Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member
The Graduated Filter tool in the toolbar here in Lightroom's Develop panel, offers yet another way to apply an effect or a combination of effects to just isolated areas of a photo. Here for example, I'd like to brighten up the buildings without blowing out the sky. And I think I can accomplish that with a couple of Graduated filters, which apply effects in a graduated falloff pattern. I'll click on the Graduated Filter tool in the toolbar under the histogram, and that opens the Graduated Filter panel. If you've been following along, you may recognize the controls in the effects section of this panel. They're the same as the controls in the Adjustment brush and the Radial filter. I usually start here by double-clicking the effect label to set the persistent settings back to their defaults.
And just so you can see what the Graduated filter does, I'm going to take the Exposure slider and drag it way over to the left. And then, I'll come into the image and I'm going to start at the right side of the photo and drag. And you can see that as I do, the area to the right of this pen is really dark and then that dark effect is fading off from the center line over toward the line on the left. Like any of the filters, you can delete a filter. I'm going to do that by making sure this filter is selected, and then pressing the Delete or Backspace key on the keyboard. Because what I really want to do is add a Graduated filter that comes in from the bottom corner right, and is bright to start with. So, I'll take the Exposure slider, and I'm going to drag that over past zero. And then I'll start at the bottom right corner, and I'm going to drag out a Graduated filter.
So, this filter is brightening the bottom right corner. I'd like it to brighten more of the buildings, and to have a less gradual falloff here. So, I'll click on the top line and drag down toward the pin, to make the falloff area more narrow. And then I'll click on the pin, and I'll drag up, to move my Graduated filter up to about here. I can also rotate the Graduated filter, by moving my cursor over the center-line and dragging. And it doesn't take much to rotate this filter. And then maybe I'll take the pen and put it about here.
So that's a good start on opening the dark areas of these buildings. Lets fine tune those settings. I'll go to the Shadow slider and I'm going to drag that to the right to open up the darkest areas that are affected by this Graduated filter. And I want to bring some detail into the facades of the buildings. So I'm going to take the clarity slider and drag that over to the right. I'll also increase saturation a bit. And I remember that these buildings were more gold than blue, so I'll come up to the Temperature slider and I'm going to drag that slightly to the right as well.
So that's a start, but I also notice that this building over here on the left is quite dark. I could try to fix this with the Adjustment Brush tool, or I might try adding a second Graduated filter. Lets try that. I'll go to the Graduated Filter panel, and I'll click the new label there to create a brand new Graduated filter. This time I'll move over to the left, and I'm going to hold the Shift Key to constrain the Graduated filter so it comes in straight. And then I'll click on it's pen and I'll drag it over this way. Again, I might open up the Shadows a bit, I might increase clarity a bit, saturation and I might try to tilt this filter, so it's having more of an effect on the tops of these buildings. But then I don't like what it's doing up here to the clouds, it's blowing them out.
So, I'll take the Highlight slider and drag that over to the left to bring back detail in the clouds. And by the way, this is one of my favorite uses for the Highlight slider, both in the Adjustment filters and in the Basic panel. Now, if I want to compare a before and after view of how the image looks, with and without these changes. First, I want to hide the Graduated filters buy moving my cursor outside of the preview window. And then I'll go to the bottom of the Graduated Filter panel, and I'll click the Toggle Off and then On. And when I'm done, I'll click the Close button to close this panel.
I can always come back in, in the future and reopen the panel, by clicking its icon to tweak either of my existing Graduated filters, to delete them, or to add additional Graduated filters.
Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.Become a member
164 Video lessons · 56176 Viewers
64 Video lessons · 87304 Viewers
86 Video lessons · 56474 Viewers
148 Video lessons · 93923 Viewers
Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.
Search within course videos and transcripts, and jump right to the results.
Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.
Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.
Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.
Your file was successfully uploaded.