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Using the Graduated Filter tool

From: Photoshop CS6 Essential Training

Video: Using the Graduated Filter tool

In an ideal world it would have been wonderful when I was at this location if I could have stayed a while and actually waited for the light to come across this black sand and maybe just illuminate these white rocks here. Well, fortunately, Camera Raw has a Graduated filter and you can either select it here in the Tool area or just tap the G key in order to access your Graduated Filter. Most people, when I say Graduated Filter, they think of a neutral density filter, so they think of a filter that maybe you've used on your camera in the past that would darken down the sky.

Using the Graduated Filter tool

In an ideal world it would have been wonderful when I was at this location if I could have stayed a while and actually waited for the light to come across this black sand and maybe just illuminate these white rocks here. Well, fortunately, Camera Raw has a Graduated filter and you can either select it here in the Tool area or just tap the G key in order to access your Graduated Filter. Most people, when I say Graduated Filter, they think of a neutral density filter, so they think of a filter that maybe you've used on your camera in the past that would darken down the sky.

And certainly we can use the Graduated Filter to do just that, but we can also load our Graduated Filter with all of these different attributes on the right-hand side. So for example, we can change the Temperature of the Tint, we could change Exposure and Contrast, and we can do all of these different parameters at one time. You're not seeing anything change onscreen because all I'm doing is I'm pre-loading the brush, but obviously I don't want to make all of these changes. My goal here really was to show you how to reset these, in case you come into this dialog box and yours are set to something else, because maybe you've used this tool before.

In that case, what I want to do is to reset just a single slider, you would just double-click on the slider. But I don't want to go to each one of these sliders and do that. So in order to reset everything and just change the parameters for one of the sliders, you would use either the minus or the plus icon. So I'll click the minus exposure, and watch what happens to all the rest of the sliders. They all get reset and the Exposure slider gets set to a minus amount, which in this case it's in an increment of a half a stop.

If I click the plus, it will go to plus half the stop. And then of course from here we can always just change it by moving the slider. So I am going to go ahead and bring that down to about -1 exposure. Again, nothing is going on in the image area right now. I'm just pre-loading the Graduated Filter. Then the way the Graduated Filter works is you will click and drag. Where you start, Camera Raw will lay down a green pin and then as you drag, the distance between the green pin and the red pin is going to be the gradient, where whatever you load into the filter will fade out.

I am going to hold down the Shift key because that's going to constrain what I draw to a straight line. In case you can't see exactly what's going on, let's go ahead and really take the Exposure down. I think now you can clearly see at that the green pin we've got a -4 exposure and that slowly fades until there's no change of exposure by the red pin. If I want to change the angle, all I need to do is move your cursor over one of the lines, either the red one or the green one, but move it far away from the pin, because you will have a lot more control now as you drag and set that angle that you want the Graduated Filter to be applied at.

If you want to move the entire Graduated Filter, meaning that you like the distance between the two pins, you just simply want to move it, position your cursor on the middle line here and then click and drag to move it. Let's go ahead and just make this a little bit shorter, and let's bring the Exposure back up. I just want to make a slight change in exposure for the sky. Then I might also want to add a little bit of contrast and I might want to a little bit of clarity as well, just to add some definition in the clouds.

If we scroll down, you'll notice there's also a Color option. If I click in the blank swatch here, it will bring up the color picker. And then I can choose a different color to add a tint to the sky. So in this case, I am going to warm it up just a little bit by selecting yellow. Of course I could do this in another method as well. I could use the Temperature or Tint sliders. So it's up to you which of the two ways you use to add color or change the color in your Graduated Filter. So that's really the basics of the Graduated Filter, but let's do something a little bit more advanced.

One of the great things about Camera Raw is it if you make a change in one area, to maybe say a +1 exposure and then you make a change in another area to a -1 exposure, if those two areas overlap, Camera Raw does the math at one time and they basically negate each other. So that's the basics of the Graduated Filter, but let's do something a little bit more advanced. I want to add some light down here to draw our attention to the rocks, so I want to create a new Graduated Filter. And let's go ahead and reset all of the sliders. Since I want to add light, I want to increase Exposure, so I'll just click on the plus icon. That resets everything except for Exposure, which now has a plus half stop to it.

