Capture One 11 – Layers, Annotations, Scripting, Speed, and Potpourri

What?? You’re not using Capture One?

Capture One has really been on a roll the last few years. While others are focused on moving editing to phones or to the cloud, appealing to more casual users, and forcing a rent-your-software model, Phase One has been laser focused on those users who do heavy lifting in serious workflows. If you aren’t using Capture One already we strongly suggest downloading the trial and playing with some of your raw files; the speed, color quality, and toolset speak for themselves. When you’re ready you can buy Capture One and sign up for a formal Capture One Training class.

Rolling Development

From version 3 to version 7 Phase One employed a “monolithic” release schedule. They would make a big splash release (e.g. Version 6.0) with a dozen new major features and for 12-18 months they would only make minor bug fixes, support for new cameras, and minor feature improvements. This model was good for marketing but it had major drawbacks to the users; you can read about that in Building the House of Capture One. Phase One switched to a “Rolling” release schedule with version 8 and the results have been phenomenal. A new major version (e.g. 10.0) still carries new features, but so does every “dot release” (e.g. 10.1 and 10.2). This has meant greater stability (since they aren’t changing a dozen things at once they can vet each change more thoroughly). It’s also meant that users can keep up with the changes more easily (since they only have to learn a few new features at a time).

Best new Capture One 11 Features

Annotations and Markup

This is an entirely new suite of tools to mark up an image to facilitate communication between the photographer, digital tech, retoucher, and client. You can draw annotations in several colors and erase a section of annotations at a single touch. Those annotations can be shown or hidden with a dedicated button in the toolbar or with a keyboard shortcut (J) and can be included or omitted from the outputted file on a per-recipe basis.

In the case of outputting to a PSD the annotations can even be saved as a separate layer so that, after viewing the requested changes, the retoucher can remove the annotations from the final file with a single click. The existing Overlay and Watermark features are also getting this treatment – you can include them as layers when outputting a PSD. Finally the crop can also be applied as a path (ready for a two click crop in Photoshop) when outputting PSDs; this might come in handy when the retoucher needs a bit more background to clone from, or an editor needs a bit more room to fit a magazine title etc.

Layers and Masking

The feature formerly called “Local Adjustments” is now called “Layers” and gains significant functionality in Capture One 11.

  • Master Opacity. The effect of each layer can be independently faded.
  • Feather and Refine. These allow you to quickly improve the mask itself. 
  • Grayscale Mask View. Especially useful for when you are refining or feathering a mask.
  • Presets/Styles now available. Previously presets and styles could only be used on the background layer. Great news for DT Capture One Styles users.
  • Create New Filled Layer. Saving the time of creating an empty layer and inverting the mask.
  • Levels and Color Balance are now available in Layers, leaving only lens correction, film grain, and black and white as background-layer-only adjustments.


You know that workflow you follow over and over again? Maybe you have to copy-paste the names of selected images in Capture One into an email, or copy-paste model or product names from a spreadsheet into Capture One a hundred times a day, or you have to manually find vertically cropped images for a specific use case, or you have to send proof JPGs by email to your client a dozen times during a shoot. Those sorts of monotonous and repetitive tasks can be scripted using AppleScript. In version 11 there are a host of new commands that are scriptable. DT has released a downloadable product called DT Building Blocks – Capture One Scripts that can help kickstart your own scripting efforts. Get started scripting and see how many hours of drudgery you can eliminate. 


Capture One has been the fastest raw editor and raw processor for years. Thankfully Phase One is not a company to rest on its laurels; while others are trying to catch up to where Phase One was, they are pushing even further forward. Opening catalogs, making slider adjustments, masking, and overall application speed have all been incrementally improved in Capture One 11. 


Marketing must, by definition, focus on the big changes. But scattered throughout Capture One 11.0 are dozens of minor tweaks. Here are a few that caught our eye:

  • Single Vs. Multi View is now a Toggle. Previously there were two icons in the top left of the viewer: a single rectangle (meaning view only the primary selected image) and a set of four rectangles (meaning view all selected images, up to 12). Now it’s a toggle. It’s a small change but it combines two icons into one, cleaning up the interface just a bit.
  • Focus Mask is no longer in the default toolbar. Focus Mask is an incredibly powerful tool, but you have to understand what it’s showing you, and a lot of users were accidentally turning it on and then starting support cases when they couldn’t figure out what the green all over their image was. If you love Focus Mask, as we do, you can add it to your toolbar and save that change to your own workspace.
  • Duplicate Checker on Import. A long-requested feature that helps when you’re not sure which images you’ve imported from a card.
  • LAB Readouts. Available in Capture One CH for years, this option is now available in Capture One Pro.
  • Backup/Restore catalog mechanism for Catalogs within Capture One. Previously you had to do this manually in the Finder or Windows Explorer.



Annotations is an entirely new way of working with an image in Capture One. As with most features we’d expect the feature to start basic and add additional features over time. Do you have ideas for what tools should be added to Capture One’s new Annotation suite? Comment on our Instagram or Facebook and we’ll deliver it in person to Phase One’s Head of R+D.