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Fixing Skies (and Other Stuff) with the Graduated (Linear) Filter

To darken a sky and have it fade off to transparent at the horizon (like a neutral density gradient filter on your lens would), use the Graduated Filter (well, that’s what it’s called in Lightroom on your desktop; in Lightroom Mobile, it’s called the Linear Selection). Tap on an image to open it in Loupe view, then tap on the Local Adjust icon at the bottom of the screen. (Note: Currently only available for iOS.) Make sure the Linear Selection icon is selected on the left side of the adjustment tiles (if it’s not, tap on the icon, then tap on Linear Selection). Now, tap at the top of the screen and drag down to the horizon line to create a graduated selection. The farther you drag, the further into your image the effect will appear. A red tint will appear showing which areas will be affected most, and then it graduates down to transparent. To rotate it, tap on the center white line and drag in a circular motion. To change how abruptly the gradient changes from affected area to transparent, tap-and-drag the outside white lines in/out. Once you drag out your gradient, tap on the Exposure tile and drag the slider to the left to darken the sky. You can also use any of the other adjustments, like Color Hue, which lets you change the color of the sky in that affected area. Of course, you don’t have to just use this on skies—I also use it on portraits to create a fall-off effect where the subject’s face is bright, and then it gets darker as it moves down. If I didn’t do this when I lit the subject, then I drag the gradient from the bottom of the image and stop just below their face, then I lower the Exposure amount, which darkens the bottom of the image and then lightens as it nears their face. A couple more things: To duplicate a gradient, tap-and-hold on the center pin and choose Duplicate Selection. To delete it, tap on the trash icon near the top-left corner of the screen. To create another Linear Selection, click on the + (plus sign) icon, also in the top left.

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