Rod Lawton reveals the secrets of tweaking lightness, chroma and hue
Get brighter greens, cooler blues and more with our guide to mastering Nikon Capture NX-D’s LCH panel
Capture NX-D doesn’t have selection tools in the way that Photoshop and Elements do, but you can still use it to adjust
individual colours. It’s all done with the Lightness, Chroma and Hue, or LCH, panel. Those terms may not be familiar, but if you use Photoshop or Elements, you’ll probably have used the Hue, Saturation and Lightness adjustments. These are the same thing, except that Nikon uses the word ‘chroma’ instead of ‘saturation’.
Normally, you edit images in RGB mode. The photo is split into red, green and blue colour channels which you can adjust all at the same time or individually. Often, though, it’s much more useful to split the colour data into lightness, chroma and hue values instead, because this gives you much more control over individual colours.
In Photoshop’s Hue/Saturation dialog you can choose the colours you want to alter with a drop-down menu, while in Capture NX-D you select them from a colour spectrum. Otherwise, the principle is very much the same. If you want to deepen a blue sky, for example, you can reduce the lightness values of the blue tones in the picture and increase the chroma – you can see this at work in our main annotation. It’s also possible to shift the hue of particular colours without changing the balance of the whole picture.
The best thing about this technique is that it doesn’t require any selections or masks. They’re not needed because you’re identifying particular colours, not particular areas of the picture. Capture NX-D doesn’t target precise colour values. It works across a colour range, blending in your adjustments with similar colours so that you get a much more natural-looking result. If you do want to target colours more precisely, however, you can add extra control points to the adjustments in the Lightness, Chroma and Hue panels.