Lightroom/Camera Raw: Improving the Graduated Filter

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I'd like to see a few additions to the Grad Filter. First I'd like to be able to change the shape of the line. Take the classic valley situation. I'd like to match the grad to the edge of the mountains. A single point in the line could be dragged down to create the need shape.
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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  • hopeful

Posted 9 years ago

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Sean Phillips

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There's another thread with a suggestion to provide masking for the grad filter. Might be a good place for you to weigh in.
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john beardsworth

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I think the difference, Sean P, is between Sean M's FR which I read as making the grad lines bendable like the Tone Curve parameter curve, or attaching masks - adjustment brush erase blobs - to points on the grad line. While the masks might be more precise, I'd expect the curve method would be much more usable, as well as being closer to the the existing architecture.

Sean B (John in Irish)
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Sean Phillips

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I agree that they are different things, but I'm definitely not knowledgable enough to know which one would be easier to code. I think both methods could be useful...
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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This is absolutely about ease. I could use the adjustment brush to create this, but then I have to be precise in my drawing and balancing the feather. This way I click a few points and I'm done.
I could also make 2 grads with curves that could be used to create a lensbaby effect.
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Lee Jay

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I'm unclear, Sean, on what this would do.

Are you saying you'd bend the entire shape of the graduation, or that you'd leave the graduation straight and cut it off or feather it according to the curve?
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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It's about the shaping the centre line of the grad. The feather will follow the shape, dependent on the outside lines for hardness as currently.
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Lee Jay

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So, you'd make all three lines configurable or just the center one?
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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Without breaking current ability, I'd like to be able to change the shape of the center line. The outer lines would feather to this shape, feathered dependent on their distance to the center line.
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AJP Lawrence

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This is a really excellent idea Sean. Simple but potentially very powerful. Particularly if more that one point was available to add.
Ultimately it could be like paths with multiple points you could bend to shape.
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RICHARD FREEMAN

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(I had just posted this in another LR forum and it was suggested by the moderator to post it here as well, so here it is...)

Do More with the Graduated/Gradient Filter!

OK, I have two suggestions for LR to make it my "dream" program (there was a third, creating borders, but LR/Mogrify does that for me, thank you very much) (the second I will post separately). This one is about the graduated filter. I love this tool. It is especially great for landscapes in the prairies. But, what if you are in the mountains, and the horizon is anything but flat? Wouldn't it be great if there was more control with the shape of the tool?

I would love if you can use set a center point and then make "V" shapes by moving each end up individually. Or down! What if you have a mountain in the center of the image, you can create an inverted "V" to darken the sky on either side and above it, by starting the pivot point at the top of the mountain. Or, if ther are two mountains, one on each side of the image, with a kind of sky valley, you could create a "V" where the mountains meet (or down near there). With complete control of each side, creating different degrees in the angle. Also, being able to set that point anywhere along the line, not only in the center.

Also, a little more control in creating spaces between the three lines, maybe even allowing to fold one line into the center and just work with two lines.

Finally, while I am dreaming, maybe allow to make set points across the line where you can then make a craggly set of differing "V"s if needed (say there were several mountains in the image).

How cool would that be?????!!!!!!

Cheers,

Munene
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Rob Cole

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My opinion:

As a way to make a lensbaby effect from two gradients: good.
As a way to shape a sky gradient to account for mountains: not so much.

I mean, doesn't one want the gradient to be uniform in the case of a sky gradient, and just cut the mountains out of it? Or am I misunderstanding.

It seems to me a better approach is to come up with an automasking technology that allows rapid and seamless separation of mountains from sky, and then tie a gradient modifier to it. This would look more natural and be able to handle the case of a tree or building or moon or cloud in there too.
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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Rob, how would you store this mask? And apply it with lens correction? I firmly believe your suggestion is in the realm of pixel level editing and would simply kill the computer trying to handle the computations on the fly, versus my suggestion, which is vector based.
Putting 'rapid' and 'automasking' in the same sentence is pure optimism. The Auto mask feature is in brush, and that it where it's appropriate. For complex areas, the brush tool is the better option. For relatively simply shapes, the Grad Filter is a better bet.
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Sean Phillips

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I don't think Rob's suggesting is any more "pixel level editing" then the current masks in the brush tool are. I can definitely see the usefulness of this FR (ie. to be able to drag the line at various points) but Rob also makes a valid point that changing the shape of the graduation would have a very different look than simply masking it out where you don't want to apply it. I think that both methods can be useful, but for the case of irregular shaped objects in particular, and even for landscapes in general, a mask might be a better solution.
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Sean McCormack, Champion

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I'd like Lightroom to be usable. We're already on the threshold of what's doable as a metadata edit. Mixing complex masks, lens corrections and spotting, and then trying to do further edits is pushing the limit as to what it can happen.

