Nik Collection vs. LR 5 – The LR Graduated Filter

Summary – First of several LR5/Nik selective adjustment comparison posts. This one looks at the LR 5 linear graduated filter, the Nik version follows tomorrow.


The linear graduated filter is

Straight forward in concept

It’s a digital equivalent of

“Real” filters attached to cameras such as

The graduated neutral density filter


Rollover mouse for the before-grad-filter


A Classic Graduated Filter Application

Mimic a real glass grad-neutral-density filter


A linear graduated filter adds an effect

With a gradual transition from full to none

Direction, start & end points are set by

Parallel lines drawn when applying the filter

Multiple effects are possible (vary by program)

One effect is to change exposure compensation in the sky

This would mimic a grad-neutral-density filter


Graduated filters in LR 5

Details are readily available elsewhere; try Adobe TV for starters

This post is an overview comparison of Nik vs. LR 5


Click to enlarge screen captures so setting can be read


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Figure 1

Straight forward application

The applied effect is negative exposure compensation

Emulates a grad-neutral-density filter to darken sky


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Figure 2

Follow-on to Figure 1

Again an exposure compensation effect, but positive this time

The goal is to lighten the sand

This further illustrates the fact that

Multiple graduated filters can be used in the same image


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Figure 3

This is where graduated filters fail – both digital and real

Objects between camera & sky are darkened just like the sky

That is not what we want!

Digital has an advantage over “real”

We may be able to mask the effect on intervening objects


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Figure 4

The sand lightening step doesn’t have the same problem as Fig. 3

or at least not as objectionable


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Figure 5

To solve the unwanted darkening of the tree we must use

The LR 5 Adjustment Brush (to be covered in a later post)

The first step is to use the brush to create a mask

This mask defines the area to be affected (explained in later post)


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Figure 6

With the mask from in place,

We can lighten the tree as needed

Without affecting the rest of the image


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Figure 7

The sole purpose of this image is to illustrate that

Graduated filters can be placed at any angle


LR 5 Graduated Filter Summary

Multiple grad filters can be used on a single image

Multiple effects can be applied with each filter

Undesired effects

Potentially can be fixed with the adjustment brush

Image (contrasts specifically) dependent

The grad filter is not truly selective

Yes, it isolates parts of an image from effects, but

Everything else is affected completely (e.g. the tree)

9-16-2013 10-53-09 AM


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