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Learn Photography

Lightroom > Develop Module >

7 - Six Tools on Top of the Basic Panel >

Tool #4 - Graduated Filter


Graduated Filter

You can use the Graduated Filter to fade an effect from full strength to zero.

For example, let's say you want to darken a sky.

Move the Exposure slider to the left.

Click and hold at the top of the photograph.

Drag down to the horizon line.

Release the mouse button.

The darken-sky effect will be strongest at the top.

The effect will fade to zero at the horizon line.

Here are the steps in detail.

1) Do one of the following in the Graduated Filter panel:

• Choose a preset from the menu to the right of Effect.

• Make an adjustment with the sliders.

You can't enter the optimum value.

You haven't made the gradient yet.

So, neither you or Lightroom knows what the effect is going to look like.

Therefore, enter a value greater than what you think you should.

You'll adjust the intensity of the effect after you've brushed it on your photograph.

2) Click and hold on the photograph where you want the effect to be strongest.

3) Drag to where you want the effect to be zero.

If you move the mouse to the left or right, you can tilt the effect.

If you press and hold Shift, and then drag out the gradient, it won't tilt.

4) Release the mouse.

A pin will appear.

It's a white circle with a black center.

An inactive pin is a gray dot.

To reactivate a pin, select the Graduated Filter tool, and then click the gray pin.

After you've made the gradient, adjust the intensity of the effect using the slider in the Graduated Filter panel.

5) Click Done below the image when you're finished using the tool.

Before clicking Done, you may want to do more.

Do More

Use the Other Sliders

You can use more than one effect.

Invert the Gradient

Press the apostrophe key, ', to flip the gradient's beginning and end.

This is handy if you drag out the gradient in the wrong direction.

Move the Effect

You can move the pin to move the entire gradient.

Click and hold on the pin, and drag.

Change the Beginning & End

You can modify where the gradient begins or ends.

Click and hold on one of the outer two lines, and drag.

Rotate the Gradient

You can rotate the effect.

Click and hold on the line that runs through the pin, and drag.

Add a New Gradient

If you want to make another gradient, click New in the Graduated Filter panel.

Or, press Enter.