Customize The Graduated Filter Tool In ACR Or Lightroom

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

The shape of the Graduated Filter tool in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom can be customized. Areas you don’t want to be impacted by its effect can now be erased. In the image of the coastal sunrise above, the sky needs darkening, as do the bright areas of the two sea stacks.

To do so, click on the Graduated Filter along the top of the ACR workspace. The dialog box that’s below appears. Be sure the “NEW” radial button is highlighted. Drag the filter from the top of the image two-thirds down the photo. Adjust the sliders on the panel to create the darkening effect you desire. The changes I made were to section 2 evidenced by the EXPOSURE and HIGHLIGHTS sliders. (There are many other options that can be adjusted—be sure to look at all the sliders to see how else a Grad Filter can improve the look of a photo.)

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

As seen below, the top two-thirds of the image is darker. The concern is that the shadow portions of the sea stacks are also darker, but I want just the sky and bright areas of the sea stacks darkened.

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

On the top right portion of the Graduated Filter workspace, click on the word Brush. You’ll be brought to a new tool panel, seen below, that allows you to erase the effect of the Graduated tool. Click on the minus brush (- brush icon) and begin to erase.

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

Check the MASK to reveal the areas where the darkening effect was painted away. Those areas are discernible as the actual image pixels are now visible. The translucent areas show where the darkening of the Graduated Filter remains.

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

Seen below is the image after the Graduated Filter was applied and then selectively painted away.

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

You can also add adjustments to other portions of the photo and not have to create another adjustment. Click on the plus brush (+ brush icon) and start to paint.

Customize The Graduated Filter Tool in ACR or Lightroom

Visit www.russburdenphotography.com for information about his nature photography tours and safari to Tanzania.

Photography is what motivates me to move through life in a positive way. Photography is ͞All About The Light͟ and it’s the first thing I seek out before I press the shutter. Optimally, I pursue great subjects in great light, but if there’s an ordinary subject in great light, I still press the shutter. I love to share the photographic knowledge I’ve accumulated and I hope my enthusiasm is contagious so I can motivate others to feel the same way I do about my photography.

5 Comments

    So I get the idea here, but you say ACR or Lightroom. Can I do the same thing in LR? If so, how? I enjoy and learn from your articles, but this one has me a little confused. I have LR but not ACR.

    Kevin and Neal – I’m not a Lightroom user but the way to accomplish what I demoed above in LR is to click on the word BRUSH in the top right section of the Graduated ND filter workspace and then click on the word ERASE on the bottom right section of the workspace and use the brush to erase away the effect of the Grad ND – you’re going to love it!

Leave a Reply

Main Menu