Applying Adjustments using a Radial Gradient Mask Pro

Gradient / Layer Adjustment / Layers / Mask

The Draw Radial Gradient Mask feature enables you to create a round or oval mask with a gradual transition from the center to the outer perimeter. You can apply any of the layer-aware image adjustment tools to tweak exposure, color or contrast to the masked area.

Overview Pro

The Radial Gradient Mask might at first look similar to a mask created with the Draw Mask brush, but there are some key differences: You can only create one Radial Gradient Mask per layer, but the big advantage is that the mask is applied in a non-destructive fashion, meaning that you can always readjust the size, shape, rotation, feathering and position of the mask after the fact. This approach is particularly useful when copying the Radial Gradient Mask to other similar images where you only need to tweak the mask coverage for some images.

The Radial Gradient Mask consistent of three lines:

  1. The inner line represents a 100 percent mask coverage and will thus provide a full effect of the selected image adjustment.
  2. The center line represents a 50 percent mask coverage and will provide a 50% effect of the applied image adjustment. This center line has two functions: You can rotate the mask with it and it has four control handles that is used to change the shape of the mask.
  3. The outside line represents a transition to 0 percent mask coverage and will end the applied image adjustment effect. Think of it as a way to control the mask feathering.

Not only can you control the size, shape and feathering of the mask, you can also fade the overall effect with the Opacity slider for the Radial Gradient Mask layer.

Creating a Radial Gradient Mask Pro

Creating a radial mask with a nice feathering effect is simple. Select the Draw Radial Gradient Mask cursor from the Layers tool, Cursor Toolbar, or use the keyboard shortcut T. Then click and drag in the Viewer to draw the radial mask. The first place you click will be the center of the mask and create a 100% mask coverage. The radial mask will then fade to 0% coverage at the point where you stop dragging and let go of the mouse. You can apply the desired image adjustment (like an Exposure tweak) before or after drawing the mask.

Since the Draw Radial Gradient Mask is applied in a non-destructive fashion, you can always readjust the size, shape, position and rotation after the fact by clicking and dragging on the lines and control handles. This will be explained later on.

  1. Go to the Layers tool.
  2. Long press the Draw Mask icon and select Draw Linear Gradient Mask (G) from the drop-down menu, or use the keyboard shortcut G.
  3. To view the mask as an overlay while drawing the gradient mask, go to the menu and select Layer > Mask Visibility > Always Display Mask or use the keyboard shortcut M, which will toggle the mask overlay on/off.
  4. Click and drag the cursor over the desired image area in the Viewer. A new mask and layer are automatically created. Notice how you can change the shape on the fly if you drag the cursor up/down or sideways before releasing the mouse button. The transition in mask opacity will go from 100% where you first clicked and gradually fade to zero where you release the cursor.
  5. Make the desired image adjustments: For example, select a +25 Clarity adjustment. Use the keyboard shortcut M to toggle the mask overlay off, if it is on.
  6. The radial mask can also be copied and applied to other images from the Layers tool.

Useful keyboard shortcuts

  • Hold down Shift while creating the Radial Gradient Mask to draw a perfectly round mask in the 1:1 aspect ratio.
  • Hold down Alt, then start creating the Radial Gradient Mask to draw from a top left point instead of from the default center point. This changes the drawing behavior to work like the Marquee selection tools in Photoshop.
  • Hold down Alt + Shift, then start creating the Radial Gradient Mask to draw from a top left point and create to perfectly round mask in the 1:1 aspect ratio.

Note that only one radial mask can be applied to a layer at a time, so please create a new layer if you need more than one. Although you can’t alter the opacity of the mask itself, you can fade the effect by using the Opacity slider in the Layers tool.

Tip: Set the mask visibility to Layer > Mask Visibility > Only Display Mask When Drawing and make your image adjustment (like a negative Clarity to soften skin tones) before applying the radial mask. Then start to draw the Radial Gradient Mask. This way you can easily see where the mask is being applied while you drag in the Viewer, and then see the effect of the image adjustment immediately when you let go as the mask overlay will disappear automatically.

