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Today, let's use the graduated filter adjustment at an angle to make a gradual adjustment to the blown-out sky in the upper-left-hand corner of an image.
For my example, I have used the exposure adjustment to darken the sky gradually by about half a stop.
1. First, press the (m) key or click the graduated filter icon in the Local Adjustments toolbar strip. (1 in the image below.)
Use the simple + / - button mode to make your adjustments.
2. In the button mode, pick an effect you want use: In this case, Exposure. (2 in the image below.)
3. Place your pointer in the image area, and a cross will appear for placement of the insertion point. (3 in the image below.)
4. Click, and three lines will appear with a graduated filter pin circle target in the center.
5. Click and drag in the image area to apply a graduated filter across an area of the image. A graduated filter pin will appear at the center of the effect.
Three white guide lines represent the high, center, and low fields of the filter effect. (4 in the image below.)
6. Position the graduated filter by holding down the mouse button and dragging above or below the line, stretching or contracting the gradient to cover the area of the image you want to adjust.
When the mouse button is released, the Mask mode in the graduated filter tool will switch to Edit, and the effect buttons will be available to refine the adjustment specific to the area.
You can then use the effects control slider to adjust the amount of the adjustment.
To move the center pin, click directly on the pin and drag the adjustment to a new position. To rotate the adjustment, position the mouse pointer near the center white line until a curved, double arrow appears and then drag to rotate the adjustment. To expand or contract the edge of the graduated filter adjustment, click and drag one of the outer white lines out to expand the range of the gradient effect, or drag in toward the center of the pin to contract the range of the adjustment. Remove the adjustment by positioning the pointer over the center pin and pressing Delete.
Press the H key to hide or show the graduated filter pin and lines in the image display area. To undo the adjustment, press Command + Z (Mac) or Control + Z (Windows) or use your Adjustment History. Click Reset at the bottom of the graduated filter tool to remove all filter adjustments and to set Mask mode to New.
Check back here each day this week for more Lightroom 2 tips.
And for more on Lightroom, be sure to check out my book Lessons in DSLR Workflow with Lightroom and Photoshop.