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Another much welcomed new feature in Adobe Camera Raw has to do with clarity. And here we will be working with two images, and we will explore how we can use the Clarity slider in Adobe Camera RAW. We will be working with this file, gray.jpg, and also rincon_surfer.dng. So hold down Command or Ctrl and click on both of those images. And then open these up in Camera RAW by pressing Command+R on a Mac, or Ctrl+R on Windows. Let's start off with this demo file.
This is a file that I created in Photoshop. I simply made a few shapes, filled those with a gradient, and posterized one. And I did that because it creates a nice way to kind of see how clarity works. Here I will go ahead and zoom in on this so we get a little bit more of a close-up view. Well, the Clarity slider is interesting. What it allows us to do is to add midtone contrast. Let me show you what I mean. Click and drag this to the right, we see that we have this nice texture in this midtone area. We can also see that in these other grayscales as well. Here is that before and then the after.
And one of the things that's great about clarity is that now it deals with artifacts and halos in a much better way. In other words, in the previous version of Adobe Camera RAW, with 100 points of clarity, you would have this drastic halo around the edge. Well, here you can see it's really tight, it's really small, and it's not that problematic. In the previous version it really was. So clarity works much more effectively. All right. Well, what about Negative Clarity? You might want to use Negative Clarity if you have a close-up beauty shot and if you just want to soften it a little bit.
Again, this is going to remove or reduce texture or midtone contrast. Okay, let's then take a look at a photograph. Let's look at this picture here, and what I want to do is zoom in on this picture a little bit. With this photograph, let's exaggerate first Negative Clarity. Everything becomes soft and weird. It doesn't really work. When it comes to Negative Clarity, you have to be careful. You don't want to go too low, but if you want to slightly soften it, perhaps you could apply a -10 or 15. Again, that could create a flattering look on the right picture. This isn't the right picture.
For this photograph we want the texture and the detail. So I am going to increase the clarity. Now this photograph, I imagine, will look well with maybe 15 or 20 points of clarity. Right about there. Nice detail. And we can see all the texture on the rocks and everything that looks really good. Yet, one of things that happens here that we need to pay attention to is that it's actually changing the color of the photograph. Let me exaggerate and show you what I mean. If we crank this up to 100, well, we can really see it now, right? The picture, it's kind of muted-- it looks almost like an HDR photograph.
I will double-click the Hand tool which will zoom out to Fit in view, so you can see that in the entire image, here is the original photograph. And then here it is with 100 points of clarity. Now for certain pictures, desaturating when you're adding clarity or this midtone contrast, it could help out. It could kind of offset that oversaturation which sometimes happens when you increase contrast. Yet with some images, let's say you don't want this HDR type of a look. What you might need to do is to dial in just the right amount of clarity, let's say 15 or 20 points and then bring up the vibrance and a little bit of the saturation to kind of offset for that desaturation which happens when you introduce or when you add clarity to your photographs.
You want to really experiment with this Clarity slider, because it's a lot stronger than it was previously. In the previous version when I would teach about it, I would say, "You know what, be careful with this. Apply a low amount." Well, now as you can see with this picture, you can really get away with adding a lot of clarity. And with some photographs this can help you create a really distinct or distinguished look. So again, experiment with this control and try to find out right spot for your photographs. And once you've found that spot and perhaps added a little bit of vibrance or saturation--or made any other needed adjustments--in order to apply them, all that you need to do is to simply click Done to exit out of Camera RAW and to apply those adjustments to your photographs.
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