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Inverting a selection?

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by NeilN, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. NeilN


    Dec 15, 2007
    I'm a CS3 guy, trying to see if I can get my brain around Capture NX2. Hoping someone can tell me if I'm missing something obvious here...

    Let's assume the basic selective sharpening/NR workflow. NX has nice selection tools that can be used within an edit step, i.e. USM, to restrict the effects of that edit step to specific regions of an image. So far so good. So I've used the selection brush to carefully paint the area of the image I want sharpened, in this case a bird. So the next logical step is to apply NR to the inverse of the area that was selected above. In CS3, it is trivial to copy, reuse & invert layer masks/selections on new layers, etc. I'm looking for some way to copy the selection I created in the sharpening step in NX to a new step, invert the selection (everything _except_ the bird selected) and use it as a NR step. Can't figure out how. If I have to re-paint the background, especially with a complex subject outline like feathers, that would be a drag, and a big step backward from the layer/mask model of CS3.

    Thanks for any insight,

  2. No way to do it that I know of, Neil.

    I would like Nikon to take the Base Mask one step farther as follows:

    1) Make a selection
    2) Move the slider of the Base Mask to the Right
    3) Use the Fill/Remove Tool to remove the adjustment but with the option to remove only the selected area, not the base area

    The result would be an inverse selection.
  3. NeilN


    Dec 15, 2007
    Thanks for the reply Mike. I was kind of afraid of that. Because my workflow makes heavy use of selections/masks, and the manipulation of the same, that kind of disqualifies NX for for anything beyond raw conversion for further processing in CS3. Seems to me like the inability to copy/save/invert/reuse selections in NX is a fairly serious omission, if Nikon has any genuine interest in wooing the Adobe camp. Just my opinion.

  4. Neil,

    Awhile back there was a thread or part of a thread that was devoted to this topic. I was making the case that NX2's major weakness was with regard to selection tools. I was using the example of segregating a woman's hair blowing in the wind from the rest of the image. Many power users disagreed with me, so maybe they are right and I'm wrong. I hope so.

    NX does indeed have the ability to copy, save and reuse selections. You didn't initially ask about that other than in the context of being able to invert a selection.

    I think one of the arguments a lot of people have made is that making a selection/mask is so much easier using Color Control Points and Selection Control Points that the inability to invert a selection is pretty much made a non-issue because we can so easily make for the most part what would be the inverse selection. I wouldn't go quite that far myself, but those arguments do have enough fundamental merit that I think it would be unwise to overlook them.

    I think and hope Nikon will eventually release an upgrade that allows inversions. When that happens, I think everyone will be raving about the capability, which will likely render their former arguments weak, at least in my mind.

    Not that it matters to anyone other than me, but I had been a member of the Adobe camp for years. Ever since the first couple of weeks that I tried Capture NX, I never looked back. At this point I don't even remember most of Adobe's commands or typical USM settings.

    Most important, I have always mentioned that I see no need for anyone who has already spent the time to master PhotoShop to learn Capture NX or any other product. You seem to have mastered PhotoShop, so I wonder why you would even take the time to give Capture NX a serious look insofar its editing capabilities are concerned. If I had been as far along the learning curve in PhotoShop as you seem to be, I wouldn't have looked at Capture NX; instead, I would have spent my time releasing the shutter.
  5. Butlerkid

    Butlerkid Cafe Ambassador Moderator

    Apr 8, 2008
    Rutledge, Tennessee
    Interesting thoughts, Mike. :smile:

    I am an advanced user of CS3 and, with the purchase of a D300 and lots of discussion on the forum about Picture Controls, was wondering if I would see enough of an improvement in post processing to warrant buying another expensive s/w program. :confused: 

  6. Expensive? I guess that's relative. You're probably aware that NX2 is downright cheap compared to CS3.

    The only other thing I can add that might be helpful is two points that separate NX2 from other convertors. The first point is that a lot of people really do like the Picture Controls, including me. I don't even have them available in my D80 but I love applying them as my very first post-processing step.

    The second point is that Nikon's proprietary NEFs are supposedly converted best using Nikon software. I really don't know because I've only used NX2 to convert NEFs and have no basis of comparison.

    If you want to take advantage of those two issues, you could do the basic conversion in NX2 and do the rest of the post-processing in CS3. My hunch is that that's not a new idea :biggrin: and that you could start a thread asking folks who do that if they have any helpful ideas.
  7. NeilN


    Dec 15, 2007
    I think it's relatively safe to assume that Nikon knows the nuances of their raw format better than the 3rd party developers. The one thing I can say for certain is that ACR color, in a word, sux. They _insist_ on rendering red as orange, etc. Yes I know about the ability to fine tune the response curves in ACR, camera profiling, etc. But for my eyes, it remains that NX (and the Canon converters, for that matter...) render "better" color. I'd have to assume that at some level, the mfgs converters also have the ability to extract more detail w/ less noise, etc. due to more finely tuned/targeted demosaicing, etc.

    So that's why I'm exploring NX, more as a raw converter than an alternative to CS3 for PP, since, as you say, I've heavily invested in it's learning curve. The thing is, I have a suspicion that NX may have something proprietary in its sharpening/NR algorithms as well. Ideally, I'd like to be able to quicky capture sharpen the subject, and NR everything else in NX, then transfer to CS3 for other magic. Since my subjects (wildlife) invariably have highly irregular/soft outlines and complex multi-colored backgrounds, I've found the control points, etc., while certainly cool & innovative, to be of limited value in achieving selection results comparable to what I can achieve "by hand". Bear in mind that I am obsessive enough to spend a _lot_ of time on an image. But the creation of the mask(selection) is by far the most time consuming, and doing it twice, once for the subject, once for the background, is a drag.

    I agree w/ Mike completely in that when Nikon gets w/ the program and adds some selection manipulation capability, i.e. inversion, the naysayers will be wondering how they ever lived without it.

    RE CS3, et al, if you are not using some of the intermediate/advanced masking & layer features of the program, there is, IMHO, absolutely no reason to spend the money on it, because that area is where it leaves the competition at the starting line, and why it is the unchallenged Industry Standard. The problem is that the learning curve is pretty steep, and a lot of people get discouraged, as it is not immediately intuitive. But I tell every aspiring photographer I know that time learning CS3, particularly the layers pallet, is a very, very wise investment. I haven't begun to scratch the surface of what the s/w can do, and it continually astonishes me. I just wish they had the full cooperation of Canon/Nikon/et al re: the RAW formats...

  8. Neil,

    It's downright scary to realize the extent that you and I appear to be on the same page. Considering my propensity for being wrong, that ought be a clue that you should probably rethink your positions. :biggrin:

    Seriously, you are absolutely correct that the USM algorithms are completely different from the Adobe algorithms. I don't know about the noise reduction, but I thought most advanced users such as yourself use third-party software such as Noise Ninja for noise reduction to achieve apparently superior results. FYI: When using NX2, noise reduction is usually best applied after selecting white balance, picture controls and exposure compensation and before making local adjustments to the image. That's true whether applying noise reduction globally or locally.

    I'm sure you are aware that in most cases sharpening should be the last step before cropping and straightening. You wouldn't want to use NX2 to apply sharpening before using CS3. I don't think there would be any benefit to using NX2 at the tail end of the workflow to apply USM, but I could be wrong.
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