Retouching – Quick Tip #01

This tip may apply to most of today’s image editing programs but in this case I’ll show you how to use it in two that are part of my usual digital workflow, Capture One and Affinity Photo.

The first is Capture One and although this is not a program with all the features to correct problems such as spots, dust, blemishes, etc., it still has good tools so we can achieve excellent results without the need to use other applications.
As we edit/clean an image, there are sometimes details we could miss so to prevent this situation there is a simple method to make them visible, even the most hidden one.


The technique consists in creating a new Layer, choose the Fill Mask option and use the “Curves” tool to draw a curve similar to the one above. This may vary and may need to be adjusted but will always be identical to the one in the example. By default and to keep everything organised, I always call this layer Hide and Seek and I check it whenever it’s needed. This method is quite effective at highlighting these problems as you can see from the before and after screenshot below.

The second program where I use this technique is Affinity Photo. This one has all the features we need to make the most complex image editing/retouching. But we can still face the same problem and miss something that must be removed. We can use the same method to avoid such situations but in this case we go to Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves Adjustment and make a curve as in the example of Capture One. Then just edit the image preferably in an independent layer to make your edits non-destructive.

Another similar technique that works particularly well on skin is to create a black & white adjustment layer where we set the value for the Red to -200, all the way to the left. And depending on the skin tone we can also adjust the value of the Yellow slider. The image below is a good example.

Since I use this techniques very often I have chosen to create in Affinity Photo two Macros (actions) for each of them. That way the whole process gets even faster. If you want to start using these resources you can download the Macros I’ve created using the links below.
I hope this tip can be useful and if you want you can subscribe to my blog to stay up to date on the latest news.

See you soon


Capture One
Affinity Photo

Hide and Seek – Curves Method.afmacros
Hide and Seek – B&W Method.afmacros

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