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- Understanding Lightroom catalogs
- Importing photos from multiple sources
- Organizing photos with ratings, keywords, and collections
- Working with virtual copies
- Making basic corrections to photo color and tone
- Making local photo edits with the Adjustment Brush and Graduated Filter tools
- Removing spots from multiple photos at once
- Reducing digital noise and sharpening
- Cropping and straightening
- Printing and exporting edited photos
Skill Level Beginner
Another very useful local adjustment tool is the Gradient Filter tool, which is here in the Tools panel next to the Adjustment Brush tool. And like the Adjustment Brush tool, the Gradient Filter tool lets you bring in effects in local areas of a photo, but it does it in a different way than the Adjustment Brush tool. I'm going to open the Gradient Filter panel, so that you can see the same effects here that we saw in the last movie in the Adjustment Brush tool. The way that I can bring these effects into this image is to bring them in gradually, over a slight gradient, fading from a strong effect at one part of the photo to a lesser effect at another part, and that's really useful in a situation like this.
This is a typical photo from shooting outside with a big sky and a wide range of light. If you have a neutral density filter in your camera bag, you can take care of this uneven lighting situation right there in your camera. But if you don't carry a filter like that, then you can fix it here in Lightroom using the Graduated Filter tool. To start, I'll go to the panel and I'm going to get the Brightness slider and I'm going to drag it to the right side of zero, because I know I want to brighten up the foreground of this image. I'll make sure these other sliders are at zero to start with.
If one isn't, I can double-click its label and it will go back to zero. Then I'll move into the image and I click down here at the bottom where the image is very dark, and I will start dragging up, and as I do, I'm bringing in that brightness effect in a gradiated pattern, so that it's very strong at the bottom of the image, and then it's fading off as I move up toward the top of the image, and I could turn my cursor as I drag this out to fit the particular image. And then I can rotate and reposition and change the shape of the gradient.
To rotate the gradient, I'll move next to the pin that represents this gradient, and when my cursor changes to a double-pointed arrow, I can click and drag. Then I can move the center of the gradient by clicking on that pin and dragging, and I can change the length of the gradient by clicking on either this top bar or the bar at the bottom and dragging. So I'm going to make the gradient narrower, and I'm going to drag it up by this bar, and then I'll make it narrower again and I'll do that a couple of times because I do want the bright part of the gradient to cover these interesting pale plants in the foreground, but I don't want this gradient affecting the sky because I don't want to blow out those clouds.
And sometimes I will bring the Saturation slider all the way down so I can really see that gradient. So now it's a grayscale-to-color gradient, and I can see it better. So I'm going to turn it this way and maybe move up like this, and then I will just move this down. So that looks fine. I'll move the Saturation slider back to zero by double-clicking the Saturation label. Now, I want to reduce the brightness, because now it's too bright in the foreground. So I will get the Brightness slider and I'll drag back this way. And I want to bring out the highlights in those pale plants in the foreground, so I will get the Exposure slider and I'm going to drag that very slightly to the right, to about there.
And finally, I want much more texture in those interesting plants, so I'm going to get the Clarity slider, which enhances midtone contrast, and drag that way over to the right. And I am pretty happy with that result, but even if I'm not, the Graduated Filter tool is so flexible that I can come back in here now, or anytime in the future, and reposition the gradient or tweak these sliders or even delete the gradient by selecting it and pressing Delete on my keyboard, but I'm not going to do that now. Instead, I want to show you something else about the Graduated Filter tool, and that is that you can have more than one graduated filter in the same image.
They can even overlap. So what I want to do is create a new graduated filter for the sky up here and see if I can bring in more of these really interesting clouds in the sky. So to do that, I'll go back to the panel and I'll click on New, and then I'm going to take the Brightness slider below zero this time, because I want to darken the sky. I don't know exactly where to put it. I'll try it about there. I will go up to the top-right corner where the sky is most bright, and I'll drag a gradient from there in the direction of the place that the sky meets the hills, and I'll move this gradient by clicking on its pin and dragging.
So we'll put it about there, and I'll drag on the top bar to make it longer. Now, I'm going to come back into the effects and see how I can darken those clouds. I'm going to take the Brightness down even more and see if that does it, and I'm going to increase the Clarity to bring out the midtone contours in the clouds. And then, because I have this little funny blue part at the top-right, I'm going to take the Saturation slider and I'll drag down to the left to desaturate, and I am pretty happy with that result. I now have two graduated filters.
Each is doing a separate job for me in very typical situations. This is when this filter comes in most handy, when you are either trying to get a more interesting sky or when you're trying to deal with the problem that you could have approach with the neutral density filter in the field, but you just didn't have one at the time. Now to compare a before and after, I'm going to go back to the panel and click this toggle, so that's where I started with this photo, and that's where I ended up. Not bad for a few minutes work. So give it a try on your own landscape photos.