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Capture NX

Taking a proud legacy of photo editing software to a higher level, Nikon has launched “Capture NX” as a successor to its earlier, universally acclaimed “Nikon Capture 4.” Here, the designer who developed “Capture NX” with an eye toward functional innovations and powerful enhancements reveals the inside story of the new software and how it takes state-of-the-art digital photo editing a quantum leap ahead.

KIMURA, Keita
Manager, Design 4, 1st Design Department, Development Management Department, Imaging Company, Nikon Corporation
PROFILE:
Joined Nikon Corporation in 1985. Developed electronic still camera electrical systems and photometric systems. Got involved with film scanner hardware and firmware development. Has worked at a Nikon's software development group since its start in 1994. Enjoys exercising at an aerobics gym in his leisure time.

“Capture NX” next-generation digital image editing software arrives.
New partial editing and other advances take performance dramatically beyond the levels of “Nikon Capture.”

“Capture NX” is making its long-anticipated debut as a worthy successor to “Nikon Capture.” Why is this new software being launched under a new name, rather than as an upgraded version of “Nikon Capture”?

“Capture NX” is thoroughly prepared to make its debut.

KIMURA, Keita:

Essentially, both can be defined as digital image editing software for image processing and post-processing. The major difference is that “Capture NX” features newly developed U Point™ technology for very easy selective image editing. This breakthrough in image editing software is a major driving force and selling point of “Capture NX.” This new product represents such an improvement over what came before that it makes sense for us at Nikon to launch it under a new name.

So, the product is so revolutionary that it deserves a new name.

It sure is. Its ease of use is truly revolutionary. As you may know, partial editing involves area selection. For example, if you want to add an enhancement on a subject's face, you have to select and isolate the area, since the image data offers no information on where the target face is. With conventional image editing software, you have to draw an outline of the area using a mouse or pen tool. It isn't easy to outline the area precisely, so you have to make small changes repeatedly to complete the task. That's a big hassle. But the U Point™ technology in “Capture NX,” automates and greatly simplifies this operation. If you want to select the entire area of a face, just click anywhere on that face to select and isolate the area completely. Then, you're free to add enhancements to the face with the greatest of ease.

What does “NX” of “Capture NX” stand for?

“NX” is derived from “nexus,” because we want to distinguishes this as a tool for integrating the Nikon family of digital imaging equipment, from hardware, including cameras plus related accessories such as Speedlights and lenses, to software that makes image creation fun and easy, even after shooting.

Why doesn't the product name include the Nikon name?

First of all, awareness of “Nikon Capture,” and more recently, “Capture” alone has been established in the market, so it's not necessary at this time, let alone at all times, to include “Nikon” as part of our products' names. We also want to keep the name simple. “Nikon Capture NX” seems too long, doesn't it? Also, we don't want to give the impression that this new software is designed exclusively for editing images taken by Nikon cameras.

Sure. “Capture NX” functions apply to JPEG and TIFF files, so the software is useful for images taken by any cameras, including Nikon's. Right?

Yes, of course. And it will probably become even more versatile in the future.

Revolutionary U Point™ technology for intuitive editing recasts the concept of image processing from the very core.

You joined forces with U.S.-based Nik Software, Inc. to develop “Capture NX.” What can you tell us about your partner in this project?

Nik Software Inc. gained popularity for its optical filter simulation software. The company developed a lot of original technology, including filter simulation software using digital processing to create polarizing filter effects and various monochrome effects; a pen tablet driving engine and processing engine for adjusting brush effects according to pen stroke pressure; and “nik Color Efex™ Pro,” a plug-in for “Nikon Capture” and “PictureProject.”

Why did you collaborate with Nik Software Inc. to create “Capture NX?”

We are confident in the capabilities of our RAW file processing technology, which we refined in the process of developing “Nikon Capture.” But the concept of the technology has been based on the perspective of image development as a finishing stage of shooting. This concept was suitable for processing entire images, but not for selective editing. At first, our idea at Nikon was to incorporate selective editing functions in our software. But when Nik Software Inc. introduced its revolutionary U Point™ technology, which lets you select an area simply by placing a point on a desired area, we knew it was exactly what we wanted for “Nikon Capture.” Then, we proceeded to discuss a collaboration with Nik Software Inc. to develop the next-generation “Capture” product.

So, U Point™ technology led to the partnership with Nik Software Inc. and, consequently, the birth of “Capture NX.”

Intuitive editing, one of the biggest points of appeal of “Capture NX,” allows you to select the area as easily as when pointing to the corresponding area on a printed image.

As I said earlier, with U Point™ technology, all you have to do to select a subject's entire face is click somewhere on that face. Typically, when you point at someone's face on a printed image to identify it, the person you are talking to assumes that you are referring to the entire face, although you are pointing at only part of it. Area selection and image editing using U Point™ technology applies practically the same assumption, reflecting the software's “intuitive” operability. Finely tuning adjustments simply involves moving the sliders. Even people unfamiliar with image editing will have no problem understanding or applying these operations. That's what makes operation of “Capture NX” so innovative.

It seems like intuitive editing opens up an intriguing, better way to edit.

Even better yet, the concept of intuitive editing covers much more than just U Point™ technology. For example, do you want to apply extra sharpness to enhance an image's appearance? You can select Brush among the tools included and enjoy intuitive editing function that provides the same kind of tactile feel you get as when you paint in details using a hairline pencil. You can easily adjust and vary an enhancement, area by area, by varying pressure of the stroke, as you do when painting with a brush.