There is a time when a rendered file is the way to go and that is the time. If it's an issue, then use Smart Objects, but I want usable tools for 90% of stuff. The tree on the horizon? In real life I could care less about how dark it goes. I personally wouldn't bother masking it. Following a ridge line on the other hand is something I would like to do.
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Sean Phillips

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I think it should be our job to suggest the features we want, and then leave it for Adobe to figure it if they want to support and if it's technically feasible. I never would have imagined that they could make the brush tool work as well as it does, so why would I presuppose that I can decide whether they can make this suggestion work well too? We're supposed to be the creative ones and creativity is often rewarded with amazing implementation!
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RICHARD FREEMAN

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Rob,

Your suggestion sounds great, hopefully it will be heard. I have sometimes use the adjustment brush with the gradient to fill in some areas, but to have an automasking would be way better! ; ) (then there is opening it in P-shop and using the wand).

Extra maneuverability with the gradient would still be nice. Why choose only one?
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Rob Cole

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Yeah, I'm not opposed to Sean McCormack's idea either - but if I had to choose...

There's a reason why people are gah-gah over U-points, and why Nik Software can charge $200 for their plugins (hint: its not because their adjustment algorithms are *so* good, or their revolutionary UI).

There's also a reason why Adobe chose an auto-masking brush instead of developing other auto-masking technologies. I don't know what those reasons are, and I don't know what the limiting factors are in Lightroom that might make it prohibitive when it has not been prohibitive in other parametric / non-destructive environments.

But in the case of sky above mountains:

Estimated user time for selecting sky using U-points: 2 seconds (1 U-point in the sky, and optionally 1 anti-U-point on the mountain).
(If there were tricky sky-like elements to be excluded, which require additional attention, it could take several seconds. For the most complex cases, it could even take a minute or two...)
Estimated data storage: 6 words: position, radius, and opacity for each U-point (for typical case of 2 U-points), maybe several dozen bytes for more complex cases.
Estimated time to compute mask, as tested in NX2: 0.01 seconds (it appears to be instantaneous).
Estimated time to render adjustments tied to mask, as tested in NX2: 0.1 seconds (some adjustments appear to be instantaneous, others take a small fraction of a second - total time depends on the number and types of adjustments tied to the mask). Once rendered, they are never re-rendered again during development unless one changes adjustments that precede it in "the stack".

Summary:
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Auto-masking selection technology in a parametric/non-destructive environment is doable and can be efficient - we have proof.
Whether there is something about the design of Lightroom that makes it especially ill-suited for such technology - I don't know.

Final Thoughts:
---------------
- U-points have their limitations too, which is why I'd like to see Adobe do something different and better.

I'm not opposed to Sean's idea, and if Adobe does not invent something better, or maybe even if they do, then I hope it goes through...
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TK

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I like the idea of allowing the outer shape (not the graduation) of the graduated filter to be controlled with a polygon with a variable number of points. Seems more useful than tying brush strokes to a graduated filter.
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Patrick Cunningham

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I totally agree with Sean on this; it's all about working efficiently and quickly. The graduated filter is so powerful, in an often quite subtle but effective way - I use it all the time just to shift the emphasis in an image a little. Being able to warp it, in an easy-to-use and straightforward way, around foreground objects or into valleys, would be excellent.

Patrick Cunningham
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bishwa oakes

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I'd love to have the ability to shape the Graduated Filter. Lots of times when I apply it to a sky in order to pull down highlights, introduce more saturation and/or add contrast to moody clouds etc, it just doesn't live up to it's potential because I'm hindered by it being a straight line. If there's a tree/hill/mountain/ or whatever on the horizon, then my ability to achieve what I want is compromised.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom - Shape-able Graduated Filter.
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Sven Beller

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Yes, totally agree. This would be an excellent improvement to Lr.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Official Response
Modify Graduated and Radial Filter masks with a brush:

  • After adding or selecting a Graduated or Radial Filter instance, click the new ‘Brush’ mode (next to existing ‘New’ and ‘Edit’ mode buttons) to reveal brush controls that allow you to modify the selected mask.

  • Use the ‘Brush +’ and ‘Brush -’ icon buttons in the brush controls pane to add to or erase from the selected mask.

  • Press the ‘Clear’ button to remove all brush modifications from the currently selected mask.

  • When a Graduated or Radial Filter instance is selected, Shift-K can be used to enter and leave brush modification mode.


Mask visualization is now available for the Graduated and Radial Filters. Use the Mask checkbox at the bottom of the Local Corrections pane or press ‘Y’ to toggle the mask overlay.

Feedback welcome.
(Edited)
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Rob Cole

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Lightroom too, soon? or just Photoshop CC...
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Currently just CC, but you can get an early glimpse what's coming to the raw pipeline. :)