Getting punchy colors in Capture NX is an easy task. In this tutorial, I will show you some tips for getting more vibrant fall foliage colors and contrasty blue skies in Capture NX. I am using Capture NX2, but you should be able to get the same result from Capture NX as well.

Below is a picture I took during a walk today. The colors are slightly washed out and the photo lacks contrast overall.

As shot

As shot

To start, select the Color Selection Point from the toolbar, then click on a piece of leaf that has representative colors of the leaves. Zooming in on the photo will make the placement easier. Drag the radius slider to make the effect circle large enough to include all the leaf areas. Reduce the brightness and increase the contrast. Additionally, you can increase the saturation but be careful not to overdo it.

Color control point on leaf

Color control point on leaf

In the Adjust selection of the edit list, select “Show Selection” in the current edit step as shown.

Show selection

Show selection

The resulting image shows how the color selection point has affected the photo: bright areas represent stronger effect and dark areas represent weaker effect. This is the beauty of the Capture NX control points. It can intelligently select the areas based on color similarity.

Affected areas of the color control point

Affected areas of the color control point

Now uncheck the “Show selection” checkbox and examine the photo again. In this example, the leaves are looking punchy but the sky is still a little weak. To improve that, simply place a second color control point over blue sky. The adjustments are similar: reduce the brightness and increase the contrast. Here is the final result.

The final result (click to view large)

The final result (click to view large)

You can follow the same step above to check where the second color control point has affected the image.

Affected areas by the second color control point.

Affected areas by the second color control point.

Typically, reducing the brightness brings out richer and more vibrant colors and increasing the contrast makes the photo more visually appealing. You could do the adjustments in almost any photo editor but not many of them offers the capability of easy localized adjustments. Capture NX’s color control points allows users to make fine adjustments locally to areas with similar colors. Color control points are one of the the basic adjustments you can apply easily in Capture NX and get wonderful results.

Posted in: Photo Editing, Tutorials on September 1st, 2008. Trackback URI
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