So I'll position my cursor right about where the rocks start, I'll hold down my Shift key, and I'll click and drag up in order to add light to the rock area. I can reposition this, either tightening the gradient or reposition it completely by clicking on the line that connects the two dots. I don't think I've made enough increase in exposure, so let me make that adjustment over here. I think that's a lot better, but I don't like that it's lightening the foreground. So, what I am going to do is I'm going to create another new Graduated Filter, and I am just going to put the opposite amount in Exposure.

So I'll click New, and then we'll just change the plus to a minus here. And again, I'll click and drag up and you can see that because this Graduated Filter lays on top of the other one, where I added a positive 1.4 stops and then covered that with this negative 1.4 stops, its changed the tonality of the other foreground back to what it originally was. And now we can freely adjust these. And I could even go even further with the exposure. If I wanted to go back to the second Graduated Filter that I drew, all I need to do is select it and then change that exposure, either making it brighter or darker. And then we can go back to the last one that I drew and go ahead and make that darker.

It's a little distracting with all of the overlays there, so if I wanted to toggle those off, I come down to the bottom of my Graduated Filter panel and toggle off or on the overlay. I can also tap the P key to toggle on and off the preview, to see a before and after. So there you go. With just a few carefully placed Graduated Filters, we can greatly enhance our images by adding light to the area that we want to focus the viewer's attention.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Photoshop CS6 Essential Training
Photoshop CS6 Essential Training

