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Adjusting part of the photo with the Graduated Filter tool

From: Enhancing a Landscape Photo with Lightroom

Video: Adjusting part of the photo with the Graduated Filter tool

The reflection of the mountain in the lake is the feature of this scene that attracted us most when we were shooting. I would like to bring out the reflective qualities of the lake without affecting the rest of the image. There are two local adjustment tools in Lightroom that I might be able to use to do that. One is the Adjustment Brush tool, which you can use to paint adjustments into any area of a photo. We'll save the adjustment brush for the next. In this movie, I'm going to use the second of the local adjustment tools, the Graduated Filter tool. With this tool we'll be able to apply a combination of adjustments gradually over a linear area, the area of just the lake in this photo.

Adjusting part of the photo with the Graduated Filter tool

The reflection of the mountain in the lake is the feature of this scene that attracted us most when we were shooting. I would like to bring out the reflective qualities of the lake without affecting the rest of the image. There are two local adjustment tools in Lightroom that I might be able to use to do that. One is the Adjustment Brush tool, which you can use to paint adjustments into any area of a photo. We'll save the adjustment brush for the next. In this movie, I'm going to use the second of the local adjustment tools, the Graduated Filter tool. With this tool we'll be able to apply a combination of adjustments gradually over a linear area, the area of just the lake in this photo.

We'll start by clicking the Graduated Filter icon here in the toolbar in the column on the right side of the develop module. That opens the Graduated Filter panel. With all of these adjustments that we can include in combination in the Graduated Filter we are going to apply on top of the lake in the photo. Notice that some of these sliders are already dragged over to the right or over to the left that's because the slider is in the Graduated Filter panel are sticky. So I must have used these in the past and they're still showing the settings that I choose before.

What I do when I come into this panel to create a new graduated filter is send everything back to its defaults by double-clicking the Effect label at the top left of the panel. Now let's create a dummy adjustment, something that's going to be real easy to see as we make our Graduated Filter and then later we'll come in and change the adjustments to the ones that we really want to include in this filter. I often take the Exposure slider and drag that way over to the left because that's easy to see; and with that change, move into the image and I'll create the Graduated Filter.

I'm going to click at the bottom of the image, I'm going to hold the Shift key to keep the filter straight, and then I'm going to drag up and I'll drag up to just about the center of the image underneath the shoreline here. You can see that the image is being darkened at the bottom and that, and that effect gradually rolls off, from the center line the line that contains this pin that represents this Graduated Filter up to this faint line at the top. If you look over on the right side of the photo you can see those two lines better on the canvas.

You can change both the position and the shape of a graduated filter like this. So in this case, I would like to have more of an effect further up in the image and I'd like the roll off or the fade out to be less gradual. So I'm going to click on that top line and drag down to make my graduated filter pretty narrow and then, I'm going to click on that center point, the pin that represents this graduated filter, and I'll drag up. I'll take it up just about to the beginning of the shoreline near.

I can also rotate my graduated filter by moving my cursor close to the pin and when it changes to a curved double pointed arrow like this I'll click and drag. Now that's pretty sensitive, so you just want to make a small move when you are rotating a gradual filter. Now that I have my gradual filter in place the way I want it, I'm going to go over to the adjustments in the column on the right and I'm going to zero out the exposure adjustment by double-clicking the control on the Exposure slider. What I really want to do with this Graduated Filter is increase contrast.

So I'll drag that Contrast slider over to the right and maybe I want to increase the midtown contrast as well, so I'll go to the Clarity slider and I'll drag that to the right, too, and I want to try to open up some of the dark shadow areas here so I'll drag the Shadow slider over to the right too. Now you probably are recognizing that many of these fighters are the same as the sliders that we saw in the Basic panel affecting the image globally. Here the sliders are affecting just the portion of the image underneath the Graduated Filter.

Here in the Graduated Filter panel we're missing a couple of the sliders that we have in the Basic panel, in particular the whites and blacks slider. But instead we have some additional sliders, for adjusting Sharpness, Noise, Moire and defringing as well as Color here in the Graduated Filter panel. So with those adjustments I'm going to do a before and after by clicking the toggle icon at the bottom of this panel. So that's how the image looked without these adjustments and here's how it looks with. If it's difficult to see with that pin in the way, I'll come down where it says, Show Edit Pins and I'll change that either to the default which is Auto or to Never, just to turn the pin off for a moment, and now let's do a before and after.

That's how the image looked without these adjustments to the lake and here's how it looks with the adjustments to the lake. I'm pleased with that result, so I'm actually going to put Show Edit Pins back to its default of Auto and now that pin will come into view whenever I move my cursor over the image as long as the Graduated Filter panel is open. So that means that even if I close the Graduated Filter panel, I can always come back in and tweak the settings or the position of that Graduated Filter. To do that I would click again, on the Graduated Filter icon, move my cursor into the image, the pin that represents the Graduated Filter comes into view, I'l click on that pin to select it and now I can tweak any of my settings over here.

I'll close the Graduated Filter panel again, and you can add more than one graduated filter to the same image. So if you want, you can experiment with adding another graduated filter up here in the sky area and creating a different combination of adjustments for that filter. Now the Graduated Filter tool isn't the only local adjustment tool in Lightroom. In the next movie, we'll look at using another local correction tool, the Adjustment Brush tool, which allows us to paint in adjustments and we'll use that brush to spice up even smaller individual parts of this photo.

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Enhancing a Landscape Photo with Lightroom

13 video lessons · 6129 viewers

Jan Kabili
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