Graduated and radial filters are the tools of choice in Lightroom when it comes to making adjustments to selected areas of an image without affecting it in its entirety. But in the current version of Lightroom, they don’t work well if the areas you are trying to adjust have irregular edges that do not match the straight or round edges of the tools.
It is very likely though, that this will change in the upcoming Lightroom 6. Today’s featured tutorial by French photographer Serge Ramelli about the closely related software Adobe Camera Raw is a strong indication for this.
(Photos and processing by Serge Ramelli)
The problem: Graduated filter darkening foreground object – before and after
One thing that has always bothered me about graduated and radial filters in Lightroom is that they are somewhat inflexible in many situations due to the fact that they enforce a rigid shape on your adjustments. For example, if you want to darken the sky and you have a structure (e.g. building, mountain or tree) in the foreground that ranges into the sky, that structure is going to be darkened too by the graduated filter, and that is usually not what you want.
New in ACR 8.6: Graduated filter trimming with special brush tool – before and after
Today, I came across a great tutorial from Serge Ramelli where he shows that the filter tools in the latest version of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) provide a simple solution to this problem: They allow you to add areas to or subtract them from your filters with a special brush tool. This makes it very likely that we will also see this improvement in the upcoming version 6 of Lightroom.
Why is that? Well, ACR and Lightroom actually share the same Raw processing engine. As a consequence, they have virtually the same tools. Adding this feature to ACR may be a clever way of testing it before the next major release of Lightroom.
The video tutorial
Check out the relevant section of Serge’s latest tutorial below to learn how to use the tool in ACR.