The Graduated Tool in Lightroom allows you to apply an even gradient over a portion of the photo. This tool provides a wide variety of options during your Lightroom edit. A few things I use these filters for are; enhancing hidden details in skies, selective white balance, selectively de-hazing and so on...
For this tutorial, I'll be using the tool to enhance and add light leak color to selected areas of this photo. This is a great option when designing a creative edit in Lightroom.
The Graduated Tool is located in the Develop Module- just below the histogram- in the tool bar (see image below). The graduated filter tool uses the same settings panel as the local adjustment brush and radial filter.
To apply a graduated filter:
Click on the icon, then move the cursor over the image (+ will replace the cursor). Next place the (+) in the middle of the area you want to apply the graduated filter, click and drag to the desired size. Once applied, the graduated filter is marked by a center pin and three lines (the filter's strongest point is at the top edge). Add the desired settings, either by adjusting the setting sliders in the panel or by using a local adjustment preset (this step can also be done prior to applying the filter)
Adjusting the graduated filter:
Once you have the graduated filter settings to your liking, adjust as needed. I always check to make sure the filter isn't spilling onto areas of the photo that aren't suiting of the adjustment- i.e. skin tones.
To adjust the graduated filter: Check to be sure the filter pin in selected- hover the cursor (+) over a line to change the size- the cursor will change to a hand- when you see this click the handle (line) and drag to the desired point. To change the angle of the filter- hover the cursor over the middle line- the cursor will change to arrows- click and drag to the desired angle. To create a new graduated filter with different settings on the same photo- select 'New' then choose your settings.
Before | AfterOn the photo in this tutorial, I used the graduated filter to add light leak color in two corners of the photo; upper left corner and bottom right corner. See the images below for the settings.
TOP GRADUATED FILTER
BOTTOM GRADUATED FILTER
THE BEFORE PHOTO (EDITED PRIOR WITH OWP | VIBRANT MATTE)
THE AFTER PHOTO WITH ADDED GRADUATED FILTERS
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