copy/apply process is so fundamental to the working and workflow of Capture One, the program gives you no less than five ways to do that. Which to choose depends on your personal preference. Let’s go through the list of options.
- The Copy/Apply clipboard buttons, below. You have already seen this in the screenshots above.
- From the Adjustments menu > Copy Adjustments/Apply Adjustments. Also, note the variation Copy and Apply Adjustments. This will open a floating adjustments clipboard.
- Keyboard shortcut commands for Copy Adjustments (Shift+Cmd+C) and for Apply Adjustments (Shift+Cmd+V). These are Mac shortcuts. For Windows use Shift+Ctrl+C and Shift+Ctrl+V respectively.
- Right-click on the thumbnail or preview and select Copy Adjustments and Apply Adjustments respectively.
- Cursor Tools, Copy Adjustments and Apply Adjustments, at the far right of the cursor tools in the toolbar. With the cursor, you can click on any thumbnail or preview.
One Tool At A Time
You can also take an entirely different approach for copying adjustments, compared to the all-encompassing clipboard. That is that you work per tool. It is a great workflow enhancement that I continue to use for my adjustments every day.
All the tools with adjustments have the option to copy/apply the adjustments for that tool only from the Primary to other selected variants. You can access that option through the diagonal double arrow symbol in the tool’s header.
This makes sense if your workflow is focussed on working per tool over a series of images, instead of editing per image with all tools.
There are a few tricks that come with this double arrow symbol when you click on it. First, it works with the same adjustments clipboard. However, it is much smaller, showing only the adjustments for that specific tool. I call this the mini-clipboard (because it is so cute, huh?)
You can see this when you click on the double arrow. The checkboxes allow you to (de)select any adjustments from the originating image in the process. Note that this depends on the tool. The White Balance tool has 2-sliders, but because they make the white balance setting together, there is only one checkbox on the mini-clipboard. The Exposure tool, with its four independent sliders, has a mini-clipboard with four checkboxes to enable/disable.
Copy Or Apply
Next, you can choose between two buttons, Copy and Apply.
The Copy button copies the adjustments to the adjustments clipboard, like with the generic approach. Any previous adjustment on that clipboard will be replaced. No adjustments are applied. You just store the adjustments. You can apply later with the apply commands I showed above, like the Shift+Cmd+V shortcut
The Apply button actually performs two actions, both copy and apply. It copies the adjustments from the Primary Variant for that specific tool to the clipboard, just like the Copy button, and directly applies it to all other selected variants.
The bottom line is that all options in this small dialog give you very detailed control over what you are doing with adjustments between images.
Once you’ve mastered the above, you can take it to the next level again, and use shortcut keys. The small mini-clipboard shows it already. When you press the double arrow in the tool’s header, you can decide to combine it with the Option-key or the Shift-key (Mac) or Alt-key and Shift-key for (Windows).
Both key modifiers suppress the mini-clipboard dialog, which removes the option to deselect any adjustments from the copy/apply process. The Option-click executes the Copy button, while the Shift-click executes the Apply button, which is actually a Copy/Apply action as I mentioned earlier.
Take A Deep Breath
You have managed to read this post so far. If this is new stuff for you, let it sink in and come back for a second read. Why? Because the value of understanding this process is fundamental to Capture One and both to a super-fast workflow, that its meaning can not be overstated. No kidding.
Getting this into your system and at your fingertips will make you fly in the end. Getting better images, in less time and with minimal effort is not marketing brag. It is real and this is an important part of it. Put it into practice and you will finally master the process in your workflow. You don’t need to use all the options. Choose what fits best.
This ends my second post on adjustments, after following up on Adjustments Explained. We are not done yet, as Presets and Styles are waiting for exploration. That is what you’ll find in the next part of this series, Adjustments In-Depth (level-3, experienced).