Capture One 12 launches ‘near-instantaneous’ masking tool in new interface

Masking local adjustments is one of the more time-consuming tasks in photo editing, but Capture One, the RAW photo editor from Phase One, claims to turn the task to one that’s “near-instantaneous” with a new tool. On Thursday, November 29, Phase One launched Capture One 12 with new masking tools, an enhanced user interface, and the possibility of third-party expansions.

Capture One 12 adds or updates three masking tools, designed to select portions of the image quickly. Headlining the list, a new luminosity mask selects areas of the image based on the brightness of each pixel. Photo editors can use a range slider to select the range of brightness for the selection, and if needed, continue refining the selection with the brush tool. 

While results will vary based on the brightness levels in the photo, Phase One says that the tool in many cases creates an almost instant selection. The tool is likely to be most helpful in selecting areas that are brighter or darker than the rest of the image, such as selecting the sky in a landscape image.

The update also brings enhanced linear gradient and radial gradient masks. Using what’s called a Parametric Masking image, both types of masks can be adjusted in size, shape, and symmetry using the mouse or keyboard. The company says the update makes the masks more precise than previously possible.

With the update, Capture One also opened and new plug-in ecosystem by launching an SDK kit for developers. The change allows developers to create compatible plug-ins, opening up opportunities to expand the software with third-party add-ons as options are developed.

The latest version also enhances the user interface, a change that the company says is designed to make the program easier to use during long editing stretches. Icons have been revamped to better represent the tool while sliders have also been enhanced. Phase One also adjusted the font size and spacing between tools to enhance the look of the software.

As with most RAW software updates, Thursday’s update also brings additional compatibility with recently released cameras, including the new Nikon and Canon full-frame mirrorless bodies. The software is also now compatible with Fujifilm Film Simulation.

Capture One Pro 12 is available with a $299 perpetual license or $149 upgrade, with subscriptions starting at $15 a month. Capture One Pro Sony and Capture One Pro Fujifilm are available for a $219 one-time purchase or $14 a month.

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