148 video lessons · 93318 viewers

Julieanne Kost
Author

 
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  1. 1m 42s
    1. What is Photoshop?
      1m 42s
  2. 1m 11s
    1. Welcome
      1m 11s
  3. 32m 15s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      2m 49s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      4m 27s
    3. A tour of workspaces in Bridge
      5m 32s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 44s
    5. Changing file names and batch renaming
      2m 58s
    6. Adding basic metadata with metadata templates
      5m 10s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 58s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      2m 37s
  4. 27m 1s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejected images
      4m 18s
    2. Saving images in collections
      4m 23s
    3. Rating and labeling images
      3m 46s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 16s
    5. Using smart collections
      4m 18s
    6. Viewing final selects in a slideshow
      2m 21s
    7. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      3m 39s
  5. 32m 8s
    1. Comparing RAW and JPEG files
      6m 10s
    2. Starting in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      3m 12s
    3. Touring the Camera Raw interface
      9m 13s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      3m 58s
    5. Toggling onscreen shadow and highlight clipping warnings
      3m 11s
    6. Choosing output settings
      3m 36s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      2m 48s
  6. 38m 37s
    1. Using the nondestructive Crop tool
      4m 42s
    2. Correcting a horizon line with the Straighten tool
      2m 41s
    3. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      3m 50s
    4. Fixing blown-out highlights
      2m 56s
    5. Revealing hidden shadow details
      3m 7s
    6. Correcting lens distortion
      3m 25s
    7. Making perspective corrections to images
      2m 40s
    8. Removing color fringing and chromatic aberrations
      2m 28s
    9. Sharpening the details
      7m 45s
    10. Making an average photo great
      5m 3s
  7. 51m 2s
    1. Using the Graduated Filter tool
      6m 57s
    2. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      10m 19s
    3. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      3m 41s
    4. Exploring a quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 31s
    5. Converting to black and white
      2m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustment tool
      3m 21s
    7. Creating selective color effects with the Adjustment Brush
      6m 5s
    8. Using sepia and split-tone effects
      3m 33s
    9. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 20s
    10. Adding vignettes and border effects
      3m 59s
    11. Saving variations within a single file with the Snapshot command
      3m 40s
  8. 15m 13s
    1. Copying and pasting settings across files
      2m 4s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      3m 22s
    3. Saving and using the library of Camera Raw presets
      6m 48s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process files
      2m 59s
  9. 30m 24s
    1. Opening files from Bridge
      2m 7s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      2m 51s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      3m 59s
    4. Using the Application frame
      3m 34s
    5. Managing panels
      5m 14s
    6. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 39s
    7. Switching tools using the keyboard
      2m 47s
    8. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      5m 13s
  10. 10m 25s
    1. Working with tabbed documents
      1m 34s
    2. Arranging documents
      1m 52s
    3. Stopping Photoshop from tabbing documents
      1m 32s
    4. Panning and zooming
      3m 14s
    5. Cycling through different screen modes
      2m 13s
  11. 15m 44s
    1. Understanding file formats
      4m 36s
    2. Choosing the resolution you need
      4m 39s
    3. Understanding Resize vs. Resample
      4m 11s
    4. Working with print sizes and resolution
      2m 18s
  12. 32m 53s
    1. Using Undo and the History panel
      3m 7s
    2. Using crop options
      3m 54s
    3. Understanding Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      1m 46s
    4. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      40s
    5. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      3m 31s
    6. Making the canvas bigger using the Relative option in the Canvas Size command
      2m 18s
    7. Using the Perspective Crop tool
      1m 27s
    8. Straightening a crooked image
      2m 29s
    9. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      5m 46s
    10. Making nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      2m 34s
    11. Warping images
      2m 48s
    12. Preserving important elements with Content-Aware Scale
      2m 33s
  13. 30m 41s
    1. Exploring layer basics
      11m 16s
    2. Loading, selecting, and transforming layers
      8m 4s
    3. Organizing layers using layer groups
      5m 3s
    4. Merging, rasterizing, and flattening layers
      6m 18s
  14. 43m 11s
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      5m 43s
    2. Combining selections
      4m 4s
    3. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      5m 29s
    4. Using the Quick Selection tool
      4m 35s
    5. Selecting soft-edged objects using Refine Edge
      9m 42s
    6. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      7m 22s
    7. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      3m 17s
    8. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      2m 59s
  15. 34m 36s
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      3m 47s
    2. Starting with a preset
      2m 18s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      5m 31s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      6m 44s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      2m 30s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 29s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      4m 41s
    8. Making washed-out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 48s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      1m 47s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an adjustment layer
      2m 1s
  16. 19m 33s
    1. Adjusting shadows and highlights
      5m 44s
    2. Replacing color using Selective Color
      3m 49s
    3. Using fill layers to create a hand-painted look
      6m 5s
    4. Using a gradient fill layer to add a color wash
      3m 55s
  17. 52m 9s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing Brush and the Patch tool
      12m 42s
    2. De-emphasizing wrinkles with the Healing Brush
      4m 52s
    3. Smoothing skin and pores with the High Pass filter
      6m 19s
    4. Making teeth bright and white with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer
      3m 21s
    5. Brightening eyes with Curves
      7m 0s
    6. Taming flyaway hair with the Patch tool
      3m 44s
    7. Removing unwanted details with Content-Aware Fill
      5m 49s
    8. Body sculpting with Liquify
      8m 22s
  18. 24m 12s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      4m 48s
    2. Combining multiple frames in an action sequence
      8m 44s
    3. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      10m 40s
  19. 38m 26s
    1. Overview of filters
      2m 52s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively using Smart Filters
      5m 18s
    3. Creating a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      3m 35s
    4. Creating an infrared look with Diffuse Glow
      2m 14s
    5. Adding noise with the Add Noise filter
      6m 27s
    6. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      5m 11s
    7. Giving an image texture with the Texturizer filter
      1m 49s
    8. Using the Field, Iris, and Tilt-Shift Blurs
      6m 1s
    9. Creating a painting with the Oil Paint filter
      1m 34s
    10. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 25s
  20. 22m 16s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      6m 42s
    2. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      2m 40s
    3. Scanning or photographing paper to add a deckled edge
      3m 1s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      5m 21s
    5. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      2m 26s
    6. Adding a realistic off-center vignette
      2m 6s
  21. 20m 9s
    1. Exploring character (point) type
      7m 6s
    2. Adding paragraph (area) type
      3m 38s
    3. Adding type on a path
      4m 44s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      3m 3s
    5. Warping type
      1m 38s
  22. 15m 57s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      6m 15s
    2. Adding edges, textures, and color overlays using layer styles
      4m 27s
    3. Creating a transparent logo or watermark
      2m 42s
    4. Knowing how and when to scale layer effects
      2m 33s
  23. 15m 45s
    1. Creating contact sheets
      2m 49s
    2. Using the Output workspace in Bridge
      5m 32s
    3. Exporting web photo galleries
      4m 20s
    4. Saving for the web
      3m 4s
  24. 23m 38s
    1. Working with video clips
      9m 29s
    2. Adding special effects to video
      5m 45s
    3. Adding pans and zooms to still images
      8m 24s
  25. 1m 10s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 10s

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