In Capture One Pro 8 it is also now possible to change the White Balance in a Local Adjustments layer.
The ability to change the White Balance locally in an image can be very useful for instance when shooting architecture images at dusk time. Here the difference in color temperature between the outdoor dusk light and the lighting in the buildings can be quite big, resulting in unnatural-looking colors.
New opportunities with your images
But even in landscape images it can be beneficial to work with different White Balances as there can be quite a big difference between shadow areas and areas with sunlight. Often if you open op some shadow areas in a landscape image, it becomes even more obvious that the shadows typically get their main light from the deep blue color of the sky. With the ability to change the White Balance individually between the areas with direct sun and the shadow areas you get entirely new opportunities with your images.
3 versions of the same image
Above you see three different versions of the same image. For all three images the White Balance for the background is the same. The image has been exposed to ensure details in the sunlit cliffs in the background leaving the foreground quite dark.
The left image is straight out of the camera. For the image in the middle the shadow areas of the foreground have been opened by using the shadow slider in the High Dynamic Range tool. It is quite obvious that the foreground gets very bluish because it is primarily lit by the deep blue sky. You first notice this after the shadows have recovered.
For the image to the right a local White Balance has been applied to a Local Adjustments mask covering the cliffs in the shadow areas. By doing this it is possible to balance the color of the foreground to match the colors of the background giving a much more realistic and pleasing image.
In the Local Adjustments tool you will by default see all the tools that can be used in a Local Adjustments layer and in Capture One Pro 8 you will also see the White Balance tool.
Let’s look at another example with an architecture image shot at dusk time. The image was shot using White Balance set for Tungsten. This is often a good starting point as the sky typically gets deep blue and the indoor light doesn’t get too far off.
It is quite obvious that the indoor lighting looks quite ugly. The lights in the big central office areas have a green cast while the most other offices get a slightly orange cast.
Here the new feature of being able to change the White Balance locally can be a big help. I would like to preserve the nice deep blue sky but I would also like to change the color of the indoor lighting to a more pleasing warm tone.
I am actually quite satisfied with the color of the blue sky so I will leave the White Balance for the Background layer at Tungsten. I can at any time later fine-tune the White Balance for the background layer without changing the White Balance for any of the adjustments layers I make.
Making an Adjustments Layer for a local White Balance
I start by adding a new adjustments layer by clicking on the + button at the button of the Local Adjustments tool. I create a layer for the central office in the building with the green cast and a mask for the other offices.
For both layers I draw a mask using hardness of 0 and opacity 100. Only if you use opacity set to 100, you can adjust the White Balance in an Adjustments Layer and the background layer independently of each other.
With the brush cursor tool selected you can use “M” to toggle between showing the mask or not.
I start focusing on the mask for the center office with the green cast by selecting Layer 1. I will start using the White Balance picker to neutralize the light. I simply pick on the white office ceiling. Setting the Local White Balance this way immediately removes the green cast, but I would also like to add a warm yellow tone to the light. I will do so by dragging the Kelvin slider towards higher values until I get a tone I like.
The images above show the steps for toning the light in the central office of the building. The first image is without a Local White Balance. In the center image I have used the White Balance picker and picked on the sealing of the center office. This neutralizes the light and gives me a good starting point for toning the light warmer. In the image to the right I have used the Kelvin slider to tone the light to a warm yellow tone.
Next I will tone the light for the rest of the offices in the building. I will simply repeat the steps I did for the Layer 1.
You may need to tweak both the Kelvin and the Tint slider in the White Balance tool to match the tone of the light in the center office to the rest of the offices.
Looking at the optimized image it becomes obvious that I also need to fix the tone of the light reflection in the water.
I could make another Adjustments Layer for the reflection but I will just add it to one of the masks. For the reflection it is just a matter of toning it away from the green/blue color into something warmer so it doesn’t matter, which adjustments layer I use. What is important though is that I only use an opacity of around 30 to 50 and a large brush with hardness 0. This gives me a nice warm tone that blends nicely into the blue reflections of the sky and the blue light on the ground floor of the building.
Finally let’s compare the original and the fixed image.
The ability to work with different White Balances in the same image gives me in this example the possibilities to turn this image into a much more interesting image of a modern office building. Who would like to work in a building with green light ?
All the best,
The Image Quality Professor
The digital pioneer, Niels V. Knudsen, is Phase One’s Image Quality Professor and founder of the IQP blog. Moreover, he is responsible for breakthrough advancements in image quality both in Phase One’s medium format camera systems and in Capture One Pro.