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I want to introduce you to the Graduated Filter. This is a tool which allows us to make linear, sweeping adjustments across large areas of our photograph. Let's take a look at how this tool works and then let's also explore how we can correct or enhance this picture with this tool. To select the tool, press the G key or click on it in the Tools Panel up here. Next, first I'm going to dial in an adjustment which won't look very good, but it will help us understand how the tool works. And the adjustment I'm going to dial in is a negative Exposure; here I'm going to click and drag this all the way to the left.
As you look at these sliders and controls, they may look really familiar; that's because you've already seen them with the Adjustment Brush. These are identical to what we have there minus the settings for the brush. Because a Graduated Filter, it isn't a brush. Rather when you hover over your image, you'll see this Plus icon. Next, click and drag. When you click and drag, you'll see these overlay visuals. Once again, you can turn these on and off by pressing the V key. Typically, you want these on, at least initially, so you can kind of see how your adjustment is being made.
Well what these actually mean? Well, green stands for where the full intensity of this effect, in this case, decreased exposure, is being applied. We can move that by clicking and dragging. Next, the red determines the overall transition. If we want a really long and smooth transition, make the distance between these two points really far. We can also change the overall angle. You can do that by simply clicking and dragging, you can see how I'm changing different parts of my image. Well, this adjustment, obviously doesn't look very good, and doesn't work with this image.
What might work here? Well, let's delete this by pressing Delete or Backspace and then rather than decreasing our Exposure that far, let's double-click that slider and just decrease this a little bit. Let's also drop down our Highlights and see how this might help the sky because the sky here is too bright. Here we'll go ahead and just click and drag across the sky. As we do that, we may need to bring down this top point, so that that brings down the full intensity of this effect a little bit more low. Next, we'll want to dial in our settings, in this case, decrease my Highlights, increase the Clarity and Contrast to bring in a little bit more texture to the sky and then I'll go ahead and decrease my Color Temperature.
In doing that, you can see I'm bringing in some blue hues up there to the top of the sky area of this photograph. We can make really subtle adjustments or we can go really dramatic. The trick with this is to try to find that sweet spot where you're modifying the overall color and tone, but perhaps you're not doing it too much in a way that's kind of over-the-top or drawing attention to itself. Let's see how we've done. Press the V key; it hides these overlay elements. If you forget it, click on this icon here.
After having done that, press the P key or click on the Preview button; here's before, click again, here's after. And again, you could correct more or less to your own liking, and you'll want to try to figure that out so that it looks good with your intent or with your vision for a photograph. And as you start to work with this tool, also keep in mind that you can make multiple adjustments. Let me show you what I mean. Here turn back on Show Overlay. Next to create a new adjustment, you can either click New or you can just click and drag.
And in clicking and dragging, you can see that I now have an adjustment coming from the bottom of the image towards the top. Here I can move this around so I can control this effect in this area. Well, in this case, rather than cooling that off, I want to warm up that area. I also don't necessarily need to recover my highlights, but I might want to just work on the overall tone or contrast or clarity in this area of the picture. So I'll change my sliders in order to control the foreground in this case. So now I have two adjustments; one for the sky, another one there for the foreground.
In other situations as you'll see, we might use this tool in order to add a little bit of a creative effect to our photographs.
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