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How to achieve a deeper brown color?


30 Kommentare

  • Paul Steunebrink

    It seems you worked with the Color Editor. Apparently you did not succeed. Can you elaborate what you did with it?

  • voja cirjak

    @Paul Steunebrink

    I didn't do a whole lot. The only thing I did is desaturated it by decreasing the saturation bar to -5.2. I did that by going to "Advanced" option and using the "pick color correction" tool and selecting the brown part (wooden part) of the headphone - it was only that part that I desaturated.

    I am trying to go for a bit deeper and walnut-like color (the brown isn't too deep in real life, it's just that in Capture One it appears too yellow-ish and just doesn't capture the color that I am going for). I don't know with what setting to play with to play around with the brown aspect... whatever I change, it's either blue, green, or yellow.


    It sounds like a basic task, but I am having a hard time

  • Marco Hyman

    It sounds like a basic task, but I am having a hard time

    Yup.   It does sound like a basic task, yet I struggle with it all the time.  As you can guess I don't understand color theory very well.  Or at all.

    I can get closer to my desired result when I stop playing with R, G, and B and start playing with the other tools that affect color.  In your case when using the Capture One Color Editor advanced tab lowering the Lightness slider will make the brown get darker.    Once you get close you can then tweak Hue, Saturation, and Lightness for taste.

    I often do this which may be more steps than necessary but gets the job done.

    • Create a filled layer
    • Adjust the color I'm interested in to taste.
    • Create a masked layer from my adjustments
    • Edit the mask in the newly created layer as desired.
    • Copy the mask to the layer where I made the color adjustments
    • Delete or turn off the no-longer-needed top layer.

    Of course that assumes that I don't want my color adjustment to be global.  For global adjustments I can either work on the background layer or skip the last four steps, above.

  • voja cirjak

    Hm.. I find that lowering the Lightness slider for the brown color only makes it worse. It makes it darker and the details get lost. There must be a way to get a chocolate-like wood color.. just need to find this way out

  • Nikon Shooter

    @ voja cirjak

    Understanding the colours in brown is crucial and to tweak
    its relative values is critical.

    Some strategies using locally applied tweaks.

    1, explore how to balance to your need the R-G-B channels
    2, investigate tweaking the WB and tonal control
    3, eventually, a combination of both

    HTH, have a good time!

  • Nikon Shooter

    After planing my day and to finish my coffee, I played with
    with the suggested strategies with your jpg and this came
    out… you can achieve waaaay better results on the RAW.

    However, had the shot been taken having DR and tonal
    taming considered prior to SR, you could have avoided
    the predicament. Even with well applied tweaks, nothing
    replaces a playful lighting and proper exposure.

  • voja cirjak


    This is my final result^


    Btw, what is DR and SR?


    Also, would be nice to hear what you think of the final result. Thanks in advance!

  • Nikon Shooter

    DR = dynamic range

    SR = shutter release

    Sorry… I am a bad typist and I take every possible shortcuts.

    What I think?
    Good, but I think a reshoot as suggested may yield better results. 

  • Nikon Shooter

    If I may…

    I believe, in this case, it has more to do with the decisions
    made prior to SR.

    Among these decisions, there is the setup that did not go
    in the direction of properly recorded DR — and that alone
    justifies, IMO, the reshoot. Within that setup, both luminan-
    ce and chrominance respective qualities are affected by the
    histogram revealed DR in the first post.

    Too much had to be recovered in the higher keys and some
    more recovery in the lower will not help the final rendition.

    I love product photography in theatrical, directional lighting 
    but introducing playfulness in it is of importance… just me.

  • Nikon Shooter

    I do not experience the profile and the WB issues you mentioned.

    Mind you, I do have some issues with the software but not of that
    nature — that would be relevant in the case of the OP.

  • voja cirjak

    @CSP what are C1 profiles, how do I fix them?


    @Nikon Shooter when talking about shutter release, what exactly are you referring to? How do I improve SR and DR?


    The photo-shoot wasn't taken in a studio environment - no lights, no booth, nothing. Just natural lighting in a room... which isn't ideal.


    It was also taken with a budget camera - Nikon D3300

  • voja cirjak

    @CSP what is WB?


