The Power of Mask Inversion in Capture One


Today I would like to discuss one of the most underrated features of layers in Capture One – Invert Mask. It’s a pretty simple tool that brings mind-blowing results.

Let’s see how Invert Mask can enhance your editing:

1. Mask areas which are tough to select

Invert Mask is the easiest and quickest way to select areas, which are difficult to mask using standard techniques.
Say, you need to mask water on this image:

You can’t create a mask from color here – water has no solid color on this image. Manual mask drawing would take too much time.
The solution is rather simple: create a masked layer from all the other colors and invert the mask!

Now you can easily apply color and exposure corrections to this area:

2. Copy mask to a new layer and invert it

I use this trick a lot for portraits!
When you’re working with portraits, you often need to separate skin tone from all the other editings. For instance, you’re going to apply clarity and color balance to the main image, but you wish to preserve skin tone untouched.
In this case, I’m masking skin tone areas first.

Then I’m copying this mask to a new layer and inverting it. Now I have two layers: one for the skin tone corrections and the second for main image adjustments.

3. Create perfectly symmetrical gradients

A gradient in Capture One is the same mask as a brush-drawn one. Thus, you can invert it as well!
When I’m working with landscapes, I love to create two layers with symmetrical gradients:

This makes adjustments look as natural as possible on both layers.

4. Quickly select large areas

Sometimes, you need to edit the whole image except for a small part. In this case, the quickest way is to a mask this object and invert the mask.
Like here:

BTW, don’t forget to set a shortcut for mask inversion!

5. Fill layer mask

In the recent version of Capture One, developers have added two new features: Fill Mask and Create New Filled Layer. Those are useful improvements for sure!
However, you can always use Invert Mask tool to fill a new layer. Inverting an empty layer will make it filled!


About Author

Alexander Svet – Professional photographer and photography instructor. Phase One Certified Professional and Capture One beta tester.