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Adding clarity to an image

From: Lightroom 4 Image Optimization Workshop

Video: Adding clarity to an image

If you spend any time at all taking pictures outdoors, you'll most certainly run into a situation where an image looks a little bit hazy. Atmospheric haze can reduce the overall appearance of sharpness in a photograph and that can sometimes be problematic. For example, here you can see that things look a little bit hazy. The image is obviously in focus, but the detail in the cliffs here is really being muted down a little bit. The Clarity Adjustment helps us deal with those sorts of situations. You can think of Clarity as being in large part similar to sharpening.

Adding clarity to an image

If you spend any time at all taking pictures outdoors, you'll most certainly run into a situation where an image looks a little bit hazy. Atmospheric haze can reduce the overall appearance of sharpness in a photograph and that can sometimes be problematic. For example, here you can see that things look a little bit hazy. The image is obviously in focus, but the detail in the cliffs here is really being muted down a little bit. The Clarity Adjustment helps us deal with those sorts of situations. You can think of Clarity as being in large part similar to sharpening.

Its increasing contrast in localized areas of the image, so we can boost the contrast for all of the detail in these cliffs for example. Let's take a look at this control in action. The Clarity slider is found in the Presence section of the Basic Adjustments. We can increase the value for Clarity in order to impart a little bit sharper appearance in the photo. And very often, as you can see here, the effect is like reducing haze in the photo. It won't completely remove atmospheric haze from all photos, but it can really improve the perceived level of detail within the photo.

The best part is you don't have to worry too much about increasing Clarity too much. Unlike Sharpening, where you can create very strong halo effects if you oversharpen. With Clarity, you're not likely to see any problematic effects. Obviously, you don't want the image to start looking artificial. So you won't necessarily always want to increase it significantly. But in general, you don't have to worry too much about artifacting or problems within the image in terms of quality. That said, it doesn't necessarily take too much of an adjustment for Clarity to produce a nice effect within the photo.

And in some cases, you actually might want to reduce the value of Clarity. This can create a sort of Ethereal, Dreamlike or Painterly Effect within the image. I find that it works very nicely for delicate flower photos, or even portraits. But in this case, I think I'd like to really bring out some more of that detail. So I'm going to put a relatively strong Clarity Adjustment on this particular image. But as you can see, Clarity can be an incredibly powerful tool that can help you improve a wide variety of photographic images.

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This video is part of

Image for Lightroom 4 Image Optimization Workshop
Lightroom 4 Image Optimization Workshop

34 video lessons · 1451 viewers

Tim Grey
Author

 
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  1. 1m 31s
    1. Welcome
      1m 31s
  2. 15m 9s
    1. Overview of the Develop module workflow
      3m 8s
    2. Evaluating images
      3m 26s
    3. Seeing a before-and-after view
      3m 40s
    4. Correcting mistakes with the History and Snapshot features
      4m 55s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Starting with a Develop preset
      4m 9s
    2. White balance adjustment
      4m 8s
    3. Basic exposure controls
      3m 26s
    4. Highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks
      3m 15s
    5. Adding clarity to an image
      2m 15s
    6. Boosting colors with Vibrance and Saturation
      3m 4s
  4. 31m 39s
    1. Fine-tuning with the Tone Curve adjustment
      7m 22s
    2. Advanced color adjustments
      5m 5s
    3. Sharpening an image
      6m 33s
    4. The Graduated Filter tool
      5m 2s
    5. Painting adjustments into an image
      7m 37s
  5. 24m 11s
    1. Cleaning up blemishes
      5m 4s
    2. Cropping and straightening photos
      5m 55s
    3. Applying noise reduction
      3m 52s
    4. Lens correction adjustments
      6m 2s
    5. Removing red-eye
      3m 18s
  6. 18m 41s
    1. Creating virtual copies
      2m 52s
    2. Converting color into black and white
      3m 51s
    3. Adding a color tint
      2m 30s
    4. Split toning effects
      3m 20s
    5. Adding a vignette effect
      3m 56s
    6. Adding a film grain effect
      2m 12s
  7. 12m 31s
    1. Adjusting multiple images with Quick Develop
      2m 49s
    2. Duplicating the previous adjustment
      2m 38s
    3. Copying and pasting Develop settings
      3m 54s
    4. Synchronizing Develop settings
      3m 10s
  8. 17m 16s
    1. Basic Photoshop workflow
      5m 41s
    2. Stitching panoramas
      5m 1s
    3. Working with HDR images
      6m 34s

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