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NX2:Gen - Commands - Opacity mixer

Discussion in 'Nikon Capture and View NX' started by mikhailr, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. mikhailr

    mikhailr Guest

    I am a photographer enthusiast. Trying to get better image quality I shoot in RAW exclusively. My main post processing software is Capture NX(2). I already have "The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX" by Jason P. Odell and have recently got his NX2 guide. It is very good source of information but for me it is not enough. I believe one cannot get the best results if one don't understand what he/she is doing.
    Following Jason's recommendation I ordered "Real World Color Management" by Bruce Fraser, Fred Bunting and Chris Murphy in hope it helps me to get better control over image colors.
    But there is (at least) one more thing I do not understand at all. I mean controlling of effect applying by "Opacity Mixer" and choosing right blending mode in particular (p. 128 of "The Photographer's Guide to Capture NX2"). I believe one of the reason I cannot understand this is I don't understand how such things as unshurp mask, noise reduction, Gaussian blur, etc... work.

    Couldn't anybody recommend me a book or another source of informations which describe in more details how such things as unshurp mask, noise reduction, Gaussian blur, etc... work and how they are effected by opacity and blending options.

    Thank you, Mikhail.
  2. Mikhail, I can't help you much aboout third-party resources but I can suggest using the help screens. As an example, if you want to learn the details of Unsharp Mask, conduct a search on that term and study the resulting help screens. Some of the help screens are truly helpful and I acknowledge that some of them are not.

    Also check out the resources sticky thread at the top of the Capture NX forum. There is so much good stuff there that I can't remember the details of its contents.

    A quick though complete answer to your question about how the opacity works: After you apply the adjustment, you may find that it's too much. If so, simply move the opacity slider to the left. It reduces the amount of adjustment being applied. (The term, opacity, appears to be a holdover from PhotoShop in which case the term is appropriate for use with layers.)

    One exception: it's generally not a good idea to reduce the effect of USM by reducing opacity. You're probably better off reducing the USM by adjusting the USM parameters themselves. I can't think of any other adjustments that should be avoided using the opacity slider but that doesn't mean there aren't some.
  3. DrJay32


    Oct 14, 2006
    Colorado, USA
    The first place to start is the Capture NX 2.0 help menu (HTML help included with the software). It actually describes what the blending modes are doing. For many of these options, the "technical" side gets in the way of the "practical" side. The most important blending option in NX, IMO, is the "Luminance/Chrominance" mode. This allows you to independently control the intensity of effects on color (chrominance) or light (luminance). A great example of this is in the "Advanced Noise Reduction" section of the NX 2.0 eBook.

    Understanding just how USM works is a good exercise, but it won't necessarily lead to better images. I often like to just sit around and play with the sliders until I get an effect that I like. There are no strict rules, just some guidelines.

  4. Whoa, Jason! You have no idea how good that makes me feel. I didn't know that experts such as you also do that occasionally.

    Just yesterday I processed an image that had challenges that were new to me. I had envisioned the look I wanted but only acheived it by trying exactly as you mention some slight Gaussian blur using the screen and lighten blending modes in various opacities. I had no idea how the two blending modes would interact until I tried "playing" with them.
  5. Gaius


    Jul 1, 2008
    Image Processing Resources


    Understanding what is happing as we apply the various imaging transformations is quite valuable in my opinion. At least I have never been very good at applying tools when I did not understand how they worked. Without buying a bushel basket full of books, two of the best sources for understanding imaging processing concepts are:


    Ron Bigelow has in-depth articles on Sharpening and Blend Modes and many other topics. Both sources will explain the difference between Acutance and Sharpness (USM only deals with the former) and Ron goes into the quadratic formulas used for Multiply and Screen modes for example. Overlay is a combination of the two modes.

    Another great site (although a bit dated in a few areas) is:


    Norman has lots of information on Color Management and Image Processing and he has sidebars for people who like to indulge in the math behind it all.

    Another important area is understanding the various color models such as RGB and HSV (same as HSB used in NX). Wikipedia has articles and links in those areas. For example:


    These are good places to start.

  6. Jim! Wow! Fabulous first post here at the Cafe! Please be sure to stay around awhile. A very warm welcome to you!
  7. Gaius


    Jul 1, 2008
    Nikon Cafe

    Thanks Mike! Been using NX since version one and have a few topics I want to bring up but it might be a week or two.

  8. Not a problem, Jim. We look forward to whatever they are in the next day or so. :biggrin:
  9. And don't forget to check in at the new user forum and introduce yourself. Welcome aboard!
  10. mikhailr

    mikhailr Guest

    Thank you very much, Jim.
    Very valuable sources of information.

    Thanks all of you, guys for your help.

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