The radial filter is a great tool which has been around since Adobe released Lightroom 5. This filter can be used in many ways to subtly enhance the content of a frame but you need to know how to use it and be aware of being to aggressive with any adjustments that you make in order to keep things natural.
One of the most frustrating aspects of this tool up until the most recent release of Lightroom 6 was that you had no way of seeing where the effect you were applying were actually being applied – now you can!
Radial Filter Mask Overlay
Checking the “Show Selected Mask Overlay” makes it easy to see where your adjustments will be applied and also shows just how important the feather slider is in ensuring that any adjustments you make using the radial filter appear as natural as possible.!
Controlling the position of your vignette
A standard vignette (under the Effects tab) applies a vignette from the midpoint of the frame and there is no way to off-set this midpoint so that you would be able to have a more customised effect despite being able to control the midpoint and feather settings. The radial filter tool will allow you to apply a “vignette” and other localised adjustments from any point on your image and in any shape.
Applying localised adjustments
Localised adjustments are typically associated with the special adjustment brush but the radial filter menu allows you to apply the same effects to your image. The beauty with this is that you run less of a risk of introducing noticeable artefacts left by brushing along edges and inaccurate masking. The examples above show how you can isolate a specific region of an image and apply effects to either that region or the area surrounding it (by inverting).
Inverting localised adjustments
I’ll do a follow up post to this looking specifically at how you can duplicate filters and essentially apply the effect either agin to the same area or to the area that has been unaffected by your adjustments. For example, in this image I used the radial filter to darken the areas outside of the eye as well as reducing clarity slightly, enhancing the shallow depth of field. I then created a duplicate mask which I inverted (applying the effect to the eye region now) and lifted clarity and exposure slightly.
The end result is that the viewers eye is naturally drawn to rest on the brightest and sharpest part of the image which, through the use of the radial filter, I have made very obvious.
I’ll expand on this later this week but hope that this helps you to understand how the radial filter can be used to enhance the content on a frame!
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