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In this installment of the Photoshop Lightroom 4 Essentials series, author and teacher Chris Orwig guides photographers through the process of improving images with creative color, sharpening, and other effects in the Lightroom Develop module. The course covers each of the tools and features in the Develop module, and shows how to perform basic adjustments, such as exposure enhancement; how to improve image quality through noise reduction and clarity adjustments; how to apply creative effects, such as split toning and vignettes; and how to perform advanced tasks, such as correcting for lens distortion. Exercise files are included with the course.
Here we're going to take a look at how we can use the Graduated Filter tool inside of Lightroom. I have a photograph that I've selected from our people folder, and it's a black and white image. In this image, we have a bright sky, and a dark foreground. Well, we could use the Graduated Filter tool on this photograph, and let's just do that to really see how this tool works. We'll go to the Develop module, and then we can select the tool by clicking on it, or by pressing its shortcut key. The shortcut key is the M key. Well, either way, let's select this tool.
Now, when we select the tool, all of a sudden you'll notice that we have a wide range of options; many more options than we've had in the previous version of Lightroom. We can modify the Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, and you can see the rest of the list. This is actually an incredibly powerful tool. The way that you use it is you hover over the image, and then you click, and drag. Now, you can see that when I click and drag here, I have these different lines. Let me bring that up to the sky, just so you can see what we have. Well, what this is showing us is where the adjustment is going to be modified towards, towards that center circle, and then how it's going to transition out.
Let's take a look at how this would look, say, down here. Let's say I want to modify the Color Temperature of the foreground. Again, I'm just exaggerating here, and let's also perhaps add in some Contrast so we can really see that. Well, what we can see is that this adjustment is taking place up to this point, and then it slowly kind of diffuses, or softens, or backs off up to this other line. So the full intensity of this effect is up to here, and then it slowly drifts off. Well, we can change that drift by dragging this out, so that we have a longer or a wider area where it's affecting.
Again, full intensity here, and then slowly it tapers off up until this point. And you can use this taper in different ways, simply by clicking and dragging in order to expand or collapse that adjustment. You can also change the adjustment angle by positioning your cursor off to the right or left, and you can see how I can twist that one way or another. And again, in this case, we're just doing this to kind of see how this tool works. Okay. Well, so far we have one adjustment. What if we wanted to make another? Well, here what I could is click and drag, and I click and drag again. I can define that transition point here, and I'll go ahead and create a transition like this.
Well, once you create that adjustment, you can add any of these options to it. For example, we could go ahead and add a color by clicking on Color here, and I'll just add a color, say for example, red, and again, I'm just doing this because it's a really strong kind of visual impact; not that this is improving the image just yet. We can move this point, and you can see how it's blending or transitioning in with that other color adjustment, and we can increase or decrease that transition area by clicking and dragging this.
We can also modify the other controls, say like Contrast, or Exposure, and in this case, you can see we can do this in order to come up with, perhaps, some creative results. What about making this tool functional? Well, let's remove these points. We can remove them by clicking on them, hitting the Delete key, click on this one, and Delete; it's gone. Let's say that all I want to do is just work on the foreground here, and I know that I want to add a little bit of Contrast, a little bit of Clarity, and also perhaps a boost in Exposure.
Once I've dialed in those settings, either before or after, for that matter, I go ahead and click and drag, and then I click and drag in order to bring this adjustment into the photograph. Well, now that I have that there, I can then make further adjustments, changing the overall brightness of this, or the amount of contrast that I'm bringing into this part of the picture. Next, I want to darken the sky a little bit. Well, here, go ahead and click and drag where the sky is up top, and in this case, I'm just going to modify my Highlights. You can see how I can work with those brighter tones up there, and I'll go ahead and darken those Highlights a little bit, darkening the sky, and then perhaps boosting up my Shadows, so I'm not darkening up the subject's face too much, and using some Clarity, and Contrast as well.
So here you can see what I've done is I've kind of created these linear type of adjustments on the picture. Well, you may be thinking, okay, that's kind of interesting. I kind of get it; not very hard. Yet, these lines and circles; they're distracting. Well, like with our other tools, we can hide all of this. We can do that by using this menu here, or by using our shortcut. Remember the shortcut; it's the H key. The H key toggles that view on and off. We'll go ahead and hide those by pressing the H key, and then flip the switch.
This will help you evaluate if you like the adjustments that you've made. Here they are; our before, and then after. Well, with this image, I like the foreground; I don't really like what's happened to the sky here, so I want to remove that. Press the H key, brings back your adjustment pins here, click on one, and then press the Delete key in order to remove it. In this case, now we just have this adjustment on this area -- on the foreground of the picture -- adding in a bit of Contrast, and Clarity, and really just dialing in this linear type of adjustment to this portion of the image.
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