    I used Lightroom before but switched to Capture One due to it's much more flexible editing for colors... like seriously, Lightroom seems completely incapable when compared to Capture One. I don't know if there is other software that might be better

  • Nikon Shooter

    — "I don't know if there is other software that might be better"

    Co is waaaay not perfect but it is the less imperfect, IMO!

  • voja cirjak

    The switch from Lightroom to CO was day and night. I simply didn't understand why Lightroom is so bad. Also, when importing RAW files, CO automatically adjusts them.. and usually it does it in a way that looks very similar to the one I get from viewing the unedited RAW file in preview. Lightroom on the other hand.. just a mess, it's like starting from a 0.


    I meant that I am not aware if there is better software, not that CO is the best


    Also realized that WB is probably white balance

  • Nikon Shooter

    "when talking about shutter release, what exactly are you referring to? How do I improve SR and DR?"

    How do I improve SR
    I don't mean you should improve SR but the decisions you
    make prior to. Like EV compensation, WB (white balance)

     — How do I improve DR?
    By not ignoring what your best friend, the histogram, says… 
    no matter what gear is in use.


  • billtils

    "Co is waaaay not perfect but it is the less imperfect, IMO!"




  • Nikon Shooter

    — The photo-shoot wasn't taken in a studio environment - no lights, no booth,

         nothing. Just natural lighting in a room... which isn't ideal.

    Nothing is. I have a complete high end studio and there is nothing
    ideal in it except the gear and the working conditions. The value of
    all things happening in there is coming from the photographer.

    You have to make things ideal, it is called working the shot.

  • billtils


    "and more color accurate"

    What's your objective proof of that?   And in any case it doesn't matter here as the OP is not trying to obtain a faithful rendition of the original.

    One feature of LR and PS that may have made it easier (which is not the same as better) is the ability to adjust saturation and luminance in individual colour channels.


  • SFA

    voja cirjak,

    One option you have is to avoid the provided profiles completely and make your own decisions, based on a very simple starting point that is not pre-interpreted with any camera profile provided by C1.

    The provided profiles are there to give an instant starting point with a "film like" look to save time where people (historically most people moving to digital processing from the film days) expected a film like look. This intention to provide a "pleasing" look is endemic in digital photography and has been since the camera manufacturers implemented their own in camera "styles" type settings so that people around the world could obtain jpegs out of camera that suited the expectations of their own cultures and artistic sensibilities, tastes and preferences being quite different in different cultures as well as at the individual personal level..

    For a quick "wow that looks nice and very nearly what I wanted" result that's great.

    If, however, the image seems to need to subtle reworking (or is showing extremes of exposure in the Exposure Evaluation tool Histogram. Specifically that tool.) then it will probably be worth looking to see what a variant using the Linear curve (in Base Characteristics) can help you achieve. It offers minimal profiling - just enough to make the data look like an image we can recognise - and so you can build onto it whatever you need, within reason for the contents of the file, to try to obtain the effect you want without having to battle previously applied adjustment value combinations.

    You can create the look you want and save it for future use as you own preferred profile for a combination of camera and, perhaps, lens/filter too if colour casts are also of concern for certain pieces of equipment.


    There are, of course, many more approaches starting at the image creation point. But for an existing image a Linear "curve" as a starting point can be very helpful.

  • billtils

    Great advice (as always) from SFA


  • voja cirjak

    There are a lot of replies to reply to.. I am very thankful for you guys!


    Only now am I realizing that C1 stands for Capture One... smh


    @Nikon Shooter - From my understanding SR (shutter release) is taking a photo? I don't quite understand, or is it exposure, shutter speed/aperture/white balance?
    And, I have no understanding of the historgram.. so I ignore it, because I'm pretty "virgin" when it comes to photography and photography elements.

    @CSP "for every camera C1 has a profile" - I don't know if I messed up the original D3300 profile.. because I created one profile, and saved it.. but it seems to be the same as the "Generic" one, so I'm afraid that I made the "Generic" inherit the changes of the new one.. I might need to delete the current one and get the old one from the backup.
    I always used the Generic one, and it always had very good results.

    "I´m very convinced adobe software would have done a much better job in you case because their profiles are less cooked and more color accurate." Hm. I used Lightroom and it was horrible. I couldn't stand it. Maybe I didn't use it correctly, but for some reason, whenever I imported a photo into it... it was horrible - washed out, flat, nothing like the actual photo (I judge based  on the preview photo of the .NEF file). Capture One did a way better job, so I deleted Lightroom.