Inverting the Radial Gradient Mask Pro

You can invert the Radial Gradient Mask which basically flip the mask coverage. It keeps the non-destructive nature, meaning that you can readjust the inverted Radial Gradient Mask by moving it, changing the shape and feathering as well as rotating it.

  1. Select the layer with the Radial Gradient Mask in the Layers tool
  2. Right-click and select Invert Mask or choose Layer > Invert Mask.
  3. You can now readjust position, shape, feathering and rotation is you see fit (see above).
Tip: You can easily change whether the Radial Gradient Mask should be filled on the inside or the outside (inverted) by default: Right-click while Radial Gradient Mask cursor is active, then remove the checkmark from the Draw Mask Inside option if you want to create the mask on the outside as the standard behavior.

Readjusting the Radial Gradient Mask Pro

If you want to readjust the Radial Gradient Mask, ensure that you have selected the correct layer in the Layers tool as well as the Draw Radial Gradient Mask (T). You can now adjust the size and feathering of the mask by clicking and dragging on the inner or outside line as well as changing the shape by clicking and dragging on the four control handles on the center line. Finally, you can reposition the entire mask by clicking and dragging anywhere inside the mask that is not covered by the three lines.

  1. Go to the Layers tool and select the layer with a Radial Gradient Mask.
  2. Long press the Draw Mask icon and select Draw Radial Gradient Mask (T) from the drop-down menu, or use the keyboard shortcut T.
  3. You can adjust the size and feathering of the mask in two ways: Click on the outside line to adjust the overall size while keeping the inner area (100% adjustment effect) locked. Click on the inner line to adjust the size of the 100% adjustment area while keeping the overall size of the mask locked.
  4. Hold down Shift while dragging either the inner or outside line to lock the center line in place and adjust the overall feathering of the mask.
  5. Click on either of the four control handles on the center line and drag to change the shape of the mask. If you hold down Alt while dragging, you will lock the position of the opposite control handle.
  6. Hold down Shift and click on either of the four control handles on the center line to adjust the size of the entire mask.
  7. You can rotate the mask by hovering the mouse over the center line (the cursor will change to a rotate icon) and dragging.
  8. It is possible to reposition the entire mask by hovering the mouse anywhere over the radial gradient mask that is not covered by the lines. The cursor will change to a move icon and you can drag the mask to a new position.

Useful keyboard shortcuts

  • Click on a layer and hold down Command/Ctrl to reposition the mask without the need to have the Draw Radial Gradient Mask selected
  • Hold down Shift while dragging either the inner or outside line to adjust the overall feathering of the mask.
  • Hold down Shift and click on either of the four control handles on the center line to adjust the size of the entire mask.
  • Hold down Alt while dragging either of the four control handles on the center line to lock the position of the opposite control handle while changing the shape.
  • Hold down Alt + Shift while dragging either of the four control handles on the center line to lock the position of the opposite control handle while changing the size of the mask.

Using Brush on the gradient mask Pro

If you want to edit the Radial Gradient Mask with the brush by either adding or removing areas of the mask, it will need to be rasterized first. This operation basically changes the mask to be pixel-based, meaning that you cannot readjust the gradient after the fact. The resulting mask will then be the same type as if you were using the Draw Mask feature from the start.

  1. Go to the Layers tool and select the layer with a Radial Gradient Mask.
  2. Long press the Draw Mask icon and select Draw Mask (B) or Erase Mask (E) from the drop-down menu, or use the keyboard shortcuts B or E.
  3. Click on the image in the viewer to start editing the mask. Capture One will now alert you that you are about to rasterize the mask. Accept by clicking on Rasterize.
  4. You can now add or remove areas by painting with the brush, depending on whether you have chosen Draw Mask (B) or Erase Mask (E).

Note that you can also rasterize the Radial Gradient Mask directly by right-clicking on the layer in question in the Layers tool and selecting Rasterize Mask or choose Layer > Rasterize Mask.