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Adobe Lightroom Classic "Graduated Filter".

About Lightroom "Graduated Filter".

Product:  Adobe Lightroom Classic  |   Subject: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic

In this exercise, we will learn about Adobe Lightroom Classic Using The "Graduated Filter".

In this section, I want to share how you can use Lightroom to make localized adjustments to large areas of your images using the graduated filter. In this case, we are going to be working with images in the Netherlands folder. I have chosen this image of the ship here. So I'm just going to highlight it and move to the develop module, so it's loaded up for me.


The graduated filter is available to you in the tool strip below the histogram and above the basic section. I'm going to select it. You can select the graduated filter using the keyboard shortcut M or just clicking on the little icon below. You will notice that there is quite a bit of information that the graduated filter allows you to do.

I'm going to close the histogram, and then I'm going to shrink the area down so that there is more room to work within the graduated filter. You are going to notice that there are three different types of masks that you can apply. You can apply a new mask, you can edit a previous mask, or you can adjust the previous mask as well. 

Below that, those are the kinds of effects that you are going to adjust with the mask. This case is very similar to what is available to you in the basic and the other sections. So, we have temperature and tint control. We've got the basic controls of exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites and blacks, clarity, dehaze, saturation, a little bit of sharpness and noise reduction, and so on. So it's a really powerful way to make big localized adjustments to your image. 

Now I want to do two adjustments. I want to make the water show up a little more in the image, and I also want the sky to pop out. To achieve that: 

  1. I'm just going to choose new, and
  2. Then I'm going to draw a graduated filter

Now there are many things that I'm doing right now. I'm just swinging the lines back and forth. 

Once I have created the graduated filter, it is helpful to know what you are working with. So, I like to show the selected mask overlay. This can be achieved by clicking on the O key on the keyboard or ticking the the “show selected mask overlay” icon. Once you select that option, you will notice that the color of your image changes. 

You will notice that when you clicked on the graduated filter, three lines appeared. There is the top line, the middle line, and the bottom line.

Everything up to and above the top line is where the mask will be applied at 100%, and from the bottom line to the rest of the image, that mask is not going to get applied. So, the middle line is the transition point. The wider the area, the greater the transition, the narrower the area, the sharper the transition between the two zones. So however, you want to adjust, it is very important. This effect is not red. It is just showing you which areas are going to be affected. You can always adjust the angle. The way this effect is going to be applied simply by hovering over the pin and just moving slightly away. You will notice the two arrows here. 

If I click on it, and I can adjust how I want the effect to show up. In this case, let's just keep it kind of horizontal. When I clicked at the pin to create this graduated filter, it did so with the existing settings. Now I want to make sure that the sky is just a little bit warmer and that maybe I can drop down the exposure because it was already a little bit blown out. Then maybe reduce clarity than I had before, drop the blacks, increase the shadows, and perhaps even add more contrast. Now you cannot see any of the changes because I have got the overlay on. So I will toggle off the overlay by unchecking its icon or clicking on the keyboard's O key. You will notice that the sky has changed. 

It is not particularly good because the sky is warmed up, and the transition zone is not that great. Then you get all of this thing mixed up with that transition. So, let's leave it like that for now. 

Next, I want to add more oomph to the water. So I'm going to create a new graduated filter. For that, instead of editing the existing graduated filter, which is indicated by the black circle in the pin, I'm going to select the new graduated filter. I'm going to leave the existing settings as they were and go to the image and click on the ocean. Then I will adjust my graduated filter. And right away, you can see that the look on the water is similar to the lookup the sky, but it's applied right now to the water. 

Now, this is not what I wanted. I want to pull down the water and give it a little bit more of a blue tint. I want the color to have an impact on this photo. You will notice that if I hover on the pin for a while, it will show me the areas affected by the graduated filter.  You can also enable the effect by showing the mask overlay. So far, I liked the effect on the water, but I don't like the effect on the sky. So, what am I going to do? Well, you will notice that there are two pins. 

The pin with the little black circle is the selected pin. So I'm going to select the pin on the sky and adjust it slightly, maybe even bring down the temperature a little bit because it's too much. If I hover over pillars, you will notice that the ship's areas are being affected by the filter. So what I want to do is make sure that those areas are not affected by the filter. So, I'm going to click on the brush, to paint all of these things away. With the brush, you will notice that there are a couple more options that show up. If I want to remove the effect that I have applied, in this case, I do not want the effect of the graduated filter applied to these areas of the ship. So I'm going to select the erase brush. I'm going to keep the size the same and then work with the feather and the flow a little later. But for now, let's just leave it that way. Then we are going to paint the area. When I paint it, you will notice that it's sort of glowing. And that's because it's removing the existing effect from the graduated filter

This is how we can remove an effect from the existing filters, and it's kind of neat. Let me show you what it looks like in the before and after view. So this is the before view. 

And this is the after view. 

In the before view, you will notice that the water is kind of plain and the skin is kind of plain. In the after view, it's kind of interesting because the sky is a little bit more defined, and we have the deeper blues in the water and kind of a hill effect on the rest of the ship. 

You can quickly see that the graduated filter is a very quick way to make significant changes to your image to make significant adjustments to your image with just a couple of clicks. If those adjustments were not the kind of adjustments you wanted, you could very easily go to the brush and choose to erase that adjustment from specific areas of your image. I hope this has been helpful, and if you have any questions about how you can use the graduated filter, please don't hesitate to reach out.