    @Nikon Shooter - regarding the comment about a photographer being in charge of the photo - I agree. However, I am no professional photographer, I just make photos for my headphone reviews... But I like them to look good. I'm pretty sure I can be considered an amateur - I have no understanding of how light works, how a camera behaves, nor about all the settings aperture, shutter speed, white balance, and other elements (even though I used shutter speed priority setting when shooting).

    @billtills I actually am trying to get an accurate presentation of color - especially when it comes to wood... I don't want to enhance or change the color of the wood in headphones, so I actually am aiming to achieve and color-grade the photo to the actual color.

    @SFA - I basically didn't understand anything you said... I am not educated in photography (though I would like to!) as much as I'd want to. When talking about histograms, linear curve, etc. I don't know what it is or how to use it.
    But, it does sound like you gave some good advice.. it's just that I do not understand it

    @CSP - correct. I do not have an understanding of how C1 works. From my understanding, it's a powerful photography manipulation and editing software. I do not understand all the tools in it, and so far I have only been messing around with the "Advanced" setting in Color changing panel, and basic things such as exposure, highlights, blacks, whites.. 


    Thank you all for contributing. You are helping me get closer to what I want





  • SFA



    ""It offers minimal profiling - just enough to make the data look...." this is totally wrong ! seems he does not even understand how C1 works, tone curves are not related to the icc profiles."

    Aimed at me?

    Data profiling is what I was referring to. I.e. minimal "tone curves " adjustment in your preferred terminology. Effectively no tone curves  - except it need just enough to make it look like an a mix of colours that a human eye (and the brain behind it) can understand as an image with a colour balance that fits our "standard" expectations. Even then "standard" may be a relative term since there is no certainty that we all see things in the same way all the time. But what we can achieve is "good enough" for most people.



    Your challenge is one that most people face when starting out with a subject. Some never progress beyond it and don't need to. You obviously want to discover more but the voyage of discovery can at times be confusing.

    Photography, for some reason, has always been a bit of a "dark art" right back since the days of strange chemical mixes and specially formulated coated papers for printing.

    Different people collect their knowledge about photography in different ways  - often because they have different needs to start with and very different levels of interest in the "technical" aspects of how things work.


    For what you are trying to achieve I think you could consider the Histogram as an excellent visual aid to show you what you are working with. You do not need to fully understand everything about it - just get a feeel for what it can tell you at  top level and how you can use that to guide the adjustments you make.


    You may find this link helpful




    At the bottom of that article there is another link to an article that looks at Histograms for colour and Luminosity purposes. That is also important for you.

    There are some colour combinations (mixes of Red, Green and Blue in digital photography terms but Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black in the printing and packaging industry) that are especially awkward to deal with and brown variants tend to be amongst them. So having an aid that can show you where you are having an effect when you make some changes is very helpful.


    To cover my suggestion about starting with the Linear Curve to gain greater flexibility for your editing adjustments ...


    With the file open go to the Base Characteristics tool in C1 and take a look at the "Curve" field.

    With a Nikon camera you will probably find 5 possibly options for that field.


    Film Extra Shadow

    Film High contrast

    Film Standard

    Linear Response.


    Auto almost always = Film Standard.

    Film Standard is n adjustment curve for colour values that aims to create something that makes a digital file look rather like a "typical" film result from the pre-digital era. The two other "Film" curves deal with extra shadow and High contrast needs for film type results.

    Linear does not attempt to modify colours or luminosity to emulate film.

    You can move through the list presented to see the different effects. If you have a histogram showing at the time you can also see the difference applied to it.


    Now, if, as with your image, almost all of the data is at the dark end the amount of data available to manipulate is quite small.


    Think to like an elastic band. If it is very short and you stretch it to double its length it is still very short. If you start with a long band and double its length it will be a lot longer than the short band.


    The dark end of an image is produced by data that has very little need to subtle differences and so less data is stored. That suits the way the computers work. At the lighter end far more data is available to allow for very subtle changes in colours and light that we can see in the light end of our viewing range but much less at the dark end.


    If the colour curve that CSP mentioned and I listed above is applied to the image there is a good chance that some of the possible fine tuning for colour has already used part of the adjustment available in the limited range of "darks" data.. And there is a good chance that those changes will, therefore, restrict the further changes you would need to make to darken your wood successfully.

    The Linear curve starting point would take away the colour curve restrictions BUT you then need to make your own "colour curve" to create the look you want. That is not as difficult as it may seem.

    If you can share the RAW file (or one like it as I don't think I have anything at all similar and certainly not a Nikon file) via a file sharing service I would be glad to take a look at it and come up with some suggestions based on my approach to editing starting with the Linear curve



  • voja cirjak

    @SFA - Wow. What a detailed answer. I'll make sure to give this reply more thought and actual processing tomorrow. I will also take the link you sent. I am always very happy to read or watch courses to learn - I love learning. Especially because I am passionate to achieve better photography, and of course, to make it easier to express my vision. I can only express my vision the way I want to if I know and understand the gear I use & software too, I have to understand how they work, and I can either do that through reading/watching educative material, or I could learn through trial and error.. which takes considerably more time and energy.

    Here is the original photo from this thread:


    Here is another .NEF file, it was particularly hard to get the colors right.. there was too much red once I imported it, has never happened before. I am not quite sure what caused it, so I still don't understand it


    I greatly appreciate your help and willing to go as far as waste your time to help me out with my photography!


  • Nikon Shooter

    Shortly Developed in CO
    & edited in Affinity Photo.

  • voja cirjak

    @Nikon Shooter - see, the photo you developed is way too orange (but again.. you don't have the headphones in your hand, so you couldn't accurately color-grade the pic). You did make the whole shot more visible by increasing the blacks/exposure, but it isn't how I imagine it to be.

    My edited photograph is more dramatic and mysterious, not showing all the details and parts of the headphone, and that's what I was aiming for - you can only see subtle reflection on the metal parts and the headband, but you cannot really define them because they are hiding in the shadow of black.


    For me the color is the problem, I don't have a big problem making a decision regarding the exposure. White balance, saturation, and other elements/values are a problem.. probably a bigger problem because I am not educated how to change them, and I also do not understand what they are

  • Marco Hyman

    I think part of the problem you are having getting the result you want is your concept of "brown".  Yeah, the wood looks brown.  But if you open the image in Preview then also launch the Digital Color Meter and with the color meter active mouse around the "brown" portions of your image you'll find the grain to be almost middle gray.   Example: the red arrow points to the color I sampled:


  • voja cirjak

    @Marco yes! In real life those "grey" (zebra) parts are darker brown. How to I fix this?

  • Marco Hyman

    In capture one you can use the Advanced tab of the Color editor to select the colors you want to edit.  When happy with your selection use the "Create Masked Layer from Selection" option in the Color Editor ... menu.   In the newly created Adjustment Layer use the Color Balance wheels to modify the selected area to taste.

    Or use a pixel editor such as Photoshop, Affinity Photo, Pixelmator, etc.   With a pixel editor select the pixels with the color you don't want (which may be a tedious job) and replace them with some other color.

  • billtils

    @voja cirjak

    Thanks for your lengthy reponse to the input - the feedback from you is as important as the comments from others in these discussion sessions.




  • voja cirjak

    @Marco Hyman - doesn't really work like that.. at least not with wood. I think the reason why wood is so complex to work with is because of the highly detailed nature of the texture in wood - it consists of different grain, and of course colors.

    While the darker stripes are dark brown, the lighter are closer to yellow.. I cannot edit each one individually, because they are both brown, so they both get affected. When I create the mask, it just perceives the whole wooden part to be the same, and then I am not able to do what I want. 

    @billtills - I have to be detailed in order to help you guys help me. I also love being detailed :)

    @CSP - since this isn't a professional shoot, I will just let it be. I am a perfectionist, but I also know how to value my time, and I know that most people reading the review will not care at all about the colors (the manufacturers photos are horrific, in their photos the headphone is completely yellow and pale - nothing like it is in real life)


    These are the final pics - (the wood does actually look different from different angles and different lighting, that's why it varies so much in pictures). It's very hard to capture and reproduce that detail in color and texture on a photograph... you probably need to know your sh*t and know what you are doing. And that's what professionals do


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